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Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Genocide as the Foremost Threat to Humanity in the 21st Century
Kung Chan

When it comes to genocide, "war" would more often than not be mentioned.

Massacres committed during times of war can surely be classified as genocide, but if "genocide" is defined as "vast annihilation," then circumstances other than war, even inexplicable ones, are quite likely to contribute to genocide. From this century ahead, genocide will undoubtedly be one of the most serious threats facing mankind.

We can look at this possibility in terms of the threat posed to the world by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the world wages war against the novel coronavirus, the Pacific island country of Kiribati appeared to be a safe place for the past two years. Since the global outbreak of COVID-19, this country with a population of 120,000 had only two confirmed positive cases in total, both found in a returning ship. Of course, the geographical location of the island country is conducive to isolation, therefore since March 2020, Kiribati has locked its doors to the outside world and cancelled all international routes.

It seems the Kiribati lockdown is a foolproof strategy, but nothing is further from the truth.

On January 19, 2022, the Kiribati government announced that the first resumed international flight after a two-year hiatus has brought in 36 passengers who tested positive. The flight, which took off from Fiji last Friday, had only 54 passengers in total. The Kiribati government said all passengers were quarantined prior to their flight and were tested three times during this period, and all passengers were vaccinated. However, the end result was still the same, and it also caused the infection of a security guard at the Kiribati isolation center. With no other alternative, the Kiribati government had to decide to immediately implement a curfew in some areas, because in the face of the virus, an "unspoiled" and "pure" Kiribati is more likely to see major outbreaks.

The situation in Kiribati raises a question that our world must answer: how much are we willing to pay to remain "pure"?

Viruses are ubiquitous, and like it or not, humans have always been coexisting with them in the past, and it will be so in the future. The question then becomes whether humans are willing to pay a price close to mass suicide to remain "pure". Another concern is whether, after the virus infects an imagined "clean" environment, will a high percentage of people in that ecosystem perish? Judging from the virus's airborne state, there appears to be no spot on the planet that can be considered permanently "intact."

Since total "purity" cannot be attained, human beings, or more precisely, certain human beings, may confront a potential "genocide" for a variety of causes at different times in history. Unfortunately, the virus is most likely only one element contributing to such "genocide."

There is a limit to the environmental population capacity. When the conflicts between humans and nature, and between humans themselves reach the limit, "genocide" will be something that we will see more frequently in the news. Let us hope that at that time, the speed of human rational growth can exceed the speed of nature's retaliation.

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