We are faced with a tough and complex question. The genie is out of the bottle, the boy has cried wolf, Pandora’s Box is open – all of these things have happened and they can’t be undone. So what happens next?
Even down at level 1, we are still in a national lockdown and have restrictions on our movement and behaviour. This is at far lower levels than when things started in late March, but they exist nonetheless. Through this experience, barriers have been crossed by officialdom that have pushed very hard against the fabric of our society – all in the name of our own good.
Well, the economic impact is ongoing – and it’s bad. The job losses are immense. The personal economic impact each person carries is significant. The expected levels of illness have not manifested themselves. The numbers of deaths are nowhere near those used to justify our current circumstances.
What is done, is done. Whether you agree with the course of action taken to this point – or not – that is simply academic. Here we are, six months later, dealing with the circumstances as they unfold.
The question we need to address now, what happens next? When you’ve cried wolf and there is none. When the genie is out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back. When Pandora’s Box has been opened and all the pain has been inflicted on the world, how do you close it again?
We have witnessed unbridled greed, a passion for self-enrichment and a pattern of an utter lack of caring about South Africans occur over these past months – an accelerated feasting by the monsters of mediocrity that have slowly gorged themselves on every facet of South African life over a quarter-century. We have seen, even the blind and most ardent have seen, and we can only hope this pinnacle is the last hurrah.
What though is to happen when a real danger emerges, when the real illness comes, when the threat to life is far from imaginary and our senses are still saturated and our memories still long? What will need be said, or done, or guaranteed, or enacted when there is no choice but the extreme option.
The visuals of SAPS and SANDF actions against South Africans are very fresh and will remain fresh for a long time. Instead of the role as protectors, their actions have been that of government agencies, towing the official line no matter the cost or consequence. There is little to no trust or faith in government institutions, before this pandemic-scenario they were already on shaky ground in the public perception. Now, well …
On a final note, today (Monday, September 28) was apparently World News Day. According to the website for the event, “… aims to raise awareness of the critical role that journalists play in providing credible and reliable news, to help people make sense of — and improve — the rapidly changing world around them.” It is entirely up to you to decide whether you think the standard and quality of journalism is better, or worse, today than it was previously. Also, what you hand you think the internet has played in the standard of journalism – for better or worse.