26 September, 2023


Covid-19 – A Lesson For The World

By Shiranee Dissanayake

Shiranee Dissanayake

It has happened! And there is no going back on it. Almost the whole world – 198 countries to be precise, including our own motherland, have already been engulfed in the virulent Covid-19 pandemic. So, what next? There is no point in wasting time about what has happened in the past and pointing fingers at anyone. What is important is that we understand the true nature of this virus which is no respecter of persons and do what it takes to ensure that further spread of the virus is prevented. 

The health authorities who are best qualified to understand the behavior of this virulent virus and the grave threat it poses to the life of the general public have continuously stressed the importance of isolation, social distancing and taking the necessary precautions by washing of hands, refraining from touching face, nose and eyes and shielding one’s mouth with the elbow while coughing and sneezing.  

The media has done its part in continuously disseminating this information to the general public. The Sri Lanka Armed Forces, the Police and the medical personnel are endlessly involved in the immeasurable noble task of not only preparing the hospitals and caring for the infected and quarantined patients, but also carrying out the immensely difficult task of tracking down the contacts of the infected persons and sending them into quarantine in order to minimize the spread of the infection.  It is the selfless dedication and the love for our people and our motherland that has prompted them to forget their own safety and work around the clock to overcome this crisis.

Our heartfelt gratitude, adoration and thanks are due to all those involved in this noble endeavor. While we are thankful to the Almighty for the progress we have made so far as a country, we also pray for those in other countries where the situation has gone out of control and are still struggling to fight this menace. 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to take note of the GMOA warnings that only a total shut down of the country could prevent the spread of the infection and the political will displayed to save the nation from this catastrophe is indeed salutary. The relief measures taken to ease the burden on the people and the arrangements made to deliver essential food supplies to the doorstep of those who are homebound due to the curfew are also commendable. However, the practical and effective implementation of this initiative has to be monitored and followed up to ensure its success. 

It is now left to the people to strictly adhere to the advice of the medical personnel and the law enforcement authorities and collectively do their part to arrest the spread of the infection.  It is only adherence to medical and government instructions which will help Sri Lanka to overcome the danger of the disease going out of control as has happened in many of the wealthier and developed countries. 

As Sri Lanka goes through its most critical period of two weeks from now, after which we will know whether the country is going towards recovery or not, the government has decided to lockdown the capital Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara which have recorded the highest number of infected cases, while the other areas are subject to a partial lockdown.

Now that people are confined to their homes with plenty of time on their hands it is an opportune moment to think, reflect, and discern in order to understand the meaning of all this. History has recorded many such instances when epidemics/pandemics have invaded countries and cities, devastated humanity and changed the course of history and sometimes even wiped out entire civilizations. 

If one ponders on these events of history and more importantly the debacle that the world is currently confronted with, the concept of cause and effect comes to mind. The law of cause and effect states that every effect has a specific and predictable cause, and every cause or action has a specific and predictable effect. This means that everything that we currently have in our lives is an effect that is a result of a specific cause. 

The Buddhist and Hindu concepts of cause and effect also say that you as the being that generated the action into the universe will receive its consequences or its effect in one form or another and that you will never be able to escape the effects of your actions in time. In short, good deeds will give good effects and bad deeds will give bad effects. 

A story that clearly demonstrates the concept of cause and effect is recorded in the Holy Bible in the book of Genesis chapter 19, where two cities Sodom and Gomorrah were completely destroyed due to the abominable deeds of its inhabitants.

Considering the above, it all points to the fact that when the world is going wrong and doing wrong, the law of cause and effect will come into play to put things right. The fact that this catastrophe has affected the entire world at one and the same time sends out a very strong signal that the collective actions of the world is the cause that has brought about this cataclysmic effect.   

It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the current ills of the world like robbery, bribery, corruption, waste, murder, rape, child abuse, extortion, expansionism, racism, intolerance, the destruction of the environment etc. which are rampant all over the world are the causes that have brought about this calamity.

This situation has no doubt created the environment for all to realize that the course followed by them so far is far from correct. It has given them the opportunity to ponder on it in order to remedy the ills that plague the world today. It is time to rethink their strategies and policies so that once the world comes out of this calamity, it will be the beginning of a new era blessed with good morals honesty, integrity and love for our fellow beings. As we all fervently hope for the world to be rid of the corona menace and health to be restored to all who are suffering, the words of Dr. Clarissa F. Etienne (Director of the Pan American Health Organization) are of special significance. “I believe strongly that good health is rooted in equity, universality, solidarity, and inclusiveness”, Something for our leaders as well as the people to seriously think about and take the necessary steps to rectify the ills that have brought the world to its current state.

It would serve the leaders and the people of the world well to ponder on the word of God as recorded in the book of Revelations chapter 3 verse 19 in the Holy Bible, and and make a strong resolution to change for the better. “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent”.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    It is a lesson for Silly Lanka too. Usually after a near death experience we expect people to mature, become humble, wise or in short make some positive changes. Where as Lanka has had 30 years of civil war, Tsunami and natural disasters, catastrophes , Easter Tragedy and now a pandemic and yet our people remain arrogant, stupid , ignorant and all in all immoral. The greats like Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and many others who realized this very early tried teaching this to us , but our people not only ignored all together but exploited the same teachings for race/religious/political discrimination and political/self/family gains.

  • 0

    To both Chiv and the writer:

    Please reflect on the following from the Bible:
    Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    (Matthew 7:1-3)

    Please be more generous and less fanatical to appreciate that the above derives from the at least five centuries older Dhammapada (Verses 252 and 253), which inspires the majority Buddhist community of Sri Lanka whom you look upon with a jaundiced eye.

    Easily seen is the fault of others,
    But one’s own is difficult to see.
    Like chauff one winnows another’s faults,
    But hides one’s own,
    Even as a crafty fowler
    Hides behind sham branches. (V. 252)

    He who seeks another’s faults,
    Who is ever censorious-
    His cankers grow.
    He is far from destruction of the cankers. (V. 253)

  • 0

    Pl correct the wrong coinage and the usage of ‘social distancing’ which has become fashionable in the electronic and the printed media. It has to be ‘physical distancing’ in order to distance the contact of the virus itself, and ‘social distancning’ happens through ethnic, cultural, caste based issues and prejudices one community might have created on the other or between families or individuls. Its more a sociological nuance in anthropological studies that such a praseology being used. What we are talking here is physical distancing’
    Pl rectify before it becomes part of the jargon.

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