By UDEME NANA
Several accounts have it that the genie escaped in an animal market in Wuhan, China, and conspiracy theorists are debating whether it was an accidental discharge of a biological weapon. Some argue that it was deliberately released by China to show its new-found superpower muscles as proof to the United States that its time as the world’s superpower is past.
Its origin is still shrouded in mystery as both the president of the U.S. and officials in China are finger-pointing at one another. However, whichever country between China and the United States of America released this dangerous genie on the world, the latest global pandemic, COVID-19, short form for corona virus disease 19, arrived subtly like a practised thief in the night and moved into Iran, Israel, the U.K., South Korea, Canada, Spain, Nigeria and has devastated Italy mostly — causing deaths, pain, sorrow and tears. Italians are knocked down and dazed at the tragic blows inflicted by the raging pandemic. COVID-19 just struck, met the world pants down and, like an angel of death, is flying in the air and moving steadily on land and seas wreaking havoc, spreading fear and imposing a new social etiquette among humankind.
This is not the first plague that has hit the world badly. It might not be the last!
Historical accounts are filled with stories of deadly cataclysms which affected and killed a large population of people, destroying civilizations in the process. Christian adherents would readily remember accounts of the seven plagues in the Egypt of the legendary pharaohs. There was the plague of Athens: “people in good health were suddenly attacked by violent heats in the head, redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, the throat and tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath”.
There was the small pox pandemic which killed “over five million people in the Roman Empire”. As if that wasn’t gloomy enough, it has been reported that the “plague of Cyprian also killed 5, 000 daily in Rome”. Once again, Italy, which has Rome, the eternal city, as its capital, is the worst hit by COVID-19. What is it with Italy and devastating plagues? one may ask. Does the world still have credible astrologers and metaphysicists to pore over this reoccurrence?
History has also recorded the black death; please let’s call COVID-19 the white death — that would be fair enough because, so far, the black population appears to have yielded fewer casualties whereas the white population has been the worst hit!
There was the Asian flu and, in very recent memory, the swine flu and Ebola disease. COVID-19 seems to be so impactful because the world is now a global village. Folks now tune in, watch, see and listen to what is going on in several parts of the world as events unfold in real time.
It is, however, unfortunate that each time challenges like the one the world is presently facing explodes, people become confused and become exasperated when they should have been prepared for it. Corona virus disease did not fall from the sky. It was written about in black and white. Even the Bible has made allusions to it alongside other plagues.
It has beaten the world black and blue and disrupted the world economy, sports, entertainment, travel, tourism and business, because most citizens of the world no longer place premium on reading serious texts.
This is a tragedy which Dean Koontz predicted accurately in his book, The Eyes of Darkness, published in 1981. On page 312 of that book, he writes: “In around 2020, a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments.”
Another author, Sylvia Browne, also captures that in her book, End of Years: Predictions and Prophecies about the End of the World.
Much earlier, specifically in 1551, Nostradamus had written that “there will be a twin year from which will arise a queen who will come from the East and who will spread a plague in the darkness of night on a country with seven hills and will transform the twilight of men into dust to destroy and ruin the world”. How spot on he was!
This columnist is cocksure that none of our leaders has read the book Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America written by two Chinese army officers, colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. This pandemic is all laid out there.
If the present world had readers as leaders, these warnings would not have been lost on them and COVID-19, the white death, would not have caught the world community napping like a thief in the night. Regrettably, nowadays, the best place to hide any treasure from the prying eyes of leaders, parents and youths is inside a good book. It is as easy as that. Ask the person next to you which book he or she has read in the past three months and chances are that you would draw blank.
Methinks, COVID-19 or the white death is a serious shock therapy, a reality check. It is taxing the world to return to the basics, to become more alert, encourage scientists and qualitative education generally, besides motivating scientists to focus on finding solutions to scenarios which are likely to threaten existence on Earth. Humankind may be pawns in the fingertips of unseen powers, but the human race is imbued with the sensibility to push back and mitigate life-exterminating circumstances caused by their mistakes or deliberate commissions.
Let the world return to intellectualism, research, development, prevention of crisis, cooperation and collaboration for good causes. Let the world reduce the craze for materialism, unmitigated competition, acquisition of power for the sake of just wielding power, a laissez-faire attitude and hypocritical religiosity.
Dr Nana, a lecturer, writes from Uyo