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The West does not have any moral high ground over China, their conduct during Covid crisis is further proof of it

If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it's that western emphasis on human rights is one humoungous farce.

The United States of America has projected its geopolitical rivalry with China as a great conflict between good and evil, between liberty and tyranny. The USA and other western countries claim to care a great deal about human rights but quite clearly, they do not care enough about the human right to life.

If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that western emphasis on human rights is one humongous farce. At a time when India is suffering a tragedy dealing with the pandemic, western countries have chosen to offer sermons and lectures instead of sympathy and support.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued veiled threats on Thursday. Amidst the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, she said that there are concerns that India will not be able to meet pharmaceutical demands in her country and they will have to ‘rethink’ their policies should that be the case.

Merkel said, “Of course, we have only allowed India to become such a large pharmaceutical producer in the first place, also from the European side, in the expectation that this should then also be complied with. If that is not the case now, we will have to rethink.”

But Germany is not the only country that has been making such insensitive remarks. The USA has enforced an embargo on the export of raw materials essential for the production of Covid-19 vaccines, which jeopardised vaccine production in India.

CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla, appealed to the Biden administration to lift the embargo but to no effect. When asked about the matter, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “We have a special responsibility to the American people.”

“It’s, of course, not only in our interest to see Americans vaccinated, it’s in the interests of the rest of the world to see Americans vaccinated,” he said. “Number one, we have a special responsibility to the American people. Number two, the American people, this country has been hit harder than any other country around the world — more than 550,000 deaths, tens of millions of infections in this country alone,” Price added.

The western media, which demonises India over its nationalist concerns, does not see any dichotomy with the approach by the USA and has been remained conspicuously silent over the matter. US concerns are understandable but it is starkly at odds with what it preaches to other countries.

When India proposes the NRC keeping in mind the interests of its citizens, there is a cacophony over alleged human rights violation in our country. When rioters run rampant and authorities crack down on them, western media and politicians from western countries cry foul and claim India is violating the right to ‘peaceful protests’.

In the current scenario, however, the USA is projecting a false competition between the interests of its citizens and that of the rest of the world. What is not understandable is the western efforts to block a request by India, South Africa and other developing countries to suspend intellectual property rights over the vaccines for the immediate future.

The waiver of IP rights would allow developing countries to ramp up vaccine production to meet both domestic and foreign demands. The so-called champions of human rights have thus far derailed the South Africa and India led efforts at the WTO over the matter.

We now have a situation where the USA is blocking raw materials required for vaccine production and western countries are blocking requests for an IP waiver. On top of that, countries such as Germany are issuing thinly veiled threats. And yet, the global media will continue to ignore such pathetic conduct by western countries.

Bharat Biotech has managed to synthesise and manufacture the agonist IMDG, a key component, indigenously and produce it at a commerical scale. Bharat Biotech has said that it has scaled up its manufacturing to 700 million doses per year. Thus, even with an embargo on vaccine production by western countries, India is poised to meet domestic demands with various other vaccines already in the pipeline.

During the coronavirus pandemic, India has been a beacon of light for the underprivileged and will continue to be so. With its Vaccine Maitri program, it has delivered vaccines to many many countries around the world, countries whose existence the West has conveniently forgotten in their hour of need.

When western countries, including the USA, were in dire need and were counting on hydroxychloroquine, India ensured that they have it in sufficient amounts. Of course, then US President Donald Trump threatened that if India had not provided them with the medicine, then there would have been retaliation against us. Like most things Trump did, it carried with it an air of empty boast.

Nevertheless, India ignored it and supplied the medicine because it realised that in times of humanitarian crisis, the welfare of human beings gains paramount importance.

Until now, Indians have largely seen the West as a positive influence and have certainly preferred them over China. Going forward, however, that may change as western countries have succeeded in driving home the message that they are just as morally repugnant as China when crisis unfolds.

Truth be told, western countries have never really had any claim to moral superiority over China. While they demonise China, it is the USA which has bombed the Middle East into slavery and turned multiple countries into failed states. It is the USA which has been helping its ally perpetrate a genocide in Yemen.

Again, it is the USA which has been the biggest supporter of the terrorist state of Pakistan until very recently when China took over. Nonetheless, Pakistan continues to receive great US support. And this is despite the USA knowing fully well, by their own admission, that Pakistan harbours, nurtures and protects terrorists.

The USA accuses China of curtailing freedom of expression and silencing journalists and yet, it continues to imprison Julian Assange for the grave crime of exposing human rights violations by western countries. Hypocrisy, USA is thy name.

The USA may be under the impression that nobody pays much attention to such disparity between their sermons and actions but the chicken will come home to roost. Their domestic political crisis is entirely due to the fact that their own citizens are waking up to the reality of the USA’s grave crimes against humanity.

The USA claims that it does not have sufficient funds for free education or universal medical healthcare but it sure does have enough money to continue filling the pockets of its defense contractors. Western media claims that democracy is under threat in India but it is the USA in which tech giants deliberately blocked media reports on Hunter Biden’s suspicious activities in order to protect Biden’s chances of victory.

Weeks after results of the elections came out, Big Tech and Big Business boasted how they had engaged in a ‘conspiracy‘ to prevent Trump’s reelection. Of course, they would vehemently deny any wrongdoing on their part but anyone with a bit of common sense realises what precisely happened.

Coming back to vaccines, the conduct of western countries is consistent with their past. It is only the erstwhile Indian ruling elite which was stupid enough to actually believe that western countries practiced what they preached. And now, we have malcontents like Rahul Gandhi who rush to complain to the USA and plead for American intervention in Indian internal matters because things are not going their way.

It is also pertinent to mention that Americans themselves are not happy with the policies of their government but then, the opinions of American citizens count for very little in the corridors of policy making in the USA.

India will overcome this crisis, as we have overcome multiple tragedies before, but there will be a grave human cost to it and the Indian people will remember the manner in which western countries conducted themselves during our time of crisis.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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