Taiwan, the World Health Organization and the Extraordinary Voyage of an Unmanned Ship Called Galileo V.

A lot of our mornings in Quarantown start out the same. Stephy wakes up first while I laze about in bed. She feeds the baby and then presses Shelby’s butt and full diaper against my sleeping face and asks, “does this smell like pee to you?” It always does. Then, the baby and I nap together for a little as Stephy goes to work early because she’s a superwoman. On weekends, we all nap together.

This morning, while feeding the wee baby Shelby, Stephy was grumbling about something. It was a prepared statement by a group of Taiwanese activists to be published in the New York Times as a response to the World Health Organization’s treatment of Taiwan in the past few weeks. For the past few days, Stephy has been updating me on the ongoing back and forth between WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Taiwan. Some Taiwanese celebrities are spearheading a project to publish a public reprimand of the WHO by taking a full page ad in the New York Times (to which, I responded, “newspapers are dead.”).

Stephy was grumbling because the proposed statement was poorly written and unclear in it’s goal. My ears perked up.

Then I read the statements and made faces.



Then Stephy saw something that she doesn’t often see this early in the morning. She saw me leap out of bed, grab my laptop and get to work.

For a moment, I channeled my inner Sam Seaborn. I was in a daze, redrafting a letter that was equal parts indignant and patriotic—polishing the existing statement s like a proper speech-writer should. I stole from other great speeches. I made sure I didn’t quote Tolkien verbatim. I quickly revised and then  I built an overarching motif like scaffolding around this piece. It was like scratching an insatiable itch, and then I felt better.

I rushed back into bed to show Stephy. I had this idea that she would share it on that group page, it would get recognized, and this epic speech would propel my career as a speech writer to statesmen, presidents and world leaders. She looked it over, said it was fine, and that she was hungry. I got back out of bed and made some French toast.



In case you were curious, this is what I ended up with:

Taiwan is an island in many regards.

We are a small island of about 14,000 square miles in the midst of the vast Pacific Ocean, divided by a narrow strait from the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. Millions travel between China and Taiwan, but we have defied all expectations, minimizing the rate of infection and serving as an example around the world for preventing the spread of this deadly virus.

Yet now we find ourselves on an island again, isolated, on the world stage, excluded from many agencies, including the World Health Organization.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ refusal to recognize the efforts of the Taiwanese people and his blatant China-centric policies are not only disrespectful to the people of Taiwan, but dangerous to the people of the world who can gain from the experiences of Taiwanese health officials and front-line workers.

The spirit of the Taiwanese people is one that cherishes community. Our people are warm and generous, quick to lend a helping hand to anyone we come across whether in our native homeland, or abroad as we make our homes in countries all over the world. We seek inclusion into groups like the WHO because we believe we have earned our place there, but more importantly because we believe we have something to offer.

Our history has been devastated by diseases like COVID-19 and SARS, and now we believe that it is our duty to prevent it, not only here in Taiwan, but for all people, everywhere. We are bound by fellowship to the rest of the world and we will do everything in our power to come to the aid of those in need.

In the past three months, we’ve shared our knowledge and experience with the U.S. and the E.U. in an effort to improve testing for COVID-19 and hasten the development of a vaccine. Our government and kind individuals have donated over 16 million masks and other supplies, even as we face discrimination or exclusion overseas. We pen this message because we want the world to know that no policy or lack of recognition will stop us from sharing what we have with our friends around the world.

We may be an island, separated from the rest of the world by water and distance, but during a time where isolation is the norm, we have chosen solidarity.

This message is supported by over 27,000 contributors who participated in the crowdfunding project to publish this article.

2 thoughts on “Taiwan, the World Health Organization and the Extraordinary Voyage of an Unmanned Ship Called Galileo V.

  1. Dear Mr. Root,
    I wish to address this in a religious perspective.
    The CCP has long been a practitioner of the prosperity doctrine of socialism; specifically the “Name it and claim it” doctrine. They say, we have a long history and therefore a legal right to the South China See… plus, Mongolia is ours, Tibet is ours, Xinjiang is ours, and of course Taiwan is one of our regions.
    The CCP says that Japan is imperialistic, but the CCP “liberates” all its neighbors and teaches them to be Han; dress Han, speak Han, and think Han… and by think Han, that means embrace socialism or we will destroy your house and “struggle” with you until you confess your sins.
    The recognition of the Taiwan by The Who [pun intended] is a baby step toward a blasphemy against the CCP’s death cult of socialism.
    The question we should ask, is “Is this the right time for Taiwan to declare national statehood and for the US to formally recognize it?” The citizens of mainland China are fully indoctrinated with national socialism and will foam at the mouth toward any declared enemy of China. They have a hard time separating China from the CCP. If formal recognition of Taiwan is given at a time of CCP strength, they will call for war and summon the support of the people. But if they are in a weak position, the recognition will stand and the CCP will lose their opportunity.
    As it is said, “evil triumphs when good men do nothing”.
    So that brings me to another religious issue: Christians and politics.
    Once upon a time, well since the beginning of time, mankind subjugated each other by kidnapping and forced labor. Slaves were a commodity around the world.
    Until a time came when a movement began to condemn the practice. Those who condemned chattel slavery did so because of their faith in God, and because it was a mandate of righteousness. It was an overwhelmingly Christian movement. The trade was outlawed first in Britain, then in the United States. That didn’t quite satiate these Christian political activists, they demanded that existing slaves be set free and be allowed the same rights under the rule of law that others enjoyed. Could you imagine how much division those troublemaking Bible thumpers created? The entire country was divided and fought the bloodiest war in US history against itself. How can that possibly be condoned?
    Now Christians got things under control. We are taught by the loving wisdom of socialism, that religion gets in the way of progression. John the Baptist was a troublemaker too because he rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and “all the other evil things he had done”. There is nothing wrong with having light, but just keep it covered under a bushel so as not to offend any away from the good message of those faith dollars.
    This is just the opinion of the Chief of Sinners.

  2. Taiwan is an island for sure, but an island which is acting like a lighthouse for the many countries grappling with COVID-19, who want a direction.

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