I have read the bloggers who say that the silver lining in COVID-19 is that we are realizing that we are all part of one family. Sure, we are a human family, and some are the rich relations. And the richer relatives probably rarely speak of, much less to, the homeless cousins in Los Angeles, in the banlieus of Paris, the brown ones, Asians and Latinos. If you are one of the few Asian super rich, you are reminded of the miserable existence of your outcast relations when you look down from your penthouse.

Writing from my home at the edge of the world, in one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, I understand. It makes you uncomfortable. He or she might ask you for money. With exceptions, nations are not so different.

Much too late into the COVID-19 pandemic the US Administration and Congress finally mobilized trillions of dollars to address the extreme social upheaval and economic meltdown. And sadly, there was not one word about sharing some of that staggering amount with its humbler neighbors and others across the globe. Instead, the current US administration has proposed massive cuts in Overseas Development Aid and frozen vital funds to the United Nations and the very institution – the World Health Organization – most of us are dependent on to help contain the pandemic. This mobilization of money was all about America first and America last.

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