By Kofi Arkoh
First, there was a war of 5G with China and America exhibiting the superiority of their financial and economic powers and strengths. Then it came to what experts predicted as what could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back to a possible War between Iran and America (World War 3). This also saw the arrogant display of military powers and strengths. I bet in all these displays and competitions of financial and military strengths, a virus was hiding somewhere whispering to mankind that; take it easy, the next war will not be fought with economic strengths nor military strengths; the next war will be between humans and viruses and the weapons that will be required will not be drones nor fighter jets nor weapons of mass destruction, that war be will be fought at the science labs and research centers with the rest of humans staying at home for their own good.
For those of us in Africa, we least anticipated that a virus that started with few cases in a little corner of the world could spread its icy wings to cover almost every part of the world. Scary? Not really. Because? The world has seen the worst kind of pandemics yet and this one is not one of them, at least for now. What makes it an interesting item of enquiry is how a virus with such low mortality rate and high recovery rate could succeed in bringing the whole world to a screeching halt and getting people to lay down their tools of work only to cower into their homes with hopes of seeing this thing over for the world to return to its usual vibrancy.
Some say the virus was able to achieve this feat because of its high level of infection rate. Some way it’s written in the book as part of its end time tales. Some say it’s a bioweapon with a sinister motive of moving the world to a cashless society in addition to reducing our population. Some asks how come the virus is deliberately infecting and killing more elderly people? Some say way it’s nature’s own method of testing mankind’s strength of might and resilience to prepare us for what is to come in the future. But what is to come in the future?
Well, as to whether all these theories that have been told to the world in their various forms are true or not, I may not be able to side with them in any certain terms. My focus is on how this virus had put to test our institutions and economies of various sizes, the wisdom and discretion of political leaderships, and existing systems and how to a larger part we failed the test.
From where I stand, if the virus was an examiner and this was an end of year exams, then on the global scale, we failed. And I reason we failed because we weren’t prepared for it, that many of the political leaderships thought it was a situation that will affect only the Chinese area of the world, that we failed to learn from history, that we did not spend time and resources investing into areas that could position us to conquer outbreaks of this nature.
Though, I admit some countries learnt quickly enough and put in drastic measures in ensuring the safety of their people, some more made too many mistakes till the situation overwhelmed them.
Frankly, Covid-19 has exposed to us the weakness of our social systems, healthy systems and the incompetency of our governments. It has challenged ideologies and economic systems and forced us to ask ‘why not try the other way and see the outcome?’. It has forced us to think to consider various measures we would have hitherto not considered.
The way forward
No matter the extent of the situation as I write this, we know covid-19 will pass and go just like the others. But then again, though we may be done with the virus in the not so distant future, viruses in general will (may) not be done with us. They will (may) come again as covid-19 came after the SARS and the MERS. Question, how do we position ourselves strategically, first domestically and next globally? There are several lessons we can learn from this crisis period to help us forge a more solid social and economic systems for the future. But then again, the one thing historic about history is that we fail to learn from history. I only hope this time will be different. I hope our now and next conversations will foster around solid health systems, ready institutions and good social and economic systems that will safeguard our people in times of crisis.
As many countries are towing the line of self-preservation and observing religiously the idea of ‘my people first’, as it is just the right thing to do this time, like what happens in any other crisis, I hope it will offer Ghana and Africa some lessons in building our local economies to a point they can be able to take care of our people in the future. As an individual, are you picking any lessons? Are you picking lessons that could help you safeguard yourself and your family in the future? Remember, in times of crisis, those who learn and use what they learnt to position themselves for the future are the ones who survive and thrive in the evolved order that come after crisis. I cannot tell you what to do or what not to do, you know what to do. Make this period count.
Kofi Arkoh is a writer and founder of ARKOH Services; a writing, research and content development group in Ghana. He writes his observations and views. Keep in touch on 0541788442 or email@example.com