BY PROF DR HALIMU SHAURI
(Dean; School of Humanities and Social Sciences; Pwani University)
Humanity struggles for certain values and ideals. The latter is a strong motivation and criteria that makes life worth living and struggles and hustling worth the struggle and hustle respectively.
We live to see a better future. Day by day we invest our efforts and energy, individually and collectively to reach the ideal. What constitutes the ideal types? You are asking!
One of the epitomes of human ideals is status. Humanity wants to struggle, individually and collectively to attain status.
Individuals want to be top and countries want to be recognized by others as better.
There are even measurements to signify this effort with individuals being classified as High, Medium and Low class statuses and countries as High, Medium and Low Income.
Alas, COVID-19 has destroyed this classification as has made us classless with regard to the infection. High, Medium or Low class or income countries, we are all susceptible to corona virus infection.
Thus, keep aside your class and let’s maintain personal hygiene, wash hands and keep social distance together-no boss here!
The other ideal, which was going berserk of late, is beauty. On the one hand, you would hardly recognize faces of ladies and even women you know.
The face lifts, bum bumpers and lifters, eye shadows, some of weird colours, lip gloss and bums, the dressings coming in body shapes, pencils, “tumbo cuts” “spaghettis”, leaving nothing to chance or to guess to the hunters.
On the other hand, men were working hard in the gym to produce biceps and triceps, and wah! Doing facials, manicure and pedicure, a preserve of ladies during my heydays, but today’s men also want to be beautiful instead of being handsome as we used to be! Whether, a man or woman, lady or gentleman, we are all equal before COVID-19.
Keep your beauty and handsomeness aside and follow corona prevention guidelines. If you have nose-lings or lipstick or bum, please cover your nose and mouth, COVID-19 has made them our new set of private parts.
Money in my community has many slogans such as “pesa unavundza mlima”, literally translated as money can soften a mountain. Another one “Pesa imtswano”, literary translated, money is sweet” and many more.
Alas, COVID-19 has made it not useful anymore. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, the virus will sting you if you don’t do the basics that even the poor are doing, washing your hands, keeping social distance etc.
Interestingly, when you catch it, you will be treated here with those without money, no seeking specialized treatment abroad.
You will make do with the unspecialized treatment that you thought was solely and solemnly a preserve of the poor.
Worse with your money you may find yourself in your former village secondary school, that you have not been helping with your money, as the selected government isolation centre. Billionaires, business moguls, consultants, politicians and heads of state and governments, we have all become the equal in the face of COVID-19. Humble yourself and follow the seemingly simple guidelines like all of us.
However, when you have status, beauty and money, you have power. However, there are a few of us who are neither having status, beauty and money nor powerful, probably because they can move or influence power.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I sound a warning to those who have power to use it well and help us fight COVID-19.
Of late some powerful and rich people have been behaving in a manner careless amidst the threats of corona.
Indeed, some, the political elites, have been gathering a few of their sycophants in parties and drinking meetings oblivious of the COVID-19 risks.
Others have turned to be suddenly philanthropic making residents congregate to get their COVID-19 relief ration at the expense of catching corona. I don’t refuse philanthropy, but it must be done within the COVID-19 relief guidelines.
If the country doesn’t have the guidelines, I strongly recommend to the national coordinating centre to have clear COVID-19 relief guidelines developed and publicized immediately.
Finally, whether you have high status, beautiful, have money or wealthy and even powerful, COVID-19 does not fear the arrogance that goes with these traits corona is a humbling experience that has demonstrated we all need but just the basics.
If you can fly, there are no flights or places to go to even if you have a private or presidential jet. If you want to travel with your limousine or Mark or BMW or V8, while in Nairobi or Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi, you can, but like a caged animal, just inside the cage. If you are very beautiful, you can brag but we can’t see your nose and mouth, especially the lips as they are covered by the face mask.
Worse, with your beauty you can’t express the hidden and unspoken innate value or desire of beauty because of social distancing. All in all, we are all humbled amidst COVID-19. Thus, the low class, ugly, poor or powerless, and vice versa we need each other equally in arresting the spread of COVID-19.
Anyone’s mistake in not following the guidelines affects all of us regardless of who we are!