The Corona Crisis and the Peace Movement – Message from Berlin

We are in an extreme position worldwide. Many countries, including Germany, have taken more or less drastic measures to deal with an obviously threatening situation.

At the same time, this means that, particularly in Western societies, which often see themselves as democracies, civil rights are being massively restricted by the measures that are now being taken.

This quite rightly creates fear among many that measures taken now may not be withdrawn after this crisis has ended. We share these fears and are therefore watching the situation very carefully.

Under these extreme  conditions, the peace movement urgently has to develop a pragmatic approach that should be based on a sober and realistic assessment of the situation. This will be discussed in more detail at the end of this article.

Of course, the risk of a trend in Europe towards a police state should not be underestimated now. Under the guise of a medical emergency, there are now many who want to promote the abolition of democratic rights and are trying to establish the strongest possible surveillance measures in the long term. There are attempts to undermine or even eliminate the sovereignty of the parliament. Developments in the U.S. are also extremely worrying.

We also have to be aware of the possibility that the impending immense economic crisis is being used to drive further towards a market concentration. Already now unlimited amounts of financial aid are being made available to big business. Medium and small businesses will be left behind. The socially disadvantaged, the elderly and the homeless will face the most severe consequences. This can already be clearly seen.

An important question that many ask themselves is what happens if there is social unrest or even insurrection in EU countries: could there be developments towards a police state and even military dictatorship?

There are also indications that the corona crisis might have a military background, that it could even some sort of a biological attack. This hypothesis has been made by China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela. And such statements were even made in the United States and Israel. There are certain hints, but no evidence yet.

It is extremely worrying that Defender Europe 2020 a US / NATO war rehearsal , and the largest military exercise in over 25 years, is taking place right now. This means that Germany is the hub for this military exercise, with a total of 37,000 NATO soldiers, including 20,000 US GIs, 35,000 military vehicles and 22,000 tons of ammunition. This demonstration of military power had already started to move towards Poland, the Baltic States and the Russian border. There are now contradicting reports whether this military exercise has been cancelled.

But actually, and this is also based on a statement by Alexander Neu, Member of the German Parliament, DIE LINKE, from March 26th. that all US units already in Europe, including military equipment, are currently predominantly based in Poland and Germany. In other words: the US units are in Europe and are combat-ready for at any time.

The peace movement in Germany and internationally must therefore urgently develop pragmatic strategies under the extreme conditions described above and the dangers being identified.

All of this must be based on a sober and realistic assessment of the situation.

In the context of the discussion about Covid-19, some people in the peace movement take a position that is very much focussing on Germany. Based on the testimony of a small group of medical doctors and experts, they argue that the corona pandemic poses no major danger.

They argue that this only serves as an excuse for economic and political goals. These critics decisively reject the measures now being taken nationwide because according to their assesment there is no major danger.

Explanations are being spread widely and now there is also a petition in which they make the following demand: „Immediate lifting of all restrictions on civil liberties decreed in the“ Corona crisis „!

They further argue „The current flu wave caused by the Corona Virus Covid19 is proven to be far less dangerous than other flu waves“. The petition further states: „A comparison with those who died from flu illnesses in previous years clearly shows that the mortality rate for Covid19 flu is very low“.

We will only know this when the Corona crisis has been overcome.

However, the fact is that drastic measures such as those introduced in Germany have also been introduced in many other countries. All of these countries relate to a similar assessment of the danger situation, as the German government also endeavors to do. All countries have taken very far-reaching precautions and measures, as well as temporarily restricting the freedom of movement to protect their populations.

Close to 60 million people live in the region around the chinese city of Wuhan, where the spread of the coronavirus initially was determined. All residents were rigorously quarantined for almost 2 months. These measures are currently being relaxed because according to official statements fewer new cases of infection have been recorded.

A large hospital was built in Wuhan within 14 days. Stadiums and eventhalls have been converted into quarantine centers. Medical staff from across the country came to assist. Large parts of the industrial production was stopped in the face of massive economic damages as a result.

Measures similar to those in China are now being introduces in other countries. In France, Spain, Russia, Japan, the USA and the Gaza Strip, hospitals or quarantine centers are being built using rapid construction methods. In Spain, an ice-sport hall is currently being converted into a temporary mortuary. Temporary crematoriums are being built in the U.S., to name just a few examples.

It would therefore be illogical to assume that Russia, China, Venezuela, Syria, Iran and Cuba and all their experts, scientists and doctors have not carefully examined the extent of the danger and have initiated such painstaking measures.

Iran was hit extremely badly, a number of senior government officials fell ill, some died. Tens of thousands of prison-inmates have been released to prevent the spread of infection among the prison-population. For the same reasons, the United States has also released some prisoners.

And how one could argue against the background of the dramatic images from Spain and Italy, as well as images from the hospitals there, that the corona infections are nothing more than the effects of a another flu wave?

And why are China, Russia and Cuba now providing all this international aid? Why all the Russian and Chinese aid flights that are hauling huge amounts of face masks, protective clothing, respirators, mobile clinics, medical teams and medical personnel into the hot spots in various countries affected by this crisis? Why should these countries organize all of this if there would be no crisis at all?

In China, the production of ventilators is in full swing. Factories are converting assembly lines to the production of face masks and protective clothing. All of these items are being ordered or requested. Large parts of this production are even delivered free of charge to other countries as part of aid deliveries.

All of these examples show that against the background of some justified concerns, a small group of activists has developed wrong standpoints. In such a crisis this can happen and can also be the result of great nervousness.

Only if some within the peacemovement continue to argue in this way they about to act in an irresponsible manner.

One should not foster these king of allegations, but instead concentrate on developing and supporting goal-oriented strategies.

However, those who continue to deny the risks of the pandemic should now be strongly argued against.

It is important to make the public aware of the dangers described above of the quarantine measures introduced in Germany and Europe and to prevent them from being imposed inappropriately or even being extended indefinitely.

If we wanted to, we could even recognize, acknowledge and seize the chances of this crisis – the help from China, Russia and Cuba that opens up the chance that Europe can develop closer ties with these countries in the long term.

The coverage in the mainstream-media shows that despite all the demonization that is still taking place, more and more reports on aid from China, Russia and Cuba are being published.

There are now numerous statements by high-ranking politicians, as well as at regional and local levels in the media, drawing attention to this aid coming from China, Russia and Cuba.

This article calls on everyone in the peace movement to consider the situation seriously.

by Heinrich Buecker, Coop Anti-War Cafe Berlin

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