Per the basic definition of independence – “freedom from colonial rule and internal and external oppressions”, one can easily say the fight against COVID-19 falls under the common umbrella of the fight for independence. But why so?
It is an indisputable truism that COVID-19, the current threat to the health of everyone across the globe, and known to have erupted from China’s Wuhan, has denied almost everyone the basic freedoms which come with living. For instance, ardent fans of all sorts of sports have no freedom now - unlike they used to have - to watch the sports that bring them joy; jobs have been suspended for a while; airplanes seldom fly; markets have been shut down, denying business tycoons their freedom to engage in transactions; schools have been locked down. In fact, everything has come to a standstill. It appears as though our personal freedoms have been suspended for “only God knows how long” – which is not supposed to be so.
Are these conditions not pretty similar to colonization, where our forefathers were tortured and denied many basic freedoms by the whites? Are we not being oppressed by COVID-19 like our forefathers were, by their colonial masters, during the colonial ages? Nonetheless, by virtue of fighting relentlessly and tirelessly, our forefathers gained independence and the freedom they desired in 1957. Comparing this to the now pandemic, COVID-19, don’t you think the fight against it is a fight for a second independence of our motherland, Ghana? I think it is, and this fight is not for just a single entity – the government. It is a fight that requires the collective efforts of all and sundry, including you and me.
Albeit I am calling on us all to contribute our quota in fighting for our second independence as Ghanaians, the prerequisite measures with which we can embark on this arduous endeavour, I know, would not come to us on a silver platter. That is why it requires what I would refer to as sacrifice. Yes, it is our choice to either sacrifice very little and win this huge battle now, or sit unperturbedly aloof and suffer huge pain later – as many great nations like Italy and Spain are. From mere preemption, I believe everyone would go for the first choice. Let’s face it. How, then, can we contribute to gain this second independence?
Foremost of what we can do as a people is to observe all the precautionary measures The World Health Organization(WHO) has prescribed – via the words of our president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, in his four addresses, so far, to the nation. These measures include regular hand washing with soap and under running water, regular use of sanitizers, disposing off tissues immediately after use, covering the mouth while coughing, adhering to the rules of social distancing and many more. All these measures have been scientifically proven to reduce our risk of getting infected by COVID-19.
Secondly, inasmuch as we are so obsessed with getting informed on what is happening in the country – and probably across the globe – about COVID-19, let’s also be wary of false information. In this time of peril and agitated confusion, people are tempted to craft false info and share with the general public. It is very earnest that in this critical condition, we should try as much as we can to be information literates. Anytime we stumble upon news regarding COVID-19, let’s make it a point to evaluate the information to the core, before believing it or sharing it across to others. This would help us be able to control the natural fear and anxiety that come with receiving COVID-19 news.
Additionally, panic is a primitive reaction our bodies undergo in response to threatening situations like the outbreak of COVID-19. Unequivocally, hearing the name COVID-19 causes one’s heart to palpitate. Physiologically, as a response mechanism, hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released to counter for the fear. However, too much concentration of these hormones may lead to fatal pathologies like pneumothorax (the collapse of the lung). Why the need for all these scientific explanations? To deter us from not allowing fear and panic to take us on. It is natural that fear and panic would come. Rather than allowing them to take control over us, let’s take control over them - lest we end up dying not from COVID-19, but from fears and panics.
Now that there is a partial lockdown of some parts of Greater Ashanti and Greater Accra – an order from the president and a way of breaking the chain of transmission of COVID-19 in the country, it is expected of us to respect such an order, for our own good. Many citizenry, from the fear of hunger and other things alike, may want to sneak out from the restricted zones to other places where they would find solace. This, I think, is going to do us more harm than good. Italians are recording overwhelming death cases today, due to similar actions by some of the citizenries, yesterday. It would very much poignant if Ghana, our beloved country, finds itself in the shoes of Italy.
As a Muslim with a strong belief in God’s intervention, I see the fight against COVID-19 as something beyond man’s control. It requires divine intervention, really. Given this, as and when we observe all the precautionary measures, we should remember to cry out to God to come to our rescue, irrespective of our religious faiths. As the saying goes, “Heaven helps those who help themselves”. Therefore we must help ourselves by observing all the measures, then God, too, would help us in his own way.
On this note, I would like to restate that the fight against COVID-19 – the fight for our second independence – is a collective one. It’s neither a fight for a particular political party nor for a particular religious group. To win this battle, political partisanship must be completely eschewed. The president, in his fourth address to the nation on 27th March, 2020, said and I quote “This, certainly, is not the time of politicking or the display of partisanship. The virus does not care which party you belong to, neither is it, as we have seen, a respecter of persons. The enemy is the virus, and not each other”.
God bless our homeland and help her in her fight against her second independence, the fight against COVID-19. Thank you.
Author: Mohammed Ezzideen Yakub
Email address: [email protected]
Contact: 0540901737/ 0561891171.
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