Based on my perceptions of everything that I am reading, hearing and seeing, I think that many aspects of the COVID-19 Pandemic will become clearer over time, because that calamity will not only be about those who perished, the businesses that folded, the unemployed, the impoverished, or those devastated in one way or another, for we are seeing that already. No, the tragedy will be when most of us realize that the political and corporate malevolence that is endemic throughout our planet could have – should have – been better prepared to cope with this tsunami and to mitigate its manifestations much more efficiently, and that it would not have taken them by Surprise had they been truly concerned with looking after the long-term welfare of their citizens and not after their own corrupt politicking, greed, arrogance and ideologies. After all, the Chinese Government did report on its cases to the WHO on December 8th. of 2019, and there were multiple national, and international, studies that many specialists had on hand and for many years during, and much prior to, 2019 warning of the looming catastrophe and on what should be done. Why then was everyone so Surprised? Especially the US and the Western Nations? Was it the smug belief in their own Exceptionalism? Or, was it Arrogance that something like that could never happen to the “Civilized World?” Questions that we should all be asking, especially that the cascading after-effects of this Pandemic will be global in their reach and devastation for many years to come, mainly on developing nations and poor people in this country and across the world.
Also, I am hoping that another one of the aftermaths will be the realization that unless every nation reassesses its policies to reflect that wars, occupations, sanctions, subordinating those we deem as enemies at the point of our guns etc. is a failed agenda that has throughout our existence on the planet proven to be disastrous, and that those evil policies, while they might serve a nefarious purpose for a time, cannot and do not endure. Empires come and go; occupations come and go; administrations come and go; cities are demolished and then rebuilt; politicians come and go. However, while most wars wickedly annihilated entire ethnicities, cultures and civilizations witness how they today crumble in the face of a raging Pandemic that is an equal opportunity killer which reduced all their swaggering, greed, military prowess, and arrogance to nothing!
I also hope that this realization will one day demand of its leaders to negotiate a more peaceful and cooperative modus operandi between the nations of the world, one that is built on mutual respect, fair trade, acceptance, and one that works for different nations according to their own people’s needs, because there is not one political, religious, or social philosophy that works for every people, every nation and all the time. That, of course, will never, ever happen if we continue to acquiesce to corrupt systems, evil aspirations and wicked politicians as we have been due to our Ignorance! The fact that this Pandemic has caused the protests and citizen unrest that were going on in many parts of the world to die down does not mean that the demands for a living wage, universal health care, education, climate control, justice and equality have evaporated. They have not. In fact, they are essential now more than ever. Will we continue to demand them, or will the corrupt political structures prevail and cower us into submission?
I also imagine that another one of the aftermaths of this Pandemic will be the realization that religion and religious bodies throughout history have always used politics, and were used by it. In other words, that they have been sleeping in the same dirty bed, and, through that alliance, trampling on every virtue and value that their religion professes to believe in. That, for me, is enough proof of their “ungodliness.” for, Religion, like Political ideology, believes only in power that intimidates the weak and the meek and in amassing wealth to serve itself above all as most of them have been consistently doing for millennia! This is Not religion, especially when all the Holy Books demand – without preconditions – empathy, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness and justice for one and all rather than on fostering power, violence, greed and corruption.
For me, the huge Surprise was that despite all the Propaganda, the Glitz and Glamor of the Western World, and as the virus pandemonium ravaged all their governments, and while we all witnessed how inefficient those governments are, and how fragile and unprepared for any catastrophe they were, it seems that they are Never, Ever unprepared for going to war, ransacking resources of other weaker nations and keeping their, and all poorer citizens of the world, impoverished. It also brought to light that in these United States we have not even updated our system of government so that the Federal and State responsibilities are clearly delineated resulting in a blame game between Trump and the Governors. Isn’t it time to revisit those differentiations, plus so many other useless, senseless laws, rules, regulations? The same goes for the European Union – now showing fissures, and a rising nationalism – and how fragile it really is except for – again! – the readiness for wars and occupations anytime! What for then were all these gatherings and photo ops such as Davos, G7, G8, United Nations, Economic Conferences and World Forums etc. etc.? What purpose did they serve other than to make lofty, empty speeches and scheme about how to consolidate their economic and military power over all the developing nations?
Aspirational wishes, such as mine, do not always translate to reality. Humongous global events such as what we are going through can either lead to a renewal and a renegotiation of our failed social contracts, or to . . . yes, war. So when President Trump says: I am a War President, I worry that he wasn’t just blustering, but that he might be meaning it literally. After all, based on our dangerous and violent history, war is a fantastic opportunity to exert more power by intimidating national and international enemies, as well as to deflect a nation’s attention from failed policies. Remember the myth that illustrated how Nero burnt Rome? Not far-fetched in Trump’s delusional mind. Moreover, wagging the dog has been utilized as a strategy by other Presidents. Isn’t it enough to scare us all that Trump is acting like the schoolyard bully and picking a fight with everyone and their mother? Is this the pathetic and terrifying state we have come to? Are there no more politicians with enough fear for their nation to stand up to him before we all suffer a worse fate than the one we are in already?
This pandemic could, might, hopefully will, awaken us all to the fact that we truly are in this altogether, and that no nation, no borders, no religion, no ideology, no “ism,” no people are isolated from the wrath of nature, or from a raging Pandemic. We should not be caught by Surprise again in this dismal, fumbling, scrambling, pathetic and very dangerous way. We should not be caught by Surprise again if we continue in existing on this ravaged planet following the same corrupt and evil playbook. We should, and we can, alter the course dramatically if we shed our selfish and violent pursuits whether on a personal, national, or global level. Dare I even hope?
2 thoughts on “Surprise!”
Fantastic post! You have articulated much of what I have been thinking – that the “social contract” needs to be upended, that it’s high time to change the political agenda, and that religion in its current manifestation is in lockstep with politic, greed, and corruption. Thank you.
Excellent article.. first thing came to mind when the Covid-19 surfaced, I thought the whole world should have prepared for an unprecedented moment like this! But all were busy preparing for wars and stockpiling weaponry! Very well illustrated.. thanks for sharing your thoughts Hala!