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19.03.2020 Feature Article

The Dreaded Pandemic Has Landed

The Dreaded Pandemic Has Landed
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“You ought to think this way:

“Very well, by God's decree, the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal. Therefore, I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to contaminate and thus perchance pollute and infect others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence…” Martin Luther (16th century):

'Whether One May Flee From A Deadly Plague'

NEIL ARMSTRONG, the Commander of Apollo II, was heard in the 'Houston Tranquility Base: The Eagle Has Landed'. There was a toast at the Houston Base, Charlie Duke responded: “Roger, Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot.” Neil Armstrong speaking for the two others, Michael Collins and Edward Aldrin, as the first humans on the moon at 4:18pm on July 20, 1969, noted: “It's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The phrase, “the Eagle has landed” therefore connotes the completion of a mission or an objective. It is positive, and the expectations are great. Or take the 1976 movie with the same title, in which a Nazi officer of World War II, Max Radl, devised a plan to kill the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Hitler's intelligence had it that Churchill would stay in a Norfolk village, so the German assassins dressed up as Polish paratroopers… landed in the village…

The phrase, “the Eagle has landed” is used colloquially to indicate any successful arrival at a destination. However, in this piece, it is used ironically to depict that horrible pandemic which has afflicted the whole world. If you smell sarcasm here, you should have your nasal cannulae working efficiently. Again, we use the word “dreaded” to suggest something that is really fearful, that is to say, it borders on anticipatory terror. Lest we be accused of plagiarizing, that is, wrongfully appropriating or stealing or publishing other authors' language, thoughts, ideas, et cetera, we make bold to acknowledge the sources of our headline. (Originally, 'plagiarus' meant kidnapper, and poet Martial had complained that another poet had kidnapped his verses).Of course, T. S. Elliot says: “Immature poets (writers) imitate, mature poets (writers) steal, bad poets (writers) deface what they take.” Or shall we be accused of falling foul Lee Ross's 'fundamental attribution error' or 'correspondence bias'?

A hundred years from now, our children's children's children (if our civilization had not been wiped off), will be reading what is happening in the world now, and may not understand why we had developed a phobia for the new disease called coronavirus. Are people merely and carelessly spreading 'fear and panis (panic)'. Or we have developed a phobophobia (the fear of fear itself; the fear generated by anxiety disorders)? Our President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced the closure of schools (public/private), placed a ban on all social gatherings (church services, Moslem services, political rallies, funerals, parties – for the next four weeks. Gratefully, all the major churches and Moslem organisations have lent their support to this.

Some of us had a premonition that something as sinister as this was going to happen, because the reports from U.K, U.S.A., France, Spain, Italy, Iran, Turkey, China… et cetera, revealed the terrible nature of the disease. When Reverend Father Samuel Gyimah instructed the congregants in his church to receive the Eucharist with the left palm and pick IT up with the right… we knew trouble was in the offing. It was a directive from the Catholic Bishops' Conference not to put the Eucharist in the mouth of communion-goers. And the 'corona' greeting – just wave your hand! Those people who are here, and joking with the disease should learn from South Korea where Lee Man-hee, founder of Shincheonji Church, the self-acclaimed Messiah, is to face the law for hiding the identity of church members who had contracted the disease.

Angel (?)Obinim, founder and leader of International Godsway Church, says he has oil that can wash the 'coronovalus' (coronavirus) disease away. And that this oil was tested by the Food and Drugs Authority in Heaven. If he has a horde of worshippers who are so ignorant and unabashedly pliable, he should not think Ghanaians are (four-letter word). He is being ridiculed by some radio and television stations, especially in Nigeria. Do you know what a CPP man said after the 1966 overthrow of Nkrumah? They were 'gaping sycophants' and could not talk or protest at Nkrumah's excesses. So, we have allowed these churches to sprout and pollute the space with the pastors fake and cooked up testimonies. And people are all too ready to donate 'handsomely' to finance the holiday trips of their leaders to Dubai and other expensive cities? No wonder people like Badu Kobi have money to buy expensive cars for their mothers, wives and girlfriends. But they are advised to stay clear of the coronavirus path and allow the government to adopt effective measures to control it.

William Shakespeare is said to have written 'King Lear' along with 'Macbeth', 'Antony and Cleopatra', 'Timon of Athens', 'Pericles' around 1600 at the time of the European Bubonic Plague also called Black Death caused by the bacteria 'yestiniapestis – at a time when all the Theatres in London had been closed. Professor Jonathan Bate says in “Soul of the Age”: “Plague was the single most powerful force shaping (Shakespeare's) life and those of his contemporaries.”

This is the appropriate time to rehash: “We are the world” by top U.S. singers: Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan. Diana Ross: “There comes a time when we heed a certain call when the world must come together as one There are people dying …There's a choice we're making We're saving out own lives It's true we'll make a better day Just you and me…”

This cannot be the collapse of our human civilisation. After all, some scientists had predicted the end of the world by 2050. The world will suffer a climate apocalypse. After all, Nostradamus predicted the end of our civilization in 1999. Sylvia Browne in 2008 wrote 'End of Days' and predicted that “a severe pneumonia-like illness” would spread across the world this year, and like T. S. Elliot: “Not with a bang but a whimper.” An interesting aspect of Browne's predictions include a new law that would target irresponsible drivers to go into in-patient rehab and detox with the cost of treatment offset by the “immediate seizure and auctioning of the vehicle.” Isaac Newton, English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian known for his law of gravity, predicted in 1680 the end of our world in 2060.

It is all déjà vu: we had seen it before. Didn't the Adventists predict the Second Coming of Jesus around March 21, 1844? Didn't the Assemblies of God predict the end of the World in 1935? Didn't the Jehovah's Witness predict 1874 as the end of the world with the Rupture of saints in 1878 and the final “day of the wrath” in 1914? We thought second-hand under-wears, handkerchiefs had been banned, but what do we see? Awful! So, we target second-hand vehicles! Are all these coronavirus carriers?

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By Africanus Owusu-Ansah

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