Our responsibility as global citizens in the time of COVID-19 pandemic - YASIN AKTAY

Our responsibility as global citizens in the time of COVID-19 pandemic

As global citizens, we were already aware of the fact that we live in one world and that we are responsible towards one another. However, we were blatantly disregarding this. A tiny virus emerged and reminded the whole world of this clear fact in the most striking manner.

The globe’s wealthy and tyrants had actually downsized the world for themselves, while they made it bigger, less accessible and more barren than ever before.

While the poor Rohingya children in Myanmar, who are already living under the most difficult conditions, are unable to escape the bullets raining down on them, they were also void of the power to reach 2 meters ahead as their bodies burned in the pits they were thrown into. Neither their bodies nor their voices were able to reach the power elites, the filthy rich who could fit the world into a single room.

Media reports and information regarding the rampant invasive practices keeping a whole city in Gaza, along with its people, under a blockade are also in front of our eyes in all its tragedy, yet these reports are recorded solely as the global details of the little village; it failed to reach consciences in any way.

Those taking advantage of all the “blessings” that the globalized world offers in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Kashmir and Africa would not want to pay the price for these blessings. The coronavirus is showing us one by one the prices we have been avoiding to pay for the blessings we have been experiencing, the services we have been receiving with globalization. The voice of the Syrian child, who said, “I am going to tell God everything,” in her last breath, about to die because she could not find anything to eat after her house was destroyed, after her father and mother were killed as a result of Russian and the Assad regime’s bombing, failed to reach the numbed people of this world; yet everybody can now sense how this complaint shook the heavens.

It is obvious that after this intervention on our world by the coronavirus nothing can continue as it used to. We have seen that the world order which is far from just has led to serious problems. Turkey has been stating for years that “The world is bigger than five,” meaning that this order has no intention, capacity or will aimed at solving the world’s problems.

Coronavirus is also educating us at the same time. One of the first lessons it taught us is that just as the irresponsible behavior of others may endanger our life, our actions can also put others’ lives into danger.

Regulating our social behavior over this principle, which is also the basis of ethics, is essentially one of the primary measures of civilization. We had to contemplate the result of every single one of our actions in the social atmosphere that concerns others or may affect others. We were careless; now, this warning must have brought us to our senses.

Perhaps as we said before, we must redraw the boundaries of personal freedoms. What behavior remains in our personal or individual boundaries and to what extent?

Of course, like in city life, this situation brings along new responsibilities to international relations as well. Countries need to stop saying everything that happens in my country concerns me alone. While the world is affected as a whole at the point of trouble, it is inevitable for countries to become more open to the world’s supervision.

Of course, we are talking about an openness and supervision at the level of basic human rights. It is said that China, which has been the origin of coronavirus, has progressed so far in the fight against the virus that it has left all countries behind. However, there is actually no way for us to truly know this. This problem erupted because China was not transparent to the world in the first place. The cost of the delay that occurred because it kept something that happened in its own country from the world is obvious. Even today nobody can be certain of how right or wrong its words are. Even so, from now on it cannot conceal information and avoid sharing data with the rest of the world or avoid the responsibility of cooperating in the fight against this common disease.

Those who err with respect to taking responsibility in this regard will not only constitute a threat to themselves but to the rest of the world as well.

From the very beginning, Egypt’s policy regarding the COVID-19 type coronavirus is one of the most critical examples of this irresponsibility. This irresponsibility is obviously primarily harming Egypt; however, Egypt is forming a new source of threat to all of Africa and, in fact, the whole world.

Figures were being undermined from the very start; there is no proper collective fight and, as a matter of fact, the serious disconnection between the public and the state is also preventing the people’s active participation in precaution campaigns. According to some reports, even though the number of cases in Egypt has reached 20,000, the latest figures disclosed do not even reach 200. In fact, despite news that some top-ranking soldiers have diagnosed positive and died, there is no serious measure being taken in Egypt. The inability to control the spread of the virus in Egypt will ensure the continuity of the threat not only in Egypt but the whole world, primarily in Gulf countries and Africa, negating all measures that have been taken.

We will not be mistaken if we interpret the coronavirus’ biggest message to us as “responsibility”: individual, social and international responsibility.

Just as we can all be destroyed because of the brainless among us, others may also be destroyed because of our actions.


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