The spread of epidemics regionally and globally causing death to human lives on a large scale has been a recurring factor on this planet earth. This time it is Covid-19, a new global pandemic haunting humanity with all its dread and horror. With its first breakout in December 2019 in China’s Wuhan city, it has spread its tentacles all over the world.
So far millions are infected and thousands have died of the epidemic. The toll is fast increasing, heralding an unprecedented catastrophe to human beings. The devastation and panic created by the epidemic have led to deserted roads, social isolation, the shutdown of industries, the lockdown of towns, cities, and countries. It seems if this break out of Covid-19 pandemic is going to outnumber the casualties caused by the spread of epidemics in the past.
Let aside the poor economies, countries with the most modern health facilities are helpless in combating the epidemic and bringing about a reduction in the havoc being caused. The states which do not stop boast of their sophisticated weaponry with accurate target precision, to wreak havoc with human lives, seem to have found themselves in the wilderness.
In this time of horror and panic created by the New Corona Virus, we should not forget other catastrophes that humans inflict upon humans. These human inflicted catastrophes also demand similar attention and urgent redressal. Therefore, Covid-19 pandemic forces many people like me to ponder over other bitter realities responsible for an increased death toll than any natural disaster or pandemic.
Millions of people are killed, tortured, made handicapped, widowed, orphaned, and displaced from homes and ancestral places in wars imposed by big powers to exploit the resources in different parts of the world. Deaths and other miseries caused by the war imposed on Yemen by Saudi-led coalition forces alone would outnumber the worldwide deaths potentially be caused by Covid-19.
According to different studies, more than half a million people have been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since the start of the US-led war in the name of terror. More than four million people have been murdered in Syria in the last eight years. Similarly, tens and hundreds of Palestinians are being killed by Israel every year in a world acting as a silent spectator.
People voicing against fascist policies are brutally attacked and killed and subjected to live in uncertain conditions in mainland India. More than eight million Kashmiris have been put under a virtual lockdown for the last many months in Indian-held Kashmir. The situation is not different in Pakistan too. People belonging to different fields of life i.e. political and nationalist activists, academics, journalists, social workers, etc. are subjected to torture, forced abduction, and in any cases subjected to murder over their struggle for basic human and political rights.
In face of the above bitter realities, I wonder if the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic does make any difference to people in war and violence-hit regions. For them, death can come at any moment in form of a wholesale massacre in any missile attack or a bomb blast. Corona Virus might provide these people more of a respite from the war brutalities than any other fear. Similarly, will it make any difference to families who see their kids die due to a lack of food and medical facilities in Thar Desert Pakistan, and other underprivileged parts of the world?
Thus, the difference Covid-19 does make is that it has terrorized states and their patrons who impose wars for their never-ending greed. The virus also has instilled fear and terror in the people who have acted as mere spectators to wars their governments impose on others. But, for people with no guarantee of life owing to frequent military attacks, pandemics make very little difference.
Let’s hope that some cure will be invented for Covid-19 sooner or later in a similar way it did counter the spread of epidemics in past. However, the big question “Will the world also find any for political and economic pandemics caused by the never-ending greed of big powers?” will, unfortunately, seem to remain unanswered.