Just a few weeks ago, we were taking baby steps towards a new optimism despite the initial fear and despair from the coronavirus. I was hopeful the world would become a better place once we step out of the dark shadows of COVID-19. From many corners of the globe, people shared wonderful stories of a world resetting itself. A new beginning back to the slower-paced innocence and we-were-more-caring past. A damaged environment finally with a chance to heal. Skies imbued with industrial pollutants that had covered once-sacred mountains in India for decades suddenly became blue again. The people on the streets rejoiced and some danced on their rooftops to celebrate the re-emergence of their holy mountain, the Nanda Devi, source of the Ganges River. Wild animals started to roam the city streets and the freeways became theirs to freely wander on. In Adelaide’s suburbia, we woke up to the sweet fragrance of gum leaves and fresh clean air, devoid of car fumes and noisy traffic. From Wuhan to Milan and Rome to Barcelona and Sydney, grateful people were singing the praises of their front line workers from their balconies. Suddenly, in a short few weeks, urghhlings were shedding their evil and ugly image, transforming into beautiful earthlings right in front of my eyes. “Are we spiritual beings having a human experience or humans having a spiritual experience?” I was almost tempted to consider that urghhlings all over the world have returned to their spirituality following the devastation from the coronavirus.
It did not take long for the ugly reality to creep back in. The warmth and glow from reading about the Chinese initiatives to help countries struggling to contain the virus soon dissipated. Some in The West were adamant to recast such kindness and compassion from the Chinese in an evil slant, frothing their Sinophobic chants to paint the CCP much like Spectre in the James Bond movie On the Majesty’s Secret Service. Ernst Blofeld, the evil master, embarked on germ warfare using beautiful women as the carriers, whereas China’s Xi sent medical workers to the West with sinister motives, so their story goes. Those medical experts experienced in the virus’s containment in Wuhan were sent to help in the frontlines of cities such as London and Madrid, and Xi flew truckloads of PPE and much sought-after medical equipment to various parts of the world. Perhaps from a sense of guilt that the virus spread from his country? Sadly, such kind gestures and goodwill were cynically questioned and when some of the PPE were found to be defective, some openly accuse China of wilful sabotage. When the US politicians found their America First policy failed to help themselves, they soon realised it was in fact an America Only policy that Trump had been perpetuating. PPE’s were reportedly hijacked by the Americans from traditional allies such as France and Canada, and an early hope for a German vaccine was unsuccessfully lassoed for the sole benefit of Americans. As the death toll mounted in America, the virus revealed a dark underbelly of discrimination against China. Last year’s Trade War has morphed into a Cold War. Winter has not set in yet in Australia but the chill is distinctly foreboding. Australia’s rushed and untimely call for an independent enquiry into the origins of the virus initially echoed much of Trump’s accusations that China let the virus out. I wonder how they will define “independence” when the WHO which represents 194 out of 204 countries in the world itself can be accused of being “China-centric” by America. I was fortunately not further embarrassed as an Aussie when PM Scomo brushed aside Pompeo’s ridiculous self-contradictory assertions that they have “significant evidence” of a China-made virus being deliberately released to the world. It is evident that the hateful lies are man-made, the virus most likely is not (according to medical experts). After banning Huawei’s 5G from Australia, and now this early call to “independently” investigate the origins of the virus in China, there is now growing Chinese hostility against America’s lap dog that Australia is. Earlier this week, Aussie barley and beef producers were served a small bitter dosage of punitive measures, and the week finished with unwelcome disruptions to the lucrative iron ore and coal business. America has woken up to China’s rapid rise in cutting-edge technology and economic power and now sees the CCP as an adversary that must be slowed if not stopped. Paul Kelly of The Australian wrote about the opinion of the veteran analyst for The Centre of Independent Studies, Alan Dupont. He said Dupont agrees with Trump’s decision to “push back on all fronts against China otherwise it would be relegated to the status of a second-order power.” As early as in October 2018, Mike Pence pledged that the US would use all its power to combat China on a scale not seen since the first Cold War. Today, their anti-China rhetoric has gained a lot more intensity and volume. Trump had the ridiculous audacity to compare the COVID-19 pandemic as the “worst attack” ever on the US, accusing China as the attacker that unleashed more damage than Pearl Harbour or the 9/11 plane crashes. “Could’ve been stopped in China. It should’ve been stopped right at the source. And it wasn’t.”
Isn’t the world fed up with such war-like tendencies? As good as it has been for many of us, the world has never seen world peace. Is peace really beyond us? Why is violence the end result? Rather than the last resort, why not never resort to violence? There is so much violence in real life and in movies that it is numbing to see violence even though it is actually accompanied by intense pain and suffering. In the past week, I have been bingeing on Netflix and SBS On Demand. Is it indicative of me as someone who loves to watch violence or is it simply that movies reflect the real world and therefore cannot be without violence? I thought I would enjoy John Wick 3. The Mrs had read in some magazine that Keanu Reeves was amazing in it and contrary to her normal rejection for violent and violently loud movies, she asked me to take her to the cinemas. That was long before the virus struck. Somehow, we never went and her urge to watch her hero in action waned. Last week, I watched it on Netflix. I have to say, it was awful. Violence has become boring to me as I grow older. Season 8 of Homeland on the hand had me sitting on the edge of my sofa. I embarrassed myself and binged it from start to finish in three sittings. Suddenly, the Taliban leader became the good guy and although the Americans portrayed the Pakistanis to be the new baddies, in my heart, I knew all along the real enemy is the one that mouths lies and hides the truth. The Salvation was another movie that caught my attention, well, the title did. I thought it would be a movie that would cleanse my soul. But, no, it was the violent kind of salvation that the baddies must all die. I was mad about Mads Mikkelsen, what a rugged hero, and then I was madder about Eva Green – what a French beauty!! Her eyes, her eyes! I have been following the Peaky Blinders too. Those brothers in Birmingham have a propensity for violence too as they transform themselves from violent thugs to legitimate businessmen. The last two nights, I watched Fauda, a series that The Son and I had followed until he went to Japan for his snow holiday, and then social distancing meant we could not watch it together anymore for months since. It is a series about the Israelis, Palestinians and Hamas. Yeah, a perfect recipe for violence. A lot of prayers, and soul cleansing moments but ultimately, they end in violence. That is as real as it gets. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Great anger and violence can never build a nation.” But, violence can surely destroy the world.