Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (iWN file photo)

By *Jomo Sanga Thomas

(“Plain Talk” Dec. 30, 2020)

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” — Socrates

“When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.” — British journalist, George Monbiot

The year that was blindsided all of us. We started with promise and ended in the gloom. One thing is certain: the world we live in will never be the same again. Call us conspiracy theorist if you wish, but there is no credible evidence to convince any reasoned, fearless mind that the death and the fearmongering that pervades the world are not part of a grand design to reorder Planet Earth to benefit the rich, powerful and privileged over the poor, marginalised and disadvantaged.

The great reset is upon. The coronavirus pandemic is a cynical dress rehearsal for something more defining, distinctive and definitive than anything we have seen or experienced. If you are in doubt, think Ebola, Anthrax, West Nile Virus, SARS, Bird Flu, Chikungunya and Zika. The dice are being rolled. Blind eye Massa cyar see; who ye catch ye kill.

Some argue that the earth with seven billion people is overpopulated. They say a billion is ideal. The earth can easily accommodate more people if we end the disconnect between the social manner in which goods and services are produced, and the private, individualised nature in which they are hoarded and or distributed. We don’t produce an insufficient quantity of food. The problem is food, and other necessities are distributed primarily with the motive to make a profit.

Before the coronavirus, the World Health Organization looked for a 5% lethality rate before it declared a pandemic. No country on earth has climbed to that percentage, yet by April, all of the major capitals were locked down, vehicle and air travel all but ended, and millions of people were thrown out of work. There is no prospect for a recovery in sight. In fact, as the year closed, there is much hype of a second coronavirus wave with pronouncements of more death and suffering.  

In the parliamentary debate on Monday, PM Gonsalves predicted more difficult times ahead as the legislators passed a bill to borrow more than $100 million.

The foregoing narrative is not intended to say that what we have witnessed over the last nine months is not alarming, but put in the proper contexts we get a different perspective:

Currently, 850 million people go hungry and are undernourished. That’s a staggering one in every seven persons on earth. Seven million died of hunger in 2020; one million people died of AIDS last year and 40 million people live with the disease; 4.2 million people died of diabetes and diabetes-related illnesses in 2020; 500,000 died from malaria; four million from hypertension and 5.5 million died across the world from cancer.

We rarely hear about these damning statistics; we need to ask why? Part of the reason why most of these diseases don’t make the daily headlines on BBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, Reuters, New York Times in the major media markets is that those most affected and dying come from the global south, mainly Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

We have to hold our nerves and interrogate powers and principalities. Why are questions about the negative side effects of medication produced by multinational pharmaceuticals companies dismissed by powerful people?

Ask a question, and you are declared a conspiracy theorist. The label is tarred with the same negative connotation as politically correct, fake news and alternative facts. It is a truism that we are entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. However, in the last 30 years, pharmaceutical companies have recalled Zantac, marketed as a cure for acid reflux, but caused stomach cancer; Valsartan, Losartan and Irbesartan, offered as blood pressure medication, which was proven to cause cancer; Accutane, sold as an acne treatment, caused inflammatory bowel disease, miscarriage and premature births and suicidal tendencies; Vioxx, marketed as a pain reliever, caused deaths and debilitating strokes; Raptiva, said to be a cure for Psoriasis, caused users, brain infections and death; Darvocet and Darvon, supposed pain reliever, caused a rapid increase in the heart rhythm of users, while Lipabay, said to aid with pain relief, was pulled from pharmacies after 52 users died suddenly.

For decades the tobacco companies hid the fact that there was a direct causal link between cigarette smoking and cancer. They criminally marketed cigarettes to women under the motif, “you have come a long way, baby”.

Why must we trust big pharmaceutical companies with our health? Their devilish drive to maximise profits has demonstrated a callous disregard for health and healthy living.  Why should we lower our guard as it relates to the agenda of those intent on pushing their vaccines and other medicines, thus making them billions? Why are the pain and suffering caused by some vaccines and other medicines dismissed with total disregard for those who suffer side effects?

In her classic work “Deadly Monopolies”, Harriet Washington, the Harvard medical researcher, argued that a growing corporate presence in the medical industry yielded dire consequences for patients, as drug development and research is initiated on a for-profit basis. The industry’s fiscal motivations include the reported versus the actual cost of bringing a new drug to market, and the damning indictment that the monetary value of gifts given by corporate drug manufacturers to physicians in 2000 was US$6 billion. Washington also said the restricted nature of medical patents suppresses research.

Even more, the reason why informed consent should be of paramount importance. Sadly, all too often queries are shunted aside. Doctors who research and find problems with vaccines and other medicines are blacklisted and dismissed from their jobs while other researchers are pressured into silence. 

In conclusion, we approvingly quote Randall Robinson: “We have more information but less knowledge. More communication but less community. More goods but less goodwill.  More of virtually everything save that which the human spirit requires. So distracted have we become sating this new need or that material appetite, we hardly noticed the departure of happiness.”

The New Year demands that we become more discerning; otherwise, we will swallow hook, line and sinker, everything offered up to us only to later find out that we have voluntarily checked into a prison out of which there is no escape.

*Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

4 replies on “Demands of the times”

  1. When dealing with local Vincentian social, political, and economic issues Jomo Thomas often hits the ball out of the park based on his intimate and detailed knowledge of the issues at hand.

    Alas, this does not apply to commenting on international issues about which he has little expertise expect his extreme left-wing ideological perspective, a shortcoming that leads to analyses that are far from convincing.

    Even though I agree that the direct impact of COVID-19 has been exaggerated by the media, the medical community, and many control-obsessed governments – so far it has killed only an inconsequential 0.026 percent of the world’s population, mainly people over the age of 70 with life-threatening comorbidities like chronic obesity, hypertension, and diabetes — this rambling piece, like the last one (https://www.iwnsvg.com/2020/12/27/justice-begs-for-mercy/?fbclid=IwAR2DCLJpp6jvvGmLRB5gBep25jCu3Sbx5-s6_r4bslmgDmRdURNIpm4K9Xk) which only received Facebook comments from yours truly, falls flat on several grounds, including the following:

    1. There is not a shred of evidence that, “… the [COVID-19] death and the fearmongering that pervades the world are … part of a grand design to reorder planet earth to benefit the rich, powerful and privileged over the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged.” On the contrary, most of the death and fearmongering is based on inept and unnatural attempts by politicians and scientists to manage and eliminate one of millions of viruses that have been with us since the origin of life on Mother Earth 3.5 billion years ago as part of the normal, natural, and healthy way natural selection has always regulated human population growth.

    2. Contrary to Jomo Thomas’ inane assertion, planet Earth with 7.8 billion people — an increase in 100 percent in the past 50 year — does indeed have too many people despoiling the land, extinguishing hundreds of biological species, polluting the atmosphere, and depleting the oceans of all manner of life forms.

    3. Still, this rapid, but long-term unsustainable population growth is proof that there is far less proportional hunger in the world today than at any time in human history, contrary to Jomo Thomas’ innuendo to the contrary.

    4. Conversely, our densely populated world — a direct result of overpopulation — is why a virus that might have been contained to isolated parts of the world in the past has so quickly spread across the globe.

    5. It is over-consumption of finite environmental resources by ordinary predatory humans who are getting richer ever day which accounts for much of the death from diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable diseases that Jomo Thomas lists.

    6. Most of the over-consumption diseases that Jomo Thomas lists are found among the rich countries of the global north, not those, “… from the global south, mainly Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.”

    7. Yes, we do live in an over-medicated world driven by the pharmaceutical and medical establishments but this is not part of “… a grand design to reorder planet earth to benefit the rich, powerful and privileged over the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged” if only because the “poor, marginalized and disadvantaged” cannot afford first class medical care or vaccination while most of the economic beneficiaries of drug products are ordinary working people whose pension plans and individual investments sustain the pharmaceutical companies. For places like Africa (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-vaccine-supplies-for-africa-dwindling-as-moderna-opts-out/) and the Caribbean this means that few or no vaccines will be available before the end of 2021.

    8. Yes, Jomo Thomas is correct to assert that there are many dangerous legal drugs around but hardly anyone is forced to ingest potentially lethal pharmaceutical drugs or required to be inoculated with potentially killer vaccines, at least in Western democratic countries.

    9. Nevertheless, what Jomo Thomas calls the “devilish drive to maximize profits” in the pharmaceutical industry, a capital accumulation orientation shared by millions of entrepreneurs in hundreds of different spheres, is the very same devilish drive that has enriched nearly all countries of the world in every possible way over the past several hundred years leading to greater global happiness and longer, healthier, and more productive lives; and it is the same drug companies possessed by this devilish drive which resulted in the record-breaking production of several COVID-19 viruses in a few short months as well as hundreds of life-saving or enhancing medicines over the past 100 years.

    To repeat, Jomo Thomas often produces perceptive opinion pieces when he sticks to local issues but is way over his head when he deals with international ones.

  2. Sometimes I really have to love Jomo’s attitude.This is one of those times. Today I went to Kingstown for the first time after the holidays. I was shocked to see so many people running around looking like frightened rats wearing masks. Afraid of a virus that, if you catch it, has a 99.6% recovery rate. Of the very few that do die, 90% of them are over 80 years of age, nd virtually no one under the age of 19 ever dies from Covid-19. Jomo mentions many other sicknesses and ailments that cause far more death than Covid-19 but we are not brain-washed into fearing those ailments. Already young people are dying and becoming permanently handicapped from the vaccine.
    We seem to think like lemmings. We fear what we are told to fear, do what we are told to do no matter how stupid it is. It is now becoming a crime to think for ourselves. All those frightened rats have no need to fear a jail cell, but in these days if you love freedom and can think for yourself big brother has his eye on you!

  3. Narendra Sethia says:

    Spot on! The pharmaceutical companies are criminal. So many diseases could be cured but that won’t make the companies rich. For the same reason, trials on untested drugs are carried out on poor African people who don’t have lawyers.

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