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Op-Ed

Itxu Diaz: After Emphasizing COVID Rename, Here's All the Work the WHO Still Has Left to Do

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The WHO has taken a decisive step to end the coronavirus pandemic: renaming variants.

Apparently, in countries like India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil millions of citizens were deeply concerned, not because of the virulence of the variants, but because we identified them using the name of the country of origin.

According to WHO experts, the Brazilian variant was horribly stigmatizing for Brazilians, who since its appearance have spent nights and nights weeping, melancholically staring at the ceiling and exclaiming, “Oh dear! Now everyone knows us by our variant, instead of by our caipirinhas!”

The health organization has resolved this terrifying injustice by changing the names to letters of the Greek alphabet (my condolences to Sophocles, Homer and Alexander Magno).

At least in India they can finally breathe easy. No one else will die from the Indian variant of coronavirus, but they will die from the Delta variant, which kills the same, but is a much more elegant, sustainable and friendly strain.

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There’s still much left to do. As a columnist and sociologist, I am familiar with the suffering that many citizens have had to endure every time the Western press warns of the emergence of new viral strains named after some inhabited region.

We speak of injustice and discrimination that have lasted for more than a year. A real crime. In my opinion more! Quite the cultural genocide.

That is why it’s not enough to just change the nomenclature at this point; the damage has been done. A greater commitment from the oppressing nations is necessary.

The WHO should promote an extraordinary tax in all countries that have used the names of “Indian variant,” “British variant” or “South African variant” and allocate it to these discriminated-against countries, subsidizing those citizens who can demonstrate psychological damage by this historical affront against their identity and good name.

Do you support the WHO's decision to rename the COVID variants?

China deserves a separate mention. It is unacceptable that for months we have been using the name “Chinese virus” free of consequences to refer to a virus that appeared in China. This requires an economic repair greater than that of the variants.

Not to mention the pangolin, also known as a scaly anteater, that has been destroyed by the media, that mammal that we have falsely blamed for a global pandemic without even giving it the opportunity to offer its side of the story.

Both the pangolin and the bat deserve an apology. I believe that the only fair thing to do would be to hold an international summit of house speakers and prime ministers who take a knee in front of a large congregation of bats and pangolins, dressed in full attire for the occasion.

The event can conclude with a solemn vow to sacred animals throughout the world, forever prohibiting their hunting, exploitation and of course, consumption (if anyone is capable of eating them).

But that’s not enough. As a Spaniard, I also demand from the WHO historical reparations for the psychological damage that has caused me to endure for decades the stigma surrounding the “Spanish flu” of 1918.

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In some places I have even seen people cover their noses when they encounter me. Once in Venice my cellphone was stolen, and wherever I appeared with a cheerful “Hello, I am a journalist and I am Spanish!” they have often responded with resentment and ill will: “No way! Like the flu!”

Quickly knowing where a virus comes from is overrated. That damages tourism. There are millions of people who thought about going on vacation to India and changed their minds out of fear of the variant. The same is true in China.

Any Westerner would be all for going to China to sunbathe and enjoy a month of relaxation and freedom if it weren’t for the insidious international press that has made us afraid that, while strolling through Beijing, a bat may bite us and infect us with the “Chinese virus.”

There are many things for which we have the WHO to thank in this pandemic.

The rapid response to the threat, the clarity and correctness shown regarding health recommendations to avoid infection, the relentless targeting of the Chinese communist regime in its effort to contain the spread of the virus outside the country, the sensational investigation to resolve in record time the origin of the pandemic, and the crucial intervention so that this health crisis does not affect the environmental deterioration of the planet.

But, in short, nothing compared to this historic name change — probably the most transcendent decision of the century — which puts a stop once and for all to the very serious psychological pain that the virus has been causing on citizens of the world who felt very sad, very discriminated against, very stigmatized and very tired of how the oligarchs who run the WHO continue to treat us all as if we were complete idiots.

This article first appeared on The Western Journal en Español.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music or smart appliances. He is a contributor to The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, National Review, The American Conservative, The American Spectator and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an advisor to the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website www.itxudiaz.com.




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