Jean Paul Ndindamahina, written and submitted on 23 January 2021.
The current severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-COV-2), commonly known as Covid-19 is altering the world and the society as we know it. The unknown that comes with the pandemic has caused fear among rich and poor and strong and weaker. God has delivered a message that educated those who thought they were stronger to wrong and torture. Those who declared death as alternative punishment to their political opponents and who used death as a tactic to scare their social or political opponents, are seen engulfed in the same fear that those whom they threatened with death lived in.
Similarly, prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, nationalism was taking a stronghold and the world was at the brink of being fragmented by nationalism-based extremism. A divide between racial, national, ethnic and religion group was emerging so fast to comparison to how it was shortly before the first world war. Though this issue remains but much of the focus has now shifted to overcome the global pandemic. The notion “stay home” is for the day and everyone must obey it and not because government rules say so, but nobody wants to be contagious by the covid-19. We are all afraid for our lives and we take measures to protect ourselves by staying home, wearing masks, and taking vaccination. Those are the current known measures taken against corona virus, a global pandemic; the most powerful threat, currently facing the humanity.
There is other type of powerful threat that humanity has faced since a long time, but we fail to talk about it. As consequence, we have collectively failed to find a counter measure against it because we are not all concerned. The ignored threat that humanity face is social and political exclusion. Those who are socially and politically excluded suffers the same way a corona virus makes us suffer and fear for our lives. And even more because exclusion does not have a vaccine or counter measures against it. It selectively attacks who it wants to attack and those who are attacked, it leaves them dead or struggling for their lives.
Being excluded in the world that you call home is more painful than a wound or a disease and you name it. Being socially and politically excluded means a denial to rights and service. social and political exclusion is morally despicable, thus being the mother of all the conflicts we witness around the world including but not limited to terrorism, suicides, mental health issues, dictatorship, hatred, and injustice. Racial, ethnic, and religious hatred for instance has triggered those who are privileged as majority to deny justice to a minority group. Living in a social demographic where you believe that justice is not for you, it is not different to how you live today not knowing whether it is your turn or not to be contaminated by a corona virus. You live in uncertain hope and belief that the cure will come but you do not know when and or / whether you will live enough to witness it or not.
Those who face dictatorship and undemocratic values in their own home, they live in fear on daily basis as uncertainty around their future unfolds. And, when they get death threat from those who oppress them, it makes their lives worse as their hope to their life sink into darkness of uncertain predicaments. Those who are racially or ethnically excluded feel worthless and struggle to breathe because injustice and hatred chock them through criminalisation and victimisation to disable those who are racial and ethnic exclusion victims to not doing anything worth their ability and effort for themselves and their beloved ones. This is the same way corona virus has disabled many of us doing what we can do for ourselves and /or for our family members to our abilities.
As you reflect on “stay home” due to covid-19 and how it makes you feel, think of those who have been forced to stay home or in prison due to social and political exclusion. As we strive to defeat corona virus by finding counter measures against it, think of those who will stay once again on their own; fighting social and political exclusion while hoping that the world will one day cease to be unjust and become a place where everyone has equal rights and opportunity.
As we all struggle to cope with pain that comes with covid-19, we should also think of that pain from social and political exclusion- it is equally as worse as Covid-19.
Jean Paul Ndindamahina, is a British-Rwandan, currently reading a doctorate in social science at Solent University focusing on generational culture inclusion as a management mechanism through culture engagement in the organisation technological development effort.