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April 8, 2020

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Tackling COVID-19 calls for solidarity

The novel coronavirus pandemic is a major crisis at present, whose solution requires global solidarity rather than stigmatization.

In order to beat the pandemic, we need to share information on an international scale as well as to better manage the productions and distributions of medical equipment globally. We need global cooperation in the economic aspect, too. In today’s era of economic globalization, our fates are bound together.

Yuval Noah Harari, a professor of history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, has warned that we need to make the right choice between narrow-minded nationalism and global solidarity in his recent article entitled “The World After Coronavirus.”

That humans cooperate to survive and thrive is also well explained in Harari’s book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.” By studying the evolution of human beings over two million years, Harari believes that the reason why humans can surpass other creatures is that we are the only animal capable of cooperating flexibly in a collective form.

Collective collaboration takes place on the basis of commonly accepted observance. Based on this norm, Harari proposes that social structures and codes of conducts are created by human beings through their imagination and various organizations, among other things. But while it helped foster human progress, imagination could also create inequality. For instance, racial segregation was formed through the undue imagination of superiority of certain skin colors.

A threat to all human beings

However, human beings are ultimately capable of cooperation that works in the interests of all. In this time of crisis, let’s join hands to cast away bias and stigmatization. The World Health Organization has named the novel coronavirus COVID-19. An official name of the epidemic is important to prevent anyone from calling it in an inaccurate or humiliating way. The virus does not have a nationality. It is a threat to all human beings.

Human beings used to suffer from racism, xenophobia and other types of bias. There should be no place for such things in the world today, as peaceful development and common prosperity are increasingly becoming a mainstream thought.

Why does a huge imbalance in development exist between different countries and peoples? Professor of physiology Jared Diamond gives a convincing answer in his book “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.” He looks at the question from a systemic perspective including — but not limited to — evolutionary biology, geography, history, anthropology and genetics.

Through solid studies, researchers worldwide have discovered that the differences in human genetics are too small to influence the pace of social development in the past 13,000 years. Diamond confirms the importance of geography, though he cautions against using geography as the only factor determining the pace or pattern of social development.

Therefore human beings should make concerted efforts in fighting the COVID-19.

Meanwhile we should not give the virus any chance to plant seeds of hatred among us. We fight as one, and one only.

The author is a freelancer from the US.


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