By Basil Fernando –
A Covid patient just recovering after being in a serious condition for the last 12 days spoke to the Asian Human Rights Commission over the telephone and explained the situation thus:
“When I first felt the symptoms of the Covid-19 with fever and shivering I called the numbers that have been given publicly by the government, to inform them about my situation. Someone took the telephone call and said that my name is being registered. They promised to get back as soon as possible. Now 12 days have passed and no one representing any health authority or any other authority has contacted me. It is all lies that is being told in public. No PHI, no doctor or even anybody from any task force gave even a telephone call to me. This what they call home quarantine.”
That call is from a lucky one who managed to have survived an attack of the virus, while over 150 people each day succumb to death.
There is nothing to be surprised of this kind of disorganization, neglect and blatant lies. It is not just the failure of the captain who is supposed to in charge of everything and responsible for everyone’s life. It is far bigger than that. Sri Lanka’s dysfunctional state is no longer under the control of itself. It is not merely non accountable. It is an in fact incapable of being accountable. It is not that it does not care to prevent deaths but that it is incapable of taking steps to eradicate or at least to minimize the impacts of Covid-19.
The system, when it begins to lose its logical coherence, needs to be corrected at its earliest stage. That earlier stage happened several decades ago. Ever since there had been no serious attempts at all to deal with the ever intensifying internal crisis of the system. One step of illogicality led to greater steps of illogicality and when that got repeated hundreds and thousands of times, the system created itself a lunacy.
This lunacy is got manifested little by little and it has now become blatantly visible to everyone. The Covid-19 related deaths and also the spread of virus in such a large scale has brought home to every home a simple message. It is not merely a deadly virus that is visiting their house. It is a far more deadly disease of the system that is reaching them now. This deadly diseased system claims everything out of the people. It claims the livelihoods of the people by way of ever increasing inflation. It claims the wealth of the nation by way of ever increase of the national debt and the depletion of the treasury. It is manifested in a health system that has taken away from the hands of expert medical personnel the power to deal with an epidemic in the way that such a situation should be dealt with.
When competent professionals of the nation working in various branches of the state, are deprived of the power to act there cannot be anything more damning for the system than that. And, if that function which could be exercised by those who are the most competent is being taken by persons who by the nature of their functions are completely incapable of dealing with it, it cannot be called anything less than madness.
Any critics including the ordinary folk in the country will say all that. In fact, what is said is merely a repetition of what is told all around the country by almost everyone in much more rough language.
For sophisticated critics, like the people from the opposition in various political parties, professional from almost every branch of enlightened professions and every other sensitive person state the problem quite loudly.
However even now, what the country is unwilling to face is that the prevailing system of the state which has become so dysfunctional cannot be expected to do anything better. Everything would turn to the worse, so long as this fundamental dysfunctionality is addressed.
Today’s discourse has to be concentrated on the need for a fundamental systemic change of a dysfunctional state structure and how to achieve it. If that message is talked about, the whole nation is there today to listen to it. Every family who is experiencing the deaths caused by this fallen system cries out for a fundamental reckoning. The future demands a radical fundamental change of this damaged and dysfunctional system of the state which creates the kind of leaderships that are incapable of grasping the depth of the crisis. Instead of responding to the crisis they are trying to utilize even this catastrophe of the nation for their own little benefits and for believing the illusion they could somehow survive this crisis.