Schiller Institute Conference on Pandemic: Only Multi-Nation Action for World Health System Will SucceedBy Mike Billington
The Schiller Institute sponsored a conference today to address the extreme health emergency facing the world as a whole. The pandemic is out of control in many parts of the world, while mass starvation of millions is now before the world’s conscience in Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, Syria and more. Titled: “Omicron: The Urgent Need for a World Health System,” the conference featured presentations on the situation and what actions are required, followed by intense discussion. Participants included Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, along with two other American physicians and a Canadian doctor, an Italian labor union leader, two representatives of The LaRouche Organization, and the moderator, Dennis Speed of the Schiller Institute.
The conference opened, appropriately, with an exerpt from a report written by Lyndon LaRouche in 2001 titled “National Program Against Germ Warfare,” issued during the anthrax terrorism after the 9/11 attack, in which he located national biological defense as a matter of public sanitation, including access for all to clean water, adequate energy, and transportation, in addition to the required number of hospitals and medical professionals, emphasizing especially those facilities and staff which “serve those sections of the population which are relatively indigent, and are therefore the most likely radiators of infectious diseases.” He said that it is “public sanitation which remains the first line of defense of the population against normal epidemic disease, and also biological warfare attacks.” He called for a “crash program” to “restore those medical and infrastructural defenses that were taken down, piece by piece, during the approximately quarter-century since the enactment of the original HMO legislation,” referring to the beginning of the “privatization” of health care in the early 1970s. “If we do not do that,” he continued, “whatever might happen to you and your family as a result of a biological warfare attack should be considered now as virtually a ‘done deal.’”
No one hearing those words from 20 years ago can fail to have a sense of dread, that LaRouche’s warning, having been ignored by the institutions of power over these past two decades, has now wrought a horrible result for mankind as a whole. In the U.S., where over 250 hospitals have been taken down over the past three years as “unprofitable” by the Wall Street insurance companies which now run our healthcare system, nearly 800,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19. By comparison, China, with three times the population, has constructed over 1,000 hospitals over the same time period, applied full public health measures immediately upon any outbreak, and as a result, has had fewer than 5,000 people die of the virus. This is one death in China for every 160 in the United States. Moreover, a disproportionate number of those deaths in the U.S. fell on the poor, especially the racial minorities, due to their average lower standard of nutrition and health care.
This set the stage for a troubled but intense discussion of the crisis, with an emphasis on the now-proven fact that the failure to address the horrendous conditions of poverty and healthcare in the poorest countries has led—as Helga Zepp-LaRouche warned of, at the very beginning of the pandemic—to new variants developing in the those areas where the immune systems are most compromised, then coming back to haunt the wealthy nations which have hoarded the vaccines and otherwise ignored the desperate need for modern health systems in every country. Thus came delta, and now omicron.
Zepp-LaRouche reviewed the out-of-control fourth and fifth waves of COVID-19 sweeping through Europe today, with triage now taking place in the understaffed and overcrowded hospitals in several of the richest nations on Earth. She reiterated the call of the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, which she co-founded with Dr. Joycelyn Elders in June 2020, for the world to unite in cooperation to build a modern health system in every country, and proposed starting in Afghanistan, where over 24 million people are facing immediate death this winter by freezing, starvation, COVID-19 and a near total lack of medical facilities. All the while, the United States maintains sanctions, and withholds Afghan assets under the hypocritical and genocidal charge that there are “human rights” abuses under the new government!
Zepp-LaRouche motivated her naming of her effort as “Operation Ibn Sina,” after the 11th- century philosopher, poet and medical genius, who is a native son of the greater Afghanistan region. Above all, she said, the center of this global effort must be the image of man as unique and sacred in the universe.
Dr. Elders reviewed the open letter which she has sent out to virologists and other medical professionals worldwide to launch an educational campaign, to inform citizens everywhere of the basic truths of the pandemic, noting that the failure of governments to do so has caused vast confusion and vulnerability to frightening conspiracy theories and fear of vaccines.
Dr. Walter Faggett, former Chief Medical Officer of the District of Columbia Department of Health, who is a leader of the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, described the success of the Committee in recruiting young people in the minority wards of D.C. to become public health volunteers, getting training at Howard University where he also teaches. The task of the youth was to bring the truth about the virus and the benefit of vaccines to the Black population, where there is a legacy of distrust in medical institutions dating back to the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” and other racist studies. He said that since February, when the project started, the vaccination rate in those wards increased from 4% to 40% (still too low, he noted), and that the rate of new cases and COVID-19 deaths in the Washington, D.C. region is now one of the lowest in the country.
Dr. Randall W. Maxey, a nephrologist, former president of the National Medical Association and founder of the Black Health Trust, presented his study of the far higher number of serious COVID-19 cases and deaths among those with higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and obesity—which, not surprisingly, correspond to the regions of large Black and Latino populations, what he called the “tragic smile” along the coasts and along the far Southern border of the U.S. He blamed racism for the rich countries hoarding vaccines from the nations of Africa, where he has had extensive experience. He described new innovative means he has developed for reaching large numbers of people virtually and identifying those with certain especially chronic diseases.
Dr. Richard Denton, the North American Co-President of the International Physicians Against Nuclear War, described the work of his organization and the Rotary Clubs in overcoming fear of polio vaccines in nations of Africa and Central Asia, noting that the number of polio deaths was reduced to two this year (in Afghanistan and Pakistan). He described his work with the Taliban in Afghanistan in creating conditions for the vaccination of many Afghan citizens,
Marcia Merry Baker from The LaRouche Organization and the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, addressed the global food crisis, stating emphatically that there is not enough food being produced, while farmers are under attack internationally, with farmers out on the streets protesting in large numbers, in India, Germany and elsewhere. She called for cooperation among farmers, workers and others to address the global famine now threatening over 40 million people with death by starvation.
Alessia Ruggeri, the Chairwoman of an association of small and medium enterprises and a trade union leader in Sicily, Italy, presented her strong support for Operation Ibn Sina, noting that the Taliban has announced assurances for women’s rights, including the right to choose a husband and for widows to have equal rights to an estate. She later offered her full support for Marcia Baker’s call for an alliance of productive forces to achieve the required paradigm shift. She noted that there is much talk of ecological issues which ignore the needs and interests of labor and farmers, and called for international unity for industrial and agricultural production.
The LaRouche Organization’s Jason Ross pointed to the fact underlying all the presentations: the massive and increasing poverty in the world as the primary cause of the health crisis and the threatening famine. China has demonstrated that poverty can be eliminated through infrastructure development, while the Belt and Road Initiative is the model for bringing such development to all nations. The Green Financiers who claim human beings are the problem must be crushed if we are to bring modern health systems, including the necessary clean water, electricity and connectivity, to every nation.
In closing, Helga Zepp-LaRouche said that she had mixed feelings—both hopeful and worried. The combination of the global economic crisis, with old and new diseases emerging, the worsening hyperinflation, the danger of global wars between the US and Russia and/or China, threaten a New Dark Age for mankind. On the optimistic side, the dangers are bringing doctors and others together globally, recognizing that only through global cooperation can the crisis lead to a new paradigm for mankind.