WORDS FROM THE FRONT. THE RIGHT TO HEALTH

10.3.2020 WORDS FROM THE FRONT

updated on March 12, 2020

Dear Friends Worldwide

I read, I see, I sense, that probably most of you scattered across the globe still do not get what is really going on. For us, in Europe at large (meaning, not the EU, but Europe as a huge stretch of land and history), what is happening with the COVID-19 epidemic (now a pandemic, worldwide, though W.H.O. still resists to declare it so, but this is simply because a few years ago, stock market bonds called “pandemic bonds” were launched, and to call it a pandemic would cause financial damages to the miserable who devised them and in them invested, read the Washington Post report ) is something that – to paraphrase Jack London’s China apocalypse short story- is a spooky reminder of his “The Unparalleled Invasion” (1910: read it, please). What is happening in Italy has all the Italian archetypical marks all over it. The great scientists, researchers, specialists, medical crews, and all the amazing self denial of over thirty years of pillaging the Public Health System.

My father was a children’s doctor. PhD in Surgery and Physician, specialized in Pediatrics. Since I was a little kid he feared a lot the privatizing of Public Health.  He often reminded us that our Public Health System, as perfectible as it was, really provided us and cared for us. It still does, of course, but circumnstances

dramatically changed. The truth is that, yes, the private sector can offer some great services, but because humans of poor spirit and minds prefer money over their community well being, this hs drawn the worst ones in all the different sections of the public political system and Health, being the biggest Expenditure of the Italian State, offered their oyster to plunder. So this brought to the divestiture of many public hospitals, or the building of new – but smaller, with lesser “beds” and emergency and intensive care units – ones, in order to favour public money, for example in my region, Lombardia, of the Private sector. Then you have the sector in the middle ground, that is, the one operating with the public health system. 

Why I write this? So that you know that the huge emergency happening now is not just my perception. I am getting messages from friends working in the front line since early February telling me COVID-19 would become totally unsustainable, but the brave ones who dared to speak, up until a week ago, were silenced by ALL the major media, rather prone to the powers, rather listening to the official voices from such hospitals, that is, their directors, who are ALL beneficiary of their seats thanks to their political party (in Lombardia and Veneto the Lega – the opposite of my views and ideas). What does this mean? It means that if someone, as of today, needs the intensive care unit, or the infective care unit, THERE ARE NO BEDS. Most female and male nurses, and of course doctors, are undergoing the same life that soliders underwent in the W.W. I trenches. They see people die, they CHOOSE who dies, and who lives, according to “life expectancy”. This totally inhuman practice – we are not the USA, where if you have an insurance and a credit card you get all the care you need, otherwise, more or less, go f… yourself (on the damages of muscular individualism and lack of empathy please read this wonderful piece by Meghan O’Rourke on The Atlantic) – denies our Right to Health is inscribed in our beautiful Constitution. In my country, I have the Right to Health. Check out if you too, in yours. 

What I am telling you is this: check out how well and ready is your Health System. And then stay home, do not move. There is evidence that the virus was travelling since the Autumn of 2019. But there is further – and unlistened – evidence that there “variations” (pardon my non scientific term) virus should have been studied and faced more strongly in the past. Read this article by David Quammen (Author of “Spillover” a MUST READ for ALL) in the NY Times. It was written at the end of January, and it reveals how, a basically twin virus – was discovered years ago in China from a great Chinese research team. Quammen, with a language we can all appreciate, wrote seven weeks ago, that is, when no one in Europe was worried, not in the least. But politicians should have been, and I am pretty sure many European scientists probably alerted their respective political institution.

This is a time when Europe must finally become Europe. This is the time when the World, mut become the World. The time when we finally learn we can no longer toy or plunder our Mother Earth thinking we are the masters of the universe. Think about this the next time you vote: is the candidate I want to support up to this, or he/she is not?

Sorry for the long letter, I am now going back to listen to today’s dispatches from the front from a few friends who, every single day, try to save lives perfectly aware that the situation is on the brink of a catastrophe, as many scientists are telling us here in Italy. Be ready, in a couple of weeks, this will be the same all over Europe. Don’t wait instructions: stay safe, stay home, the sooner you isolate yourself, the sooner everything will return – well, not as before, but we came out WW II, we will overcome this, too. After that, we need to completely rethink our way of lives and our relationship to Mother Earth.

Davide Sapienza