“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in [a]fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” James 2:1-4
This post might appear quite troubling to some quarters but I am doing it in spite of such a risk. While it dwells on the dicy subject of the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues, I am hoping it will speak to wider issues as to how we consider our social structures and how we see each other as a body of people having a common human experience. This comes on the background of our attitude when it seems a problem is far from us and how quickly our attitude changes – from caring more to blaming governments for letting the problem come closer – when we find that we are not so distant from the problem anymore. Other brands of this “distancing attitude” is statements claiming that this is some judgement on the Chinese or recompense for eating bats.
Within the last week, two people have echoed the perception that the coronavirus has impacted largely well to do people because the spread started in and became serious two very rich regions of the world – China and Europe. The idea is that for anyone to spread the virus in Africa, he must be able to pay for an air ticket or other means of transport from one country to another. The story is also told of a significant number of case found among people who had been enjoying their trip on a cruise ship. The trend was even such that at the beginning, some fake news brokers began promoting the idea that corona does not affect Africans! Is corona a disease for the rich?
When the Ebola virus broke out in 2014 to 2016, the dominant countries affected were Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia among other African countries. We also find that the so called lower class might have been more affected since the virus was transimitted by physical contact. Those who could not afford large living spaces could have been more at risk. It is even arguable that Ebola was deadlier than corona – about 11000 people died from Ebola out of about 28000 reported cases. Maybe the spread was limited by the fact that poor Africans don’t travel much or that the diseases incapacitated people quickly. Clinician News even reported that the Ebola virus tends to evade the human immune system! Was Ebola a disease for the poor?
In covering each of these crises, the big names in global journalism would have been reporting from two points of view depending on the proximity of each of the crises to the UK, US, China etc. It is only natural, only human. It seems that the dramatic publicity the coronavirus has received within two to three months exceeds the publicity Ebola received. Is it a case of the rich being more important than the poor or rich countries being more important than poor countries? Could it be related to the economic impact. I mean the shutdown of the second largest economy in the world certainly sends shivers to America, Africa and Europe as we have seen with COVID-19! So are we really concerned about health or money?
These are just speculations based on very limited expertise. I would like your views, and I would like you to expand your thinking regarding this pattern of human behaviour. What behaviour? The tendency to be far removed from an issue if that issue doesn’t seem to affect us. It has played out in many different ways in our lives. Being more worried about paying our mortgage than about supporting children in hunger-stricken Somalia? Prayer points like: “In the name of Jesus, no citizen of my country will die from Coronavirus”? “Lord, we close the borders of this country to COVID-19”? Are we really concerned about the problems we find in our world or are we just concerned about distancing ourselves from those problems as much as we can?
Incidentally, when these catastrophes occur, they have often no respect for our wealth, social status, race, colour or creed intrinsically. It only makes sense that we should truly care when others are suffering. I even believe God wants us to experience some of these things in order to bring more love out of our hearts. It works sometimes.
“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had [a]mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”” Luke 13:1-5 (Words of the Lord Jesus)
Kenneth Igiri is an IT Professional with over 14 years’ experience in Service Management, Applications and Databases currently working in the banking sector. he current works with the Enterprise Architecture Team in his organization helping to build the bank of the future. When not working, he blogs, writes and teaches Sunday School. He is active on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.