OPINION: COVID-19: Illusions of powerlessness – By Mosa Telford

Prayers, visualizations and meditation are mechanisms to access the power we possess. But, unfortunately, we have been conditioned to live in fear, to wait for salvation and not question what we are taught.         

The COVID-19 directives are now breeding contempt, fear, anger and desperation. This is not good for any society. As a Guyanese people, we have been divided by political allegiance and ethnicity for too long. And now, we are quickly seeing the divide between the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. Depending on your point of view or knowledge the enemy is different.         

Across the world, life as we knew it pre-COVID-19 is over. There is a new world order, but the resistance is not unseen. We must ask ourselves, what is in the best interest of the world? Do we give up our freedom of choice in the name of the so-called greater good? Or is the greater good fighting to not give up our freedoms? If people are forced to comply, antagonism grows. If globally people decide that they have had enough of being told how to live their lives and there are protests in every country on Earth, how will it end?

In this time of uncertainty and drastic changes, many are feeling hopeless. Many are angry. They are feeling bullied. They are feeling like the control which they thought they had over their lives is quickly dissipating. They are conflicted and the lines between what is right or wrong, or good or evil are blurred. The physical and mental health of many is under threat. Like a fleeting wind hope and peace of mind are slipping away from many.

Protests have been happening across the world. In France over two hundred thousand people protested last week over mandatory vaccination health passes.  There have been anti-lockdown protests in England and Australia. In Israel there have also been protests because of new coronavirus restrictions and vaccinations. There were protests in Greece also against mandatory vaccinations. There have also been protests in the United States and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

There have also been several protests in Guyana this week. There were protests in Linden, Buxton and Georgetown. Those protesting were highlighting issues such as discrimination, the cost of living and the mandates that are intended to force those vaccine hesitant or anti-vax to get vaccinated by making their lives difficult. We have seen that unvaccinated persons cannot visit government offices except by appointment. We have seen that unvaccinated teachers are being told that they must be vaccinated before returning to the classroom. We have seen that unvaccinated workers have been sent home. We have seen that the unvaccinated will not be served at restaurants, or be able to go to the cinemas, casinos or betting shops. From the 8th of August, unvaccinated foreigners cannot come to Guyana. Vaccines will be available at the airport for unvaccinated Guyanese who return home, according to Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill. If a person resists, what then?

We are being told that the unvaccinated are the biggest threat to our society now. President Irfaan Ali, in his address to the nation this week, said that the unvaccinated are just as dangerous as the coronavirus because they are susceptible and can spread it. He said that if the coronavirus were to infect the unvaccinated and spread throughout the country, the hospitals would be overwhelmed. (Although whether one is vaccinated or not, they can still become infected with coronavirus and infect others. The US Center for Disease Control revealed that with the rise of the Delta variant fully vaccinated people can become infected and can pass on the virus. In Barnstable County in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for example, 74% of the people infected with coronavirus in a July COVID outbreak were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Whether vaccinated or not, one must continue wearing masks and practice physical distancing. However, the infected unvaccinated are said to be more likely to be hospitalized or die.
Guyana’s greatest issue now is not just the war on the unvaccinated, but the rising cost of living that continues to burden many Guyanese. People are still begging on the streets, like a young woman with a baby in her arms I saw this week. The sun was burning both of their heads. People are turning away from buying certain food items because they are too expensive. Even some of the middleclass are burdened by debt and worrying about how quickly things are changing and uncertainties about the future are also keeping them up at night. And many are still asking, when will most Guyanese begin to benefit from the oil wealth?

For those who are struggling, whether it is that they are being driven into deeper poverty, are mourning the ones who have left us, are battling coronavirus, are worrying about family members who are sick, are feeling bullied because the choice to be unvaccinated is being taken or the ones who are vaccinated and are still fearful, the fight will not be won with unkindness and disunity. The fight will not be won by fueling a war between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The fight will not be won by draconian laws. The people will fight dictatorship. The fight will not be won by telling people their only choice is to get vaccinated or be ostracized. The society will not emerge a better place even if the entire nation is vaccinated if there are hostilities. When one issue is resolved, and there are ongoing efforts to violate people’s human rights they will rebel. The hopelessness and anger which many feel will manifest in destruction. On whatever side of the fence we stand, this is a time for love, understanding, healing, education and tolerance.

I encourage you to tap into the power of the mind. I know many of you are feeling overwhelmed, fearful and hopeless. To be engrossed in everything that is happening in our world and not having any coping mechanisms is unhealthy. You must find time to turn off the noise and be quiet; time to be at peace and envision a better world. Look for the beautiful things that are happening in our world. Enjoy the offerings of nature as often as you can. Know that once your mind is free, no one can truly take your freedom. Decide how you can positively contribute to our society.

We were born free. Free to think, free to question and free to make choices that we believe are best for our lives. 

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Comments

  • theonly  On 08/16/2021 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks for this Mosa T. Stay safe everyone.

  • wally n  On 08/20/2021 at 11:42 am

    Small countries in total confusion, destroying almost all small business, total chaos.Expecting leadership from the US, now sending out mixed, no mixed up signals, Open Borders and now…
    Although Afghanistan had been a hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, the State Department said Thursday that evacuees are not required to get a negative COVID-19 result to travel.
    “A blanket humanitarian waiver has been implemented for COVID testing for all persons the U.S. government is relocating from Afghanistan,” the department said.
    You think maybe they might have more use for Mr.Covid.
    What a pile of crap!

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