Apocalypse – Part 2
Continued from yesterday
She, more than any person, taught me the real meaning of life and what is really important to spend your time and energy on. Certainly not on amassing material wealth! The whole metaphor of the painting in my office has taken a new meaning with the current COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the whole world to its proverbial knees. Who would have thought that this virus would be such a leveler? All the power in the world, the armament -submarines, nuclear missiles, drones capable of so much destruction by remote operations and the attendant bellicosity have been to no avail. America, the superpower, has been completely humbled – no masks, no PPE, no tests, no ventilators, no treatment, no morgues. What? America?? In the last 30 years or so, America has spent trillions on wars, declared repeated tax cuts to appease the industrial class, and outsourced manufacturing to China and Mexico and service jobs to India, while neglecting its own infrastructure. Any wonder the country has found itself in this mess?
The current pandemic shall pass, and the world must learn lasting lessons. As somebody has put it so well “When the dust settles, we will realize how little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connection”. More than anything else, I hope and pray we reorder our priorities and sense of values along the following lines:
Why do we pay professional sports people so much money? In the final analysis, what do they contribute to society in tangible terms? The whole concept of professional sport is oxymoronic. We end up confusing young men and women who would have aspired to more lofty goals in life. Many waste their youth chasing ephemeral and unrealistic dreams. Most of those who make it to the professional ranks end up with messed up minds and bodies. Sports should be enjoyed as pastimes that promote health and convivial competition, not as a do or die, drug-enhanced activity that pushes the body way beyond its physiological limits.
The arts are essential for cultural development and enhancement of quality of life. Artists deserve encouragement and prominence in society. However, it’s not every movie star, musician or whatever performer that should be revered and idolized. Pedophiles, diabolical minds and other dregs should be promptly called out and denigrated. Otherwise, they pollute young minds and corrupt the society in general.
Why are corrupt politicians so brain-addled that they do not realize that when they steal their people’s wealth, they hurt everybody, including themselves? This is especially true of African leaders who go into a mad frenzy of competitive looting and leave their communities completely devoid of any decent infrastructure. Now that they cannot travel outside their shores for treatment of their COVID-19 status, maybe they will realize the folly of their ways and put things right in their domains.
Why teachers are not paid a decent wage and given the respect they deserve? Everyone knows that teachers nurture the future generations of our society. It only stands to reason that they should enjoy prominence and be remunerated accordingly.
Our first responders and healthcare teams, who indeed, are our saviors when the chips are down, need all the recognition they deserve.
Another looming cataclysmic reality that will befall the world is related to climate change. This is the time to listen to scientists and start to prepare seriously to mitigate the potential devastation. It’s only a question of time. Decision-making cannot be left in the hands of some of the nincompoops currently in power.
All nations of the world have to sincerely commit to lasting peace. The powerful and the lowlier nations should know we are all in this together and we are, in fact, interdependent. Any deliberate policy to impoverish and destabilize another nation can and will boomerang.
There will be a post-pandemic realignment of powers and no doubt China is in ascendancy, while America is in decline. This will lead to enormous rivalry, which we pray will not lead to war.
We should always remember, just as the painting depicts that sudden ruptures of all we hold dear and consider as norms can unfold at such a pace that we become helpless and hapless. What sustain us are our relationships at the primal human level. This must always be cherished above all else, as is our faith and relationship with God. What gives me the most pride and joy about the painting is when I tell my visitors that the artist is my son, Akinyinka, who is currently based in Hollywood, California. This piece is dedicated to him.
This piece was written in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.
Professor Adekile wrote from Department of Pediatrics, Kuwait University.
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