From Milan to Caracas to Tehran to New York and everywhere else, peace activists around the world are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic in vastly different ways. In the latest episode of the World BEYOND War podcast, we spoke with Jeannie Toschi Marazzani Visconti, who was organizing a global peace gathering in northern Italy at the time coronavirus shut her city down, and with Gabriel Aguirre, who describes how Venezuelans are staying unified while struggling with immoral sanctions.
The conversations recorded here reveal stark differences in the way different governments respond to a life-threatening health crisis. Gabriel Aguirre describes the strong measures and financial relief programs the Venezuelan government is carrying out to allow citizens to safely quarantine, and how effective these measures have been even while external forces handicap his country with sanctions and seizure of bank accounts. Those of us in Milan, Italy and both downstate and upstate New York, on the other hand, are not relying on our badly divided national governments for either crisis management or truthful information.
In an unwanted coda to this episode, we were forced to give up on our hope to host a four-continent roundtable that would include Milad Omidvar, a peace activist ally in Tehran, Iran, because sanctions preventing the use of Zoom for online meetings made it impossible for him to reach our meeting. This manufactured obstacle to open communication around the world during a major pandemic points us once again to what we already know: our own governments are blocking the path to a more peaceful world. We will never stop trying to include to our activist friends in every part of the world in all the programs we do at World BEYOND War.
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Thanks to co-host Greta Zarro, and to Doug Tyler for translation during this episode. Music: “Paths That Cross” by Patti Smith.