It’s hard to describe the European Union Covid-19 vaccines fiasco better than James McAuley did it in his most recent column on The Washington Post: “Imagine being in the middle of the greatest public health crisis in a century,” he writes, “and finally, thanks to the ingenuity of science, you get the tools to end that crisis — but, out of nowhere, you decide you won’t use them.
Welcome to the European Union, where political leaders dwell in mansions of bureaucratic incompetence and political arrogance as a third wave of covid-19 cases threatens the continent and new variants emerge.” Later in the column, McAuley asks what it will take “before the E.U. vaccinates its citizens as if their lives were on the line?”
McAuley offers many reasons that could result in such a fiasco, but I think the truth is plain and simple: It is a struggle led by nothing more than big egos that care for nothing but their own prestige. When has there been union in the European Union? Never! From its very beginning, there have been nothing but power struggles, exploitation, and abandonment of member states in need. (Remember Greece in the 2008 Financial Crisis or Italy in the first wave of the pandemic?) When these come alongside lofty statements that “Building a fair and well-functioning society is a political priority for the European Union,” to quote the EU Science Hub, or a page that the EU titled “European solidarity in action,” to document (the few) examples of solidarity in Europe in facing the Covid-19 crisis, one can’t help but feel deep mistrust in the sincerity of the leaders of the EU.
“I’ve said it so many times before: An organization that is founded on egoism cannot last, and the longer it does last, the more the people under its influence suffer until they break it up. All that the EU bureaucrats manage to do, and in this they excel, is make the rich and powerful people on top, even richer and more powerful.”
I’ve said it so many times before: An organization that is founded on egoism cannot last, and the longer it does last, the more the people under its influence suffer until they break it up. All that the EU bureaucrats manage to do, and in this they excel, is make the rich and powerful people on top, even richer and more powerful.
“They shall sow the wind, and they shall harvest a storm,” said Prophet Hosea (8:7). Indeed, the spirit of alienation and exploitation that has pervaded the EU from its onset killed every chance of solidarity and is now costing the lives of thousands of Europeans every day while all of the developed countries are already emerging from the pandemic. When you do not nurture solidarity, you cannot expect to have it at a time of need.
Covid-19 is just the first and mildest blow; many more are en route. The first blow has claimed millions of lives. The looming blows will claim many more. As long as we make egoism our king, life will punish us, and the ego will not let us recover. Blow after blow, humanity will collapse under the pain until we all realize that our real enemy is not nature, which inflicts such blows as Covid, but our own egos, which do not let us overcome them easily and quickly.
In fact, if for each blow we would bolster our unity, we would achieve such union in human society that we would secure a good life for every person on the planet. We are already capable of it, but we have no desire for it since no one gets the credit, and without a trophy for the ego, there is no motivation to exert for it. At the same time, there is strong motivation to prevent anyone else from helping humanity so that no one else will get the credit.
Until we learn to forge true solidarity, we will not have a good life on this planet. Be it a fourth wave of Covid, extreme weather of unprecedented intensity, or some other ploy that nature might pull, we will be forced into greater and greater discomfort and pain until we surrender and dethrone our egos.