PANDEMIC AND CIVILIZATION, THE NEW PARADIGM SHIFT IN OUR WORLD (1)
Dr. Hossein Omidi, PhD.
Our world has undergone profound disruptions and change in a matter of just days and weeks. A pandemic, a deadly corona virus, was spreading rapidly, accelerating exponentially and killing the human species at an incredible rate. Initially, it was China, and the world did not pay much attention as China has had epidemics before and dealt with it. Nonetheless, as other countries began experiencing a spike in cases, from Korea to Iran, still the world did not react.
After all, the virus was – according to the Western governments specially the United States of America- already in troubled countries. Some of them were and are still under the so-called civilized West’s barbaric sanctions.
As a matter of fact, The Islamic Republic of Iran as the head of the Axis of Resistance in the Twenty First Century World was and still is the crown of nations being placed cruelly under those inhumane and severe sanctions. However, no one cared! Instead, wild rivals such as the Israeli occupying regime and Saudi Arabia were blaming Iran for being the source of the Corona virus disease (COVID-19). Wolves were attacking and biting her. What a pity!
As cases shot up in Italy, it was apparent that this virus was not stopping with just the four, China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. Simultaneously, many other nations reported cases in their populations, spread by travelers coming from the four centers of the epidemic. Until then, people in other countries felt safe as their governments moved to block and quarantine travelers from the “four countries.” The epidemic was soon declared a pandemic. On March 8, the United States reported its first 500 cases of the virus as the world reported 100,000 cases and 3,500 deaths, the majority in China. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the virus outbreak as officially a pandemic, now on a global scale.
After the WHO’s declaration, the virus appeared everywhere. Spain, France and Germany closed its borders. By April the United States had over 200,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths. Global cases now more than a million with deaths surpassed 50,000. Americans were ordered to stay home. Almost half of the world’s population was living under lockdown by early April. All of humanity suffered the same crisis.
Millions of people were suddenly unemployed. Daily life became a struggle as the world entered the worst economic catastrophe since The Great Depression which began with the stock market crash of 1929 and lasted for more than two decades. Once again, the world economy was shattered, and global markets took three significant dives in March. By the third market crash, it became evident that the richest institutions in the world and this System of finance would not survive the pandemic without trillions in support. Yet, it took weeks for governments to support tens of millions of people struggling with unemployment, loss of wages, and inability to pay rents, mortgages, credit card debt and many other consumer shortages affecting their daily lives. Then again, what of the countries, all over the world, still suffering under inhumane sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies? Perhaps now The Westerners particularly the United States of America can see a true reflection of their humanity and overcome the cruel separation of power and privilege in the world.
Coronavirus as a Mirror
In an eminent verse part of chapter 1, story 10 of the Persian Literature magnum opus, The Gulistan, by Abu-Muhammad Muslih al-Din bin Abdullah Shirazi Sa’di we read that
“The sons of Adam are limbs of each other
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time afflicts one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others
Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a man”.
Retrospectively, since the virus, we see our interconnectedness as human beings. Regardless of our countries separated by walls, political systems and ideologies, we know we all suffer the same. Nevertheless, it is not until we see the reflection of our own people suffering a common enemy that the world recognize the cruelty the USA has imposed not only to many of its own minority communities but to the people of the world suffering unconscionably under the savagery of sanctions and war.
At last, we see the importance of our working class, the migrant workers who pick our food off the fields, keep us well fed and supply all our needs. We see the importance of our doctors and nurses who risk their lives each day taking care of the sick. We recognize how truly simple it is for governments to provide for the people. We see countries rallying behind the new reality to provide guaranteed basic incomes to all. We see the need for a better healthcare system accessible to everyone.
Yet this vision of truth and the good in humanity is dimmed by another reality reflected in this mirror of life in the new paradigm shift taking place before our eyes. The only reason civilization has not fully collapsed is that the humans of the working class, those who maintain our food supplies, our transportation and our medical facilities have not abandoned us. They have persisted relentlessly in the frontlines since the beginning of the pandemic. On the other hand, even this is not possible to those who suffer under cruel sanctions as the basic elements need for life are being deprived by the United States and its western allies. Their civilizations survive due to the strength of their rich cultures and determination not to succumb to the pressures placed upon them. One distinguishing element in those nations, such as the Iranian nation, is that they are bound by faith and the belief that God will bring relief and an end to injustice through The Promised Savior _ Imam Al Mahdi (peace be upon him).
Compare this to America and its secular, educational, and political systems where the rich are favored. In the United States, the first to see the trillions of dollars once the pandemic was declared were the super-rich. State and federal institutions began flooding trillions into the financial sector. As the virus ravaged human society, the financial sector of the economic global system crashed and was provided immediate and massive support, more than any other segment of human society.
From the other hand, the working class and service providers continued to work with low wages, placing themselves at great risk to keep the common people safe.
Civilization is what makes humanity different. It provides all the requirements needed for survival of our species. As a result of this crisis, humanity can now reflect on what makes our society good or bad, weak or strong, just or unjust. To sustain life on Earth, we need a shift in priorities and in consciousness, one that will provide sustainability to the environment and to the people. Humanity’s potential to survive requires taking measures to avoid the collapse of civilization. We must determine to place priorities in the common values of our humanity and not in profit incentives as has been the norm. This virus truly reflects the virus of global economic and political systems which perpetuate growth and expansion at all costs. Even at the cost of human lives. As the virus perpetuates destruction in search of new hosts, so does the global economy perpetuate destruction in search of new hosts in order to consume, destroy and propagate. Like the virus, it is consumed in search of growth and expansion to spread, mutate and destroy.
Even then, any virus is limited in its potential as is the destructive pandemic global economic system. There are two possibilities. The first, in the destruction of the host, the virus is victorious. Second, if the virus does not spread, it also dies with the host. A brutal but deserved end to a brutal infectious enemy of life, peace and justice.
Regardless if one personally believes in the fundamental values, beliefs, and doctrines that certain religions present, one does not have to look very far to recognize the significance that religion has in a variety of different social aspects around the world (Dawson & Thiessen, 2014).
Definitely, another infectious enemy of life is false religion. A universal infectious enemy specific to humans. False religion has been the downfall and destruction of world powers and resulted in the death of millions, sacrificed to the hypocrisy and blatant falsehoods uniting people on the path of darkness, under the power of Shaitan.
Islam is the true path of light which unites all of Allah’s (God’s) servants drawn by truth without doubt for “there is no compulsion in religion” that offers truth instead of falsehoods, right instead of error, light instead of the darkness that engulfs the world of humanity, especially Americans in the United States. For the nation was founded on false assumptions based on Christendom’s lies, error and darkness. Let’s compare this to Islam, servants of the true God (Allah) based on the worship of the only true God, truths without doubts, and Light instead of Darkness. These three elements form the basis for worship of the only true God and does not compromise His worship with lies and deceit.