I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.
by Morak Babajide-Alabi
Amid the Coronavirus brouhaha, there is a tendency to overlook some other important events in the world. The pandemic has got everyone on their toes and all we attend to from morning till night is how fast the virus is spreading and threatening to wipe off humanity. The world is in a panic mode as the virus that started from the poor feeding habit of the people of Wuhan, China, continues to ravage the world.
You would not condemn the Chinese that believes bats are delicacies to enjoy. Could we judge them, if bats constitute their sole sources of micronutrients? No, that can’t be right. However, they chose in their wisdom to consume bats. There is no doubt that they had been doing this through the ages, and no grave damage had been done as we witness currently. There is the need to investigate what the Chinese did wrong in 2019 that elevated eating bats to a hazardous level. Did they mix it up with something else? Or they consumed the undesirable species of bats?
For once in recent times in the United Kingdom, the Coronavirus pandemic shifted attention away from the over-flogged BREXIT issue. Ironically, BREXIT, that has been the often discussed topic in the media, has fizzled into oblivion. In the United States of America, it has also slowed the momentum on the campaigns for the 2020 Presidential Elections. In Israel, the corruption crisis of Benjamin Netanyahu, the formation of a unity government has taken the back seat. In Iran, seeking solutions on how to curtail the virus is currently more important than pursuing a nuclear ambition.
COVID-19 is a leveller. It has no respect for the poor or the rich. You could say it is ageist, as it has been killing off the elderlies in a substantial number than it does to the middle age. This is understandable as the immune system becomes weak as we get older and underlying issues manifest. We have always known that individuals with poor hygiene habits are dangerous to the world and this pandemic has proved they are the best conduit pipes for the spread.
The situation has further shown how vulnerable the people of the world are. We travel through continents and in the process, carry germs and deposit them in different parts of the world. Outside China, the Italians, Iranians and South Koreans are worst hit by the virus. Italy is the gateway in the European continent and the number is increasing daily in a country that boasts of one of the best health systems in the world. The deaths are uncontainable as it runs out of mortuary spaces to keep them. The realisation informed the decision of the leaders to place the country on lockdown. A few other countries, like Norway and the Republic of Ireland, with fewer cases, are taking pre-emptive steps, by closing schools.
Donald Trump, the US president took his time before accepting that COVID-19 constitutes a national emergency. At a press conference on Friday, Trump announced the provision of $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the pandemic. He had made light of the issue in recent times, prompting jokes about his sensibilities on social media. He took a rather political, more than health, decision to suspend travel from mainland Europe excluding the United Kingdom and Turkey) to the USA. This has been described as irrational and a downer to the world economy. Who cares?
As at press time the UK government is nevertheless trying to ride the pandemic out. They are hoping on “delaying” the onslaught of the virus till summertime. However, with the rising number of cases and the news of the health minister Nadine Dorries testing positive to the virus, it is a long shot.
Enough said about this virus. Let us all resolve we shall not be defeated by it. We must, however, not allow it to distract us from remembering the 51 innocent people that lost their lives in the unprovoked attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, a year ago today. Not to place them in our hearts means we have succumbed to the wishes of the deranged Brentton Tarrant. The 28-year old Australian that inflicted the ghastliest terror in the history of the peaceful town.
I had written in this column on March 24 last year: “For minutes the world was hooked on to terror in a dimension never seen before. It was too graphic to be real, many thought as they watch. It took a while to sink into the consciousness of some as they watched the deranged man shoot defenceless people. Some momentarily thought they were watching a clip from a yet to be released blockbuster.
“The world watched as Tarrant gunned down the man who welcomed him with love to the Al Noor mosque. This innocence in the “muted” voice and action of the man is heart-breaking as he said, “hello brother.” Tarrant must have been enraged further by the welcoming disposition of one of the “invaders” of the west – the Muslims.”
It was an attack that no words can justify. The intent of the killer was plain and simple – to kill as many Muslims as he could. A deranged man Brentton was, but he was just one of the many individuals who “burn” with hatred of the faith of others. They come in various shapes nowadays, but under the same umbrella – nationalism. This is the era when individuals are hailed for saying derogatory words about other races or faiths.
The words of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardem during the memorial service last week rings a bell. She said: “A year on, I believe New Zealand and its people have fundamentally changed. I can’t see how you could have an event like this and not. But the challenge for us will be ensuring that in our everyday actions – and in every opportunity where we see bullying, harassment, racism, discrimination – calling it out as a nation.”
Let us give a thought to the people of New Zealand as they relive, all over again, the day terror came calling on their doorsteps. In the same vein, the world must unite to say no to hatred and so many other evils. Among such evils are rape and sexual assault. The world will be a better place if we can all stand up and shout down the individuals who take delight in causing pain to others.
In this category is Harvey Weinstein, the former Hollywood A-Lister. Last week was the beginning of a new era for him, the start of a journey to a dark place where he will have the opportunity to think over his past life. He was imprisoned for 23 years for his sexual assault offences. Weinstein is a man notorious for sexually assaulting women that came his way. He was a man in an influential position who exploited this to oppress whoever came his way.
That is the world free of one sexual predator. There are, nonetheless, many of them on the loose, but we know that Karma is patient. The world will catch up with them before they are allowed to follow the Jeffrey Epstein route. For Weinstein, this is a stage in his life, devoid of the retinue of paid barristers, celebrity friends, hangers-on and others who tell him words that satisfy his soul. From now onwards, it will be Weinstein and Weinstein’s conscience in a miserable prison room, as he painfully and slowly counts down to the end of his life.
As written for the Diaspora Matters column, Sunday Vanguard March 15, 2020.