Although covid-19 exact origins are still in dispute, it appears to be another case of the virus jumping from the animal kingdom into humans, like the bird flu or swine flu. It is almost certain it was a bat virus ingested by pangolins and passed on to humans, as Chinese medicine prizes pangolin scales (it is the only scaled mammal). It’s flesh is also prized.

Like hundreds of other extracts in Chinese medicine, this is based on unscientific, magical theory that you gain powers ingesting the beast you want to emulate. Bear bile is another prized medicine, though the active ingredient has been synthesized and there is no reason to torture bears to get it. Why this perverse fascination with destroying Nature?

A hidden positive effect of Corvid-19 is the immediate ban in China of such trade in wild life, where 900,000 pangolins were ground up and/or eaten last year. In February 2020, the Chinese government passed a law "prohibiting the illegal wildlife trade, abolishing the bad habit of overconsumption of wildlife, and effectively protecting the lives and health of the people."

Previous temporary bans were put in place, including after the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in 2002-03 and was also traced to wild animal consumption.

That prohibition was short-lived, however, and conservationists have long accused China of tolerating a cruel trade in wild animals as exotic menu items or for use in traditional medicines whose efficacy is not confirmed by science.

In January, before the lock-down, China ordered a temporary ban "until the national epidemic situation is over". But conservationists and virologists said a temporary ban was not enough, calling for a permanent prohibition with tough enforcement.

Thank you corona for teaching us a (harsh) lesson about our place in the universe, which is governed by forces and laws we will never know. At best, we can pay attention to our footprint and keep it small. Small is beautiful.


This could be WWI, if we all remain competing capitalist rivals. The covid-19 virus is an avatar, Nature's version of the capitalist virus destroying us. In Nature's version, the virus infects the world and collapses the economy, killing millions. In our ongoing viral condition, we too infect the world, causing economic destruction and/or collapse, killing millions.

The best we have done in the past 2 centuries, since we became infected, is to battle the social virus to a draw, unable to wipe it out. It's both lethal, and able to mutate with ease.

Simon Tisdall is shocked that there is no united effort by all countries to fight the pandemic, like there was in WWII. Instead, Trump has increased sanctions against both Iran and Venezuela, his betes noires, with the IMF and Europe dutifully in line. Wild media attacks on Russia continue apace, in the New York Times, Guardian and even the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Sounds like we’re reenacting WWI, the bosh, huns, eating babies, etc. Trump even stopped funding the main international organization fighting the virus, the WHO, in a fit of peak. It should be more like WWII, ‘united against fascism’, or like The Andromeda Strain (1971), where the virus from outer space is covid-19, clearly seen as the enemy of all mankind.

Let's face it. The virus has ‘won’ in its goal to colonize Earth via humans. It has taken over the world. Well done, Nature. Show us how insignificant we really are.

But this makes corona more like Nazi Germany, which ‘won the war’ in 1940. It was only won by ‘us’ when western WWII governments united with the Soviet Union and fought 'for the good of mankind'. Think of corona as an avatar of capitalism, forcing us to switch from WWI mode to WWII.

Our governments were forced then by necessity to made a social contract with citizens, so that citizens (not 'consumers') would be willing to put their lives on the line, knowing their government would guarantee work, unemployment insurance, pensions and a post-war equitable social order.

Churchill and FDR signed the Atlantic Charter in August 1941 and the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942, the basis for the modern United Nations. That was what united us as one nation, and let us win WWII, rather than just churning out a lot of bombs.

The (Liberal) Canadian government quickly set up Crown corporations, 28 of them by the end of the war, producing arms, tanks, whatever. But in 1945 the implicit contract with the Soviet Union, that the world was now anti-imperialist, socialist, not fascist, was torn up, and private capital reasserted its dominance in politics and economics.

We tore off the bandages from the healing wounds, let the virus of capitalism return. Instead of helping the Soviet Union rebuild, our craven governments turned against our ally against fascism, scuttled popular (communist) governments in Greece, Italy, France. Left most of the Nazi officials in place in West Germany. The fact that it was the Red Army that did most of the leg work in defeating the scourge was conveniently forgotten, buried in genuinely ‘fake news’.

Appropriately, the tuberculosis vaccine that is now being haled as a possible cure warding off covid-19 was developed in the Soviet Union. “In 1925, the French scientist who developed the vaccine, Albert Calmette, passed the vaccine on to Soviet scientists for reworking and testing.” Three years from then it was adopted by the League of Nations, distributed free of charge throughout the world. Socialist altruism at work, but but no mention of this was made in recent coverage, just that BCG is "cheap".

At the same time as the vaccine was being mooted as a possible cure, in March Russian troops and aid convoys went to help Italy at the peak of the crisis there, recalling Soviet troops aiding allies in WWII. Greeted by loud msm denunciations of Russian help as 5th column, shoddy, useless, etc. Oh, and they eat babies, too.

Mother nature and human history together have taught us several lessons:

*Identify the real virus, the one that breeds war and environmental destruction

*fight it together

*stop senseless globetrotting, a corollary of the disease of global capitalism

*stop raping nature, eating pangolins and bats. And while we at it, stop burning up the last rain forest and killing every last gorilla.

Covid-19 is only a danger to overly globalized society, huge nations of migrants, without any sense of home, parasitic nomad-predators. And skies full of tourists, rushing to see ‘things’, oblivious to their effect on locals or the environment. Seen from the virus’s perspective, this is a really stupid global host, just waiting to be colonized.

Even if we ‘win’ the war, covid will never die out completely. And other viruses are sure to arise, mutate. Herd immunity looks like a distant utopia, which can easily slide into another pandemic. We can’t let the underlying virus survive, as it cares nothing about humanity, only accumulation of commodities, especially gold and money, which are not edible even by 'consumers'.

We will need a new-old social contract with society, guaranteeing that elusive post-war equitable social order that slipped through our hands when we privatized our economic lives and lost control of our political will in 1945.

Imagine if we’d kept those 28 crown corporations in 1945, bought a few more (all corporations are guaranteed to die sometime), nationalized insurance, health, energy and transport, kept affordable higher education ... We would have had socialism!

Instead, we have environmental armageddon, never-ending war, now a real, live virus, defeating us all in a stroke, as we squabble in our WW I trenches, determined to keep the underlying virus--that is killing us--alive.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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