The Pandemic

Posted on October 26, 2020, 4:34 pm
7 mins

We heard the strongest man in the world heading the biggest superpower say it’s just a flu. He went onto call it a China virus & displayed his signature machismo by declaring they would have to pay for this.
He expressed his suspicions & displeasure at the WHO (World Health Organisation) & withdrew from it.

He complained about the mask wearers. Ridiculed his rival for religiously wearing a mask & let out an exaggerated sigh when a reporter refused to take his msgs off during a presser. And then the invincible man close to the end of his election campaign ended not only in Hospital but his immediate family & staff members all tested positive.

Meanwhile Biden has been planning his Corona response strategy since March & described the ongoing pandemic threat as a dark long winter” on the way. Who could have thought that Trump would be defeated by a virus that he kept promising was going to go away by Easter which didn’t end as predicted by himself even by the end of the summer?

Now his daughter Ivanka & son in law Jared Kushner are at the receiving end of the anger people feel over the Trump administration’s handling of Corona. They are threatening to sue a Republican strategist group, The Lincoln Project, who have put up billboards up in Manhattan Times Square of the couple. This is perhaps a taste of what the voters might serve up on Election night. Biden on the other hand has promised to increase test & trace programs. He clearly has more reverence for medical professionals & appears to be really invested in research programs.Not only has he made it clear that he would restore financial support for the WHO but is also interested in investigating the reasons for the virus affecting certain racial groups disproportionately.

Unlike, Trump he has no aversion to taking a scientific approach in most issues. This might increase our chances of getting an actual vaccine against covid in the near future. The vaccine that would be ready before the elections according to Trump seems to be one of his many examples of exaggerations. However the main stumbling block for all of these initiatives White House would have with Biden in it, is the rebuilding of trust between people & institutions.

Corona like everything else during the Trump administration has polarised the public. How Biden will address the rebranding of Public Health messaging will probably be his main challenge as President. The divide between the mask wearers & the non mask wearers is as wide as that between the far left & the extreme right. Like 9/11 changed the world forever the Trump effect has actually changed world politics.

Things we previously thought were an impossibility for a head of the state to say or do have become the norm now. And like our civil liberties were taken away after the twin tower attack many like me fear that we may never see a return of sensible centrist politicians or voters. Like the U.S got us used to drive thrus & French fries, the American style of protest is fast becoming the trend in the UK & further afield. Although Black Lives Matter had roots in a middle America sensibility it’s manifestation matched the attitudes of Trump supporters. The way a designer mall was looted & vandalised was hard to defend for people like myself who believe in peaceful protests.

A loud aggressive style of leadership will naturally inspire the public to model their behaviour on a similar pattern. Indian Comedian Sirishti Dixit emphasised this point by describing how she would speak to her “Junta” if she were a PM. Mimicking Narendar Modi’s pure Hindi she warns the public in a video to wear a mask or her hand would come out of the phone app they’ve downloaded & slap them across the face. While the result of the U.S elections remains unpredictable with no suggestion of a comfortable lead for either one of the candidates.

The presidential debates have left us none the wiser. However, one outcome is certain that the careful political correctness pre Trump years has been buried forever. The Trump brand of leadership has been adopted across the world with men saying what they feel with no need for filtering.

We see the frustrations of those who claim to be polar opposites to these strong men almost mirroring the very men they detest.

Reactionary protests to these loud opinionated men are turning more violent by the day.

From Bangkok to Nigeria the oppression is aggravating those who want a fairer world. Somewhere in the noise of the smashing glass of designer malls & the screams of those shot at point-blank range the voice against police brutality is lost.

I’m reminded of the closing scene from the Hollywood film “The Joker”. Viewers came out confused not knowing which side to support. As I speak to people across the board I realise what a mammoth task Biden faces if he gets third time lucky. It’s not the coronavirus that will be his main challenge it will be to deal with the pandemic of hate & vitriol.

A visionary woman who has never capitulated on matters that are against basic human rights and morality. She is a strong proponent of sustainable improvement in Pakistan through education, engagement, inspiration, innovation and empowerment opportunities for all (especially the youth). Reham Khan an internationally recognised personality within the Media, Journalism & Broadcasting industry (particularly in Pakistan, United Kingdom, and India) Reham Khan is a single parent & a human rights activist who is considered a leading voice against child abuse & early marriage. Khan is also a film producer with her debut film “Janaan” a box office hit in Pakistan & the first Pakistani Film to make it to the top ten films in the UK. She is also the author of the most controversial book coming out of Pakistan in recent years in which she took on the incoming government head-on & faced death threats for her brave expose of Pakistani elite society & politics. She is an odd case of One Right versus the Many Wrongs happening in our society today. She is described as the survivor with a smile.

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