by Phyllis Chesler
I dressed up to sit at my own dining table after being persuaded not to venture out to dine at an excellent Indian restaurant. Instead, I ordered up—and a hilariously countless series of vegetarian dishes appeared at my door: Yellow Dal, Palak Paneer, Vegetable Biryani, samosas, two rice dishes, a large quantity of nan, and Kheer. etc. Following hard on the dishes, my guest of honor, my dear friend Mandy Sanghera, soon appeared. We mimed hugs and kisses and kept our distance. Mandy had traveled here from London for meetings and panels connected to the UN and to British-Consulate sponsored events.
The UN actually shut down! Commission on the Status of Women events were cancelled. Mandy still found meetings and receptions to attend and people to meet. She described the World Economic Forum in Davos as a meeting of the 1%, “people who will take a helicopter to cross the street;” and women who walk “in six inch heels on the snow and ice.” I saw their likes in Cannes last fall—women who wore their six inch hells and all their jewelry to breakfast. Saudi women with whom Mandy had worked were exceptionally hospitable and insisted that Mandy allow them to drive her wherever she had to go.
All jolly good as the Brits might say—but the streets of Manhattan are eerily deserted, cities, schools, houses of worship have been locked down, trains and train stations are relatively empty, I am in a high risk category (a senior citizen with a very compromised immune system)—and I now join thousands of others who are prisoners of the Chinese Communist government, am a shut-in, have cancelled an important lecture in Philadelphia because the Chinese failed to impose the slightest hygiene in Wuhan, then failed to lock down the province, inform their people, close their borders, and immediately warn the world in order to contain this plague. Once the whirlwind had been loosed, uninformed country after country took uncertain steps to contain it.
And now here we all are.
Using the synecdoche of the Chinese Communist Government as the pinpoint of blame for this virus is the worst kind of commentary. To spread this sort of malevolent news to the rest of the world when the country is successfully feeding most of its 1.4 billion people every single day without a begging bowl to the rest of the world, is nothing short of disgraceful. A typical ignorant reaction from an obviously privileged academic type who has no knowledge of the way the world operates, but one who has a political axe to grind. Think before you write such groundless rubbish.
This comment is merely insulting and not fact based. The facts are exactly as I’ve laid them out. Only a craven ideologue or a paid “useful idiot” can deny what I’ve written.
marion d s dreyfus
When I lived in Wuhan for a number of years, SARS, Avian flu and MERS were all flaring in the public arenas where I worked at several jobs along with other ex-pats and Chinese nationals. We did nothing special at all despite the three bruited afflictions stemming from the city we inhabited. No one I knew was sick, interestingluy, and no one of the hundreds of people I dealt with weekly died, or was even quarantined. Reading reports today of my old hunting grounds, however, I came across reports in Chinese issued to the 19 temporary hospitals jerrybuilt in late December to house and treat the influx of patients afflicted with Wuhan virus. The missive sent by top tier government officials stated in Chinese that no data of any kind was to be let out to the media for any reason without express authorization of the government. Which I extrapolate never occurred. The Chinese propensity to garland the truth with absolute untruth is a learned datum when you live there. Their inability/unwillingness to be responsible shepherds of their own population, let alone world polities, is staggeringly irresponsible, but typical. Mao let 60 million of his precious people die, and did not scruple to change with afternoon tea arrangements. Though the country has endured decades of some evolution, Xi Jinping has established himself as lifetime potentate, and his control is unmoderated and unquestionable. Questioning the evident truths we have all witnessed, seen and heard for unlovely months is absurd. We believe the evidence of our own senses. Denying reality helps naught and makes a fool of the one who attempts to do so.
A country that feeds itself? Apart from all the food it has to import e.g. soybeans, wheat, beef....China is also the world's biggest importer of rice.