Eyewitness: A friend in need…


…is a (vaccine) friend indeed

There are so many sayings about the rarity of true friends…but the one that resonates with your Eyewitness is: “You know who’re your friends when the chips are down.” While most of these homilies originated from relationships between people, we sometimes transfer and personalise them onto other groups and organisations to which we belong to – all the way up to our countries. And this is where we might be making a big mistake.

As we shoulda learnt recently, while people invest emotions into their relationships, when it comes to countries, even though they’re run by individuals, the guiding maxim is: “There are no permanent enemies or permanent friends – just permanent interests.” So, when we try to understand the actions of nations towards other countries, we’ve got to find out what are their interests in those countries. And we arrive at the matter of life and death that’s confronting all of us on planet Earth – the COVID-19 pandemic.

On one level, we might think we’re all in this together. After all, didn’t the virus start out in Wuhan, China, but before you could say “Zaijian!” (Goodbye) we were all dying like flies? But we now know that this isn’t how it’s worked out: the “we” boiled down to citizens of separate countries. Each country’s leaders demonstrated they’d first take care of their own, when it came to distributing the vaccines that were created to stop the pandemic. Excepting one – India.

Now, your Eyewitness isn’t so naïve as to think that India’s “Vaccine Maitri” (Vaccine Friendship) isn’t serving their interest. Of course, it is. He’s sure that India’s counting on countries to remember their gesture when – for instance – matters affecting India come up at the UN, or when it comes to signing a trade agreement etc. But isn’t that what happens even with friendships between people? Your friends are there when the chips are down!

But the question is: why haven’t the developed countries in the West – who’ve traditionally been our “friends” – not been generous with us in our hour of need? In fact, they’ve gone the opposite to hoard or preorder several times the number of vaccines they’ll need for their entire populations. Don’t they feel they need to demonstrate their friendship to us? What are we? Chopped liver?

And if the truth be told, that’s exactly what we are: chopped liver – which earned its usage because it’s not appreciated by everyone! And this is true even though some are convinced that our massive oil fields have suddenly made us important. That we “matter”! But in the grand scheme of things, we’re still small potatoes on the world scene.
So, we shouldn’t look India’s gift horse in the mouth!

…when insanity is unleashed

How many times are we gonna hear about another mass murder in the US before we hear that they’ll do something about the causes of the phenomenon (too many suffused by hate) and the means to express that hate violently (guns). The latest was TEN persons (including a responding Policeman) mowed down by a lone gunman in a supermarket in Colorado. This followed the slaughter of eight – including six Asians – by another lone gunman in the opposite end of the country – Atlanta, Georgia.

Coming to the cause – the hate – this was increased exponentially in the US by politicians like Trump exploiting it for votes by stirring up hatred against all kinds of “outsiders” like immigrants, Blacks, Asians, Jews, and now “leftists”! The guns were always there. But while your Eyewitness is pained by those killings, he must confess that he’s worried that soon – like with Thanksgiving – we’ll import this quaint American tradition.
We already have the PNC stirring up hate – and the guns are unfortunately here.

…in cricket

And just when you thought our colonially-bequeathed cricket had inculcated bonhomie and gentlemanly values into us, comes the sights and sounds of our competing cricket administrators slinging mud at each other.
Could someone please serve them some cucumber sandwiches?