Bangladesh is facing the second wave of the pandemic leaving behind a trail of destruction and devastation. Deaths have cut short the lives of many, left the loved and dear ones to only mourn, pushed the survivors to bear the pain of not being able to do enough or for not being able to say ‘good-bye’. The pain multiplies several folds when the ‘agony’ through which a patient - be them brothers, sisters, cousins, family elders, friends, colleagues – gasps for the last ounce of oxygen available in the air and eventually collapses when the diaphragms in the body can no longer pump the lungs. These were some of the vivid pictures telecast which ethically may not be the right decision.
If you ever have been in a fish market, you will have noticed how a fish brought out from a container full of water gasps for air. At regular intervals, this process goes on for a few minutes and lastly when it is totally deprived of water, will turn itself the other way around a few times exerting its last energy for a gulp of water from where it can breathe through the help of its gills. Or for that matter, the scene of cattle head gasping for air after its throat, windpipe and veins are slit open during Qurbani is not uncommon. We wait and watch beside the dying animal how it tries in vain to catch the last lungful of air before giving up.
But still, people are not willing to abide by the preventive measures. It is not only in Bangladesh. It is globally. The measures to be taken are not expensive at all or much time-consuming. But it is the human instinct that negates everything that comes from another human. Good tips and advice appear to be poisoned when it jeopardises personal freedom. So restrictions imposed by governments to put the brake on the runaway pandemic though were followed globally at first but later it began to dwindle primarily because of economic reasons. Wealthy governments could pay cash for the subsistence of their nationals staying home which developing and under-developed countries could ill afford. Subsequent strict measures, imposed to control the spread of yet other variants, faced protest in the streets resulting in widespread rioting and violence in the developed nations.
Bangladesh’s grim picture during the second wave did not miss any TV channel, newspaper or social media platform. The lessons learnt from the first wave lockdown during which outright corruption, nepotism, favouritism were so rife that they made a substantial hole in the coffers meant for the poor and destitute. Big and hollow talks by some of the government party leaders’ boomeranged and common people were reluctant to hear about further restrictions.
At a time when people in many countries of the world could not even secure orders for vaccines, the government of Bangladesh not only bought the precious item but also administered it to the most vulnerable group in the capital. With part-time politicians and opportunists kept aloof from handling any major task, the second wave can be contained if there is no further complication.
The first wave of pandemics saw a number of health ministers of various developed and developing countries sacked either for their negligence or inefficiency. Many businesses abroad are known to have taken advantage of the pandemic and turned their windfall profit to nudge up their share value. When it comes down to corruption even the Brazilian President was not spared by the people of that country from being blamed.
Bangladesh is lucky enough to have escaped the major onslaught by Covid-19 and the magnitude of corruption, inefficiency, nepotism and cheating that plagued the control and recovery from the pandemic is nothing short of ‘miraculous’. That the nation simultaneously could arrest the ‘creative corrupt collusion’ from the greedy clutches of whom a few still remain.
The writer is a senior
journalist and can be reached
at [email protected]