To China, With Love

“Free Hugs,” by Serve the City Geneva

I am so sorry for your losses. I am even more sorry that people are saying unkind and racist things about your country and about Chinese people throughout the world, just because your country was unfortunate enough to experience first what we are all experiencing now. Even as some people blame you for this pandemic, you are mobilizing your country’s resources to help the world respond to something that is no one’s fault.

I am grateful to your government for sharing information with the rest of the world that can help us all through this, and for the way you swiftly mobilized all resources available to contain and respond the this health crisis, without. I am grateful to your health care workers for being on the front lines of designing a response to COVID19. I am grateful that you were able to do all this even without knowing what we now know about this virus. I am grateful to your scientists for working so hard to find out as much as we can about this coronavirus and how to survive and defeat it.

You may not have done everything perfectly. Perhaps you were slow to admit to yourselves and the world that we are facing a pandemic. But some people in our leadership have been every bit as much in denial and slow to take appropriate action, just as some people in our citizenry have willfully ignored advice to slow this virus.

You have already faced the worst of this, because you faced it first and alone. We are lucky to be following behind you, benefitting from your wisdom, learning from your mistakes. You shouldered the steepest learning curve bravely and with fortitude. Thank you.

I am sorry that when you were fighting this disease, we were not fighting alongside you. We were not sending whatever resources we could to help. We stood by and watched in fear and overconfidence.

We look to you even now, to learn how this disease will transform our families, our societies and our world. We look to you for the hope of recovery. And to all of you who have suffered and lost loved ones, I know I speak with the voice of many Americans when I offer you our deepest condolences.

I am so sorry for your losses.