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Evolve or perish

We are in a confusing period. But we have gone through many gloomy periods similar to or different from what we are compelled to face today. Sooner than later, this will eventually lose the media scrutiny. But ground reality will not change in the near future. As a general saying goes, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. Isn’t it the grim reality placed before us?

But, why are we thinking Covid-19 is different from all? Isn’t it surprising to hear what the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had to say – that Covid-19 is the greatest test since World War Two? Is this the greatest test since WWII which ended in 1945? Unbelievable, how, unfortunately, the UN, the global body established to protect and promote human dignity, is proving its authenticity over assessing the crises.

Just two years ago, a senior United Nations official Stephen O’Brien warned that “twenty million people face starvation without an immediate injection of funds in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.” What was that then? Decades before Covid-19 was born, we experienced the depth of our poverty when it came to the collective collapse of public health systems which was unfortunately hijacked by corrupt big players in the pharmaceutical industry.

Yes, Covid-19 crisis is different from all not because of the way it is taking human lives, but because of the communication advantages we have achieved whereby any smartphone holder sitting anywhere on the earth planet can become a newsmaker enjoying the “phony autonomy” they received through social media. But it was our past generations that shaped civilization for us to have a better life, that experienced worse than what we are experiencing today.

We think Covid-19 is different from other crisis because we were not directly influenced by the past. However, suffering has a common language though many people are reluctant to believe it. A common language of suffering is pain. No matter what caused you the pain – pain is pain.

What is different is that most of us do not like to feel when others suffer, and we don’t think it will happen to us. Therefore, we have maintained the attitude of inability to mourn for centuries. This is what Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor, called indifference, the epitome of all evil. Our dark history has unveiled not thousands but millions of times that Covid-19 is yet another crisis.

However, when you are not a Native Indian, inhabitants of North America, who used blanket contaminated with Smallpox, the incident known as “smallpox blanket” story, ‘gifted’ by US Army to eliminate native Americans’ resistance for protecting their rights to live and facilitate Europeans settlements, the Covid-19 pandemic would seem unprecedented.

When you are not a victim of the Holodomor, the man-made famine in Ukraine, which systematically killed millions of Ukrainians, Covid-19 is a strange event of mankind.

Nilantha Ilangamuwa, "Evolve or perish," The News. 2020-04-22.
Keywords: Health sciences , Covid-19 pandemic , Social media , pharmaceutical industry , Media scrutiny , World war , Social impact , UN