It was on a late evening in 2011, somewhere in Oxford, where I watched the screening of Steven Soderbergh’s thriller movie, ‘Contagion’. On my way back to Central London, I carried with me a woeful sense of foreboding about a real-life ‘contagion’. The story-line reads like something from the pages of a Sci-Fi novel or, perhaps, the haunting reminiscence of some of the ghastly tales from the periods of pestilence that has plagued human history. This angst of sorts, which burdened my mind, initially manifested in the form of debates and discussions with my peers and professors. But soon, the thoughts faded away into the rarely visited corridors of memory and so did the urgency to initiate further action. The movie undoubtedly heralded the crisis, but we deliberately chose to remain unperturbed within the self-conceited cloak of invulnerability. Our conversations stayed afloat within the academic realm only to occasionally rise beyond the clamour and transcend into the public sphere. Topics that are actively discussed in the public sphere enter the political discourse and can be decisive in prompting political action.
As the Covid-19 virus continues to destabilize entire economies to the extent of posing pernicious recessionary risk to the major ones, we need to acknowledge the inadequacy of timely collective conversations that we should have had, while we were trudging the path to becoming a progressive ‘Global Nation’. Over the last several decades, we have been excessively talking about Globalization and Global Economies under the pretext of trade, technology, and travel. In a prospering modern world, globalization is often perceived to be intrinsically guileless. The Pre-Corona rhetoric, to a great extent, has been shaped and oversimplified to align with the narratives of development and progress. A thorough reading through media texts and scientific literature would eventually suggest that these discourses were disproportionately convoluted to fit into the awfully-skewed conversations about the Global South. ‘Infectious diseases and the developing world’ has always been a topic of research that has piqued the interest of the scientific community. But how frequently have we had conversations about the risks associated with globalization especially vis-à-vis the premise of a pandemic that can permeate international borders? Though the Ebola outbreaks have been largely confined to the West African regions, it exhibited the potential to grow beyond the confines of the developing world. It should have sparked more engaging and on-going conversations in the developed world. But we chose to be heedless to this clarion call to action or, perhaps, we chose to invest in causes and policies that would satiate our need for instant gratification and immediate glorification.
In retrospect, we always knew that this was coming. But, as always, it seems like that this crisis too has descended upon us with little or no warning. This statement, however, insidiously undermines the fact that we knew enough to foresee the possibility of the incursion of a pandemic that is alarming in terms of spread and severity. While there is some literature that explores the evidence about the links between globalization and infectious diseases, even more conspicuous is the lack of science-backed discourses about the global dimensions of infectious diseases in our everyday lives. Now, that we’ve had the misfortune to encounter the ‘usurper of daily life’ in its most formidable avatar, we should have more global conversations about preparedness and the risks associated with future pandemics.
About the Author:
Anju Lopez FRSA has editorial experience that spans across almost a decade in the content and media industry. She is the Co-Founder of the website – The Daily Brunch(www.thedailybrunch.com) and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. She has worked as the Senior Manager for Content Development at BYJU’S. She is one of India’s most recognized Editors from the Travel and Hospitality industry. Anju holds two post-graduate degrees in Media and Communication; one from The English and Foreign Languages University and another from The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. She is a published author and has several research papers as well as non-academic publications to her credit. In 2019, she released her first book – Speak English by Malayala Manorama publications. Anju is currently settled in Germany, where she works as a Consultant, offering her expertise to several educational institutions and media houses.
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