How is it possible that the pandemic Coronavirus has been allowed to explode on our world and governments have no clue on a vaccine that can inoculate ordinary people from harm?
Bizarrely, so many Heads of States, top politicians and celebrities, have been felled by this virus, which grows in intensity from mild to deathly in a space of two weeks. Many of them called this virus ‘boomer remover’ as it is particularly dangerous for people suffering from comorbidities — people who have underlying diseases like heart, hypertension etc. In this environment of uncertainty about who gets hurt or survives the virus, what is particularly worrisome is the manner in which this pandemic is feeding authoritarian tendencies among the rulers.
Bizarrely, what is visible is that the people want to give up their rights readily in the name of fighting this global scourge. There are different examples of how the States have reacted — the most extreme obviously is China where there is no democracy and freedom of expression worth the name. No one really knows how the Chinese have controlled the virus and how many have died/killed. There are reports — unsubstantiated at the moment, but coming from people occupying important positions in China and in multilateral agencies — that suggest the death toll to be in a million. Nothing will be known as the Chinese do not want any witnesses to how they fought the virus and went about stabilizing Wuhan and other parts of the country. They have also thrown out three reporters from big American newspapers.
The biggest worry after the Delhi riots is that the fight against the virus that could begin with technical surveillance could mutate into something violent and ugly. Indeed, it is incumbent for the administration to work closely with the civil society to prevent another display of atavism.
Inspired by the Chinese strategy to lock down cities and countries, the transitional government headed by a desperate Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in Israel, who should leave way for the new PM designate Benny Gantz, has imposed the most claustrophobic regulations that literally handovers the country to the security agency, Shin Bet. Now they can track anyone’s phone call that they consider a carrier of the virus or someone who is running away from the treatment. The important aspect about this regulation is that the agency would be listening to all the phones. The people who need to fear are those who are perceived to be on the wrong side of the Israeli government and that includes the Arabs and those who are usually resented by the government.
A similar mindset reportedly manifested itself in China where many dissenters and bloggers were picked up and passed off as suffering from the virus. In China, there was no one to question these decisions as everything was happening in the name of saving a sinking society. In Israel, civil society activists took the matter to the Public Privacy Authority, but were told that in the event of a national emergency, harsh measures are allowed.
No one really knows how the Chinese have controlled the virus and how many have died/killed. There are reports — unsubstantiated at the moment, that suggest the death toll to be in a million.
France and other European countries are imposing similar lockdown and police surveillance. However, if these measures play out in India, then this could be a cause for major worry as India is going through a difficult time when a large mass of people are in ferment over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and are protesting in different parts of the country. Many BJP supporters want the anti-CAA protests to go away as they claim that it can come in the way of implementing anti-Corona initiatives. The biggest worry after the Delhi riots is that the fight against the virus that could begin with technical surveillance could mutate into something violent and ugly. Indeed, it is incumbent for the administration to work closely with the civil society to prevent another display of atavism. Testing and difficult times also generate great resilience and dogged enterprise. It is hoped that India, its people and its governments, will stand up to this global pandemic with its best foot forward, help the collective in distress, and create hope, cure, relief and salvation for its beleaguered citizens.