FROM WHERE I STAND

I know that the novel Corona virus or Covid-19 has become a hot topic on the lips of everyone – you simply can’t avoid it. The ubiquitous presence of this invisible, silent killer has the world running helter-skelter, or rather, confined withing the walls of their homes like prisoners. Fears of global economic collapse, overburdened health-care systems, starvation & the death of loved ones has brought the world to its knees with nobody really knowing what the future holds. Such fears have even driven some to extreme lengths. One particular incident which surfaced recently was the passing of Thomas Schaffer, the Finance Minister of Germany’s Hesse State who committed suicide due to him being “deeply worried“ over the crisis. He was actively involved in a scheme to provide financial assistance to distressed organisations and people. Apparently, he saw no way out of this perilous situation. Why is this so worrying to the masses as opposed to countless other despicable shit that goes on in the world on a daily?  I guess situations are more worrying when it affects more than just the poor, the weak, the outcasts, those that were accustomed to turmoil and heartache. That’s right, this virus doesn’t discriminate – your colour, creed or social standing mean nothing.

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People are so concerned about the plight of our world and what the future holds that they find themselves constantly on the prowl for new information – probing & scouring the net for the latest reports and updates. Many do so with disregard and indiscriminately take in & spread whatever information they come across. At times, even ludicrous claims and scenarios which don’t even make the slightest bit of sense to any person with half a brain. Things so dumb and ridiculous, that even at face- value, it requires no investigation to determine that it’s total and utter bullshit. Funny enough, these are the same mother fuckers who are the self-proclaimed “experts” on the corona virus, the Whatsapp message forwarders, the Facebook complainers, modern-day kvetches, the doomsday preppers that bought out Aisles 1-3 at Checkers to have his neighbour returning home to his family without bare essentials. All you’ll hear is the same damn shit, “I’m so bored, I have nothing to do!”, “I don’t know what I’m going to do if I can’t go to gym”, “I miss take-outs so much”, “I’m going crazy being at home”. While you cry about your first-world problems there’s a man who worries how he will bring home the daily bread to feed his family, a woman watering down the milk to keep her household going for just that little bit longer, an essential worker who doesn’t even get to be with his/her family and is forced to turn down a warm hug from their little ones upon returning home, the health-care worker who lays his/her life on the line for others, a man who has no home to go to, sick people who don’t even have the comfort of their loved ones nearby for their last days on earth, that Argentine cab driver who fears his vehicle being repossessed or a person in the slums/ghettos/barrios/locations/favelas/shanties who can barely keep away from people due to overcrowding.

Stress levels are at an all-time high. How many new cases are we on? When will the lockdown end? When will we go back to work? What does this mean for the economy? Did you see the Rand-Dollar exchange rate? Whilst these are real and valid concerns, remember that we are human at the end of the day. Certain things are simply out of our control and only the almighty knows what lies ahead. It is our duty to play our part, be a little less selfish and look at the bigger picture.  I have a lot of broader questions that I could never quite wrap my head around. Like how do we spend 50 million Dollars on fighter-jets and still have kids starving? We are battling a disease with a relatively low mortality rate, but does the world even care about preventable things ACTUALLY killing people all over the world? How is it that we have a dominant 1% in the world holding so much wealth whilst millions worldwide live below the poverty line? How do animals get treated like royalty and held in the highest esteem whilst people are tortured, raped, sold into slavery/the sex trade like mere property? How do we have couples crying, praying for a child in their life whilst people out here throwing babies in the garbage?

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Why the doom and gloom rhetoric all of a sudden? “We better kick our asses into gear and take steps or many people may die”. These sentiments being shared by many leaders the world over. Haha well not in those exact words but you get where I’m coming from. Okay I get it – the situation is bad; the world is sick and it’s falling apart… The world is sick alright – sicker than you think but not in the way you think!  Personally, I think that the world is suffering from a much worse disease, a disease of the heart, and its consequences are just as dire.  Each person is entitled to their opinion and I have mine.

With the current situation in the world, the dirtiness of our hearts and ugliness of humanity has certainly reared its head, with people charging exorbitant prices for essentials. The same communities that supported them year after year bear the brunt of commercialist greed, Employers forcing their workers to endanger their lives for the betterment of the business with threats of unemployment/retrenchment hanging over them, newly established opportunists buying out health-safety stocks only to outrageously mark-up prices. What the hell are we doing? When will we realise that we are all that we got?

This shit doesn’t surprise me in the least. Historically, the most unfortunate of situations bring out the worst in people. Its sad that the countries who have the most, rape and pillage countries of their resources, usually those with a struggling lower class. The love of power and world domination has fueled nothing but hatred, famine, war and destruction.

In the contest of the most deplorable human beings on earth we have some seriously strong contestants. Behind door number 1, we have the great American Warlord – whose likes include bomb raids on hospitals & civilian populations in the middle of the night, depriving minorities of their rights, denying basic health-care to his people and his absolute favourite, sending poor people to kill other poor people –  firing weapons that’s costs more than he makes in a year….gotta love him!  Behind door number 2 is the ever so lovely power-hungry Middle- Eastern Dictator. They call him Lion, but I guess Black-widow would be more apt. You can be this mans significant other and he will STILL bite your head off. His likes include hindering government aid & relief, starving his people to death, child murder, selling his people out, using chemical warfare and you guessed it… he loves bombing hospitals as well.  If you thought our last contestant was a gem, be prepared to be blown away (literally) by this absolute legend who will give you a master class in compassion & love. Behind door number 3 might just be your dream lover. This man will make himself quite at home and has no problem settling in to new environments. He comes from a long line of leaders that simply do what they do best. A culture that has been handed down from his predecessors and you’ll be amazed at how much he doesn’t give a fuck.  He can’t count for shit, but don’t let that deter you. All it means is that he won’t even know much money he steals. If you’re looking for your prince charming, an absolute piece of work who will make you false promises and sell you dreams – look no further. His likes include inciting violence, corruption, distracting people from his cunning ways, evading justice as well as living like a high-roller while his people suffer with the highest rates of poverty & unemployment. Isn’t that just beautiful? Lastly on our list of beautiful contestants and the second American entry on our prodigious list we have Mr. Burnt orange man himself. If you’re a super racist, right-wing supporter, Islamophobe or Ku Klux Klan member, you are going to love this guy. He hails from a country that’s built on the blood, sweat and tears of minorities. His likes include exploiting foreign minorities and turning on them when they are most in need, building walls to keep them out (guess he didn’t have Legos as a kid), siding with oppressors, manipulating the truth and speaking out of his ass with a confidence that’s incomparable. He is such a smooth-talking charmer that he’ll have you hating the good guys and just adoring the tyrants.  But hey Satan, since it’s your lucky day and we find ourselves in the new world order, you can have them all. Just take your pick! I sure hope that we don’t get thrown into this conjugal relationship because there ain’t no turning back. It’s difficult to make another way once you have chosen a path and decided to walk it.

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Do you think these guys are bad? What about all of us who turn a deaf hear to the cries of the oppressed? I bring it up and I’m a kill-joy, a party-pooper to the escapades of all you online celebrities. I bet if I tagged you in a meme you’d be all giddy. Keep that shit far away from your mind because it doesn’t affect YOUR world; don’t think about it, because how else are you going to have yourself a good time.  What kind of animals are we if we indulge and have the most luxurious lives while our neighbour tries to sleep on a hungry stomach, digging his hands into his tummy to give himself the false feeling of being satiated? Find this last point hard to understand? Well its kind of what many people do with the clothes they wear, the cars they drive or houses they live in. They try to give themselves a false sense of power and importance. But what if I told you that the clothes you wear, places you go to or the status of people you surround yourself with doesn’t determine your value? What if I told you that the words you speak have more power than that 20-inch bicep or that AK-47? Trust me, words have killed more dreams than aggression ever has. How you decide to utilize that which is between your two lips can make all the difference in this world.

On a global scale, we need to make changes and most definitely change our priorities. Why is it that certain lives are viewed as being more valuable than others? I don’t even have to delve very far into history to show you the inequities in our world today. Since the outbreak of this virus, which has tightened its grip on the world, every death comes up on the radar and the whole world knows about global death tolls as and when it happens. One European death is catastrophic while we have people in Yemen, Central African Republic, Syria, South Sudan and Haiti dying by the thousands each year from starvation, war, malnutrition and related illnesses. In 2018, 85 000 people in Yemen died from starvation. We can find oil reserves, build pipelines kilometers long to find its way to its destination but we can’t even make a plan to find food for the starving tummies. We have countries spending billions to buy ventilators for purposes of battling the Covid-19 crisis but can’t spend a mere fraction of that for bags of rice, pap or flour. A hospital-grade ventilator is a costly machine -running between $25,000 and $50,000 each. Would you like to know how much a bag of rice costs? $4 dollars in US and about 0.60$ in India. A ventilator is used to keep a single patient alive and that person may still end up dying from the disease. One bag of rice can possibly sustain a family of 3 for up to a month. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do our level best to help people suffering with the virus, I’m just saying that our priorities are skewed and in situations like the one we are currently experiencing – its easy to see how we value people differently. Don’t even get me started with the world wanting to turn Africa into its guinea pigs/lab rats for the Covid-19 vaccine.

If we can work together to create monumental and larger-than-life advances, why can’t we focus our efforts on initiatives that generations from now will reap the benefits of.  We need to incorporate programs that focuses more on community and bringing people together; Developing a system of worldwide access to free healthcare, which views quality health services as an essential right to all persons and not just those that can afford medical aid or health related schemes; Put more money into education and paying teachers sufficiently, after all, they feed the minds of the youth and they truly are our future. Teaching our children to share, teaching selflessness, inculcating the principles of Ubuntu. Like my beloved prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

Everyone thinks that they need to be rich, be in some position of power or have a degree in order to influence the world around them. Greatness is not found in the actions of those people doing “big things”, but for me, the most inspiring are the ones who do little things in a big way. You have to live your life with purpose and not simply become a product of your surroundings. You will only find true meaning and value in your life when you can uplift others and benefit humanity. And no, I’m not asking you to be the next mother Teresa, or one of those YouTube influencers that show up at people’s doors to give them money (or an iPad or whatever). That’s just pure rubbish by the way – good people don’t have to advertise what they do because they know that the good lord watches all. Something which I have always loved about my religion and what I find so beautiful is the fact that your intentions are actually the most important thing, more so, than the action itself. Its amazing that you’ll be rewarded in full for truly having an intention in your heart to do an act of good even if you fail (i.e. you will be rewarded as having done it). On the flip side, you can give a billion dollars in charity but if you don’t do it for the right reasons, it comes to nothing. Indeed, the left hand need not know what the right hand does.

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We find ourselves in a world that will swallow you whole if you let it. Big corporations, social media “influencers”, celebrities have you chasing unattainable goals and wanting more than you actually need, planting seeds of greed & over-indulgence in your hearts with every swipe, every story and every post. Even the models on Instagram don’t look like the models on Instagram, go figure! Everything we see around us seeks to instill a sense of selfishness, arrogance and pride. All that amounts to nothing when we find ourselves six feet under – and my dear friends, we already have one foot in the grave. So ask yourself, how will you be remembered when you die? “We lost our beloved Sally, but hell, she could SURE do a mean make-up tutorial!!!”. We have women putting on masks on the daily just to be accepted by society, or worse, their own spouses. People have forgotten that imperfection is beauty in itself. Maybe I’m deviating from the topic here but some things just need to be said. Can we also start being more conscious with the way we spend our money?  Not being wasteful, over indulging and worrying more bout what’s in our bank accounts than our happiness. One of my favourite actors and comedian Jim Carrey said, “I hope that everybody could become rich and famous, and will get everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it’s not the answer”. Bottom line is, the goal is not to live forever…but to create something that will.

 

 

  • AN ARTICLE BY MOOSA MAYET

11-04-2020

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