As human beings, there are things we take for granted, from going to work, visiting someone or just taking a stroll. We wake up and go to bed without paying any attention to the significance of things we trivialise in our lives and wellbeing at whatever level and magnitude. This is because we’ve been doing such things freely and voluntarily without any interference.
The current lockdown has made me appreciate that there are things that we need to rethink about, especially how big and precious they are. The following are the things I came to re-evaluate, valuate and value after the break and rampage of COVID-19 late last year:
Freedom is among the biggest casualties of COVID-19 that many of us lost though temporarily. We do not know when it will be returned. COVID-19 hasn’t only deprived us of our freedom of movement in our countries but also in the whole world. We no longer enjoying roaming around in the neighbourhood as we used to before. More importantly, who’d think that ever noisier politicians would be easily gagged? Who’d think that globetrotters would be grounded so as to save millions of dollars of paupers if not billions? Even unfaithful couples who used to use their freedom to commit sins are now held at home. There’s an opportunity here. Those who used to stay at home alone while their spouses spent time out of the homes are now, at least happy. For such a people, COVID-19 isn’t that bad though.
How many students are now stranded in foreign or in their countries simply because they can’t travel abroad? How many people are stranded at home and can’t go to work because of the pandemic? How many poor people are stranded in misery simply because they’re unable to get money; and thus, unable to put food on the table? Apparently, for some, even the freedom to go to the store to grab something is now an expensive item. Ladies who used to go to the salons to do their hair are no longer enjoying this taken-for-granted beauty of life not to mention the gents who used to go to pubs to swallow two or three beers.
Imagine the lives of families whose loved ones have either been killed or injured by brutal police simply because they defied the order to stay indoors. How many are now suffering for lack of justice because courts are unable to do their businesses? How many poor people are suffering and can’t pay bills because they are unable to work and get money? Considering whatever social station, geographic location or political position, COVID-19’s sheer terror is immeasurable and indescribable so to speak.
There’s a caveat here, however. There are those who have taken the pandemic seriously (such as China and Spain) and those who have taken it lightly (such as Japan and Sweden). On the positive side, since COVID-19 ravaged the globe, our air and water quality have become spiffy. Rare animals have been sighted in many places roaming around not to mention the price of the pump to cascade down for the first time in many decades.
Before the break of COVID-19, many African governments were viewed as democratic except for few cases of dictatorship in some countries. Currently, many have shifted into becoming police states. The police have been given more power to harass the population under the pretext of combating the pandemic. Since the break of COVID-19, every ear is tuned to the government to hear what it’ll order as far as movement is concerned. In addition, many people are now rethinking about the centrality of protective gears that they used not even to think about.
We’ve seen neighbours even in the same block such as the EAC, EU and the likes close borders to those they used to assure that they’re one and the same. COVID-19 has unearthed the double standard and selfishness humans can have. In Britain, one supremo behind the lockdown, despite knowing he was COVID-19 positive, allowed a lady to pay him a visit contrary to the laws and rules he enacted.
Corrupt and unreasonable cops extorted, tortured and killed under the pretexts of enforcing the lockdown. As well, quacks, especially those using the word of God robbed many claiming they’ve discovered the cure.
Indeed, COVID-19 has redefined and challenged our lives!
By Nkwazi Mhango
The author is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana?