Playing Smart with Foolishness

By Raffique Shah
November 08, 2021

Raffique ShahLast Friday, I think it was, I was multi-tasking, as tech-savvy people would say—I was listening to the midday news on a radio frequency, reading an interesting online report on the global economy, and watching the muted television set where a T20 match was underway—when I shook my head vigorously to see if my instant-recall brain cells were still serving me better than Google, and they were. The news presenter did say that 14 persons had died from Covid-related issues, presumably during the previous 24 hours.

I immediately became very alert, and went into the introspection mode: how could I treat such a grave development, the resurgence of Covid-19 with startling ferocity, so casually? I have stayed very informed on matters relating to the pandemic ever since it first captured global attention in March 2020, ensuring that I knew all there was to know. Who in our time can ever forget the images of entire populations in Europe locked down in their homes, hundreds of corpses loaded in body-bags, people dying on the streets, in their homes, hospitals and medical personnel in the most developed countries in the world being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of deaths we’d seen. Most governments were numbed by the crises the pandemic triggered, from powerful economies grinding to a halt, schools, shops, pharmacies, transport of every kind—motor vehicles, ships, aircraft stopped doing what they usually did. We were watching, with shock and awe, the days the Earth stood still.

Now, one year and several months ahead, global economic engines had restarted operations, several vaccines had entered the equation in a manner that favoured developed countries in a most shameful manner, and when Third World countries like ours begged, pleaded to get some of the life-saving medication, we found that the same people who were bashing the government here for its inept handling of procuring vaccines were now refusing to be vaccinated, their inexplicable stance leaving countries like ours still very exposed to the killer-virus and new, deadlier strains.

In other words, we had come a full, retrograde circle, so much so that I have grown inured to death that seems to encircle me, such that fourteen people dying in one day from Covid-related conditions escape my attention. I, too, have been numbed by numbers. Last week, for example, when my brain-computer failed to register the gravity of the pandemic that still stalks us, I received word of the passing of an old friend in New York where he had settled, and later, news that a veteran journalist/columnist I had known for many years, also gave up the ghost.

In normal times, there would have been warnings of these men’s condition, their battle with whatever was threatening to take them beyond the mortal boundary. Today, with multiple daily deaths from co-morbidities casting long shadows that blend our images with the backgrounds, rendering the dead and living as the same.

So here I am, I, who learnt to value human life as sacrosanct, to have compassion for fellow human beings that is etched in my DNA much the way love is, to live the way Che Guevara exhorted us to: above all, always be able to feel deeply the injustices meted out to people anywhere in the world…

To fall anywhere short of these lofty ideals is to virtually surrender my soul to the bad and the ugly. I hear stories of recklessness permeating all strata of this society, exposing in particular, the aged and the infirm. I am told that those who can afford it and even some who can’t, are travelling to party and have a good time, in the process exposing themselves to the deadlier strains of the virus. They return home and boast of their exploits and calmly pass on the deadly strains to the hapless, the vulnerable. People die. They don’t care. I am convinced that they don’t give a damn about even their families with whom they live.

I hear stories too, of many in the business sector who engage in wide-scale extortion, unconscionably hiking the prices of essential goods, thereby putting them beyond the reach of ordinary people. No hint of remorse.

And of course, there are those who, for no reason that is rational, refuse to be vaccinated hence ignoring the appeals of the medical fraternity, community and other leaders who are virtually begging them to establish firmly this wall of defense against the virus. They are insensitive to the hurt they inflict on others in their quests to appear defiant. When children start dying—and this will happen—and their parents, indeed the society as a whole rise against the devious idiots who are playing smart with foolishness and they feel the wrath of a people wronged, maybe then they will take notice.

Too late, too late shall be the cry.

7 thoughts on “Playing Smart with Foolishness”

  1. In normal times the news that we have become acclimatized to today would sound astonishing. “There are over five million people who have perished worldwide from the covid pandemic”,
    “The one-percenters have profited by hundreds of billions in profit, while the poor suffers”, “the politics of vaccinations have become toxic between the vaxxers and non-vaxxers”, “millions are suffering due to the lack of covid medication”, “hospitals are filled to capacity with covid related illnesses”, “prices have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic”, “crime has increased in the last two years since the beginning of the pandemic”. Last but not least, the infusion of politics into the system surrounding covid has become more agregious than ever.
    It is so bad, that the standard that was held as the ideal called ‘democracy’ is now threatened in there very places that used to
    cherish its ideals and held as a mantle to its successes as a model to live up to. Things have gotten so bad that leaders of so called first-world countries look like mere peasants on the world stage, when compared to regional leaders like Mia Motely from Barbados and young sixteen year olds from Tanzania and Pakistan.

    While the world stage is commonly used to showboat the excesses of the rich and powerful, when those who are poor in pocket but rich in intellect are allowed to engage in discussions on the improvement of mankind and the climate, it can easily be said that ideas for solutions are dominant in our own backyard.
    Those who stubbornly attribute their right to resist taking the vaccination as opposed to taking it to prevent the spread are not people who really love this world. They really love their rights more than they love humanity. The doubling and tripling of prices by the profiteers are mere signs of how greedy man have become towards tragedy, pain and suffering of the masses. IN all this tragedy, religion has shown its ineffectiveness as a spiritual force in the sustenance of mankind.

    We need to live, learn and be our brother’s keeper if we are to survive this epidemic and return to normalcy.

    1. I think governments all over the world have failed more than any other Institution during this pandemic. The long list of mistakes in the handling of this crisis is on record and should be carefully assessed in the aftermath to prevent future chaos.
      The system of free enterprise is alive and well and should be. The term, “one percenters’ is fast becoming the scapegoat for unimaginative creatures who are only interested in the blame game. Free enterprisers and investors will always milk the market to extract premium profits. That’s why they take risks. They expect rewards.
      Governments have a major role to play in moderating and controlling all of this. When government leaders corruptly climb into bed with big business, allowing the investor class to run freely, then you have a problem.
      The question must be asked. Why is a vaccine which costs so little to produce being sold at such a high price?
      Why is the new pill to fight Covid so expensive?
      There are measures that governments, even in small countries could take to prevent exploitation.

      1. TMan: “Why is the new pill to fight Covid so expensive?
        There are measures that governments, even in small countries could take to prevent exploitation.”

        What new pill?
        CVO+ has been on the market for over 1 year (Pfizer and Merck are Johnnie come lately) and, I doubt it is expensive at all. There seems to be a blackout on info for these medications.
        It’s no coincidence that PM Rowley hinted at a meeting with the President of Madagascar during the Climate Conference last week.
        We will see more ‘meetings’ like these (with Madagascar) from other leaders when WHO and The FDA move ahead and approve Merck and Pfizer’s antivirals pills.. The question of bias-ness against Madagascar and other antiviral producers will begin to surface…

  2. “I hear stories too, of many in the business sector who engage in wide-scale extortion, unconscionably hiking the prices of essential goods, thereby putting them beyond the reach of ordinary people. No hint of remorse.”

    Capitalism is a free market enterprise. This allows for business people to get as much profits as they can legally earn. It is up to consumers to access new markets if the current ones doesn’t work for them. You cannot blame the businessmen whose main purpose is to pay taxes, salaries and live off whatever remains.

    When society gets out of balance then you see the worst of humanity. The purpose of government is to bring the good life to the citizens. That means creating a just, equitable free market system. Failure to do so will result in hoarding, price gouging, and a disadvantage to the poor in society. Setting the stage for Maduro style governance with the rich protected by government whilst the poor fend for themselves.

    The future of any economy hangs in the balance as does the TnT economy. Especially in a Covid 19 era where capitalism is stifled. The closed business is not the economic solution for an already indebted society. And so all governments have to think creatively if they want a better future for the next generation.

  3. “ indeed the society as a whole rise against the devious idiots who are playing smart with foolishness and they feel the wrath of a people wronged, maybe then they will take notice.”

    Yes we see the continued “smart with foolishness” in the highest offices of the land. As it stands the word “independent” no longer applies to the Presidential abode. This lame duck president continues to enjoy the “high hog” of office whilst steadfastly refusing to explain the nature of her actions that resulted in the entire PolSC resigning in disgust. She sat in her chair of “do nothing” for the longest while, then of all things purchased newspaper space and provided an advertisement trying to explain her mischief. Such conduct defies the honorable reputation of this high office.

    I appeal to the President, please save the office from further contamination by resigning. All that you do will come under suspect. You are playing smart with foolishness. Even the “independent” senators are now playing their hand against the Opposition. Democracy demands you step down.

  4. The dictator gets a new PolSC, guess Gary need not apply for the CoP post… this level of insanity could only exist when the PNM in charge.

    “Rowley, in piloting the motion, said, “They carry with them the requisite qualifications and experience and most importantly, that willingness to provide public service to the people and particularly to the police service that requires it at this time more than ever.
    “These five distinguished citizens, having offered themselves to serve on the Police Service Commission, I have every confidence they will bring the quality of their qualifications and experience to bear on any and all issues concerning the Police Service Commission.”- Guardian.

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