Volume I No.3
WORLD, REGION & NATION
Published 01 December 2020
It was a historic moment not only for the United Kingdom in which it took place, and not only for the Western world but also for all of humankind struggling against the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The family of humankind
A 90-year-old woman from Northern Ireland, Margaret Keenan, became the world’s first recipient of a Covid-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials. This marked the first step toward humankind achieving herd immunity from the virus that has already killed around 1,596,000 human beings. The nurse who administered the vaccine, May Parsons, is a Southeast Asian, a Filipino who has been working with the UK National Health Service for 24 years. There are some 20,000 Filipinos working within the UK health system.
The meaning of that moment cannot be overstated, especially in the context of kinship of all humankind. And in light of the sacrifices of the countless frontline health workers fighting the pandemic, including the supreme sacrifice of giving their lives to save the lives of others.
Once again, this is your Briefer, Jamil Maidan Flores, observing the World, Region and Nation from a Jakarta vantage and striving to make sense of what I observe with the help of Pinter Politik contributors.
A dangerous moment in America
Meanwhile in the United States, the Supreme Court has just thrown out a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of Texas that sought to invalidate the election victory of Democrat Joe Biden in four battleground states—Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia—by questioning their respective state electoral procedures. The Supreme Court Justices, most of them appointed by Republican presidents, three of them by President Trump himself, unanimously refused to grant relief to the complainant, and seven of them ruled that in the first place Texas had no legal business disputing the way other states hold general elections.
Every American legal expert who has any reputation quickly denounced the lawsuit as brazen and farcical. That does not mean Trump and allies will stop trying to upend the results of an election that he had already obviously lost, using similarly brazen and farcical tactics. Nor will the millions who have made a cult of Trumpism cease claiming that the election was stolen, with many of them ready to resort to violence to redress that grievance.
This is therefore a dangerous moment for a deeply divided America. The democrats have proffered themselves as the champions of underdog populations: the Blacks, the Latinos, the Native Americans and other minorities as well as women and LGBTQs. On the other hand the Republicans have taken the role of advocates of the white working people, the white middle class, the white people without college education. Thus the Democrats and Republicans have divided America between themselves.
There are grievances on both sides, fueled by the demagoguery of politicians and “alternative truths” being peddled not only on social media but also in some mainstream media. This is a recipe for social decay if not outright disintegration.
Why should we in Southeast Asia be so concerned at what’s going on in the United States? Because the issues that are tearing American society apart, especially the issues of inequality and identity, are also at work in our part of the world. No country is entirely safe from populist firebrands. There must be many lessons we can learn from the American experience.
Update 29 November 2020
Today the deadly march of the Coronavirus continues all over the world, in the ASEAN region, and in Indonesia. With this we bring you the latest data gathered from:
The Global Situation
The total number of confirmed cases, as of 29 November 2020 stood at 62,712,622 cases. Deaths numbered 1,460,792 at a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 2.3 percent. Covered in this report are 219 infected countries and 178 Local Transmission Countries. The total new cases for today is 157,468 and the total new deaths around the globe reached 3,245. Taken from: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
The ASEAN Talley
As of 29 November 2020, the total number of confirmed cases in the ASEAN region stood at 10,688,202. The aggregate total of deaths was 162,778 for a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 1,5 percent. The data on a country-by-country basis are as follows:
Taken from: https://covid19.kemkes.go.id/
The Indonesian Total
Indonesia saw 6,267 new cases and 169 deaths on November 29, bringing the total to 534,266 cases and 16,815 deaths, a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 3.1 percent. These numbers cover 505 affected Districts-Cities. For more detailed statistics, click here.