from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA – UNITED States President, Donald Trump, and his government have lurched into a fresh xenophobia and racial discrimination controversy for referring to the coronavirus’ (COVID-19’s) emergence from China.
Zambian diplomat, Tendayi Achiume, who is the United Nations’ (UN’s) Special envoy on racism, expressed outrage.
“It’s dismaying to witness state officials—including the President (Donald Trump) of the United States—adopting alternative names for the COVID-19 coronavirus,” she said.
“Instead of using the internationally-recognised name of the virus, these officials have adopted names with geographic references,” Achiume added coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, marked yearly on March 21.
“Such irresponsible, discriminatory state rhetoric is no minor issue,” Achiume said.
She said the calculated use of a geographic-based name for COVID-19 was rooted in and fostered racism and xenophobia.
“In this case, it serves to isolate and stigmatize individuals who are or are perceived to be of Chinese or other East Asian descent,” Achiume said.
Over the past two months, people who are perceived or known to be of Chinese or other East Asian descent have allegedly been subjected to racist and xenophobic attacks related to the virus.
Reported attacks range from hateful slurs and denial of services to brutal acts of violence.
“These consequences have already become a reality,” Achiume lamented.
At the time of publication, COVID-19 had claimed over 16 500 lives from more than 378 740 cases worldwide since it was first confirmed in China at the end of 2019.
America has documented at least 552 deaths from 43 718 cases.
– CAJ News