The Coronavirus Crisis and the Peace Movement: A Message from Berlin
BERLIN (April 17, 2020) — We are in an extreme position worldwide. Many countries, including Germany, have taken more or less drastic measures to deal with an obviously threatening situation.
At the same time, this means that, particularly in Western societies, which often see themselves as democracies, civil rights are being massively restricted by the measures that are now being taken.
This quite rightly creates fear among many that measures taken now may not be withdrawn after this crisis has ended. We share these fears and are therefore watching the situation very carefully.
Under these extreme conditions, the peace movement urgently has to develop a pragmatic approach that should be based on a sober and realistic assessment of the situation. This will be discussed in more detail at the end of this article.
Of course, the risk of a trend in Europe towards a police state should not be underestimated now. Under the guise of a medical emergency, there are now many who want to promote the abolition of democratic rights and are trying to establish the strongest possible surveillance measures in the long term. There are attempts to undermine or even eliminate the sovereignty of the parliament. Developments in the US are also extremely worrying.
We also have to be aware of the possibility that the impending immense economic crisis is being used to drive further towards a market concentration. Already now unlimited amounts of financial aid are being made available to big business. Medium and small businesses will be left behind. The socially disadvantaged, the elderly and the homeless will face the most severe consequences. This can already be clearly seen.
An important question that many ask themselves is what happens if there is social unrest or even insurrection in EU countries: could there be developments towards a police state and even military dictatorship?
There are also indications that the corona crisis might have a military background, that it could even some sort of a biological attack. This hypothesis has been made by China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela. And such statements were even made in the United States and Israel. There are certain hints, but no evidence yet.
It is extremely worrying that Defender Europe 2020 a US / NATO war rehearsal , and the largest military exercise in over 25 years, is taking place right now. This means that Germany is the hub for this military exercise, with a total of 37,000 NATO soldiers, including 20,000 US GIs, 35,000 military vehicles and 22,000 tons of ammunition. This demonstration of military power had already started to move towards Poland, the Baltic States and the Russian border. There are now contradicting reports whether this military exercise has been cancelled.
But actually, and this is also based on a statement by Alexander Neu, Member of the German Parliament, DIE LINKE, from March 26th. that all US units already in Europe, including military equipment, are currently predominantly based in Poland and Germany. In other words: the US units are in Europe and are combat-ready for at any time.
The peace movement in Germany and internationally must therefore urgently develop pragmatic strategies under the extreme conditions described above and the dangers being identified.
All of this must be based on a sober and realistic assessment of the situation.
In the context of the discussion about Covid-19, some people in the peace movement take a position that is very much focussing on Germany. Based on the testimony of a small group of medical doctors and experts, they argue that the corona pandemic poses no major danger.
They argue that this only serves as an excuse for economic and political goals. These critics decisively reject the measures now being taken nationwide because according to their assesment there is no major danger.
Explanations are being spread widely and now there is also a petition in which they make the following demand: „Immediate lifting of all restrictions on civil liberties decreed in the“ Corona crisis „!
They further argue „The current flu wave caused by the Corona Virus Covid19 is proven to be far less dangerous than other flu waves“. The petition further states: „A comparison with those who died from flu illnesses in previous years clearly shows that the mortality rate for Covid19 flu is very low“.
We will only know this when the Corona crisis has been overcome.
However, the fact is that drastic measures such as those introduced in Germany have also been introduced in many other countries. All of these countries relate to a similar assessment of the danger situation, as the German government also endeavors to do. All countries have taken very far-reaching precautions and measures, as well as temporarily restricting the freedom of movement to protect their populations.
Close to 60 million people live in the region around the chinese city of Wuhan, where the spread of the coronavirus initially was determined. All residents were rigorously quarantined for almost 2 months. These measures are currently being relaxed because according to official statements fewer new cases of infection have been recorded.
A large hospital was built in Wuhan within 14 days. Stadiums and eventhalls have been converted into quarantine centers. Medical staff from across the country came to assist. Large parts of the industrial production was stopped in the face of massive economic damages as a result.
Measures similar to those in China are now being introduces in other countries. In France, Spain, Russia, Japan, the USA and the Gaza Strip, hospitals or quarantine centers are being built using rapid construction methods. In Spain, an ice-sport hall is currently being converted into a temporary mortuary. Temporary crematoriums are being built in the US, to name just a few examples.
It would therefore be illogical to assume that Russia, China, Venezuela, Syria, Iran and Cuba and all their experts, scientists and doctors have not carefully examined the extent of the danger and have initiated such painstaking measures.
Iran was hit extremely badly, a number of senior government officials fell ill, some died. Tens of thousands of prison-inmates have been released to prevent the spread of infection among the prison-population. For the same reasons, the United States has also released some prisoners.
And how one could argue against the background of the dramatic images from Spain and Italy, as well as images from the hospitals there, that the corona infections are nothing more than the effects of a another flu wave?
And why are China, Russia and Cuba now providing all this international aid? Why all the Russian and Chinese aid flights that are hauling huge amounts of face masks, protective clothing, respirators, mobile clinics, medical teams and medical personnel into the hot spots in various countries affected by this crisis? Why should these countries organize all of this if there would be no crisis at all?
In China, the production of ventilators is in full swing. Factories are converting assembly lines to the production of face masks and protective clothing. All of these items are being ordered or requested. Large parts of this production are even delivered free of charge to other countries as part of aid deliveries.
All of these examples show that against the background of some justified concerns, a small group of activists has developed wrong standpoints. In such a crisis this can happen and can also be the result of great nervousness.
Only if some within the peacemovement continue to argue in this way they about to act in an irresponsible manner.
One should not foster these king of allegations, but instead concentrate on developing and supporting goal-oriented strategies.
However, those who continue to deny the risks of the pandemic should now be strongly argued against.
It is important to make the public aware of the dangers described above of the quarantine measures introduced in Germany and Europe and to prevent them from being imposed inappropriately or even being extended indefinitely.
If we wanted to, we could even recognize, acknowledge and seize the chances of this crisis – the help from China, Russia and Cuba that opens up the chance that Europe can develop closer ties with these countries in the long term.
The coverage in the mainstream-media shows that despite all the demonization that is still taking place, more and more reports on aid from China, Russia and Cuba are being published.
There are now numerous statements by high-ranking politicians, as well as at regional and local levels in the media, drawing attention to this aid coming from China, Russia and Cuba.
This article calls on everyone in the peace movement to consider the situation seriously.
Letter from Berlin: Call for a Global Ceasefire — Stop the Sanctions Policy and the Demonization of China and Russia
We Call for a Global Ceasefire
And the end of the sanctions policy against
almost a third of humanity.
And the end of the demonization of China and Russia.
Against the backdrop of the widening corona pandemic, we support the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to reach a global ceasefire. An idea that is now supported by at least 70 countries.
At the same time, we agree with the demands of numerous governments and organizations for the end of the sanctions policy, which now affects almost a third of humanity. Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Nicaragua, Iran, Palestine, Yemen, North Korea and Zimbabwe were already severely affected by the sanctions before the pandemic, and the situation has now deteriorated even further. But other countries, especially Russia, are also subject to an increasingly aggressive sanctions policy.
Many countries are now in need of debt cancellation. Because currently over 800 million people worldwide are suffering from hunger. Over 2 billion people live without access to clean drinking water; over 4 billion have no access to safe healthcare.
All of these problems need to be addressed. As a partner of the Non-Aligned Movement, China has initiated an immense infrastructure plan for connecting Asia, Europe and Africa with its initiative the „New Silk Road“ and has now expanded it with a new multipolar project named “Silk Road of Health”.
Unhindered access to technologies, especially in the health sector, should enable everyone to continue to develop and share scientific developments and products.
That is why we support the Open Letter from the Chinese Embassy in Berlin to the editor-in-chief of the BILD-Newspaper regarding extremely anti-China reporting, which stirs up “nationalism, prejudice and xenophobia and anti-China”, as the letter from the embassy states. (Letter see below)
At this point we express our sincere thanks for the solidarity of the Chinese people and the government of the People’s Republic of China: The international aid deliveries, teams of physicians and medical personnel as well as equipment. This solidarity has resulted in gratitude, sympathy and recognition everywhere in Europe and in the world.
Of course, this also applies to the immense efforts of Russia and Cuba. All three countries have given new hope, shoulder to shoulder, to the idea of international solidarity. And people around the world have recognized these efforts.
We therefore underline once again the fundamental importance of the joint efforts of peace-loving countries worldwide to oppose imperialist forces. Resistance must be organised to oppose those states and forces that promote policies characterized by direct or indirect acts of war, arms deliveries to crisis regions, and direct or indirect financing of non-state militias and terrorist groups in order to overthrow unwanted governments or to destabilize entire states and regions.
The German government as well as other NATO member states are involved in many aspects of this policy, while at the same time „solidarity and helpfulness“ is demanded in international relations.
Attempts by the US government to provoke conflicts in the midst of the pandemic, like against Venezuela, Syria and Iran, with the aim of „regime change“ are also highly dangerous, and are also used to distract from their own failure to fight the pandemic.
In the interests of world peace, international security and the peaceful coexistence of all peoples, we therefore call for the principles of the United Nations Charter to be respected and followed and for international law to be defended.
That is why it is particularly important now, against the background of the corona pandemic, to condemn all attempts to counter efforts for international solidarity and, as has happened, to demonize China or Russia.
Infamous campaigns, such as most recently in the Bild newspaper, are currently being spread on a global scale. On the basis of false claims they claim that China has violated international law and is obliged to compensate foreign governments for the damages of the corona crisis. Such accusations and insults are widely distributed in numerous articles in print media, on television and radio and on social media platforms.
These campaigns mainly originate from right-wing populists in Europe and the United States. There they come mainly from circles around Trump and his former advisor Steve Bannon, who has excellent connections to international right-wing networks. And it is mostly the same circles that are demonizing Russia, Syria, Venezuela and Iran.
We ask all those responsible to act within the meaning of this letter.
Solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples! SEE LIST OF SIGNATORIES HERE
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