“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” — This is the opening sentence of ‘The Go-Between,’ a novel by L.P. Hartley.
Covid-19 has drawn a bold line between the past and the present. It is not deletable.
The mainstream western media, unfortunately, has not been able to reconcile with this fact. It is still stranded in the past.
Even more pathetic is the state of those outlets which bill themselves as some kind of media but are actually foghorns pumped by their sources of funding. —– He who pays the piper calls the tune.
Covid-19 is a global challenge and it requires a united, global response. Many of us have understood already that there is no Post-Covid scenario. We must learn to manage it and live with; and we will, we can.
We must also stand ready to deal with any other permutations and combinations of this group of viruses. It is only a matter of time.
There has lately been the tendency in the western media, particularly the sponsored media, to point fingers at Central Asia and criticize the way the regional governments are dealing with this challenge.
At the risk of sounding heartless, one must point out that the United States, a country sagging under its own exceptionalism, should have known the right way to deal with Covid-19. Go figure.
Actually, everyone understands that only three things are helpful against the spread of Covid-19: 1. Personal care; 2. Social distancing and isolation; and 3. Discipline.
Let’s take a country out of hat, for example the United States. — If the people are given paid or unpaid leave from work so that they should not catch the virus from each other, they decide to cram the bars, if they are kicked from the bars, they crowd the beaches, if they are dispersed from the beaches they find excuses to gather in the streets and parks.
Let’s dip into the hat again and pick another random country, for example China. — If the government asks people to stay at home, they stay at home; and the government brings them food and medicines and other necessities. If the people are requested to avoid traveling to or from a particular city, they abide by that.
Which country will do better against Covid-19? — No brainer here.
If a country can build a specialized hospital right from scratch in eight days and another country cannot source face masks in eight weeks, which would be better positioned to contain the consequences of Covid-19?
Equally importantly, which country stands out as a good example for Central Asia?
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In the previous century the media was agile. There was the ability to stay ahead of the curve. This is sadly lost.
Whether we talk of TV channels with global reach or the newspapers of intercontinental influence, they are all either divided across imaginary lines or struggling to survive. Most of them seem to specialize in pettiness.
The sponsored media outlets are even worse. They sound like paid mourners – mourning for a system that could not reach its adulthood.
Central Asia has learned this fact by observing carefully.
The countries in Central Asia are working on a two-tier self reliance goal: 1. Basic Self Reliance; and 2. Strategic Self Reliance.
[We shall deal with the concept of self reliance in a separate series of articles.]
For now, it should suffice to say that the pursuit of self reliance is also serving as a noise-cancelling headphone against the raucous racket of the sponsored western media.
We appreciate Hartley — “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
Those who have decided to keep living in the past, we wish them well. /// nCa, 22 June 2020