Who can you blame for this pandemic?

Some people always want to blame someone for whatever is wrong in life. Right now, something is very wrong: Coronavirus. At first a lot of people pointed fingers at  the Chinese. Some were nasty – very nasty – to people who looked Chinese, without possibly knowing when, if ever, they had last been to China.  Italians were next. Some people talk of conspiracies by the Chinese or by the Americans or others. Rubbish! This is a worldwide problem. We really are all in this together, like it or not.

Who was blamed for past pandemics?

I wrote recently about the similarities between the current pandemic and the Black Death. I said people looked for scapegoats. They were wrong then and we could be wrong now.

Do you blame the government?

I have heard and read criticism of the government, its advisors and individual members. They did too little, too late. They didn’t do enough testing. They didn’t provide enough protection for NHS workers. They should have closed the schools sooner. Or not. Lockdown is too restrictive, or not enough.

Does hindsight justify blame?

This is a new virus. The word ‘unprecedented’ has been overworked by the media, but it is true. All governments are feeling their way. Things that seem to have worked well in other countries might not have been so effective here. Anyway, we don’t know what’s worked yet. The jury is still out.

Should we blame those who started it?

The pandemic began when the virus jumped from animals to humans in an illegal market in Wuhan. Pangolins sometimes suffer from Covid-19, but they keep it to themselves. They eat ants and don’t bother humans. The species is endangered because people use the scales and other body parts in folk medicines that don’t even work. The animals are treated with great cruelty and very poor hygiene exists in most of those markets. The trade has been illegal for some time. I hope it is stamped out altogether and pangolins are left to bother noone but ants.

Shall we focus our blame on the poachers?

Yes and no! This is Good Friday, when Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus. The Bible says he died for our sins. Forgiveness has been at the centre of the gospel from the start. On the cross, Jesus prayed God would forgive those who were to blame for his suffering. He had already taught his followers to pray ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’. For Christians, blame is not an option. It doesn’t mean people should not be held to account, but it does mean we have to let go in our hearts.

A monk with a bible: offering forgiveness, not blame.

A monk with a bible: offering forgiveness, not blame.

If you’re not a Christian, can’ you blame someone?

It’s most unwise. You hurt yourself more than anyone else. It doesn’t make you happy. In fact, it can make you depressed, if you hang on to anger, hatred and blame. Do yourself a favour: give it up!

But I do hope they stamp out the illegal trade in animal parts.