Facing the Iranian corona!

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It was heart-breaking to watch the Holy Haram in Makkah empty, on the 24hrs Qumran channel. I felt the same visiting the Prophet Mosque in Al-Madinah just a day after the closure of the tomb area, and the old part of the haram.

Still, my wife, mother-in-law and me, were very assured as we witnessed first-hand the strict and extensive systems put in place in both holy cities. We felt safer as we went through checkpoints and areas being sanitized by professional cleaners, and followed meticulous procedures that govern every action, including drinking Zamzam water and touching holy shrines.

In my college, too, we faithfully apply all health recommendations, to the letter. Our students are given detailed advices on how to keep themselves and their families safe.

Travel, events, and movement have never been so restricted in my lifetime. Still, I obediently, as my family, friends and colleagues, decided to take all Interior, Foreign and Health Ministry advisories seriously, gladly and without hesitation.

We thank them as well for the transparency and daily updates on the situation in and outside the country — especially in immediate neighboring states.

We, Saudis, do appreciate every measure the government has taken, no matter how inconvenient. And we do expect other nations and nationalities affected by decisions taken to guarantee our safety to appreciate it as much. Thankfully, most do — except the usual trouble-makers, Iran, Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood, of course!

Iran is quickly becoming the main source of the epidemic, surpassing the origin, China. The reason is about how seriously and efficiently they are dealing with the disaster.

Unlike previous natural disasters, such as earthquakes and flooding, this issue cannot tolerate the slow, disorganized and weak responses, the government used to get away with.

Victims this time around, are victimizing others, as well. So burying the dead, ignoring the survivors, and sweeping protesters into jails, won't work. Utilizing the clergy to blame it on divine testing, and relaying on myths to explain it away, and prayers to resolve it, won't do either.

In fact, it makes it worse, because the faithful will keep congregating in worst-hit holy shrines and cities, Qom and Mashhad, and returning back to their countries to spread the disease all over the country and abroad.

Instead of seeking medical help, they rely on myths and religious fatwas, such as hitting the chest and face in moaning for Al-Hussein, or licking holy tombs and eating its dirt!

Some Iranian and Iraqi writers have been complaining about my Twitter tweets regarding the Iranian behavior and responses to the problem. They accused me of being sectarian.

I asked the Iranian if he is willing to host the Saudi pilgrims and visitors who secretly traveled to Iran disobeying their government with Iran help and cover, for just one hour in his home, to meet with his family and show Iranian hospitality.

I asked the Iraqi whether he is willing to get tomb-licking and dirt-eating treatment for immunity, instead of World Health Organization (WHO) measures. The first said no. The second insisted that holy miracles are scientifically proven facts, but avoided answering the question whether he would rely on them.

Again, and again, Iran is proving to the world that it is a rogue state that won't change its dangerous and endangering course. It comes as no surprise to me, because its Constitution states clearly that the Islamic Republic strives to save the Muslim world, by exporting Iranian brand of revolution.

Today, we are facing another sort of terrorism. It is like it wasn't enough that they sponsored Daesh, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Al-Houthi and Alhashad Alshabi, plus other Afghani, Pakistani, Somali and Nigerian militias, to name a few, now they have turned to using their own followers to carry suicidal missions into neighboring Arab countries.

Carriers of the disease are being found every day in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Emirates. Worst, they hid their illness and covered their tracks by going though other countries on the way home, and denying that they came from Iran.

Now, Iran is not cooperating in giving the lists of those visitors, so their home-countries can take care of them. They were just happy enough to send them back with their virus.

How can you deal with such regime that doesn't respect human lives, even its own? How can you face a state that sent its Arab, Afghani and Pakistani sect followers to die and kill in their home nations?

How could you argue with officials who lie to your face, denying what cannot be denied, and cover what everyone can see?

In a televised press conference, the deputy health minister was announcing his country was safe and sound while he was sweating and coughing. Hours later, it was announced that he was affected with the virus, then it was revealed that he had died.

The same story was repeated like in the shooting of Ukrainian airliner and the terrorist attacks on Aramco facilities and Arabian Gulf and Red Sea shipping lanes, denial is the first reaction, then may come admission, if caught red-handed.

It is about time, the international community dealt with the source of troubles, and the mothership of terrorism. USA is leading the way, the rest of the world, especially appeasing Europe and allied Russia, must follow.

Corona has just served the last, but most awakening notice, to the international community — defuse the bomb or suffer the deadly consequences.

— Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at kbatarfi@gmail.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi


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