I have been wondering how long it would take for us human beings to realise we are all in this life together. How long it will take for us to realise “what I do affects my brothers and sisters and what my brothers and sisters do affects me?”.
Here in Australia, where we have been lucky so far, we have seen the situation of buildings housing our poor and needy locked down with the occupants not being able to go out. We see for ourselves the effect of decades of neglect by governments to supply adequate social housing. By sticking all these people in a building as cheaply as possible we have potentially created Covid-19 petri dishes where the virus has a home base to spread out from to eventually affect us. God help those very countries we have left to grind away in their own poverty because denied of the resources the rest of us have, we have allowed an environment to be created which will lead to countless unnecessary deaths. All this could then come back and bite us on the bum.
This pandemic has been made worse by decades of austerity and our lack of compassion for the poorest in our world.
I reckon there is also something else going on which is simmering below the surface. A counter narrative to the dominant one which has allowed such a divide to grow between the rich and the poor. But it is even more subtle than that. It has a lot to do with how we treat one another and how successive governments have been more interested in the economy than in the society they attempt to govern.
In Australia we have been very lucky so far. Our deaths are listed in the tens and hundreds in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the world where the death toll has risen to out of control levels. It amazes me that the wealthiest of countries like the United States and the UK have rampant death rates. It affects me personally because I work in those countries and in Zoom meetings hear their stories first hand. These stories fill me with fear and rage at the realization that human life has been treated so cheaply. It is so sad that the governments with the most resources and the countries who pride themselves on their academic achievements and first rate management skills have basically stuffed it up.
So, it is my belief that the spotlight highlighting the counter narrative will come from the hundreds and thousands of families who are slowly beginning to realise they have lost their loved ones needlessly.
Mark my words there will be a day of reckoning for those governments who have allowed so much death to occur. Those governments, knowing full well what they were facing, in a way stood idly by, hoping in a way, it would all go away. In other words, they treated this pandemic as a political problem rather than a social one.
There is really no excuse for the richest countries and those with the most knowledge to let the virus rip through their communities.
One can see the beginnings of this counter narrative now in the fact that so many families in the UK are making legal moves to eventually bring the government to account. In the last few days I have noticed this happening in the USA, too.
I need to say, I am not just talking about “stuff ups” because these just happen, I am talking about governments deliberately looking the other way when they shouldn’t.
I happen to believe that every human life on this earth is precious and if we take that as a fact, what we do is then in the best interest of everything including the economy. Of course, during a pandemic there will be deaths but to cold bloodedly allow them to happen is ultimately in no-one’s interest.
This huge gap between the rich and the poor has created a sense of entitlement which the rich use to justify their right to demand the economy as taking priority over human life. They do not think they will be the ones who will die and suffer. That will occur to the poor with their low health profile, their low income and ant nest social housing.
However, where this thinking has gone wrong is that the wealthy have their elderly relatives in nursing homes too and many have died. So those very people who thought they would get through it unscathed, haven’t and like all entitled people they will demand retribution. “Bugger the poor, it’s my mother or father who died and I am really angry”, more and more are saying.
So, by ignoring the poor for all these years we have created an environment in which we suffer as well.
People may well say that some are suiciding because the economy is suffering, and they have lost everything. This again points to the lack of resources we have put into building a loving compassionate world where there is a place for everyone, and everyone feels supported and cared for.
As I said at the beginning, we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper. We lost sight of that for a while and it has come back to bite us by taking our loved ones away.