The Financial Express

Book Review

'Corona war and conspiracy theories'

'Corona  war and  conspiracy  theories'

Journalist, writer and publisher Mahbub Alom in his book, 'Corona Juddho O Shorojontro Totto' has sought to trace the origin of the deadly virus and at the same time made an effort to present the causes that prompted wars of words and controversies on the issue with available facts.
At the same time he tries to alert the peace-loving people about the possible consequences of the raging debates and controversies.
He sounded the caution when the world's number one superpower, the United States and the rising power China were embroiled in the war of words.
Showing due respect to scientists, the author said that the scientists should be given the opportunity to prove whether or not the virus came from nature or was produced in laboratories.
He wrote that Donald Trump brought allegations against China one after another on the corona issue based on baseless theories of Goebles to discredit China and some of the US allies repeated the allegations.
He said that the scientists alone could find out the truth.
He said that it was essential to find out the truth about the origin of the virus for tackling it and save mankind from the pandemic.
In the preface, he gave a brief account of deadly pandemics, that afflicted mankind in the past.
He drew a picture of the deadly coronavirus ending the lives of millions of people across the world.
He also gave a pen picture of bubonik plague also known as black death which killed millions of Europeans in the Middle age, Russian flu, Spanish flu, Asian flu, plague, cholera, ebola, sars, nipavirus, HIV and AIDS.
He didn't forget to mention that of these the people of this country were better acquainted with the deadly cholera that in the past depopulated village after village.
Nowadays, he recalls, no one knows that even close relatives used to abandon near ones and leave their ancestral villages at the mere hit of cholera breaking out.
The book is split into nine other chapters, Blame Game, Shorojontro Totto (Conspiracy Theories), Corona Utsho Nie Bitorko (Controversies Over the Origins of Corona), Vaccine Nie Rajnoitik Bitorko (Political Controversies over Vaccines), Shobaike Pichoney Fele Russiar Chomok (Russian Breakthrough Leaves All Behind), Bazar e Asahr Agei Bazar dokhol er Cheshta (Competition to Capture Markets Even Before Vaccines Reach Markets), China, US and UK Approve Vaccines, Soberana-Abdala Vaccine O Ashar Alo (Cuba's Soberana-Abdala Vaccine Brings Ray of Hope) and Coronay Akranto O Mrittur Boisshik Chitro (Corona Infection and the Global Picture of Deaths).
The writer recalls how Russia became the first country to make a vaccine to tackle corona.
On August 11, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin, surprised the world by announcing that his country had made a vaccine and also that his daughter Maria received it.
He also recalls that immediately the US raised questions about the Russian vaccine's efficacy.
The US had by then invested $200 billion on developing a vaccine to tackle the pandemic.
The author recalls that all this prompted the North Town University professor of Global Health Lawrence Gostin to say, 'I never saw such a haste in search of vaccines for treatment.'
North Town University is in the US.
Professor Gostin also said that Covid-19 vaccines assumed political dimensions.
He said four countries -- China, the US, the UK and Russia -- got embroiled in the vaccine politics.
He drew a picture of vaccination in Bangladesh and how the country became involved in the politics of vaccines.
He does not forget to mention the role of the World Health Organisation to make people in the third world more aware and interested about the need to get vaccinated.
He thinks that China and Russia should come out with more information about their vaccines.
The same advice is applicable about the vaccines developed in the Western countries.
He said that neither Pfizer-Biontech nor Moderna provided any information about their vaccines even to the researchers, though by early December all the vaccines of Moderna and 96 per cent of the vaccines of Pfizer-Biontech had been sold.
He finishes the chapter eight on 'Vaccines approval by China, the US and the UK,' by adding a translated article to it. It was published by The New York Times on April 5, under the caption: It's time to keep trust in vaccines made by Chins and Russia.
He says that the NYT article was translated and published by Prothom Alo on April 10.
The article says that some of the poor countries were worried about whether or not they would get the vaccine when the rich countries are concerned about vaccine shortage.'
Mahbub has authored 13 books, including Corona mohamari o naya cold war, Prashad Hatyakando o Nepaler Rajniti, Nepal: Rajtontro theke projatontro, Coronakaler Shamprodaikota o Rajnoitik Biddhes.
In Corona Mohamari o Naya Cold War, he wrote quoting a BBC report that coronavirus was first detected by Scottish scientist Dr June Almeida in 1964.
But no further research followed to develop medicines as the US had cut its spending on health.
Corona Juddho O Shorojontro Totto was published by Anarjo Publications Ltd on October 13, 2021.
The writer is very upbeat about the book.
He also said that his latest book on Afghan history up to the country under Taleban rule was selling like a hot cake at the Ekushey Book Fair.
The writer dedicated the book to Comrade Haider Akbar Khan Rono, 'A profile of courage and clean face of Bangladesh politics.'
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