Mauritius as well as the planet is under siege. The government of the day, whether we like it or not, has taken a set of bold and appropriate decisions but response from some people and some political leaders shows that many cannot see the wood for the trees. Of course, nothing is perfect. There may be a 10-15% error margin but that does not mean that we must throw the baby with the bathwater.
In a situation of war against a very dangerous enemy when our survival is at stake, we would have expected political leaders and social media opinion ‘leaders’ to offer life-saving solutions but in most cases we find people so engrossed in the glorification of their egos that nitpicking has become their favourite response to a dramatic, not to say tragic, situation. When simple common sense demands a new mindset based on solidarity and sharing, most politicking self-seekers – and we have lots of them – seek to use the crisis for self-aggrandisement and self-promotion. Only two opposition leaders have risen above the political muck and have shown that they possess the vision and political intelligence which the complex situation demands. They are Dr Arvin Boolell and Mr Xavier Luc Duval.
Most of us have been shocked by the irresponsible behaviour of many Mauritians who do not seem to understand the gravity of the situation. While medical, law-enforcement and NGO personnel are risking their lives, thousands of Mauritians, powered by selfishness and greed, are pouring oil on fire. These people are from different cultural, ethnic and political backgrounds and their political leaders have failed to take them to task. Why? Simply because their votes are invaluable. The mantra of most political leaders is: “DON’T GO AGAINST THE GRAIN; tell people how admirable they are”. Do they have the right sense of priority? Are they ready to leave their comfort zone? It is legitimate to doubt.
Covid-19 has shown how vulnerable we are. Looking after one’s political benefits and advantages in such a situation is CRIMINAL. Dark clouds hang on us but is there a silver lining? Yes, there is. A few lessons can be learnt:
• Neoliberalism, as practised by the Trumps and Bolsonaros, has succeeded in making a handful of SUPER-RICH but has lamentably failed to produce a better world;
• Global burning, climate crisis and ecological destruction have been exacerbated;
• Food security in terms of production, distribution and consumption is the order of the day;
• Solidarity and sharing must replace selfishness and greed;
• Our National Language (Morisien) is a vital tool for survival;
• Hard times have shown our nation-building potentials.
As a new nation in the bud, let us chart a new course!