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Life Reflections

With The Firm’s knee upon our neck, can we breathe?

By March 20, 2021June 6th, 2023No Comments

 March 19, 2021

When, with the breakout of this pandemic, the world community – at least most of it – was said to be joining a platform that would ensure a vaccine for everyone on earth, rich or poor, we ‘Third-Worlders’ threw a party. For once, we were going to be part of everyone.

And come April last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) must have celebrated, too. COVAX as the platform that would ensure equal access for everyone was here.

“Coordinated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and us”, cooed WHO, COVAX would guarantee participating countries get vaccines. Governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society, philanthropy, COVAX attracted their contributions all.

It would literally be a lifeline for every earthling. For it was true: “COVAX was the only global solution to this pandemic.”

Its aim was to have two billion doses available initially so that, in case of rich countries going for bilateral deals and swallowing up vaccines like kids swallow up candy, there’d also be enough for low-income economies. 5% would be put aside for those under nobody’s care, like refugees.

After all, as far as Covid-19 is concerned, no one is safe until everyone is safe.

It made sense to all economies.

Until the first vaccines were approved and all hell broke loose! The “in-case-of-rich-countries going-for-bilateral-deals……..” chickens had come home to roost.

It was a scene direct out of Capitol Hill, when frenzied Trump fanatics stormed The Capitol.

The grabbing and hoarding reminded you of the 2011 England/London riots that followed the shooting dead of Mark Duggan at the hands of police. Remember how looters braved arson and shootings that saw five of them dead to break into and ransack shops?

It was a madness that shook the UK and shocked us all.

You may also remember the 2016 Louisiana (USA) flooding. The dangerous floods that drowned or swept away whole buildings and occupants were not deterrent enough for looters. Nor was the fact of some of their own being swept away in looted vehicles laden to their racks with loot.

It was bad enough seeing such mayhems that involved citizens in parts of these advanced societies, but seeing their governments also engage in similar barbarity? In this 21st century, surely!

You’d have thought that their past destructions of innocent societies to their south, east and west would have injected some remorse into their hearts. And maybe taught them the virtue of living in gainful, mutual and symbiotic fraternity.

Gullible us, we never remembered the old adage: “A leopard never changes its spots”.

So, whole governments descended on vaccine manufacturers to grab and hoard more than their citizens needed, some having paid way before the vaccines were manufactured, let alone approved, and to hell with the rest of the world!

In fact, we watched in stupefaction as wrangles broke out amongst them, as they accused one another of keeping vaccines to themselves and denying them others. But, as we’d suspected, it proved to be a little matter among them. It was all in the family.

They are a family, an institution; they are The Firm.

And The Firm can press its knee on anybody but one of their own.

“No one is safe until everyone is safe”? A fig for that!

But first, disclaimer: I haven’t in any way gone personal with Trump, the interview between absconded royals and Oprah or a cartoon in a French magazine. It’s only my imagination running away with me.

As I was saying, then, ‘Third-Wolders’ were left to pick the crumbs.

Here in Rwanda, we partnered with others to obtain some vaccines. Then we got some more from whatever WHO and its COVAX managed to put together for the Third World and should get yet some more from our African Union.

With over 2% of Rwandans vaccinated in only these past two weeks, we can already boast some acts of goodwill that The Firm can never dream of.

Where in their countries government leaders jumped the que to get the shot before others in a show of heartless leadership, here first cases came first. This meant frontline healthcare workers, guidelines-enforcers, high-risk/vulnerable people and people in crowded places like prisons.

Prison one terrorist-suspect member of which is happy that he met a pastor who delivered him unto vaccine-nirvana land, where he escaped the bottom of the queue. But that’s a by-the-way.

After the other said-vaccinated, followed those whose interactions, and in places where capacities, could be regulated: people in leadership of all areas, in markets, transport, construction, et al.

All of the above which are not what Rwanda boasts that The Firm can’t. Rather, it’s that being host to refugee camps, she did not leave out any of the refugees in that vaccination effort.

The small lesson: in the eyes of Powerful Mother Nature, we are all simple little earthlings that should live harmoniously together. And as such, either we swim together or we’ll sink together.

The great Covid-19 lesson: anybody in all of humanity can fail to breathe, knee on neck or none.

On a different note, let’s remember the passing-away of President John P. Magufuli. RIP, Rais.

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