By Ekenedirichukwu Anselm Alita
The darkness in our world has deepened, it appears the last star has actually left the sky, the moon now hangs loosely from the sky like a broken yellow skull, it appears we have finally come face to face with Edom. The world at the moment is at a standstill and the darkness that now virulently looms in our sky is the pandemic dark yolk of the Corona virus, that have left people falling like dried leaves of a withering tree.
We have seen the face of fear stare us deep in the eyes and seem to be sucking life from us. At the moment, no one knows who is next in the queue, it just happens and a vacuum yawn. Yesterday we lost the trace of the star that guarded our roofs while we slept, the cock that crows behind the needle like fingers of the mango leaves went dumb, it did not crow this morning; was it blinded by the rains or drowned by the chilly waters?
The world at the moment is been tossed about in a turbulent ship, with no ready anchor in sight. People are afraid, people are dying and people are giving up. Many countries have been hit to a comatose by the tragedy of the Coronavirus, apart from China, that somehow seem to have found their way around in combating the virus, Italy at the moment seem to suffer the most gruesome blow as the virus relentlessly bully its way through homes and transmogrifying people into a mismatch of broken bodies. The Italian minister amidst tears following the towering number of deaths the country witnessed in a day, that they are only looking up to the sky for help having tried every means at their disposal in a bid to containing the virus. It is indeed a disheartening tale.
The mayhem being unleashed by this dreaded virus notwithstanding, one thing the virus has done, that could be said to be somewhat of great value, is the fact that it brought us back to touch with our humanity. It brought us to a full grasp of our humanity and also made us understand that which truly matter in our lives, and also to understand that some things which seem we cannot do without them, that we can actually survive without them.
Earlier before now, clubbing, watching of sports, work, social gatherings, etc are sometimes things considered to be very necessary in our modern world that we cannot do without them. These activities are most often engaged in most times to the utter neglect of one’s family, friends and closed relations, but with this outbreak, most people have been forced to be home and reunite with their families, and bearing in mind that family comes first before everything.
Most countries have also seen it as an avenue to reach out to their citizens, ensuring their safety and even subsidizing the cost of things, just to help her citizens that have been quarantined due to the virus. Many world celebrities are making donations to their countries to help fight the virus and equally secure treatment for the infected. These are of course laudable feats.
In our country Nigeria, it seemed to be the opposite. Nigeria unfortunately made up of some crop of opportunists, such that even with the virulent attack of this virus where many decent countries are interested in preserving the lives of her citizens and make their lives less cumbersome amidst the virus, some Nigerians have seen it as a perfect time to exploit their fellow countrymen as though they have their own lives tucked away in some safe haven impervious to the virus.
Presently in Nigeria the cost of many things has skyrocketed, even products that have nothing to do with the virus, these are but economic stunts being played by some miscreants. How can one explain the unprecedented rise of hand sanitizers? That something like that which prior before now was sold for as low as N650, is now sold at the rate of N3000, and some even go up to selling at the rate of N10, 000. Who sort of gross wickedness can that be termed. One could only imagine how much percent of undue profit these people are making at the expense of the poor masses. Even ordinary face mask has equally skyrocketed all due to the virus. Even the mismatch of adulterated chemicals flying around in the baptismal garb of sanitizers is really terrible.
Where do we go from here, these acts are simply inhumane? Looking at it critically, it is just like rejoicing in this tragedy that have kept the whole world at a standstill, seeing it not as a time of great pain but as a carte blanche for exploitation of helpless citizens who are making all efforts to save their lives, as the easiest means to make quick money. It is simply man’s inhumanity to man, a daylight robbery.
No one ever enjoys to the fullest wealth made from others pain, sorrow and suffering. If at this point of great need we are so much interested only in filling our pockets without empathizing with our fellow citizens, then it is a great problem on our path. As it is said, that in all created things only man has the capacity to go beyond their nature. Man has the tendency to transcend and tend to the supernatural and also have the tendency to go down to the deepest recesses of his animal nature thereby become not human but sub-human.
No one has wondered how the poor masses, who could hardly afford a meal a day could cope with such exorbitant prices. No one thinks about them because we are more interested in what goes into our pockets. We complain of our leaders being this, doing that, not doing this etc, but the little chance that sprouts in our way we become grand opportunists of misfortune. Virtually everything in the market has skyrocketed in price, and when you sit down to evaluate the connection between the coronavirus and the product, you will see that they have absolutely no connection.
Also relating to this, which in a way seem more sinister is the unmitigated way wrong information about the virus is been mongered, filling up people’s nerves with fear. This is strongly reminiscent of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, where the deluge of false pieces of information mongered sent many to their early graves, as many had gone salt and pepper drinking, which led to loss of lives. Many are in that path again stuffing gullible minds with wrong information.
Even some are out to defraud people in these trying times where everyone is trying to survive, under the guise that the Nigerian government is paying some amount to citizens for sit at home, so one is expected to submit certain details. Even transport fare at this time has increased all in a bid to take undue advantage of a sorry situation, seeing the desperateness of citizens who struggle to go home and be with families, hiking the price of transport fares is simply inhumane.
Then what then is the problem, the problem is that we are losing touch with our humanity, we are trying to carry the world with our two hands, without knowing that one hand is for ourselves while the other hand should be for our neighbour. We are gradually becoming monsters clothed in human skin. It is terrible. We must come to terms with the fact that we are in trying times, the only thing we can do at this moment is unite and to be of help to each other the best possible way we can, bearing in mind that even a man embalmed with sanitizers and equally masked can die of the virus, that the fear and hunger pulsating from the virus can kill people before the actual virus; that even accumulating all these unholy wealth inordinately acquired does not make us proof to it fangs, that we may not actually live to enjoy them.
This is the time to recognize our humanity ever more closely, that we are all from the same stuck, and that without the others we are nothing; that other people matter, that it is not just about us, but others too. It is a time as Ellie Wiesel rightly opined in his work “Night” that “we know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately”
This is also a time that we should adhere to the instructions given by health workers, and be at peace with our neighbours, and help the less enlightened to know and understand the unending night that have set in the world and guide them properly. This is best expressed in the poem written by Kunle Omope, titled “hands”. We shall shake hands again, soon, very soon. Before then, let’s keep them clasped in prayers. Before then, let’s keep them soaped, showered and sterilized. Before then let’s keep them away from our faces even when we shed tears. Before then, let’s keep them away from typing and sending fear from our phones. Before then, let’s keep them searching for ways to stay safe. And not too long from now, we shall shake hands again. Keep hope alive, Coronavirus is for a season, we shall overcome!”
This is the hope to guide us in this dark night of the world, in this tragedy, we should carry the light we can give to others and keep humanity alive, and not lose touch with our common fraternity. God keep us all…. FIND PEACE. JMJFollow us