surinenglish

THE BOTTOM LINE

Luis from Portugal

Experts are blaming globalisation for the spread of Covid-19. (By the way, I have absolutely no idea why in Spanish 'el virus', which is masculine, has suddenly mutated and become feminine as in 'la' Covid-19, but that's something we can investigate when this is all over).

Travel, whether for leisure or for business, is the nerve of globalisation. Then of course there is the phenomenon of migration, which also involves matters such as finance and travel, but that doesn't get mentioned nearly as often, especially in the press.

There are many human stories being told about the pandemic, and I take a special interest in those that serve as a lesson in life and arise out of paradoxes. For example, the "angels" that "saved the life" of British prime minister Boris Johnson, nurses Luis and Jenny, who, we learned, are from Portugal and New Zealand, respectively.

The British have always been great travellers, just like the Portugese, maybe because of their past as conquerers and colonisers of lands across the seas, including the New Zealand of the Maoris.

Of these two nurses Luis, the Portuguese, has received the most attention. It is worth bearing in mind that with Brexit in full force, the nurse from a small village near Porto would not have found it easy to work in the UK, where he arrived in 2014.

The fact that Johnson won the election and became prime minister because of his campaign for hard Brexit makes this a story with a moral. He now owes his life to the free movement of workers in the EU, something he so vociferously opposed.

The same thing applies to his alter ego DonaldTrump, who has had to bow his head and ask for help from foreign doctors and undocumented workers in the fight against Covid-19, those who until just one month ago he was pursuing relentlessly to throw them out of the country. Both used an unscrupulous populist nationalism for their own political ends.

Someone around here should take note.