Pandemic a test to our humanity, morals and common sense

Wednesday May 13 2020
By ABIGAIL ARUNGA

It seems to be too much to ask for a little humanity in this Covid-19 time.

It feels like nothing about the fundamentals of society has changed, what with the greediest nation on earth (America) insisting that it must open its country again and the rest of the countries of the world following suit.

Do we blame this on capitalism? If the world ever needed proof that the rich cannot survive without the poor working, then this is it. Capitalism is a plague perpetuated by a few for the benefit of the few, after all, and the result is that – now, most of the world is just mean.

Somehow, making money has become more important than human life. In the countries doing better with this virus, the ones with female leaders such as New Zealand and Germany, they are buckling down for the long haul. There’s no way public gatherings or anything like cinemas and parties are going to be allowed, until at least in September. Meanwhile Georgia, in the States, is trying to open up theatres in May.

Or do we simply not understand that this is not just a flu? Sure, it has the symptoms, but it has no vaccine, and we have no resources. What presents as a simply flu elsewhere will not do the same thing here. If the numbers blow up, we’re messed up. That Sh40 billions number that is being bandied about cannot, and I repeat, cannot, be trusted. They’re not trying to fight this for you. You saw what happened with the money that was supposed to go to donations. Half of it was stolen. And the people in charge have not been arrested.

The police have no masks, and are arresting people with no masks, who don’t have masks because, among other things, the Nairobi parallel government refuses to distribute any, or give a clear mandate determining who gets which mask and which is efficient for what. Not only are the police arresting people with no masks, they are also arresting people who work in essential services. From the first day, these ill-trained police have been harassing food delivery persons, and medical personnel. Do you hear that? Nurses and doctors are still being arrested. Your president has not reduced rent, nor addressed and punished his police bosses. Your president, who apparently, represents you and your best interests.

Let today not be the day that I harp on about leadership – today is the day I harp on about the trickle down effects of, like I said, a lack of humanity where dealing with a worldwide pandemic is concerned.

Children are at home, and already there are murmurings of them going back to school. For the record, no matter what the world tells you, schooling is not essential. Teachers are essential to good schooling, definitely, but not school itself. Not now. Are people just tired of their children or what? I am not sure why we are trying to send Class Two children back to school. And when I say school, I mean physical school. There are also the jokers who insist on a full term’s school fees for online learning – full, inclusive of transport, which the parents are paying for.  They are also assuming that everyone has at least two computers at home – one for the child to school on, and another one from which the parents can work. I heard a prominent girls’ high school is also directing children to be in uniform when they are participating in online learning. This all sounds ridiculous to me. What exactly are we trying to maintain here? Order and routine? Hierarchy? Now, of all times? This is why these poor kids think that they have to kill themselves when they fail exams. Because they have been shown that it is passing, or else.

To learn what of such importance, I wonder? Why would we send masses of children back to (physical) school, and create bigger breeding grounds for the virus?

Someone needs to explain to me how this would work.  Schools cannot function at capacity. Would that mean only half of the kids go back? Will they be tested before they go back, and every two weeks after that? And with which tests, anyway, now that we’re not doing mass testing? Testing that many schoolchildren surely counts as mass testing, which can be better apportioned to those at risk, seeing as statistically, children get and recover quickly from this disease? How is KCPE so important that the lives of children are placed behind it?

We cannot keep operating as if things are normal. They are not.

Twitter: @AbigailArunga