The real story is that ‘developing’ nations have done remarkably better at fighting COVID-19 than the rich and white. The real story starts precisely where the western map ends. Here be dragons. We be dragons.

The real story is that places like Vietnam and Mongolia have completely kicked COVID-19’s ass. The real story is that places like Rwanda and Ghana have innovated and survived. There are countless stories like this — from Sri Lanka to Trinidad & Tobago, but you wouldn’t know because we’re not rich or white. But you should know. Because we’re right. This information could save your life.

(But please keep posting about a vaccine, eating like normal, and relying on your institutions to save you. It'll all work out for you I'm sure.)

@alcinnz gonna tag you because I know you and I have fallen into this trap as viewing New Zealand as a good model for COVID response.

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(I'm just going to block and move on from that other reply; I've seen it I just have no desire to acknowledge it.)

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I hope it's telling that a lot of folk have boosted this but almost no one has any commentary to share.

I hope it means that folk are beginning to accept that compared to most human people, maybe they're accultured into being unreasonable selfish brutes, and that they can just... walk away, and consider different things, rather than spend all day trying to improve a system that is working exactly how it should.

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@emsenn There may be better models to look to, but New Zealand certainly isn't a bad one. We're pretty well on top of COVID19 here unlike pretty much any other western nation.

In part though that's the luck of being an island nation making it trivial to close our borders (even if there were questions early on whether we had the political will that turned out to be unwarrented).

@alcinnz I mean, that /does/ make a bad model: there is a clear single thing that other countries cannot do that had a major effect on events.

@emsenn Well for me, it's mostly that New Zealand is the example I'm familiar than anything else... And it is a decent example of how effective a good lockdown can be... Or how to effectively communicate...

I've heard mentions of the others mentioned in the article, but mostly I feel a need to turn away from the trainwreck occuring in the US and anywhere else the "international" news covers. My father meanwhile can't turn away, and my sister wishes to have reality back.

@alcinnz I've been thinking about how to reply to this for a bit, and:

Why does turning away from the US mean turning to your own government?

If I didn't want to go to Waffle House because they might give me food poisoning, but I don't have anything but cheerios in the cabinet...

...I'd look and see if there's anyplace that actually has safe waffles.

Does that make sense?

It, to me, seems like a reliance on things coming from White cultures, to say, basically, "Well, if I can't look at the US, I gotta look to NZ."

Why wouldn't you look to whoever is /actually/ succeeding?

@emsenn Others probably should!

It's just they're taking good enough care of me, as a citizen, that I have the luxery of focusing my attention elsewhere. When I point to New Zealand as an example that's because it's what I know best simply by being in it.

@alcinnz <_< I dunno how to make it clear that you are "blind" in the same way the article accuses media of.

You should be /amazed/ at the opportunity to observe /anything/ of a culture that is better at handling, well, life, than you are. I mean, if an operating system came out that ran on your current hardware with the exact same features but used half the electricity, wouldn't you check it out and try and learn from it?

But instead you're choosing to focus on your own OS stack and those shittier than them, as though that's the extend of OSes available.

That's a categorically provincial way of looking at the world, and one that is not reflective of us sharing a planet, let alone a colonial history.

@alcinnz There are other nations who make NZ look like Florida, and didn't even have the benefit of being an island: you're gonna need a better justification for not looking to those cultures for guidance and education than "it's not easy."

@alcinnz Like this isn't just about how to stay safe from COVID: your culture has demonstrated a significant flaw in its ability to survive, while others have not.

The numbers are there to prove that, the question is now on you: what are you going to do about that?

@emsenn Yes, I am being blind and scared. I freely admit that.

Yes, I see *a whole lot* wrong with my culture.

I just want to conserve my spoons.

@alcinnz If you don't have the spoons to think about the world around you, except as packaged by your culture, then I think it's worth seriously asking if you're "being taken care of" in a way that actually meets your needs.

@emsenn I'm *mostly not* thinking about the world outside NZ this year.

@alcinnz My reaction to that is "ew gross" so I'm gonna sit on it for a bit, but, also, ew, gross, it makes me feel gross you boosting my like, MUD-posting if you're ignoring my helping-starving-homeless-posting and my your-way-of-life-is-killing-mine-posting. :\

@emsenn Fair enough, that has been our relationship.

Didn't know how to feel about it. My feed has been predominantly focused on a handful of topics I don't get enough chance to talk about IRL, and I try to keep it that way.

Hopefully I'll get over this, or find a way to look at the world outside NZ past the western dumpster fire.

@emsenn Probably next year I'll feel more comfortable peeking out from my hidey-hole again. Not much chance the world would be much better, but at least I'll know how bad you in the US have it from your federal government.

New Zealand would still be the example I know best, but it'd certainly be worth seeing who did/is-doing better. At the very least I'd need the positivity!

@alcinnz I think my biggest problem is that you phrase this as a choice motivated by fear, and you don't give equal or greater credit to the privilege that lets you be afraid, instead of injured, or that lets you experience these things as headlines, not violence.

Do you know what I would give to spend a week able to believe that the fight for open-source is meaningful? But I literally can't go that long without some white person harassing me in person with slurs or fists.

Or, hell: do you know what I would give to have a place that is predominantly focused on a handful of topics... I cannot talk about in real life because they result in physical violence from fascists and police? I mean, I posted about "hey lets not always focus on white people" here and I got called a redskin 3 times and a savage once! What do you get called, a nerd?

You're saying, "Look, I've got so much privilege I literally don't know what to do with it, that's stressful, let me just talk about computers."

But... you aren't pointing to your privilege. You're pointing to your fear, trying to be relateable.

Yea, alright: I've got fears too. I've got a boss that threatens to evict me and has tried to change the locks on me a few times in the past few months. I have no reliable income but need to keep providing Internet so my partner can make it through school. There was a pickup truck with a MAGA flag hanging from the bed that drove through my parking lot firing guns into the sky last night as I was going to bed, and I'm about to go do wellness checks at a homeless camp.

I'm scared too, and I don't have /anyplace/ I can turn to for escape.

And I'm a lot more privileged than a lot of folk I know.

That's fine if you wanna rely on your privilege to bask in your emotionalism: but please, have the compassion to recognize that as a privilege, and that by indulging it, you're making it /harder/ for me to ever get to a point where I get to relax.


I also remember that, it /was/ last year the last time we had a talk like this. You weren't ready to deal with this shit then, and things were a whole lot more stable than they will be next year. I don't think you'll look to other nations for positivity, if you aren't doing it now: you'll continue to let yourself be forced to look at the US, and continue to go "well, at least I'm not them."

I liked your boosts when I thought they were part of your approach to building up a set of tools that would let you tackle these issues, in your own way.

Now, they seem like a white man's attempt at plugging their ears and screaming "lalala" while the world around them burns: others have election news, others have sports or conspiracies against liberals... and you've got computers.


If you didn't have the courage to look at the reality of the world during a time of privilege and calm, and you don't have the courage to do it now, when you're privileged but on the potential edge of chaos, where are you going to pull that courage from if this chaos actually affects your life?


It's one thing to have a hobby to deal with the stress of the world.

It's another to hold that hobby but represent it as a solution to the stress of the world. That's what you give ever appearance of doing.

If you're just in this for the recreation, that should be a real loud disclaimer you make: "Hey I'm a fucking privileged white dude fucking about for fun, here's my opinions on things that don't affect me!"

Otherwise you're taking all the air out of the room when it should be there so folk ACTUALLY threatened by these systems can ACTUALLY plan technology to route around it, not be shushed and shrugged off while y'all work on your toys.

@emsenn Funny, I don't remember that. Yes, I need to change!

Let's make that my 2021 resolution? Also I need to get over my childhood loneliness...

I do hope I can help to reduce the harms of corporate harms of computing, and I think it's the best way I can help. But as you say I'm not the one who's being threatened.

@alcinnz Hard times to address the loneliness I think a lot of us have been cultivating in the back of our heads since we were kids. :(

I think you probably can... meet goals like that, but it'll take some hard thought about what the goals actually are: is it to reduce corporate harms, or eliminate them? I'd encourage you to maybe shift from trying to solve the harm to doing more to learn your place within it.

I used to think my MUD would be a meaningful tool for folk to like, grapple with the future and stuff - and if you read my posts today, I still do think that it'll be a useful tool for that, for myself and close friends.

But it took a lot of hard recognition of privilege that like... I'm simply not qualified to really address many harms, because I am far too insulated in layers of privilege to actually /know/ the harms.

Some stuff I can grapple with: restorative pedology for example. But other issues? I honestly dont' think there's a person alive that /can/ grapple with them: we just need to be setting the stage so that a generation or two down the line, the folk who CAN have the means to.

All of us alive today are too coerced by the kyriarchy to be honest judges of what a solution outside it might be: best we can do is work to know our place in the kyriarchy, to identify and preserve those parts of life it hasn't yet extinguished, and cultivate those as tools for the future.

/that/ I think your approach to code does well.

But... does someone kept alive by the kyriarchy, who doesn't look outside the kyriarchy, have much "life" preserved outside the kyriarchy that they can work with?

So if you wanna change, make space for that kind of living - that's what I'm talking about when I say "kill the cop in your head" - and look for examples of ways of living outside the kyriarchy. They have more relevance to computing than you'd think, p much everyone would enjoy a spreadsheet.

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"If you didn't have the courage to look at the reality of the world during a time of privilege and calm, and you don't have the courage to do it now, when you're privileged but on the potential edge of chaos, where are you going to pull that courage from if this chaos actually affects your life?"

Would add to this the observation that survival based on hoarding colonial items (AKA "wealth accumulation") isn't really "survival". People don't understand what that word means anymore.

@emsenn @alcinnz

@emsenn This is an awesome article and I want to read more of the author's work, but Medium won't let me, nor will it even say if she has a website - do you happen to know off the top of your head?

@ifixcoinops I think all they have is an email newsletter, but I'm not sure, no.

@emsenn Apparently it's but that just redirects to Medium ☹️

@ifixcoinops Strange, works for me (within the free limit, but then there's always Private tabs...).


@emsenn Oddly, this WaPo article doesn't seem to have bought into that trope.

...the West seems largely blind to Africa’s successes. In recent weeks, headline writers seem to be doing their hardest to try to reconcile Western stereotypes about Africa with the reality of the low death rates on the continent.
It’s almost as if they are disappointed that Africans aren’t dying en masse and countries are not collapsing.

@woozle Check the publication dates on the respective articles: the Washington Post article came out 12 days after the other.

It seems unlikely that Attiah wasn't influenced by Samarajiva's work, given how popular it's become, and I'm critical of the lack of credit given.

@woozle thankfully this is doing what i think folk should: just directing folk to the actual words of the person, maybe with some choice selections that you enjoyed. :D no watering down here!

@emsenn yeah so much coverage of USA with this virus. most countries are doing fine. well, the ones who took it seriously from the start.


You sound like you're agreeing, but you're ironically doing exactly what the article is critical of: you have centered the USA and weighed it against "most countries."

This isn't about "the USA and most everyone else."

This is about the places that hegemonic imperial powers have fucked over for centuries doing remarkably well against COVID - even compared to "most" countries.


I'm not trying to be rude, but you've done the exact thing the article is critical of journalists for doing: structuring the world as the USA and most everywhere else.

The article, and this thread, are to talk explicitly talk about those places that are doing very well, and to talk about the deeply accultured racism that makes it nearly impossible for folk to recognize that.

@tootbrute It just... it's revealing to me that so many of the responses I got to sharing this and similar articles will say things like "Right, the US is doing so bad, meanwhile countries like Germany and Vietnam..."

...while ignoring that Vietnam has something like 0.1% as many deaths per capita as Germany.

That's exactly what the article in OP is trying to say:

By the numbers, compared to a few "developing" countries, almost everywhere has failed spectacularly at COVID response: it isn't 1 bad response and mostly good ones, it is mostly bad responses and a few good ones.

That y'all can't appreciate the statistical difference betwen 0.23 in 100,000 and 113 in 100,000 is, quite frankly, just racist.

@emsenn I think anyone who doesn't have a 2-3 year perspective and plan for this is going to be sorry down the line. I really hope these nations can keep the good work up, especially once NA and EU start travelling globally again considering how badly we're doing with this (as the article points out).

I'm fairly angry at the short memories of everyone here. There was much outcry in March about the lack of stockpiles wrt. PPE, yet is anything done about it now? (No, it's not)

@kungtotte I see ads for one-way flights to nigeria for just 12 monthly payments of $60 and it's like holy fuck.

I can't really see the US getting its shit together enough at this point to coerce South American countries into letting our tourists in, at this point: I think it's time within these cultures start asking themselves tough questions about the viability of that culture, and what they can personally do to plan for the future.

@emsenn the EU is in really bad shape too at the moment. Nations around the Mediterranean have been propped up by tourism, which is now not happening to the same extent, and they're also struggling with refugees from the Middle East (not a recent issue, just exacerbated in current circumstances) that the rest of the EU are happy to consider a Mediterranean problem rather than a European problem.

A major cause for the refugee crisis is EU legislation surrounding asylum seekers. 1/

@emsenn if an asylum seeker travels from Syria to Sweden on Whatever Airline and is denied asylum, Whatever Airline is beholden to return the asylum seeker to his point of origin.

This means airlines will not accept any asylum seekers at all, forcing them to travel illegally via sea and land, where they're parked in camps in order to determine their refugee status. A process which takes longer because they are travelling illegally. 2/n

@emsenn it's also not a question of money. The airfare is considerably less than what they're spending to be snuggled here, not to mention the very real cost in human lives and suffering.

We put up impossible hoops to jump through and then we still penalize those who make the jump, and never once stop to think why they want to make that trip to come here.

This ain't paradise, so they must be in hell over there.

@kungtotte Sorry, I meant to say:

"Stop fucking centering white people, stop looking at you and your imperial society as synonymous, and start questioning what you can do to make things better for yourself."

Good job waxing poetic about potential waves of US refugees, but that's only relevant if you continue to adhere to your death-cult of a culture.

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It is time to stop Ecological and economic genocide upon people of color. Tortoise Mountain and Turtle Island natives are the original Ecosteaders. Long before European and other settlers with delusions about government-subsidized development in "blocks" of colonizer cash infrastructure, Native Land Before Invasion was organic. And there never were opportunities or roles for any white dudes as a "Chief" Executive Officer. Get out of here and fix the problems plaguing Europe before trying to kill the indigenoUS Earth.