Covid-19 as poetic justice

‘With COVID-19 forcing us to temporarily cede our only known paradise to animals, and rendering our commonwealth, confiscated by a few, now useless to everyone, it is hoped those who have refused to be their brother’s keeper will realize that what joined all of us together is our common humanity’

The official global death toll from ravaging coronavirus pandemics has by last Wednesday risen well over 80,000. America and European nations with the best health facilities wealth can buy account for more than 50 percent of recorded deaths so far. Rampaging COVID-19 has also shown it is no respecter of colour, race, religion; the poor, the affluent and the powerful. The Canadian prime minister and his wife, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, the hospitalized British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, now under intensive care are just a few of its celebrated latest victims. The World Health Organisation has said the only armour against CONVID-19 is to give up all forms of licentiousness including private jets, yatch and hide in our rooms.

Airports, hotels, night clubs are closed. The once bustling streets of New York, the financial capital of the world, London, Paris and other European cities emptied of humanity are today desolate. What we now have are deserted cities. COVID-19, in the words of Pope Francis, “has brought darkness over our squares, our streets and our cities; while we find ourselves afraid and lost”.

We now also know nature does not need man, his arrogance, excesses and greed. As proof, many of the streets and parks deserted by man for fear of sudden death have opened their welcoming hands to rat, rodents, goats and monkeys. That these animals are immune to COVID-19 seem to once again validate the long-held anthropologists’ belief that of all creations, man is the least equipped to face the wrath of mother nature if and when she chooses to fight back.

Unfortunately, driven by unbridled greed, man in his arrogance and shortsightedness believes in his invincibility. And Just because God in His wisdom said: “Let us make mankind in our image; let them be masters over the fish in the ocean, the birds that fly, the livestock …that he may give the word of command” (Genesis 1:26). Man huffs and puffs forgetting that to be a leader is to be a servant to all as Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the teacher and the greatest social crusader had admonished those who wish to be Christ-like.

Industrialised West, notably Portugal, Spain Italy, Britain France and Belgium, and their ‘Christian leaders, without the spirit of Christ, are the source of iniquity and inequality in the world. They built their wealth on the sweat and blood of the poor and at the expense of the environment.

They first integrated Africa into the world economy through slavery and in what was nothing but a change in paradigm, institutionalised capitalism and in recent years, globalization which in itself is the worst form of slavery. It is instructive to note that, Ivory Coast, the world biggest producer of cocoa earns less than 10% of the annual profit of just one of many companies manufacturing chocolate in the US. Other poor countries in the world whose priceless minerals and farm produce are exploited by the West share similar fate.

Today only one per cent controls 95% of the world’s resources. The struggle therefore is about institutionalisation of environmental justice that guarantees equitable distribution of resources from mother earth as against current environmental injustice which insulates those who destroy the environment from the consequences of their actions. For now, it is only among the poor we see those who experience higher cancer rates and overall poorer health as a result of pollution of air, land, water, and food arising from nuclear testing, mineral extraction and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons.

Of course, the greatest victim of the unbridled greed of the affluent is the mother earth herself or in the words of Pope Francis – “the only paradise we know”, which often has her “sacredness violated and the ecological unity and the interdependence of all species disrespected” by man.

But perceptive minds knew it was a matter of time before Mother Nature fought back as it did during the Bubonic plague, the great plague of London, the cholera plague and the small pox plague that decimated many lives. It is on record that Bill Gates who had after the 2016 Ebola outbreak warned: “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war”. He went on to predict that the next global pandemic could be worse than Ebola that killed about 11,000 people, a possibility he believed most countries were not prepared for, and therefore urged “governments to prepare for viral outbreaks in the same way they prepare for war”.

But President Trump preferred serving his Republican Party, the owners of America, by undoing everything his predecessors did to give relief to the overburdened poor in America or elsewhere in the world including Cuba and Iran. Trump as Dr. Femi Orebe reminded us last Sunday, “Cancelled the 2006 National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza promulgated by President George W. Bush, and, the 2016 Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats developed under President Barack Obama”.

But they reckoned that in the event of outbreak of virus infection, the poor will bear the brunt as it was during HIV and Ebola attacks. Instead of preparing for virus attack, Trump deployed his $700b 2018 defence budget not just to protect immorally acquired affluence but to prevent the poor, fleeing from poverty in Africa, violence death from South America and devastating wars in North Africa and the Maghreb from selling their labour even under globalization, the new god they said we must all worship.

With COVID-19 forcing us to temporarily cede our only known paradise to animals, and rendering our commonwealth, confiscated by a few, now useless to everyone, it is hoped those who have refused to be their brother’s keeper will realize that what joined all of us together is our common humanity.

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