Red Cross in times of Corona: call to shun perverted attitude towards human life

Louis Pasteur and Sir Alexander Fleming did not go after virus and bacteria to show off their intellectual caliber, but their scientific mind was driven by that core Christian vision charity the foundational principle of the Red Cross.

Red Cross in times of Corona: call to shun perverted attitude towards human life

By Joe Palathunkal

When Henry Dunant founded Red Cross in 1863, he might have never imagined a war situation where the whole world would become a battlefield and the whole humankind would be wounded by a single invisible enemy – Corona or Covid-19. But the motto he chose “Arma Caritas” (In War, Charity) has become more relevant today than in a conventional war and the battlefield littered with the wounded.

The ultimate purpose of this Geneva organization was to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering and the Cross chosen for the emblem is the ultimate expression of human suffering epitomized in the agony of the most human person in history. As it is evident this inhumanity was inflicted through the perverted thinking of man. The Corona pandemic is an invitation to discover whether this global cross is the result of perverted thinking or nature’s fury. But one thing is clear – it is the perverted attitude towards human life that caused this tragedy and further aggravating it. Since the Corona news came to the open in January 2020, the reactions of political leaders around the world was one of dismissive and caustic.

Some said it is just like a common cold and may take away lives of a few thousand and disappear. Obviously they did not think those few thousand human lives were valuable. Others found political showmanship more profitable than preventing the spread of this killer virus. The only political administration that took things seriously appear to be that of the tiny south Indian state of Kerala. Worst is many took it as a chance to mint money out of the tragedy than saving human lives. Where is that objective of the Red Cross – ensuring respect for human life?

With three hundred thousand lives lost, even now no serious effort is seen from the scientific community to invent a vaccine against this deadly virus. Ordinary people are asking, science that invented long distance missiles and sent humans to the moon cannot find a medicine to arrest this tiny virus. That is a valid question. Louis Pasteur and Sir Alexander Fleming did not go after virus and bacteria to show off their intellectual caliber, but their scientific mind was driven by that core Christian vision charity the foundational principle of the Red Cross. Today when greed and profit margins guide the political spectrum of the world, who cares for human lives.

In 1961 Red Cross had altered its original motto of charity because of its Christian hue and changed to Per Humanitatem ad Pacem or "With humanity, towards peace". That itself was a bad sign that something that is good must be changed because of its Christian origin, or for that matter any religion. Anyway, the new version makes it one thing very clear – if we want to move towards lasting peace, we can do that only with humanity, only by being human and humane.

Corona is a challenge to show our humanity, to show that we are really humane, not that greedy machine to mint money. That will be the day the emblem Red Cross will become really meaningful.

(Image/Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia.com, Unsplash.com)

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