Asking the right questions

Asking the right questions

Run the age of the philosopher through the perspective of the modern or current moment in time. Go on and have a look to make an analysis at the history of humankind on earth and the likely response shall be: Human beings are in their very nature moving, socialising, and talking beings. The introduction of the new set of rules and their bylaws aimed at controlling or fully restricting the ‘normal’ characteristics of the human being is as is usually seen bound to come up to the point where certain questions have to be asked.

The demands of the moment cannot be ignored, but there are certain issues that are pertinent to the issue of human relations that cannot afford to be infringed upon by the rules and bylaws or the instigators cum enforcers thereof. In simple terms, no law or rule can be passed sans the cognition of the honour and the superiority of the human creature regarding both his sanctity as an individual and loyalty as a patriotic citizen. Orders based on such a law are in simple terms autocratic and/or draconian. They therefore should be given heed in an in-depth manner before orders are given by the authorities for their instigation without regard to the sacredness of the character of the human creature.

Made by humans, these laws, rules and regulations can therefore not be made without regard for human honour and sanctity. There is no line of difference between the lawmakers and the populace, no ‘we and them’ type of relationship. The maintenance of the balance of powers demands even more careful appreciation when the demands of the moment tend to be harsher than usual. Given the current circumstances where the entire earth is facing the danger posed by the Coronavirus, it would be inappropriate if such laws as are made to counter the effects of the spread of the disease are not observed closely enough to render them useful for the maintenance of peaceful human relations.

If it comes to a point where the armed services are seen carrying batons and truncheons, rifles and pistols in a civilian environment, then it means the law is being misinterpreted by those actually vested with the appropriate passing of laws. This pattern needs to be addressed with immediate effect where the occurrences reveal a sketch where the interaction between the armed policing services and the citizens ends in injuries and fatalities. There is in simple terms no line of difference between the officer and the citizen, both are actually legal inhabitants living in the same land facing the same disease outbreak. When their interaction turns to altercation, then it is time to ask the right questions.

It is a fact that those who are assigned the task of saving the nation from the Coronavirus should not be found to be the actual or the potential spreaders of the disease due to their apparent lack of understanding. When it comes to dealing with pandemics, such laws or rules as those installed by the appropriate global safety and health authorities should be observed by all regardless their social standing. The issue of dealing with human pandemics and disease outbreaks demands that all should be on an equal footing in terms of treatment or regard by the legal and relevant authorities.

All should be afforded the same equal rights because the disease or pestilence ultimately affects all that come to interact in the course of its lifespan equally. It therefore vexes understanding why one sees reports of incidents where the security forces are seen to use excessive force when there is a bigger issue of dealing with the plague that is in full spate. There is need to understand that the disease is the main point of focus that should be understood in full before people get excited about how they are going to interact. Lack of insight and foresight about the disease will contribute to its spread if all the parties involved seek first to assert their identity and authority. The disease does not care what level one is on the status quo, it affects all with equal reprimand.

There is actually very little information on the disease except calls to wash hands against the unknown. There is actually very little apart from these bits of information from the authorities about how we should deal with the disease. In a yes man type of environment where pleasing everyone is the norm, it would be said to appease the people and say that we are winning.
But the real question that addresses the issue of the lack of in-depth information would want to know; how do we deal with what we have little understanding of? Information on every available platform about the inner ramifications of the Coronavirus should have been passed on to the masses at this point in time by the relevant authorities. We have had other flu plagues previously and the manner with which they were dealt with was not as shallow and indifferent to the concerns of the common people as this one we are going through at this point.

There is clear evidence that the use of fear as a tool for the control of the masses is bearing bitter fruits, and this raises the question: is there need for violence where human beings have to be made aware of the danger of not observing set laws and rules? The use of fear to control human beings in actual fact leads to their rebellion and stampeding where there is little room given to move (look at the case of shops being opened for limited hours).

Prohibition never stopped anyone, what are stronger in the determination of human behaviour are the everyday realities and challenges the human is going through or has to go through. The baton, the boots, the knuckles and the guns never stopped any spirit of survival, humans will naturally revolt if locked down for extended periods. If humans could survive sabre toothed cats in the beginnings of human history, how can they not survive bullets, boots, knuckles and insults? 

How then shall we monitor the trajectory of the pestilence if power games seem to be the lead concern at this point in time? Once again, what are the medical professionals doing to assure us, why are there no warnings against excessive contact between the members of the armed service and their ‘quarry’?

The reality we share living in the Coronavirus times is that there is the constant ‘rise and fall,’ ‘fall and rise’ movement that means that one should always hold on tight to the set rules if we are to succeed in the fight to stay free from the Coronavirus. This degree of commitment in terms of dealing with the disease is reflected in the deeds of all citizens regardless their status if we are all aimed at reaching the desired goal of stemming the tide of the virus.

If one of us lets go even for a second for the sake of slaking their thirst for violence then the dream is bound to be lost. We shall surely come to a point where we regret if those in the armed service do not understand that they should treat other members of society with the respect due to every human.

Where the vain declaration that “I am officer so and so and I need to teach you the law…” becomes the norm, then the national dream to keep the virus out will be thrown to the winds of time where the answer that will come will be in the form of a weak, “We fell on hard times…” because the regular speech we will make then on a daily basis will only be on our failure to deal with what is currently plaguing us.

It is the wisest move not to obey the sinkhole conspiracy theories of a more tepid age in the past where the world could afford to live at a snail’s pace. People succeed because they understand the current circumstances and are able to use their technologies fairly well enough not to be bothered by any challenge or problem that comes along. There is in this case no need for the kind of attitude that may lead the human race to the point where they would have to rush just to feel normal. The reality of the present times is that one as an individual should stay more up than down if they are to succeed against the outbreak.

In whatever endeavours they may choose to undertake either in the natural call of nature to fill the belly for the sustenance of one or to busy the body for reasons of good health, the people should not be abused. To succeed in the broad sense termed as ‘life in the city,’ one somehow ends up believing in not sleeping before they reach their dream. This means that suggesting or ordering lockdown to and upon such an individual demands the act to be civil enough to inculcate understanding and not apprehension or fear as seems to be the case at this point in time.    

As a nation, we are often too polite when it comes to addressing issues that affect us negatively, for example; there has never been any diligent effort to deal with the unsavoury repercussions of poverty, unemployment and disease on a forum level. What one has seen thus far are campaigns that far often than less seem aimed at polishing the countenances of the campaign leader rather than to address the real long term effects of the scourges plaguing the society.

The campaigns are well and good and the intentions behind them are honourable enough, but the fact of the matter is that they do not provide needed long-term solutions to the problems that are prevalent in different societies across the continent, or to be specific, local communities with diverse needs. The current trend is a living example of how different governments that have ruled this state in the more than five decades of independence have never actually understood the power of the spirit of true unity.

These political figures seem to fail to understand the simple fact that the ‘we and them’ spirit of the past times has now come to its date of expiry. There has always been the misconstrued assertion that state control of every aspect of human life will garner success for the larger economy and state, but the truth is that the government is found lacking in terms of policy and implementation to address the challenges of epidemics. This is the point where uniting for the sake of one goal becomes paramount need for our success and survival. In this case, there is no ‘we and them’, there is only one united nation.

There is a pattern of the history of mankind in the world; wars will be incited by kings and generals, young men will go to these wars and come back in body bags, or with minds lost from shellshock and the horrendous conditions on the battlefield: then peace will be made and the youth are forgotten as new governments are formed. The only thing most have to show for their selfless efforts as reward are a few rusty medals and useless citations that will grant them no livelihood in the newly found peace of the post-war era. This time around, the foe is against all of mankind, does not discriminate, and the only way we shall be able to deal with it is only if we adopt an attitude of unity. It has come to a point where the only way we have is if we choose to agree to the reality of the moment, and to accommodate non-violent and novel ways to dealing with such challenges as mass disease breakouts.  

Though the simple reality is that we need money to keep going on, we are sadly confronted with the reality that money is not shared enough, with some parties that have it choosing to hoard it in different ways instead of sharing it with the rest of the community. It is often out of pride that the little cash we have as African people is actually used for purposes other than the upliftment of the rest of society out of the clutches of poverty that plagues the continent.

Selfishness as a reality was seen and those who countered it that include Patrice Lumumba, Steve Biko, Thomas Sankara, Chris Hani and Colonel Muammar Gadaffi are gone. The wheels of time have dealt us a new sleight of hand that finds the world having to share all that they have with their fellow human beings. The truth is that we need each other at this point in time; there is need to draw from the lives of those individuals that saw it before it occurred that it will be as it is in these Coronavirus days.

Time is of every essence, and being in time, being on time, being out of time are all determining factors in terms of eradicating the scourge of the virus. We cannot hope to get out of it alive if we have no respect for each other as human beings, if we are still divided into ‘we and them’.

Tšepiso S. Mothibi

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