Bapuoh Pascal, M.Afr. – Taken from Ghana-Nigeria Link of November 2020
Nobody knows tomorrow. Who could believe that the year 2020 was going to be destabilised by a deadly disease called coronavirus? Who could believe that people were going to experience social distancing and self-quarantine? Who could believe that in 2020 countries were going to experience a total or partial lockdown? Who could believe that in this year churches, markets, social gathers and airports were going to be closed down, and the movement of people restricted for many months? Who could believe that wearing of face masks was going to be introduced as part of our dress code in 2020? For the younger generation in the 21st century, this is an experience that has never been thought possible. For others, the year 2020 is a sinister year when the wickedness of some people led to the destruction of vital lives, households, enterprises, countries and livelihood. Yet for others, the controversy of 2020 sends a signal that human beings should assume their rightful places as human beings, and leave God in his rightful place. Man is not God neither thinks for Him.
Prior to leaving for Congo, I stayed back at home for about six months without having an active interaction with people. I watched information on the television on how Covid-19 was devastating the world, I listened to the cry of families who were being destroyed by the Covid-19 pandemic and I watched the number of people being buried every day due to coronavirus pandemic… And so, I asked myself what life was all about. I asked myself what else could life be. I asked myself what the essence of life is all about.
The coronavirus pandemic imposes a deep reflection on the essence of life. Life is a precious entity received graciously from God, it is very precious and sacred. And therefore one needs to take care of it. Yes, Covid-19 has destroyed any joy in the year 2020. Indeed it has been a natural massacre where lives, properties and economy have been annihilated. It has been a time when we needed the words of Psalm 121:1-2 to comfort the broken-hearted; “I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”. That cry from the psalmist has been the hopeful prayer of the broken-hearted, the desperate and the less privileged who could not receive full medical attention. That has been the prayer of many presidents, religious leaders, medical personnel and other social activists whose professional interventions were not yielding them the desired outcome. That has been the prayer coming from the depth of children’s hearts who witnessed their parents dying. That has been the prayer of family members who had to bury their relatives, loved ones and friends in terrible conditions. That has been the prayer of many people who had lost hope in their lives, who had lost almost all their relatives. That is a prayer that makes many people go on their knees and cry out from their hearts.
As coronavirus imposed a natural suffering, other people worsened the suffering of people by manipulating the prices of the things they were selling. Some merchants fell in the fraudulent merchandising practices that the prophet Amos condemned in his book (Amos 8:5-6) where merchants, in a great eagerness to profit from the situation, cheated on their unfortunate customers with bad products and dishonest scales. The poor had to comply with the unjust rise of the cost of products so as to survive. Some other people enriched themselves from the deplorable situation of the poor. False coronavirus medicines were fabricated and sold at high costs. In the name of the poor and those affected with Covid-19, many projects were written and are now being sponsored. Countries and individuals received funds to help alleviate the situation of those who were affected, but how many of these poor people and Covid-19 affected people were helped, especially in Africa? Maybe, a handful. Personal Protective Equipment destined for fighting against Covid-19 has been sold out illegally by hospitals and in health centres. Projects that have been written and sponsored for the purpose of helping a given community to fight against coronavirus remain a utopia. Beneficiaries do not even know that their deplorable situation had been used by some people to search for money to enrich themselves.
As people with a good heart tried to help fight against this pandemic, others with a thirst of enriching themselves thwarted the efforts of these well-intended people. Coronavirus controversy. As cases of affected people keep on rising, that twists the hearts of many people to ask a litany of questions.
Is coronavirus (though real) a political propaganda? Are some individuals and countries using the relieve aid for their own political rallies and personal propaganda?
Will a country be honest enough to publish to its citizens the total aid received from people and groups, and indicate clearly and truthfully how this aid has been utilised? Will it be a paper narration or an evidence that everyone can see? Covid19 has not only called us to show solidarity, but it has equally called our political leaders to be serious with the citizens of their countries, especially to enhance the health facilities in their countries. The year 2020 will be unforgettable. It is a revolutionary year. It has opened another phase in world history. There is a reason for everything. May God welcome the departed souls due to Covid-19 into his kingdom, and implant in the heart of the living, the spirit of sincere solidarity.
Fr. Bapuoh Paschal