Grip

noun/
The act or instance of grasping and holding firmly.

 

[T]here is a paucity that grips the world in a dazed haze today. It’s like going through an experience you are not equipped to tackle with no choice but to do whatever it takes to go through the experience. It’s a buzz around in circles, but you have to cross the bridge even though you are not sure whether you will make it to the other side or not. But if you do make it to the other side is there anything there?

It is humbling when the clockwork of a supposedly well-oiled machinery we call life comes to an unexpected grinding halt. The COVID-19 epidemic reminds us that it is not just global warming that threatens our species but also viruses and bacteria that vie with us for survival. Personally I did not think much of the outbreak until I realized that it affected a couple of people I know. One, a former colleague who, because of work, has been based in China for the past years or so. It never mattered to me in what city they were based. I’ve never thought that far. I hope I will have the chance to ask them next time we talk. The other person is an entrepreneur frequent global trotter in the ITC sector.

I bumped into the global trotter at an exhibition opening in one of Tshwane’s suburbs recently. I was actually surprise to see him there. When I thought of him I always imagined that he was out of the country. ‘I had to cut my last trip short and cancel those that were in the pipeline because of the Corona virus outbreak.’ He side sneered softly to me during the start of the exhibition opening proceedings. He sounded fatigued. I could not help it but nurse a sense of relief on his behalf for the rest he was getting.

〉〉〉〉〉 As the spread of COVI-19 was reported via traditional media outlets with some sense of repetition that finally wins attention of the ignorant I started to think about the outbreak as something that might affect me directly or indirectly. Such thoughts are unsettling. They struck at the core like when you learn that someone that you grew up playing with has passed on. Such news evokes a profound sense of self awareness of your time and place in the universe. That life is but a fragile moment. After frantically sending groping messages via one of our social media messaging app to my former colleague in China and not getting a respond for a week or so, I started to panic badly.What if they have been quarantined? I asked myself. Then one late morning I saw a response, ‘Ashe. I am home’. I immediately expressed my happiness ‘Thank you for letting me know you are alright’ 〈〈〈〈

With the type of the world we have grown up in it does not take an effort to imagine that this deadly virus might be part of a war between powerful countries. But that will be a simplistic answer. We can leave theorizing to the theorists and scientists. The concrete truth is out there as is always the case. There is an expression that says every war has its causalities. This is a war between humanity and a deadly virus. The effects of the outbreak, as we have already gleaned from media consumption, will unfortunately adversely affect small and poor countries for years to come. The sooner we win this war the better. If the cause was not human invention with a global agenda then there is hope. however if it was launched as a biological weapon in the heart of China to shift the balance of power we can spend some time pondering who is responsible and marvel at the coldness of humanity, driven by whatever it is that drives people to decide who lives and who dies, in the quest to amass power.

If there is a future and we live to tell the story of the pandemic we will have to spend some considerable amounts of time showing how China’s fortunes turned to the worse when COVID-19 broke out within its shores at the end of 2019. We would have to note how it took a couple of months into the New Year following the festive season for humanity to realize that it was facing a global biological menace of unseen proportion. As a precaution, developed countries and those that are underdeveloped closed up international travels, ceased international trade and tightened their borders. The world went into another recession.

We would also be enthusiastic to tell future generations just how important it became to wash ones hand as often as possible and how hand sanitizers became the norm, like our cell phones, accompanying us wherever we went. For now we have to survive. We have to hope for a better tomorrow. One thing is for sure global power will rest in the country that discovers the vaccine.

Autumn

20 March

©Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2020