Martyrs for the cause?

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Just as was starting to write this column, I heard a CNN report stating that Africa has been found to have the lowest number of coronavirus infections, per capita, than any other country in the world. How come? Could it be the temperature there that is too hot for the virus to survive? Or have the people, being dark-skinned, a natural immunity to this pandemic? I am sure scientist will now be struggling to discover why this is so. Maybe that is also the reason why people in colder countries are more susceptible to it?

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Just the same, I think all of us in this world should be praying, not only to be spared from it viciousness, but also for the discovery of a cure, as well as vaccine against it. In the few months that it has been raging, millions must already have succumbed to it worldwide. A new term that has come out lately calls this search for a vaccine a “human challenge” which is being responded to by many, who have volunteered to be tested with any of the vaccine being produced in various countries.

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Should we call them “martyrs”, the ones who willingly offer themselves to be the “guinea pigs” for these vaccines? They are truly admirable people who would gamble their lives just to help science find a deterrent or cure for the COVID 19. We know that various countries have their scientists and laboratories struggling to find something that could stop the progression of this virus, with the death toll it has already marked up worldwide. And if those volunteering react negatively and succumbed to them, surely we should call them martyrs for our collective cause.

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It is quite understandable why Filipinos are interested in the results of the coming election in the United States. Not only do we have close ties with that country, having been under its governance for several years until they set us free to make our own mistakes, as some cynical Pinoys like to say – but we also have thousands, maybe even millions of our fellow Pinoys now living there, or working there, and in many cases, have already adopted American citizenship. This time, I am interested to know how those “Americanized” Pinoys will vote in November.

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Why is it that their incumbent president, Donald Trump, who seems to be swaggering that he is a sure winner, also keeps saying that he will only lose if the election is “rigged”? As President, doesn’t he have the upper hand as far as the protection of the ballots is concerned? His opponent is not even an incumbent official, but only a former vice president. Surely he has the bigger advantage with the resources of office behind him, while Joe Biden can only count on his party and his record as former vice president. How come he has managed to make Trump insecure?

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Already Trump is claiming that fraud will take place, but isn’t that preposterous when he has the majesty of the state behind him? Even the Federal Bureau of Investigation has assured that it has no evidence of any fraud in this election, and even his fellow Republicans are now trying to downplay his fears. No wonder he was reportedly booed when he went to the Supreme Court. No wonder, too, that research has shown that democracy in the United States is declining. If true, that would be a great pity because others used to look at it as the icon of democracy.

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But I was glad to catch the game between the Lakers and the Denver Nuggets live on TV yesterday and it really made my day, being a faithful Laker fan all these years. Ah, but I missed Kobe Bryant when I realized that he is no longer around after that tragic helicopter crash where he and his young daughter Gianna were killed, It was an exciting game because the Nuggets gave as much as they got, but finally, it was the Lakers who made it. This time, it was Lebron James who was the kingpin, but I kept imagining Kobe still among them. He was a real friend of Pinoys, did you know that he had visited the Philippines seven times? But the Lakers still won, keeping its record as the team with the most victories.

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Why has Africa recorded less cases of COVID per capita than other countries? An official from that country was on TV and was trying to explain how that happened. I may have misinterpreted it, but the explanation sounded as if, the numbers were low because the counting was not accurate! Does that mean that other countries may have purposely hiked their numbers to avail of more aid and attention? That’s a malicious idea, so let us disabuse our minds of it, and continue to pray that our Heavenly Father will soon take pity on us, and drive this virus away, never to return, or replaced. AMEN.*

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