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Which vaccine would you choose?

Published: Updated:

With the emergence of the American Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to combat the coronavirus pandemic that originated inside Wuhan laboratories and spread to the whole world and Lebanon, what comes to mind is the laughable calls by some to wait for the Chinese and Russian vaccine to save Lebanon’s collapsed economy.

Under these new circumstances, we are left wondering, will our officials continue to push for seeking support from the East instead of the West? Will they continue to reject making any agreements with the IMF to address this financial crisis while escalating their hostility towards the US and the West?

Read more: Coronavirus: Lebanon to enter full lockdown as COVID-19 cases spike

Let us ask ourselves this absurd question: will Lebanon take the American vaccine when it is available in the market or will it refrain and wait for an ‘Eastern’ vaccine that is more in line with the bogus nationalistic sentiments of those officials just as they hopelessly wait for Chinese companies to pump billions of dollars into the Lebanese market?

Allow me to emphasize that the aim here is not to gloat or take advantage of people’s needs. The reason behind these questions has nothing to do with asserting political views or praising the West. In fact, I am simply trying to remind people of this simple reality, the East is responsible for causing this pandemic, while the West, which some continue to lash, is in the process of manufacturing a vaccine that can save people.

Bottles with Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen before inoculation at a clinic in Tver, Russia October 12, 2020. (Reuters)
Bottles with Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen before inoculation at a clinic in Tver, Russia October 12, 2020. (Reuters)

The vaccine can especially save those of us living in countries that displayed how ill-equipped they are to handle this crisis after failing to create a respirator and even a simple aspirin pill.

In this regard, what I am referring to when I say the ‘West’ is not the “white man” who is to blame for colonialism and Western supremacy, but rather the welcoming environment that fosters creativity and grants individuals the chance to excel and unleash their limitless potential. By the ‘West,’ I mean to refer to the unrestrained environment that respects talented individuals and invests generously in scientific research.

It is worth noting that the most prominent researchers on the coronavirus vaccine file in the United States and Germany are a Turkish couple, scientists of Asian origins, and children and grandchildren of immigrants. It is safe to assume these scholars might not have had the same opportunities for a decent life if they stayed in their countries of origin where intelligence agencies are more important than research centers.

Essentially, the choice of the Lebanese people regarding which vaccine to choose is unlikely to mirror their inconsistent intellectual, social, sectarian and political views. Many citizens are fully convinced of the existence of two opposing sides, which means that upon choosing to take the American vaccine, they must dismiss this notion of the West versus the East.

People work at a facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech, that is developing an experimental coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, during a government-organized media tour in Beijing, China, September 24, 2020. (Reuters)
People work at a facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech, that is developing an experimental coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, during a government-organized media tour in Beijing, China, September 24, 2020. (Reuters)

We must refuse this tendency to be selective, opportunistic and ungrateful; we either comprehensively accept Western support or reject it entirely.

Choosing the ‘Western side’ brings with it a potentially successful vaccine, as well as western concepts that promote freedom of research and freedom of expression. While the ‘Eastern side’ might succeed in creating a vaccine, it will inevitably bring with it oppression, tyranny, and poverty.

As for combining economic growth with political tyranny, it may be applicable, but let us not forget that it resulted in the coronavirus outbreak in China, where the government hid the facts and the result was millions of causalities and unprecedented deterioration in living conditions worldwide.

Read more: China, WHO ‘totally responsible’ for coronavirus pandemic: US-China expert

The Russian example is no better; Russia’s miracle vaccine cannot be separated from neither the bombing of Syrian civilians and the poisoning of Russian opposition, nor the lies about inventions and vaccines, which will not become true no matter how many media appearances the Tsar of the Kremlin makes.

It is time that we admit the reality of Western supremacy in matters related to science, democracy, and respect for human rights, especially if we truly wish to evolve. As for those who wish to stay behind and take stances that ensure their inferiority, they can wait for China’s vaccine and financial rescue.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Lebanese news outlet Nidaa al-Watan.

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