Letters to the Editor

Unprecedented disaster could yet prove to be Chinese Chernobyl

It is now well established that the Chinese Communist Party made numerous errors that led to the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Firstly, it failed to provide adequate animal hygiene regulation at the wet market in wild animals in Wuhan. This is inexplicable in a highly autocratic and oppressive regime with a recent history of vulnerability to such viral pathogens (Sars). The most plausible explanation for the outbreak of this epidemic links the lack of market hygiene with the propensity of bat colonies to propagate highly infectious, virulent virus populations. Bats have many highly dangerous infectious micro organisms within their bodies but are largely immune to them. Consequently they provide an ideal breeding environment for them. Unfortunately some of the creatures bitten by bats are also eaten as culinary delicacies by the local Chinese community and do not have immunity to the coronavirus. It is believed that these intermediaries helped to transition the virus from animal to human.

It subsequently allowed millions to leave Wuhan after the outbreak began, suppressing all domestic and foreign information about the outbreak especially that emanating from Taiwan which it has blocked from World Health Organization (WHO) membership.

In mid-January, six weeks after the virus emerged in Wuhan, the WHO was parroting Beijing’s claim that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. In February it was advising against putting restrictions on travel from China. In late January it was still praising the Chinese for their “transparency”.

This bizarre response is easily explained. The annual budget of the WHO ($2m) is smaller than some large hospitals and totally dependent on larger donors like the Peoples Republic of China (12%). It has been compared to “an underpaid sports coach wary of losing the dressing room”.

Ironically, with the pandemic brought under control within its borders China has duped its own population with Soviet-style conspiracy theories that the virus was brought to Wuhan by US soldiers.

Could this unprecedented disaster yet prove to be the Chinese Chernobyl leaving the Xi Jinping dictatorship vulnerable to overthrow due to internal disillusionment with the Communist Party’s complete mismanagement of the incipient stages of the pandemic? Could it eventually lead to regime change just as Chernobyl led to the subsequent collapse of the USSR?

GEORGE WORKMAN
Drogheda, Co Meath

 

Abortion settlement being forced on us deprives unborn of any protection

‘Why wasn’t I told the baby I aborted at 23 weeks might be able to feel pain?’

Reports are emerging of a landmark legal challenge to force abortion providers to warn that the foetus may feel pain during a termination. The testimony of Ms Ana-Maria Tudor should be taken note of by our assembly politicians and by the communities they represent. We have been forced into a situation where someone torturing or killing a Belfast cat or kitten, might feel the full weight of the law, yet the Westminster abortion settlement being forced upon us seems to deprive unborn children of any protection whatsoever.

The Westminster government’s contempt for human life has been publicly exposed in their shambolic handling of the Covid crisis.

The cruelties being inflicted on NHS staff, care workers, care home residents and the wider public, are unprecedented in modern times. A doctor, nurse or social worker could face stern disciplinary sanctions for clinical negligence in the event of a single death. Pandemic crisis problems may have been “foreseeable, predictable and preventable”. Countries which locked down earlier appear to have far lower casualties and fatalities than America or Britain. Is Boris Johnson without defence regarding his government’s negligence?

People in Great Britain may have lambasted some of our pro-life local politicians, or groups like the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Orange Order, for their resistance to abortion. The pandemic strikes terror into all our hearts, but it also lifts a veil on pre-existing cruelties. We are aghast at daily hospital deaths of several hundred people, but on any average UK weekday a similar number of unborn children may have been terminated. This has been happening with NHS money – your taxes and mine – and disguised as healthcare. If the pandemic drives us away from selfish corporate capitalism, to the vulnerable and weak receiving protection, that can only be a good thing.
The lonely band of brave assembly MLAs, seeking to overthrow the Westminster abortion settlement, deserve the full support of our Church leaders and citizens.

TJ HARDY
Belfast BT5

 

Be responsible and behave yourselves

I COME across an older man than me every couple of years and the first thing he asks me when I meet him is: “Well Marty, are you behaving yourself?” I always reply: “Yes I am, I’ve been very good recently.”

He knows as a younger man I enjoyed a drink in the right company and from time to time I might have over indulged depending on the good company I met.

So, if you ever come across him and he asks you that question think about the answer. In the Covid-19 crisis are you behaving yourself? Boris Johnson is going to tell you to “stay alert” rather than stay at home. You will be allowed unlimited exercise outside and in the park soon to play sports, although this is not passed in the north yet, it looks like he has passed the buck to the public and absolved his government and himself of any responsibility.

So, in the absence of real leadership, remember that good people don’t need laws to make them act responsibly. We owe the NHS and key workers our lives. Our families are risking their lives for us. The kids working in shops, nurses saving lives caring 24/7, doctors and many more.

So be responsible, and as the old man says, try to behave yourselves.

MARTY McCAFFERTY
Belfast BT14

 

Ensure most vulnerable are protected

I have read recently with deep concern the rise in domestic violence since the lockdown. Both jurisdictions in Ireland report a percentage rise. In the north there was a 10% rise in April. Indeed there was 2,000 domestic abuse calls to the PSNI in the first three weeks.

In the south Garda Síochána report a rise of 25% and as high as 30% in some areas. In both regions a common thread is coming through that this can be linked in a lot of cases to alcohol abuse.

Husbands who are usually at work are at home and in this lockdown situation and tensions can rise.

Justice Minister Naomi Long has brought forward legislation to tackle the problems associated. It is hoped this can be made law but it could be next spring before this becomes a reality. It is hoped this can tackle such things as coercive control.

Governments in both jurisdictions need to make sure that groups like Women’s Aid and other charitable organisations are well supported financially as well as government agencies tasked to tackle this serious problem. Young children and babies are in serious danger in these volatile situations. We must ensure the most vulnerable are protected.

KIERAN McCAUSLAND
The Workers’ Party, Lurgan,
Co Armagh

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Letters to the Editor