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29.april og 17.juni 2020- Mohammad Habeeb Syria/Stavanger

29.april og 17.juni 2020- Mohammad Habeeb Syria/Stavanger

Hvordan er det å være på flukt eller i eksil når verden rammes av en pandemi? 11 forfulgte forfattere rapporterer fra sin hverdag i en digital dagbok. Bidrag nummer tre og ti kommer fra Mohammad Habeeb, forfatter, poet, oversetter og aktivist fra Syria, som har skrevet et manus til et skuespill. Mohammad var fribyforfatter i Stavanger fra 2015 til 2017 

Covid 19 at the International Criminal Court 

By: Mohammad Habeeb                                                  

The International Criminal Court Hall. The prosecutor comes in holding a tight sealed small transparent box of glass, inside which one can see a Coronavirus. From the opposite door comes the court IT-man, alongside with a medium-height robot. After a minute, the judge and the jury come in. Each takes his place. The IT-man opens a small hatch in the chest of the robot. The prosecutor puts the box in. The IT man closes the hatch and clicks a button of remote control in his left hand. The robot-Covid 19 walks towards the dock, enters it, stands in the middle of it, and turns to face the judge and the jury.

The Judge:

By the name of humanity, I begin the trial. The judge looks at the robot-Covid 19 standing in the dock, then looks to the right and addresses the prosecutor:

"Is the prosecutor ready?"

The prosecutor:

Yes, sir judge.

The Judge:

Is the defense attorney ready? " He looks at the robot.

The robot does not respond.

The Judge:

He looks at the IT-man and asks: "What is the matter?

The IT-man:

Sir judge, everything is all right. The virus reacts well. It hears and understands, but it keeps silent. There is no reason for its silence. Maybe it takes its time!

Covid 19:

After about three minutes of silence, the robot utters, with its automated voice, while it is looking around as if looking for something: "I was told that no advocate would advocate me. So, I will advocate myself. "

The Judge:

Well, you can do that. However, would you tell us why did it take you three minutes to respond?

The robot:

 I was surfing the World-Wide-Web. I got to know a little bit about your horrible viruses and databases.

The Judge:

He smiles sarcastically; then begins reading a long preamble of the court’s mechanisms and the rights of the indicted. Short pause. ‘Mr. Prosecutor, here you are. The Stage is yours’.

The prosecutor:

Sir. Judge, senior jury, the so-called new Virus Corona, known as Covid 19, which is standing before you in the dock, has committed the most horrible crime against humanity. It and its strain have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people all over the world. Moreover, it refused to plead guilty or to disclose the name of whom manufactured and sent it on this hideous mission. Therefore, I demand maximum penalties on it and all its strain so that we can protect humankind.

The Judge:

Covid 19, you can advocate yourself. Would you first introduce yourself?

Covid 19:

I do not recognize myself. I do not know if I were Covid 19 or another one. I speak a language that I have never used. I don't know how you made me do that. I doubt I am Covid 19. I am in a cyber-world and an environment that is strange to me. I have become a mixture of a natural and a virtual virus. I hear my voice and look around me wondering if that is me or not?

The Judge:

However, you recognize that you are in the cyber-world. You can differentiate between the cyber- environment and the natural environment. Nevertheless, you can not recognize yourself. How come?

Covid 19:

You did that to me. A few hours ago, I had no idea about your scary cyber-world. I did not use to live outside the cells of the hosts. You transformed me into a mixture of speaking-robot and a cyber-virus, then you ask me about my identity.

The Judge:

You speak about our dreadful world as if you were a peaceful creature that had never hurt any. You and your strain have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Moreover, you horrify the inhabitants of the planet. Nevertheless, you dare talking about our dreadful cyber-world.

Covid 19:

Yes, your cyber-world is very scary. I have been surfing it. I saw your history and atrocities, what you did to our Mother-the Nature and how you cut down forests and polluted the atmosphere. I and my strain, compared to you, are simple and peaceful creatures. We have never killed. Killing is your profession.

The Judge:

What about the hundreds of thousands of victims you killed?

Covid 19:

I hope the court will differentiate between death and killing!

The Judge:

Well, I hope you start advocating yourself without this ridiculous philosophy and moral judgments.

Covid 19:

Well, I would like you to realize that viruses, like all other creatures, are the outcome of  Nature. However, we differ from you in that we coexist with others without false morals philosophy or multiple standards. We do not have dictionaries of war, politics, capitalist, or socialist economy.

The Judge:

It is enough that you are an epidemic that reaps every man encounters you. Stick to your defense and save us your sophistry.

Covid 19:

We, viruses, do not reap other creatures. We have never eaten one another's flesh, dead or alive, as you do. We have neither exploited lower viruses nor invested in their life and effort. We are obsessed with adjusting to our environment. Nevertheless, you throw your misdeeds on us and accuse us of committing them. What about global warming and gases emission from your industries and transportation? They shout that the epidemic designation applies to your misdeeds more than ours.

The Judge:

So, what do you name what you and your strain have done?

Covid 19:

We did not commit any crime. We lived with our mother, Nature, according to its norms until you conquered our world and started killing us. We had never hurt any. Even death, which you call 'murdering' and accuse us of it, is not our fault. We care about the life of our hosts because if they die, we die too.

The Judge:

Why did you come here, then?

Covid 19:

We did not come to you. We would have preferred to stay away from you with our mother, Nature, and other creatures.

The Judge

We also wish you were away from us. But you stormed our world and endangered our lives.

Covid 19:

We did not storm your world. You broke into our world. You transformed us into globalized viruses and convey us from one continent to another within a few hours. Furthermore, wherever you take us, you start a war against us. You kill because you are addicted to killing.

The Judge

You are builders of civilizations, are not you?

Covid 19:

I wish you thought a little before you talked. Do you realize how many civilizations you have destroyed so far? If we, viruses, had had your mental efficiency, perhaps we could have developed a way to coexist with you as we coexist peacefully with other creatures such as bats and camels. They hurt us and we don’t hurt them. However, you kill and eat them not because of need but because of greed and business.

The Judge:

Stop this ridiculous speech about coexistence. Did you not read in our database about the epidemics you spread?

Covid 19:

You think you are a unique species. You can not coexist with each other, or with us. You disregard the law of nature, and above all, you think we get you sick. You need no cause to get sick; you are hopeless patients. I have read about your daily horrific crimes. The most significant crime is that most of you die of starvation and many others in various forms of wars. The most terrible of all is that you use us in your filthy wars.

The Judge: "How do we use you?"

Covid 19:

You turned us into weapons.

The Judge:

What?

Covid 19:

Yes, you manipulated our genes in your laboratories.

The Judge:

We do that for medical purposes, for getting vaccines to save ourselves.

Covid 19:

Yes, but later on, you transformed viruses into dirty bioweapons. We are not fluent in this type of thinking or tactics. I understand that our proliferation may cause death, but this differs from ' killing' which you wield against each other.

The Judge:

Stop this rhetorical speech and stick to your defense.

Covid 19:

I defend myself by telling facts, not by rhetorical speech. Throughout history, you have killed each other by using anthrax, plague, mustard gas, sarin, etc. You utilize science to produce mass destruction-weapons. Today, you discover that you have dispelled your immunity by manufacturing and consuming medicines that heal a little but hurt a lot. Still, you keep trading these medicines to multiply your wealth at the expense of each other's life.

The Judge:

Yes, we ought to produce some medicine despite their side-effects. That is the only way to get rid of diseases.

Covid 19:

Dos this include inventing a medicine to cure global warming?

The Judge

We cooperate to solve this problem, which is a side-effect of the process of development.

Covide 19:

Today, you pretend to cooperate to eliminate us. At the same time, you compete who will produce the vaccine first and make a wealth of it. 

The Judge

Of course, we will manufacture a vaccine that can eliminate you before you eliminate us.

Covid 19:

As you did to Native Americans and the Aboriginal Australians and many others?

The Judge:

In the course of history, weaker civilizations would vanish or merge with stronger ones.

Covid 19:

Does this apply to tens of millions of people you killed in your global and local wars? Your arrogance and egoism have turned you into victims of your odious authoritarian tendencies.

The Judge:

Reading our databases does not necessarily mean that you can understand the logic of human history. You are a virus that kills human beings.  

Covid 19:

Maybe I am lucky to be a virus. I admit I can not understand how starvations cause the death of a child every second, and you do not intervene to stop it or find a drug against hunger?

The judge:

laughs sarcastically, ‘Who told you that hunger is a disease that one can treat by medicine?’

Covid 19:

Had it been a disease, you would have feared it as you fear us. You do not fear it as it only reaps the poor.

The Judge:

We care about people's lives, and that is why we fear you and fight you.

Covid:

You fear us more.

The Judge:

That is nonsense. We succeeded in eliminating previous strains like you.

Covid 19:

Today, you fear us more because the threat of previous strains rarely affected you, the elite.

The Judge:

Here we are. So, you admit that you are here on a specific mission, that is, to kill the elite.

Covid 19:

I told you before that you had brought us into your homes and cities. Besides, we do not distinguish between the elite and the ordinary people, the rich and the poor. It is a matter of probabilities, as you say, and this is beyond us. Had we been able to distinguish, we would have chosen the strongest so that we live longer. Therefore, when fate brings us into contact with those of weak immunity, we both die. We become victims of that weak immunity. 

The Judge:

That is what we do. We protect humans and care most about the vulnerable and the elderly.

Covid 19:

Why are you so late?

The Judge

We are not late. But you modify yourselves and become more resistant to drugs.

Covid 19:

It is the basic law of nature. Life is smarter than its Creator. Look at yourselves. Are you not cleverer than your parents were?

The Judge:

You contradict yourself. You have just admitted that we are not late, and above all that we are developing ourselves.

Covid 19:

You are right. You are not late. I used the wrong word. You are tardy.

The Judge:

When it comes to planning the future of humanity and prioritizing, you are incapable of understanding the noble human impulse.

Covid 19:

Is that why you prioritize building more elderly nursing homes than hospitals?

The Judge:

Building elderly nursing homes is a noble humane deed that is beyond parasitic creatures like you.

Covid 19:

You build more elderly nursing homes than hospitals. You have turned them into a profitable business-hotels, where the wealthy elderly spend the rest of their lives away from their families, whom you have turned into human robots working around the day and have no time to take care of them. Meanwhile, the elderly poor die in the streets without enough pension to survive.

The Judge:

Are you going to plan our lives to suit the viruses?

Covid 19:

You have so many wise people to plan and advise. Nevertheless, you don't listen to them. So why should you listen to me, even if I can advise?

The Judge:

Thank God, you are unable. But you are a horrible murderer who accuses us of inaction.

Covid 19:

I do not accuse you. I just read your database.

The judge:

 A little bit angry, ‘We have faced many pandemics and overcame them, and we are going to get rid of you.’

Covid 19:

You think you are. However, after SARS, Ebola, and other pandemics, many scientists recommended protective projects to improve your health care system. You ignored those projects as they were not profitable. Today, you realize that the situation is worse. 

The Judge:

You haven't had the time to read enough information, or perhaps you read selectively. We studied all those recommendations.

Covid 19:

Yes, you studied them, but instead of initiating them, you went further in developing new fatal weapons to use them in your upcoming wars. You used your prisoners as lab rats and forgot that they are human beings, whose guilt was that they broke the laws, or maybe were political dissidents.

The prosecutor:

Sir Judge, I object. The accused is fabricating lies.

The judge:

‘You are right’. Addressing Covid 19: ‘I ask you to stick to your advocating, otherwise...’

Covid 19:

Interrupting the Judge: You do not scare me. I am already a virtual virus. I remind you of the information stored in your database. 

The judge:

Addressing the IT-man: "I ask you to disconnect the virus from the Internet."

The IT-man:

I cannot do this now. If I disconnected it, the robot would not respond to the court.

Covid 19:

That sounds good. Therefore, I can continue my pleading and finish off this trial. Your political leaders brag on cooperating to get rid of us, while they keep developing their enormous arsenals: biological, chemical, nuclear, and conventional mass destruction weapons. These arsenals have killed and will kill more than any natural virus can do. Furthermore, some of your scientists demand to test new vaccines on Africans. I wonder why Africans. Do not you have lab rats?

The Judge:

Brief your arguments, you waste our time with this nonsense.

Covid 19:

You did not surprise me. I have read in your cyber-world that all truths that do not suit the ruling authorities are taken as nonsense or to weaken the nation's spirit.

The Judge:

Your ignorance does not surprise the court. Our golden rule is that knowing the truth does not mean that you are right.

Covid 19:

What about half-truths that you pass to your peoples to distract them, meanwhile hiding the most dangerous truths?

The prosecutor:

Sir Judge, the accused alludes to specific countries. This violates the court rules. The court should not permit that.

Covid 19:

It is you who allude to specific countries. You are doing it intendedly to veil the fact that you hide behind the atrocities of explicit tyrannic regimes meanwhile yours and other countries are smarter in using soft tyranny.

The prosecutor:

Sir Judge, the accused has admitted unintendedly. Eventually, the use of the database could help him no more. His last response verifies that he is a modified virus sent on a horrible mission.

Covid 19:

I would like to repeat that before you planted me in this robot, I was a legitimate outcome of nature. Now I don’t know what my identity is. On the other hand, on behalf of my strain, I say that they would be happy if you care about your health care systems and let them peacefully coexist with other creatures. Anyway, even if we were genetically modified, it is your misdeed and not ours.

The Judge:

We did not hinder you from coexisting. But you endanger our lives.

Covid 19:

You had better improve your immunity to coexist with other creatures without endangering each other or keep away from them. It is better for both of you. We love life as you do. We are dependent creatures who do not want death to any. I know I am almost a piece of old news. I am a dying virtual virus, which is less destructive than the virtual viruses you utilize to destroy each other's databases. And I am less devastating than ISIS, terrorism, and dictatorships that you keep modifying genetically to suit your interests. Those viruses have displaced millions of people from their homes or countries.

The Judge:

If we did stop you, you would kill all of us.

Covid 19:

When you locked your people indoors, they became safe. Had it been a war of yours, they would have never been safe at homes, or even on an escape.

The judge:

People stayed indoors, but you broke into their homes.

Covid 19:

That is not true! We did not break into your homes. Your indifference and disdain about each other’s life spread the infection.

The judge:

All these excuses and accusations will not help you.

Covid 19:

I know. Anyway, I take the chance and say what I am saying because it is the first time in history you give a live broadcast of a trial. I am speaking to you and keep my eyes on the audience. I am not pleading mercy or forgiveness, but I would like the audience to recognize what kind of death my strain and I have caused and what you did and will do if they did not stop you. Finally, I would like to tell you that your court is a farce. Yes, it is a farce. What benefit would humankind get when you prosecute viruses or persons after they have already done their murders against humanity?

The Judge:

It seems that you have another idea. do not you?

Covid 19:

Yes, I do. I think that you are here to polish your misdeeds. You had better prevent murders against humanity rather than prosecuting criminals for what they have committed. You are all Pilate. You sit under the balance of justice and wash your hands off the innocents’ blood after you shed it in your proxy war. It is high time you recognize your fatal mistakes and misdeeds.

My defense is over.

The Judge:

The trial is recessed for deliberation.

 

 

Mohammad Habeeb

Stavanger, 10.04.2020

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