LOCKED, QUARANTINE AND COROKNACKERED BY TAJU TIJANI - TMnews Magazine Online

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LOCKED, QUARANTINE AND COROKNACKERED BY TAJU TIJANI

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I really don’t know what part of the world you are reading this piece but if you are in the UK like this writer, I guess you are locked, quarantined and coroknackered. Coronavirus. Covid-19. Lockdown. Quarantined. Self-isolation. Social distancing. All these Koro-generated words are mutually exclusive. If a disease can teach wisdom and lesson at the same time, coronavirus has offered the global space nugget of soul searching to mull over. The first is that the global space is never an island in itself. We are massively interconnected be as an individual, communities or nations. Also, behind the stardust of our digitalised and evolving universe we are all bound together by a shattering truth that says: all human are one.
Coronavirus has opened up a whole Pandora of supernatural truth about life and our place in it. We are the world. We are one. It is only the arrogance and wealth of the Western nations that divide the world into sentimental categorisations of developed, developing and underdeveloped. Coronavirus has shattered that illusion and has shown that only together we are strongest, most humane, most supportive and most human.
The effect of Koro is felt around the world. Yes, some countries are blessed and yet to record any contagion. The geographical spread of Koro – man unseen killer – has given world governments cause to pause and rethink the meaning of life and death. Koro brought in racism, panic, suspicion, fear, anxiety, fatalism, insecurity, loss and even resignation. Koro is no respecter of geography, colour, status or rank. Covid-19 is one of the most deadly viruses you could ill afford to engage in a hand-to-hand combat. That is why governments all over the world are in panic mode and preaching a new gospel of care, support and togetherness. Governmentality with all its remoteness to the governed have all disappeared.
In the UK, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, with his minsters are all cuddly, loving, caring and dishing out monetary largesse to all the people who may be potentially affected by the pandemic monster called Covid-19. People are now their most precious asset. It is no longer the rich. It is no longer the banker. No longer the businessman. Not the Judge. But the people. The society. The community. The ordinary British people who make up this isle.
Value is now shifted away from fellow politicians to doctors, nurses, care workers, social workers and other essential workers like store assistants at the checkout. The bus drivers. The train drivers. The maintenance operatives. The cab drivers.
The second lesson is how fragile life is. The strongest among us could be knocked out by Covid-19. Same goes for the weak, the poor and the rich. Yea, Nostradamus and other futuristic writers made accurate predictions of coronavirus outbreak in 2020 but we took it for granted until it began its devastating welcome on innocent lives. Today world economies are in ruins. Life as we know it has returned to the medieval period. Restaurants, clubs, shops, offices, schools, universities, churches, mosques and other social gatherings are victims of Covid-19. Donald Trump could not attached fake news to coronavirus. It is real. America is under meltdown. California, Broadway and Disney, all iconic American trademarks are under lockdown.
Race is on to get a vaccine without any whimper of hope. Chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that had been around since 1940s, is now touted as Covid-19’s antidote. Really. Say that to them in Italy, a nation where death from Covid-19 is in the thousands. Outlandish narratives, conspiracy theories and dark whodunit about Covid-19 have all saturated the social media. Professor Aloa Ahmed, a friend, of the University of Western Ontario, forwarded one of such theories to me through WhatsApp. The innuendo and subtext of the conspiracy theory was that China deliberately unleashed or released version Covid-19 onto the world in response to the loss of trade war with the US. The goal: to plunge the world into recession. The thread in the Chinese corona virus theory went on to discuss variables like plausibility, intent and capacity.
One ugly manifestation of coronavirus pandemic on the society is that it has opened the lid on our greed and selfishness. We have turned into hyenas. Social norms have vanished. Public courtesy is out of the window. Groceries in stores are cleared out in seconds.  An ugly homage to our innate greed, selfishness and insecurity. Social etiquette is now reconfigured in most UK groceries stores – be it Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison, ASDA, Waitrose, LIDL, ALDI, Coop and even the pound shops. Each morning is a celebration of trolley wars as human hyenas’ battle to join in the feeding frenzy for scarce commodities like toilet rolls, hand sanitiser, eggs, bread and other sundries.
Christ advises us to be anxious for nothing. Well such sermon hardly washes in a nation of gay marriages and gay priests. Rather, people – Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Hare Krishna, Stonehenge worshippers, Taochi advocates and Feng Chu faithful – are super anxious every minute as long as covid-19 still paralyses our social life and the way we want to live it. Covid-19 has turned us into fearful hoarders in order not to remain captive to uncertainty.
Today I am living in a society beclouded by fear, agitation, loneliness and social distancing. I cannot go and see friends. I had wanted to travel to Nigeria in May but that is now a distance dream. We now live in a shifting void of life and death and total obedience to the rules that mitigate for us and temper the brutality of Covid-19. These include: social distancing, washing of hands frequently, self-isolation, lockdown and life under quarantine. These are, at best, mitigating rituals that appease the rage of Covid-19!
Sunny Nigeria, I was told, is repellent to Convid-19. The virus could not easily mutate under our burning sun and as such the rate of death in Nigeria is low compared to the Western Hemisphere. This is God’s balancing act and mercy for all Nigerians. If Covid-19 malevolence is unleashed on Nigeria as it did on Italy, we would be counting deaths in millions because our health care cannot cope. And that is why we have been corona-creative and comedic on the social media. We laugh at Koro jokes and advise it to stay away from the Nigerian soil. Children born under the pestilence of Koro are now given names such as Corolabi, Corowale, Corowunmi, Corolola, Coroseyi, Corotade, Corochukwu and Coromeka.
Yes, we may be having obscene laugh but the world is in mourning. From small businesses to big Airlines they are all demanding public money to tide them over until they can once again begin to reap profits for their shareholders. Companies that are too big to fail yesterday are today the very victims of coronavirus. The world is under meltdown. Help, I am locked, quarantined and Koroknackered!!!

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