TWITTER POLL: World Health Organisation blamed for COVID-19 pandemic mismanagement

Is anyone really to blame for the pandemic's spread? The straw poll says yes. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 22 October 2020

TWITTER POLL: World Health Organisation blamed for COVID-19 pandemic mismanagement

  • Most blamed the World Health Organisation, but many others said there was no one clear factor to blame
  • The poll received a mixed message from people torn between blaming individuals and the establishment

DUBAI: Nearly half of the respondents to an Arab News Twitter poll said the World Health Organisation (WHO) was to blame for the failure to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been 41.3 million cases of COVID-19, of which 1.13 million people have died – 28.1 million have so far recovered.

The year 2020 has seen a pandemic that brought nations to their knees as governments imposed lockdowns, and rules requiring people to wear masks, not to see loved ones and to work from home where possible

The mental health of the world’s population has been pushed to limits never experienced before in our lifetimes with isolation being one of the biggest factors.

Everyone has their views on how the pandemic has been handled, but few seem to agree on who is responsible.



The Arab News Twitter poll saw 44.9 percent blame the WHO for failing to manage the situation, while 17 percent blamed irresponsible members of the public who refuse to follow the guidelines and rules.

Just 6.5 percent said it was the fault of local authorities – but 31.6 percent said it was a combination of all three.

“I disagree with irresponsible citizens.... In the grand scheme the population has been very very compliant.... only the odd person wears no mask in stores ... you can’t blame the pandemic on a minute proportion of the population... The WHO and UN are to blame,” tweeted @Roofershound.



But others said a lack of consistent leadership was the biggest problem.

“The UK HMG has significant blame in spreading the disease because it was just a cold from Dec to April via their standard NHS policy of bed clearing elderly patients "medically fit" but with a cold to NHS funded respite & palliative beds. Killing an extra 20K via cross infection,” tweeted @AJamesW2.



The pandemic has – like this poll – split opinion globally – some support a lockdown, many say people should wear masks – it’s the law in some parts of the world and then others say their civil liberties have been taken with all these restrictions.

“ Some people’s definition of their rights and democracy is the same as a five year old cry babe “no, I don’t want to wear a mask,” @ArabNewsFriends added.



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Bosnian ‘energy pyramids’ boosted by tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s visits

Updated 25 November 2020

Bosnian ‘energy pyramids’ boosted by tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s visits

  • Tennis star Novac Djokovic has made two trips this year, hailing the site as a ‘paradise on earth’

VISOKO, Bosnia and Herzegovina: With tree-covered slopes that rise to a pointed summit, the mountain overlooking the Bosnian town of Visoko resembles any other ordinary hillside in the Balkan state.
Yet thousands of yearly visitors – including high-profile stars like Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic – don’t see it that way.
Despite scientists’ efforts to debunk the claims, large numbers of people still believe the hill is part of an ancient man-made pyramid complex with healing powers.
Djokovic, who is known for his new-age spiritual interests, has made two trips this year, hailing the site as a “paradise on earth.”
The mountain is now part of a controversial pyramid park founded by Semir Osmanagic, a 60-year-old self-styled explorer who “discovered” the site just outside of Sarajevo in 2005.
“I saw this hill covered with fir trees and vegetation, its slopes perfectly oriented toward the cardinal points,” Osmanagic, wearing a leather jacket and Indiana Jones-style hat, said on a recent weekend while leading a tour group through the site.
“It was obvious to me that it was not a natural hill but the construction” of a “technologically superior civilization,” he said, insisting it is the “largest and oldest pyramid ever built.”
Archaeologists have long ago disputed this theory as pseudo-science, saying the hill is a natural geological structure.
In a letter to Bosnian authorities in 2006, European archaeologists denounced the support given to a “cruel hoax on an unsuspecting public” that “has no place in the world of genuine science.”
But this did not prevent Osmanagic, previously a US-based businessman, from carrying out “archaeological excavations” on the hill with hundreds of volunteers from abroad.
He bought a piece of surrounding land, which includes a network of tunnels he says emit a curative energy force, and a few years later opened the park through his “Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun” foundation.
Today, the park is buzzing with visitors, who have come in even higher numbers since two recent trips from Djokovic.
In July and October, Djokovic made pilgrimages to the park and invited “all athletes” to take advantage of the healthy oxygen levels.
“I know there are many doubts and dilemmas about the authenticity (of the place),” he said in October.
But “in order to fully understand what is going on here... you have to come.”
After a quiet spring subdued by the pandemic, weekend crowds are back at the park, consisting mostly of visitors from the region.
“The beginning of the season was catastrophic, but since Djokovic has been here, it’s been a joy,” says Nermin Alihodzic, 47, who sells tourists colorful mini-pyramids and pieces of quartz.
While the government stopped backing the park over a decade ago, local authorities have helped finance the construction of roads, parking lots and other infrastructure to encourage tourists.
A five-euro ($5.94) entry fee for the whole park also includes access to the underground tunnel network which Osmanagic claims emit healing electromagnetic waves.
In his tour of the park, Osmanagic takes groups down to the chambers, urging them to hold their hands over a smooth rock and feel the “energy” rising.
Dzenana Halepovic, a 67-year-old from Sarajevo, is a frequent visitor.
In the tunnels “I feel good, I breathe well, I feel light. I simply feel like I’m receiving energy there,” she said.
For Enver Imamovic, a professor emeritus of archaeology at the University of Sarajevo, the project is pure scam.
The tunnels are likely “remnants of an ancient gold mine” while wedges of stones on the hillside, which believers consider to be the building blocks of the pyramid, are “nothing more than natural geological formations,” he said.
“Everything that is said about the pyramids is absolutely unacceptable.”
Founder Osmanagic has also been promoting the site as a place to “boost immunity” during the coronavirus pandemic.
While he insists no cures are guaranteed, he cites other alleged miracles in which people have been healed of ailments like hypertension, diabetes or even cancer after a trip to the underground tunnels.