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Sunday, April 26, 2020

COVID-19 - THE HARD TRUTHS FROM THESE TRYING TIMES



If someone were to tell me in December 2019 that there would be an occurrence in 2020 which would lead to a near collapse of the financial markets, nearly wipe out the global transportation and tourism industry, put almost all the nations of the world on self-imposed lockdown, I mean basically ground the entire world, I would have simply taken the person for a clown, and if they were to insist on keeping their position, I would have recommended a psychiatric evaluation. Such was the strength of my faith and belief in the social, mental, scientific, and technological evolution of humankind that I could not foresee all of us abandoning life as we know it and scampering for shelter far away from other humans as much as possible.

Let us face it, the world will never be the same again, even after we have been able to arrest the Covid-19 pandemic, but then, why should it remain the same? The current situation has brought to the fore the indispensability of many of the issues essential to the dignity and respect of humankind and how we have for a very long time paid lip-service to them, and that was when we were not outrightly denying their importance. Issues of affordable universal healthcare, social safety net, fit-for-purpose public infrastructure, public programmes planning and execution, and social integration as a whole have been totally neglected, and we can see in real time how nations and societies are paying the price for their laxity. The US is leading in Covid-19 death rates because their healthcare system is broken, and they have a leadership gulf at the very top; Nigeria is struggling to stem the tide because the health and social infrastructures are grossly inadequate and we cannot even effectively give financial palliatives to those who need them because we do not have genuine and verifiable data, and of course we have a leadership gulf at the very top too; and the Northern European Countries are handling the situation well because they have always been structured and they have social safety nets such that they didn’t need to change much to cope with the pandemic.

Brace yourself, even when the Pandemic is over, the fear will remain for a long time, the fear not just for ourselves, but for our kids, our siblings, our colleagues, for all our loved ones altogether. What will be gone though is the trust of social existence – partying, clubbing, even lounging in open spaces such as bars, beaches, and malls will no longer be trustworthy, and we might find ourselves going back to living like cavemen, coming out for sunlight once in a while. Of course, I kid, but when you consider the fact that we were already talking about going to live on Mars, and we already have shuttles which can make such trips multiple times like your normal airplane, you will understand that going back to not being able to gather in public or use public transportation to cover distances of a few kilometers is like a thousand-year regression. Brace yourself, wearing of face masks will be compulsory for months to come, at least wannabe ninjas will be happy at these.

Now back to the hard truths from this pandemic – we the masses have suffered the most and we will suffer more, unless we change our perception and approach to governance and leadership. When we abdicated our responsibilities and left leadership and governance to demagogues, charlatans, misfits and rogues, of course they cannot suddenly develop competence during a crisis, they can only respond to the limit of their abilities. We all have to be involved in choosing those who lead us, in determining those who chart the course for the present and the future, in keeping on their toes who we have surrendered our individuality and personal preferences to in exchange for the social contract of having the freedom to live and pursue happiness. We owe these duties to ourselves, and we will be doing ourselves a great disservice if we leave those processes to the misfits in the society. Most times, we delude ourselves with the fact that we can create enclaves with others who have broken free from the inhuman drudgery of daily struggle to make ends meet, and we have this false security once we go into our gated estates, but the reality as highlighted by the menace of “the One Million Gang” and “the Awawa Boys” during this lockdown is that no one is safe within the vicinity of heartless and hungry miscreants who have been armed by unscrupulous politicians. We are all in this together, and we have to fix it together.

As a parting shot, now that you know that everything is possible, it is now up to you to hold people around you accountable when they tell you it is not possible. Governments all over the world who said “Healthcare For All” is impossible are able to find funds to finance this Public Health Emergency; Governments who said “Guaranteed Monthly Incomes” are impossible are finding funds to provide Financial Palliatives to Businesses and Citizens; Preachers who said you must come to Churches and Mosques to prove your faith are now conducting ministrations online; Employers who would mandate you to suffer through hours of traffic on daily basis to  and fro the office are now encouraging you to work from home and use Zoom and Skype; lovers who told you they were always busy driving, in meetings, in open offices, and so on are now working from home, so what is their excuse for not keeping in touch now? Think about it. While thinking about it, continue to act safe and be safe. Together we will beat the pandemic.


Thank You!
God Bless Us All!!
See You Next Time!!!

Twitter: @SirRash

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