When Trump called Covid 'The China virus'
he was playing a very old political trope,
a trope far older than could be admitted
in the land of the ahistorical and the free
where some people's idea of democracy
is restricting the rights for others to vote
to maintain the hegemony of the wealthy.
An older disease that for many centuries
remained both unnamed and unidentified
was the disease now called Syphilis.
Then it was identified, and it did not have a name
but everywhere it was found it stigmatised
every individual and the country it was found in,
more deeply than the usual links between shame
and disease, because it's transmission was sexual.
The Muslim Turks called it 'The Christian disease',
Italy, Germany and Britain called it 'The French Disease',
The French called it 'The Neapolitan Disease',
The Russians called it 'The Polish Disease'
The Poles called it 'The German Disease',
The Danish, North Africans and Portuguese
called it 'The Spanish/Castilian Disease'.
In India the Muslims blamed the Hindus
for the disease and vice blamed versa
until vice and versa combined to blame
their colonisers, whilst still wanting
to have empires and colonies of their own.
Meanwhile before Syphilis was understood
some of it's more obvious symptoms resembled
those of leprosy, for more about that read here.
But the bigger disease was of the imagination.
It was the nation state, which begat empires
as multiplying vectors of diseases,
which has been a curse indigenous peoples
everywhere they have struggled to live,
more sustainably, than their overlords, ever since.