A glimpse of this century and our ignorance | Pakistan Today

A glimpse of this century and our ignorance

  • The covid-19 pandemic is a warning to the worked

Some tragedies and incidents change the interests of man. History shows that a few incidents in the last century changed the priorities of nations and policymakers. For instance, World War One cautioned humanity that the world could not afford absolute anarchy and we had to go for such institutions which discourage time and again misadventures like the world witnessed in World War One. The idea of the League of Nations was floated and global debates on it were started. It did not get permanent shape but the idea remained alive for decades.

As World War Two broke out and the world again confronted massive aggression and human losses, eventually, that idea of the League of Nations transformed into the United Nations. For the first time, a legitimate international institution came into being with the endorsement and consent of the world’s nations. Before that, the priorities and interests of people were changed, but these two wars awoke the world’s nations but after paying a big price. As the race of nuclear weapons commenced World War Two, again statesmen and policymakers cautioned about it. That worry of nations concluded in the form of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. If that had not happened, the majority of states would now have nuclear weapons.

So it is now the best time for all to concede that humanity is tired of all blunders that it has committed. People at large will accept that terrorism, poverty, gender inequality and pandemics are not issues of any particular nation. Humanity should be first, then imperialist, hostile and blind initiatives

So some things and actions are required before they happen but the priorities of people keep them unaware of possible mishaps ahead. The forms of negative ambitions changed if we deeply think about it in the international scenario; like the last century witnessed the end of many colonial occupations but nobody can deny now that we still confront the exploitation of human resources and raw materials in the shape of globalization. The shape of war too is changing from conventional war to non-conventional, and from kinetic military warfare to proxies. These all owe to the belief that man is still not learning from the past, but merely changing the style of actions.

Some states’ heads, for the sake of limited political motives ignore repercussions which the whole humanity would bear for their actions. You have multiple examples like the climate change challenge and its combating. Some people keep their limited motives ahead of the broad interests of humanity. Some rulers come up with slogans like “America First” and ignore the effects of their actions under the cover of that slogan.

In the near past of a decade or two, the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Climate Agreement faced the same challenges. US President Donald Trump, who is currently leading a major economy and nation, forgot the importance of the Paris Climate Agreement which his predecessor Barak Obama signed. These all are basically showing the limited vision of these world leaders and ignorance of the dangers which humanity at large will bear.

Hence it seems that continuity of blunders is still here, one after the other, on the part of human beings but in the end, all have to bear the consequences. Rather than put all these things in order, still, their ways of accomplishing limited goals are to continue to act as before in other shapes and manifestations.

So this is now a big question before statesmen, common people, media and civil society that whether these all are ready to learn anything from history or they can only plan for a limited circle in a limited time, ignoring the greater number, over the long term. Covid-19 is a continuity of the challenges man has been confronting for a long time. It is a caution for the correction of actions.

The highly infectious viral disease has spread worldwide since its appearance in December 2019, causing an unprecedented pandemic. The number of confirmed cases worldwide continues to grow at a rapid rate, but, currently, there are no specific drugs or vaccines available to control the symptoms or the spread of this disease, leaving as an effective option only social distancing.

The outbreak has forced nations under lockdowns, restricting or putting a halt on transportation, as well as both agricultural and industrial activities across the globe. These measures are taken to contain the pandemic and save lives.

Besides the general picture of challenges and pandemic, Pakistan too is unaware of history. It is a country with limited resources, where only 4.5 percent of the total budget is allocated for health. Since the last 73 years, the people are still striving and fighting for Bread, Clothing and Shelter (Roti, Kapra and Makan). The country’s decision-makers, and those who control the power, need to understand that until now their policies are worthless and have not worked; the people are still fighting for basic needs such as health, quality education, job opportunities and so on.

Now starting from here, are we ready for any positive change? Are world wars, disasters, pandemics and crises yet not enough? If not now, a day will come when all nations will reach a deal that would be broad and acceptable for all, but for how long humanity and nations are stick to their ambitions? That much time will confront humanity with more and more massive losses.

So it is now the best time for all to concede that humanity is tired of all blunders that it has committed. People at large will accept that terrorism, poverty, gender inequality and pandemics are not issues of any particular nation. Humanity should be first, then imperialist, hostile and blind initiatives. The world’s nations should develop a consensus that the world is not our global village now, but it is our genuine and true village, where we all have the same macro-interests against micro-goals. Allthese  challenges demand from all that enough is enough, let all spend on health, education and quality of life rather than wars and misadventures. No nation is first ahead of others, and if an issue struck the whole globe, no one’s borders would save them.

Pakistan’s history too asks from all policymakers and its ruling elite that the nation should have justice in the system and distribution of resources. After a decade or two, at least the same vulnerability of health should not be a reason for such pandemic where hospitals are poor in the numbers of ventilators and other needs. It is too possible that challenges change its face in future but nations should be prepared rather than again ignoring this casually.

The writer holds a PhD degree in Transportation Planning Engineering from the University of Beijing, and works as an assistant professor at CECOS University, Peshawar.