We will Prevail….
In our lifetime, we all face unprecedented situations, sometimes.
As a community, Society, or as a country, we often go through the rare occasions of extraordinary adversaries.
But, for the entire humanity, an event of such magnitude, complexity, unpredictability, and helplessness rarely come. While humanity keeps on struggling with some of the long term and very complex situations like environmental issues, rising fanaticism, and radicalization of our societies, growing inequalities and sub-human conditions of a large section of poor people, etc.; something of this sort is very sudden and unpredictable caught all of us inept and unprepared.
I even thought what would be an apt description of the situation — an extremely sensitizing, cautionary, overtly spelled out ground situations of health conditions, the depiction of worldwide under-preparedness coupled with inevitable economic fallouts; or, hey wait don’t panic, In past also we have seen extreme hard times of Epidemics, Wars, Famine, Nuclear Holocaust, Genocides and many more and the good news is that we survived and survived better!
I faintly remember having read somewhere that humanity has spent more time fighting each other than anything else in human history. Today those direct frontal Wars have been taken over by Nation’s rivalry for supremacy, greater influence in the global arena, and economic expansionism. Today’s wars may be less fatal on the face of it but more implicit, indirect, and cryptic.
In a book called “Factfulness,” Hans Rosling outlines “why things are better than we think. He explains that we have made significant progress across the board, and we are better than in the past. So, we can say that this is also passing by phase, and things will eventually normalize. Human ingenuity will eventually be triumphant.
In a similar line, thinker, writer Steven Pinker in his book “ Enlightenment Now “explains so convincingly that apparently, amidst overshadowing headlines of Chaos, Hatred, Irrationality, Conflicts, Inequalities, and Deprivation, our lives have become longer, healthier, Safer, Happier and even more prosperous. I am not saying that we live in an ideal world, but things may be better than it appears.
Albert Camus had portrayed the extreme grim side of an epidemic in the acclaimed novel “ The Plague.” It was a story of a pandemic, plague sweeping the city of Oran and raised the question about the nature of destiny and human conditions. It described how a city was decimated.
The Spanish Flu, which happened in 1918, was a deadly Influenza pandemic that lasted from January 1918 to December 1920 and apparently infected 500 million people worldwide, almost one-third of the world's population at the time. The death toll was estimated to be anywhere from 17 million to 50 million and may and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics were in human history. It is estimated that in India itself, 17 to 18 Mn people died.
There were many such tragic events and tremendous losses to humanity over centuries. But in the end, always the great endurance, the resilience of the human spirit prevailed.
Today, medical science has made enormous strides in progress. We are sure that the scientific community will soon come out with proven vaccines and therapeutic drugs with their untiring efforts and grit. We need to cling on and buy that time for ourselves.
In an interconnected and truly Global society now, countries still need to administer and tackle issues locally, even those that do not obey the boundaries. Nations are still behaving with a tribal mentality. What is needed is more concerted, empathetic, and collaborative efforts to overcome the situation. Unfortunately, no credible leadership has emerged so far to lead the crisis in a concerted manner on a global stage. The global agencies like WHO could have been more assertive and decisive and should have mobilized more collaborative efforts to combat the crisis.
Even though I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories, I have reasons to believe that China could have been more transparent, forthcoming in the whole affairs, and alerted other countries much before. They conspired to keep things under the carpet for a long time; many believe they have underreported the casualties.
Dr. Li Wenliang, who raised the alarm about the coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak, died from the disease itself. The media reported that he was never taken seriously; he was apparently taunted for spreading a rumor. This reminds me of the great play “An Enemy of the People” by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. “An Enemy of the People” tells the story of a man who dares to speak an unpalatable truth and is punished for it.
In the end, despite all the shortcomings, limitations, and selfish agenda of certain groups and even not been able to work as one at the time of crisis, still human endeavor will prevail. Not because of Governmental and Institutional organized efforts alone, but because of those thousands of faceless, nameless, silent medical workers, caregivers, scientists, and researchers who are putting their unwavering efforts to end this darkness. In the time of human crisis, I get inspired by the name of a great novel, “ Love in the Time of Cholera” by Colombian Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Even during Cholera, Human compassion, love, and goodness will sprout in our hearts; the human spirit will rise. Adversaries will come; they will try to crush us. Still, human compassion, love, endurance, resilience, the spirit will eventually find out the path of glory and will stay on course eternally!
And finally, with so many potential vaccines round the corner, I think we have prevailed.