Wednesday, 16 June, 2021; 4:35 pm
It may sound wired to many live in a welfare state like the Scandinavian or Canada or Singapore but it is true that many people in South Asia believe that Covid19 is an equalizer between the rich and poor, privileged and unprivileged, powerful or powerless. Some people believe that the virus is mainly for the rich people, it may hardly affect the poor though lots of poor already died by covid19 and the worst effect of it is on the livelihood and income of the global poor.
Why people think like this? As we know that the healthcare facilities in the developing and least developed countries are very asymmetric and biased to the rich. The public hospitals are the worst in service and cleanliness which are the last resort for the common mass. Even if they need cabin or special care like ICU or CCU or any kind of major surgical operation, they need to use the influence of any powerful politician or government officials. Very few of middle class can make it and get some service from the state run hospitals.
On the other hand, there are Star ranked hospitals in the same countries for the ultra rich which are decorated like any 5 star or 7 star luxurious hotel. Those hospitals are the recreation zone for the powerful elites and rich as well. Some politicians use the hospital as their safe zone to be separated from his people or to avoid any law enforcing agency’s investigation. Some prisoners also enjoys good facilities of such hospitals when are ill during their punishment period. Hospitals in South Asian countries has become a safe office space for operating business, interestingly.
Moreover, the rich of those countries usually go to US, Germany, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea’s hospital for their regular treatment and check up. Any person can be affected by serious disease, but the same disease in different carrier changes the pattern of their life permanently. There is competition in any neoliberal society based on income, lifestyle, fashion, purchasing power etc. but when it comes to life saving treatment or medicare it touches the sufferer worst and this is happening in south asia for decades.
After being treated in such inhuman ways by the government and the powerful elites and riches the poor people convinced themselves that the right to live is not equal for all mankind. You can delay the call of death and can change the direction of the call in many ways and it is not in your hand. People who have money are to enjoy those extraordinary power to negotiate with God. They are born deprived and unwelcome to the luxury of the world.
However, this coronovirus has changed the reality, if not permanently, then at least for the time being. The indicators of the changes are many. Let me mention some here:
Those 5 points prove that the Covid19 is indeed an equalizer, if not in real life at least in the psychology of the poor who are the majority population in the world. I have pointed out the logic from one angle but on the other angle it is also true that the financial loss and livelihood will be worst for the poor. We don’t want the humankind be defeated by a tiny virus however, this is an wake up call to the rulers of this ugly unequal world.
Article by Alauddin Mohammad
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