“Their morals, their code; it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. You’ll see- I’ll show you. When the chips are down these, uh, civilized people? They’ll eat each other. See I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.”
― Joker (The Dark Knight)
History has shown us that whenever there was an appropriate time to show kindness and compassion, we, civilians failed to do so. It is said that a man is born to help others but unfortunately instead of showing empathy we are showing greed, selfishness and acquisitiveness. Now is the perfect showcase of our social behaviors amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
It all started in late 2019 when a famous street food market in Wuhan, China became infected with this viral disease. Bats are said to be the reason for the transfer of this virus to humans. This is what most of the scientists have said but there are also some conspiracy theories regarding the spread of this viral disease. Some people claim that this was some sort of strategy by the Chinese to rule the market world-wide as they have now bought many companies due to the fall in their shares. On the other side, Chinese Official says the US army may have ‘brought the epidemic to Wuhan’ during Wuhan Military games but there is nothing clear till now.
Corona pandemic created panic and fear around the globe and almost every country have imposed a complete lockdown. All markets, schools, colleges, universities, offices and tourism spots have been shut down by their respective governments. People were ordered to stay at homes but since then people have shown an awful behavior that takes us to a conclusive point where we can say that ‘we are no more civilized’. People are not following the guidelines provided by their governments and due to this reason, the number of corona patients is becoming uncountable. This irresponsibility of people has already led to a disastrous amount of 115,279 people who died due to this virus (as of April 13, 2020). Especially the people of the subcontinent have been violating the rules and regulations since the beginning of this pandemic. This has caused an immense amount of pressure on the governments and the security agencies as they are unable to take control of the masses.
During this pandemic, people have shown their greediness and selfishness through a couple of things. First and foremost, everyone is trying to stock food, groceries and almost everything that we need in our daily life. People were seen snatching items from one another before the lockdown was imposed. Now, this has caused the shortage of daily usage items as people are now making unnecessary purchases. Citizens have experienced a shortage of wheat flour, sugar, oil and other daily use essential items in the wake of lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Panic buying is having these people fighting over little things. The picture above is taken from footage uploaded by Sky News Australia in which these women were seen fighting over toilet paper amid the COVID pandemic. See? This is not a problem in the subcontinent only but this is happening all over the globe. People have never been so selfish and greedy.
The worst happening, in this case, is the increase in prices. Many countries have witnessed a sharp rise in the price of masks and sanitizers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic with many top brands’ products altogether missing from the market. After this pandemic, the surgical mask which was sold for only 30-50 PKR is now being sold for more than 200-300 PKR. Moreover, the 20kg flour bag is being sold for PKR 1050 while prices of ghee and sugar are raised PKR 50 and PKR 20 per kilo respectively in some parts of Pakistan. The increase in the prices of these commodities has added to the woes of the poor people particularly the daily wagers. On one hand, they cannot find work due to the closure of the bazaars and markets but on the other hand, the increase in the prices of goods has compounded their miseries.
There are some political and social workers especially in the subcontinent who show that they are helping the public but actually they are not. They are just grabbing little things and giving them to the poor for the sake of publicity. In a recent case, a political worker was seen giving the smallest possible ‘hand sanitizer’ to an old man from a village who was clearly in need of food more than anything else. Moreover, some workers are taking pictures while distributing ration to the poor, making their self-esteem completely shattered. They are just doing it for social media fame and considering it as a part of their election campaign. In other words, we actually don’t need any virus to kill us we are enough to kill each other for our personal benefits.
In such tough times, there are some people and NGOs who have been taking care of those who are suffering the most in this pandemic. Talking about Pakistan, we have some prominent names like JDC, Shahid Afridi Foundation, EDHI Foundation, Dawat-e-Islami, CHHIPA Welfare Foundation etc. Surely, there are many other people who are providing ration to those in need but they are not doing it publicly. There is another great initiative by Prime Minister Imran Khan who has announced a relief program in which approximately 10 million people will receive a stipend. The stipend will be Rs 12,000 for four months which will be provided in a lump sum. The program is called ‘Ehsaas’. However, 5 million people are already registered under this program which is also called Ehsaas Kafalat.
But the real question is what lesson is to be taken from this situation? Will we change as a society or not? It’s a million-dollar question that cannot be answered until the pandemic is over.