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The Divided World – The Triangle Space
The Divided World Ghalib Parvaiz

   “We can not defeat this pandemic with a divided world,” says WHO Chief Tedros Andhanom Ghebreyesus. The words encapsulate the prevalent Covid-19 crisis. Lack of global solidarity and unanimity poses a graver threat to human beings than a natural calamity. The global plan of action has been standing idle since the outbreak of the coronavirus. When the first covid-19 case was reported in Wuhan city (the epicenter of a pandemic) world leaders did not even issue a single official statement or comment anything on it. On 11 March, World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. It was too late, as the deadly virus had widely spread out in various countries and the curve was far from flattening. 

Initially, the coronavirus escalated tensions between two global powers. While referring to the pandemic, former US President Donald Trump called corona-virus “Chinese-virus” more than twenty times in different press conferences. Furthermore, former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo also termed it the “Wuhan virus”. Blaming China over the origins of covid-19 has further aggravated relations between Washington and Beijing. However, the racist words used by the US were also condemned by the World Health Organization. Use of language that could stigmatize certain ethnic groups over the coronavirus would have severe repercussions in the already divided world. 

Amid Pandemic, US President suspended WHO funding. This sinister move wreaks havoc on the world’s health. The US is the biggest contributor to WHO’s budget in the world. According to the WHO, the United States provided 14.67 percent of its funding in 2018-2019. Moreover, Washington vehemently criticized UN Health Agency and termed it China’s puppet which has failed the world in containing the virus. President Trump demanded an independent investigation against WHO leadership. Such aggressive moves may further widen the gap between World Health Organization and its major fundraisers.

    While looking at the current situation, the coronavirus has claimed 5.22million lives and infected nearly more than nine million worldwide. Unfortunately, the pandemic is still accelerating and global leadership is politicizing the pandemic. Despite emerging health crises, the pandemic has posed the greatest threat to the world economy, triggered the social crisis, and caused political instability in many countries. According to the World Bank Report, the baseline forecast envisions a 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020. It shows that the world has entered a recession. Additionally, recent publications of “South Asia Economic Focus” paints a dismal picture for developing nations where Covid1-9 has already pushed sixty million people into poverty in its very first phase.

 Recently, a wave of protests has emerged in the West, after the unfortunate killing of Black American George Floyd. The incident unleashed public anger and caused a social crisis in the developed world. Even in Pakistan, civil society moved forward and condemned the racist act that took place in Minneapolis, a city in the United States. There is no denying the fact that pandemic has accelerated hate crimes and xenophobia globally. If mass protests can erupt in democratic countries like US and UK, it means that not a single nation is immune to the protests. However, developing countries are more vulnerable to such uprisings.

 Pakistan is one of the youngest countries in the world as 64 percent of the total population is below the age of 30. A study conducted by “Population International Action” shows that about 80% of the world’s civil conflicts since the 1970s have occurred in countries with a young and fast-growing population. Thus, utilizing youth productively is an emerging challenge for incumbent government amid pandemics. The failure of successive governments pushing insecure youth towards extremism. Moreover, an abrupt rise in unemployment, increasing poverty, deteriorating health, and a very low mortality rate have made people socially insecure. The social crisis is an existential threat to the integration of the nations which must be addressed by the state governments without any delay.

 

 At present, the world is battling against covid-19. This is a global phenomenon that is not confined to one nation. Humanity has fallen victim to the lethal disease as it has affected the people beyond borders. Defeating pandemics requires global efforts because they can not be defeated in isolation. Setting aside all the differences, a decades-long enmity, and bashing attitude, world leaders need to adopt a flexible approach and design a more globalized world where essential medical services would be provided to the countries indiscriminately. Closing the doors for research development for vaccines is an unwise decision. As the United States enforced travel restrictions on the Chinese in the initial phase of covid-19. The decision irked the Chinese government.

In a nutshell, there exist a few chances to defeat the pandemic very soon in a divided world. Covid-19 has turned the world upside down. The financial loss and adverse impacts on every sphere of life. Such as wiping out millions of jobs, disrupting the electoral process in forty-seven countries and emerging political instability pave the way for an alarming situation. Saving lives takes precedence over anything else. As human beings enter in dangerous phase. Desperate times always call for desperate measures. There is a dire need to respond effectively to conquer the pandemic which can only be possible with global solidarity and unity. The people in a divided world is looking for concerted efforts through which pandemic can be defeated before it causes more loss to human lives.

 

Ghalib Parvaiz

 

The writer is a Postgraduate in World History,

from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

 

 

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