March 16, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8638

Saudi Columnist Following Coronavirus Outbreak: Why Do We Expect The World To Solve Our Problems?

March 16, 2020
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 8638

In an article in the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, writer and columnist 'Abdallah bin Bakhit lamented the fact that the Muslim countries, which are suffering no less than other countries from the spread of the coronavirus, are not participating in the efforts to develop a cure or a vaccine for the disease. Moreover, he said, their people do not even wonder why this is or aspire to take part in these efforts. Instead they only spread baseless rumors and conspiracy theories about the virus.

The following are translated excerpts from his article: [1]

‘Abdallah bin Bakhit (Source:

"The coronavirus, like social media, proves that the world has become a small village. Whatever happens in China will [also] happen in India and New Zealand, in the east and in the U.S., and if the authorities [in charge of fighting the virus] will be slow [to respond], we will see the virus reach every village and community in the world, without exception.

"Plagues are nothing new. They are not a conspiracy or a metaphysical illusion. They spread in the world before people knew how to manufacture biological weapons in laboratories, and no period in mankind's history was free of them…

"If you list the countries that have entered the race to fight the virus and finding a vaccine, you will not find a single Muslim country among them. Reading the statements in the press and the media of Islamic countries, and the statements of their doctors about the virus and about the possibility of finding a cure or a vaccine, you feel as though you are reading the sports pages or watching the local sports channels discussing the league games in Europe. That is, people enjoy the games and cheer without having any effect or taking part in the events.

The problem is not only that we fail to ask ourselves why, given that we contract the disease like everyone else, we expect other nations to solve the problem and do not participate in [finding] the solution. [The problem is] that we do not even think of taking part in the solution. We are part of the problem, but not part of finding the solution. Moreover, we have become one of the main sources of creating and spreading delusions regarding this disaster that is afflicting the world. Some [among us] say that the coronavirus is [the result of] a conspiracy, others say that it is [an expression of] anger, and yet others say that it is [a result of] experiments that leaked from some lab. It has come to the point where these delusions are our sole contribution in situations of global crisis.  The same things we now say about the coronavirus we said in the 1980s about AIDS and in the 1990s about the tsunami. We said them about SARS and about swine flu, and have used them to explain every epidemic, catastrophe or war in the history of mankind…"



[1] Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), March 1, 2020.


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