Sat. Jan 23rd, 2021

Stereotyping CoVID-19 Pandemic

By Naveed Saleem

Human stupidity has reached new heights of self-constructed “philosophical” nonsense, as nations across the world fight against an unprecedented recent pandemic.

Along with the disease spreading each day, there also is an upsurge in the number of ‘theories’ of all kinds, attempting to explain the ‘causation’. Many of these theorists are as far away from sciences as Pluto is from Venus. Yet, the wannabe saints ans pseudo-scientist continue to churn and propagate one theory after another, further adding to the confusion and putting even more stress on the clueless masses.

In addition to the conspiracy theories, there is also an uptick in the stereotypes related to the people affected by CoVID-19.

These unequivocally vague and superstitious stereotypes can be tracked down from global to national and local levels.

Starting with Israel’s health minister who declared the virus a divine curse for homosexuality, and was himself later found a victim of the disease, there are hundreds of influential people and their infinite (figuratively) followers who either utterly in religious thrall and hysteria or to muster more gullible audience into their cogent traps, have been harnessing  their credentials in the most frivolous and idiotic ways that otherwise, perhaps, could have been used for some kind of global awareness in the wake of most devastating times on mother earth.

Earlier in the days, before it was declared a pandemic, bat was being labelled as an animal responsible for the spread of the disease. This earlier cause, which many are negating, became a tool in the hands of some people, who started talking about the religion, stating that Islam was right in declaring bats’ meat Haram. It was, therefore, declared a curse on the “Kuffar”, implying that Muslims will be spared.

Later, as the virus spread in Iran, the sectarian prejudices came into play, with Shias being blamed for the virus; ‘only the Shia are affected’, was the rallying cry for the hate-mongers. The argument started failing when a large number of Tablighis got affected, and people returning from KSA also tested positive. This, however, did not stop the conspiracy theorists, who are mostly shallow-minded bigots with a lot of time at their hands.

All of these stereotypes are dangerous because they spread falsehood at the cost of truth and caution.

Be it a pandemic or some religious or sectarian issue, patronizing some and belittling others will only create an unending hate cycle. Objectivity and factualism should drive us. We should not let ourselves to be gnawed at by lies and conspiracy theories.

We should also avoid stereotyping those who are affected, or those who have recovered, form the infection. We can continue to value our humane values, while ensuring safety measures.

The key lies in love, care and acceptance.

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