It was a really early morning when I woke up peacefully from my simple rooftop bedroom and the first thing to do was to open my phone. Checking up the whatsapp, instagram, and twitter as usual under this pandemic era, I stumbled upon a recent tweet coming from POTUS, saying,
“It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus…. “
And continued by the 2nd tweet,“….is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!”
At first, I was pretty upset reading the half statement mentioning ‘Asian American’ and ‘the spreading of the virus’ terms, as it has brought us to total disappointment when He previously mentioned this virus as ‘Chinese Virus’.
Later on, I understood that He wanted to throw a thrill by cutting the sentence into 2 tweets which may produce misunderstanding to the readers. Like we still hopefully presume He is considering China as the disseminator of the virus, meanwhile He is renewing the statement, claiming that ‘They are working closely with us to get rid of it.’
Therefore ‘WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!” As we knew, since a few weeks ago China has sent its medical personnel and devices like masks, ventilators, rapid test tools, medicine, protective equipment, and so on to several countries infected by the virus, such as Italy, Iran, Spain, Philippines, European Union, Indonesia, including America.
Though the vaccine for this specific case is still under development phase, the leadership from China has shown in international level as they have gone the critical situation over this pandemic COVID-19 since December 2019 and would like to help other countries who are facing the hard situation after them.
The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, quoted by Xinhua on Friday (3/20) pointed out that “A sudden epidemic reminds the world that no country can succeed in isolation or face challenges alone, because of interrelated interests.” This act has built upon the prior blaming from Donald Trump that this Chinese Virus has spread all over the world because of the non-transparency why and how this virus was being produced and operates from China.
The newest political statement coming from POTUS has reminded me of the tsunami phenomenon in Aceh, in the end of 2004. That natural disaster was becoming the ‘common enemy’ for Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) and Indonesian government. They work closely together to help the victims of the deadly tsunami, including GAM members and families. The former president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was quite responsive regarding natural disaster happening in the nation state.
He immediately set up Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Task Force to help recover Aceh from tsunami, involving more than 500 agencies from 50 different countries. From this point, the lesson learned was that He was able to build solidarity also maintain development and the driving force of the country’s growth, especially in the real sector, strengthen Rupiah exchange rate to USD regardless the numbers of distress.
Solidarity has come from people all over the world, now that all of us are facing the same issue, at the same moment, namely Corona. This biological disaster is too big to be handled by only one nation. Moral and material supports are crossing the national borders, since all human beings can be infected, albeit the gender, race, age, even class.
By implementing total Lockdown in Wuhan, practicing self-isolation for the citizens, built hospitals handling specific case of COVID-19, mass producing medical equipment to its country and now sending it to other territories, China has tried to show the global leadership this world needs in overcoming the common enemy. Through Xinhua (New China News Agency) as the main media platform for political statement production, China is reshaping the narration of soft diplomacy by showing that they can be a responsible state and pragmatical / technical in the current era, while the status quo superpower states were stuck in their primordial and racist mindset.
Xinhua is the sole channel for the distribution of important news related to the Communist Party and Chinese central government, it operates more than 170 foreign bureaux worldwide, and maintains 31 bureaux in China—one for each province, autonomous region and directly-administered municipality plus a military bureau. Despite its popularity, both foreign and domestic anti-government critics have routinely criticized Xinhua for its political correctness and favourable portrayal of China’s state policies. In 2005, Reporters Sans Frontieres called Xinhua “The World’s Biggest Propaganda Machine”, pointing out that Xinhua’s president held the rank of a minister in the government.
Little did we know how COVID-19 is actually being produced and for what reason, whether it is considered as biological weapon or for other interests. To put it another way, from the perspective of environmentalist, this phenomenon has shaped the consumptive behaviour of human beings. Panic buying was seen as one of the symptoms of human greediness. It has been held by the social norms of people called as social justice warrior keep campaigning virtually through their social media.
The other controversial story is the request from Indonesian Legislative Members and their family to get the rapid test early though they are not the priority on this term. Privilege miss-used is therefore identified as the main point why humanity and solidarity has to be the priority act at this moment.
Let say most of us have the chance to get infected by this virus, or let alone die because of that, then our last act will be perceived as what human being has contributed to the world along with its infliction.
Admittedly, now it is the perfect time for rich people to really help the world by handing over their wealth to the least privilege ones, the people who could not survive by implementing total lockdown or working from home mechanism. WHO also has changed the term ‘social distancing’ into ‘physical distancing’ since many people are starting to feel in despair of their loneliness weeks at home. Stay connected, but not physically.
Given this situation, perhaps this is the time for the earth to take a breath from human greediness. Many international agenda have been postponed or changed into virtual version. No need for us to produce more carbon footprint from now on, nor the annual COP failures to accommodate or deliver the social and ecological agenda put into real action over business as usual. Still, my restlessness appears during this peaceful morning contemplation, will people be massively buying and travelling again once the virus has gone?
Editor: Yahya FR
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