Thursday, June 13, 2024
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My Take On It: Oh no! Omicron is coming, it’s coming from Africa!


Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, And dishonest scales are not good. Proverbs 20:23

As children every time someone passed wind and accusing eyes or comments would be made, the response was “whoever smelled it dealt it” or whoever heard it cracked it.” And so, it appears to be the case with the South African scientist who recently discovered in their labs while researching Covid-19 variants and mutations. Worldwide reactions that include naming the variant Omicron, to the South African variant, and travel bans to the entire southern African region clearly point to the norm on things concerning Africa. Even when the discovery of the variant is a savior of sorts for the world, more or better vaccines can be made to fight the strain, but it’s an African country that found it, it needs to be labeled as a bad thing.

As countries in the so-called first world rushed to ban travels to their countries of persons from the southern African nations of South African, Botswana, eSwatnini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, but excludes Angola and Zambia. Ironically the variant, which was, it is coming to light, first discovered by The Netherlands, is present in new cases of Covid cases in the UK, Israel, Belgium, Italy, Hong Kong, Germany, and the Czech Republic. The SA variant Omicron, now more hated than Covid-19 that has killed over five million people globally, and drug manufacturers already counting their dollars, is the developed nations’ new weapon against Africa.

US President Joe Biden joined the bandwagon of travel banning countries of anything Southern African. Many analysts are wondering and asking how different is he from former US President Donald Trump? They say he is showing his discriminatory colors in banning an African set of countries perceiving them to have the Omicron variant, yet the scientists Biden lauds, are turning up European countries, Nordic countries, and even Israel as having the variant, in large numbers. But no ban has been issued against these; it’s only the one who smelled it that is being slapped with the ban.  It was actually first cited in the Netherlands (but they didn’t kiss and tell). All gasped when former US President Donald Trump discriminately banned Muslim travelers to the US because of the terror stateless Muslim vigilantes were causing around the world. He too, singled out and did not issue a ban on Saudi travelers to the US.

On the travel ban, the South African government issued a stern warning to the US and EU, demanding a complete reversal of the decisions, that put southern African states on the red list. The SA government called the travel ban decisions discriminatory, biased, unfair, and unreasonable. SADC Chair, Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera also issued a stern warning to the US, UK, EU, and Australia saying the travel bans to southern African countries were uncalled for. In the same vein, he thanked and commended SA scientists for identifying the variant and warning the world about it before anyone else. He said Covid measures must be based upon science and not Afrophobia.

World renown co-chair of the African Union’s African Vaccine Delivery Alliance, Dr. Ayoade Alakija, said in a BBC, that the Omicron Variant was inevitable because the world failed to vaccinate equitably.

“If COVID had been found in Africa, they would have locked us away and thrown away the key. No urgency to develop a vaccine. And Africa would have been known as the continent of COVID,” she said, visibly emotive on the matter.

She accused high-income countries of hoarding vaccines. It really is a no-brainer that racist discrimination in the health sector poses a risk to the entire planet.

“Until everyone is vaccinated, NO ONE IS SAFE,” Dr. Alakija said.

Analysts state that locking out Africa is not only wrong but also a mockery of health justice. Africa must not be singled out. In fact, the irony is that anomalies surround the pandemic. When the Covid-19 was first discovered in China, the narrative was almost apologetic, and ways were sought so as not to blame China for the pandemic that is causing the world to spend enormous amounts of money on tests, vaccines, and treatment of the infected.

Shockwaves are ricocheting through the continent as the fact that South Africa discovered the vaccine has regrettably led to all first-world high and low officials and media unleashing scornful comments, bucketsful of scornful comments, many that are downright raced with racism. The irony in all this is the numbers scene, for example, the UK has 46,000 new cases, while South Africa has zero new cases.

As the number of cases around the world continues to rise at alarming rates, Africa’s have been inching up slowly. However, Dr. Alakija reported that Botswana ordered vaccines; and everybody knows Botswana has the money – diamond money – to pay for it, even at a higher-than-normal price of $29 per vaccine. She reported that European countries were favored and jumped the queue.

To the global community in the first world: discriminate in this pandemic at your own peril! The good news in all this is that despite all the fiery arrows and scud missiles hurled at Africans and black people around the world, they always survive. God certainly is not a respecter of persons: whatever your color or continent of origin.

Incidentally, President Chakwera will join other African leaders in a discussion with US President Joe Biden later this month will be meeting with African leaders to discuss democracy. To African presidents that will be attending the Democracy Summit, please take with you to the Virtual Democracy Table Talks some education points on what democracy looks like, how democracy is sustained, what to do when democracy is being undermined by whomever, and how to ascertain and insist that the rule of law is for everybody and every time.

That is what democracy looks like!

Janet Karim
Janet Karim
Author, high school Learning Disabilities Teacher, candidate Master of Education Special Education, Mason University; highly organized, charismatic and persuasive Communications Specialist and accomplished Journalist, Editor with 41 years in the communications field, offering expertise in all phases of print, broadcast, telecast, and social media productions. Enthusiastic story teller. Highly-motivated and trained media professional possessing exceptional writing and editing skills with ability to draft engaging and effective content; Opinion column contributor for leading national dailies (Maravi Post - 2015-PRESENT; Nation Malawi - 2015-PRESENT; Times Malawi (2004-2007). Other areas of expertise include grant writing and NGO project management. Highly trained in international, regional and local lobbying and election skills. Collaborates with international companies to initiate development policy change and foster public awareness, with deep commitment to social justice and health care equity; especially in work towards women's political, economic, and social empowerment; ending child, early and forced marriage; and promoting the human rights of the elderly. Advocate for highlighting climate change its effects on the planet. International development work experience with the United Nations headquarters (10 years, and two years UNDP field work); field experience (Malawi) - Oxfam, UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO. Superb public speaker who communicates effectively with target audiences through strategic one-to-one or large audiences, expert in event planning and PR campaigns. Conscientious, diplomatic, and tactful in all communicationsg.
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