24.03.2020 – Virus News

Dear Friends:

Due to the pandemic all our concerts and public appearances have been canceled. This includes the US tour we planned in April as well as concerts in Switzerland. Plans for visits to England, Ireland and Italy are on hold. We can’t predict when the epidemic will end or when it will be possible to resume live concerts and other public gatherings. Nevertheless, we know it will end and we plan to be ready when it does.

It is our hope that humanity will learn some important lessons from this episode and that the experience strengthens our resolve to fight for a world free of war, poverty and oppression. Among the most important lessons is an obvious one: health care is a human right, public health must be expanded and improved, and the entire exploitative apparatus of private health insurance and pharmaceutical companies should be abolished. If we can expect any good to arise from this crisis that should be one.

Another lesson is that this epidemic is not an isolated incident but embedded within the wider environmental emergency our planet has been facing for decades now. Since 1988 when Dr. James Hansen presented irrefutable evidence of global warming before the US Congress, we’ve witnessed governments and corporations evading and avoiding, obstructing and sabotaging, every reasonable proposal to end fossil fuel use and convert to clean energy production. Now, suddenly, these same governments and corporations are forced to act by a medical emergency. The connection is obvious to all: the health of humanity depends on concerted action, not only to overcome this pandemic, but to end fossil fuel use-immediately. There can be no more excuses and delaying tactics. Convert to renewable energy now.

A final lesson we might learn is that international cooperation, such as Cuba sending doctors to Italy, or the EU sending medical supplies to Iran, should not end with the retreat of the virus. On the contrary, if it is possible to work together to overcome a medical emergency it is possible to overcome a political one as well. This means identifying the “pathogen” of militarism and targeting its source, most notably the United States and NATO. Along with our physical resistance to the coronavirus, we need popular resistance to war. It is our hope that this lesson is not lost, especially as governments are even now trying to assign blame for their own incompetence. Such belligerence is counterproductive and should be met with a demand for a cessation of hostilities, sanctions, military budgets and arms trading. At the very least, the total ban of nuclear weapons should be as realistic as overcoming the coronavirus. To whom is peace a threat?

Mat and Yvonne

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