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].