Throughout the world, the leadership shown by the political, religious and business leaders, has been abysmal, in their handling of the dreaded virus.
In today’s British newspapers, The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson is quoted to have said: “ let the bodies pile high in their thousands, as opposed to having a third lock down”. This is despite suffering from the illness and coming very close to death himself.
In demonstrating such callousness and disregard for the lives of those who elected him to the highest office, Alexander De Pfeffel Boris Johnson isn’t alone — It would seem that the virus of incompetence and abysmally poor leadership is truly global.
Regardless, of where you look and turn, the leadership shown throughout the world, in this period of great upheaval, does raise questions on elected representatives, leading entrepreneurs in advanced and fledgling democracies.
Brazil’s right wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been just as adept as his British counterpart — in denying the virus and not setting up a framework to handle the treatment of his fellow citizens. The result of which has been — 380,000 dead and counting.
Donald Trump, the former american president, in the early days of the virus, despite the wise counsel of Dr. Fauci, took the alternative view and chose to delay imposing a lock down in order to save lives, by first, denying its existence — describing it as a hoax, blaming the democrats and objecting to wearing a mask — which meant that by the time the 2020 elections were held and the voters had him kicked out of office, 500,000 Americans had died. These needless deaths stemming from the inconsistency in messaging and leadership from the most powerful man on earth.
Narendra Modi, who made a name for himself as Chief Minister of the Gujurat region of India, when thousands of Muslims were massacred and who subsequently rode the crest waves of Hindu nationalism to the highest office in the land, has proven to be a much less able steward, in the face of the pandemic, in a country where, 300,000 new daily cases are being recorded and there is an acute shortage of oxygen supply for those being hospitalized.
India, a nation of over 1 billion people finds itself in a predicament, all of its own doing.
The European Union, too, hasn’t been left out of the action — a failed coordinated approach to vaccination has led to new lock downs being imposed in a few member states.
What we have had, with the European Commission, under the leadership of Ursula Von Der Leyen, are the likes of Denmark, pulling out, altogether. The thinking is that, this may have a domino effect, on how EU member states, could choose to go about their efforts in getting their citizens vaccinated.
The European Union, like every other institution, is failing those that need its leadership the most — 450 million people.
Profits Before People
The likes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, over the course of the last year, have shown that, they are as objectionable as anyone of the politicians that I have written about, thus far.
These men, in spite of their profoundly expensive divorce from their spouses, have become immensely wealthier — Jeff Bezos by $60 billion and Elon Musk by over a $100 billion.
Given the damage that this pandemic has wrought on the lives of millions of people across the globe, you would be forgiven for thinking that these men, would be minded to show a degree of compassion to their employees — by raising their wages, improving their working conditions and getting them to work from home if necessary —right?
Instead, the South African born and raised Musk, put out a series of tweets, denouncing the state and federal lockdowns, as being fascist and going ahead to open his facilities in California, before it was safe to do so. Almost immediately after re-opening, the number of people who contracted the virus rose exponentially. The sick employees, were, inevitably fired, when they elected to take unpaid sick leave.
From 2015–2018, in the United Kingdom, Ambulances were called to the amazon factories 600 times. This was due to employees collapsing under grueling working conditions, such as, zero hour contracts, no toilet breaks and unreasonable targets.
If the circumstances under which people went about their business wasn’t dehumanizing enough, once the lockdown was announced, things promptly, went from bad to worse for Jeff Bezo’s employees, all over the country, with the pressure to meet the demand for Covid testing kits and ensure that deliveries are made at the stipulated times.
And yet, with the plethora of information about Amazon’s unethical methods in the United Kingdom, how did the government of the day elect to reward the tech giants?
By handing Amazon a very generous tax break
A tax break in the middle of a massive wage squeeze, rising debts, high student debts? Yes indeed.
The Religious Anti Vaxxers
In the African American community, the Muslim minister Louis Farrakhan, have been quite vocal in his Skepticism on the efficacy of the vaccine and has explicitly advised Black people not to get vaccinated.
In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Prominent Clergymen have spoken unequivocally against their members getting vaccinated, stating that healing comes from God alone, not from laboratory produced medicines.
Anyone, with a fair knowledge of history, will understand where this is coming from, given the history of the Tuskegee experiment, in which hundreds of Black men were injected with syphilis, in a government sponsored experiment, much earlier in the twentieth century. There’s also the view in Africa, that AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) came about by the injection of a few people, back in the 1980s.
The likes of Louis Farrakhan and Chris Oyakhilomen — powerful men of means— whose lives are as extricated as it gets from the millions of their poor followers —have largely succeeded in convincing large sections of the community not to get vaccinated, which is clearly, much needed to stay alive and healthy.
This needs to be seen in the context of the horrendous advice given by the catholic church, forbidding the use condoms, during the aids epidemic, which led to a vast number of Africans, contracting and dying from the disease.
As I stated in one of my previous articles, we live in the age of debauchery, sybaritic hedonism and insatiable rapacity.
We are governed by those who are purely motivated by the quest to acquire more money and power and have come to find creative ways of stripping the very poorest of their assets, dignity and everything else.
It’s clear that we can no longer look to politicians, the clergy and businessmen for leadership on the complex issues of our time.
Leadership, as we know it, needs to be re-imagined and reconstructed.
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Thanks very much for reading.