Writing From Quarantine, 8th April 2020

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Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

I’ve been doing some thinking. 

No, don’t run away just yet, I promise it’ll be alright. I’ve been thinking about the world. In particular, the forgotten one.

The forgotten world? What do you mean? Have you lost your mind?  Surely there’s only one world, which resembles a benighted hell-scape at times?

Well, I’m pretty sure that I haven’t lost my mind yet (though I did forget what day it was today until this afternoon), and I’m talking about the world that exists on the periphery. You might know it as the ‘Third World’, its Cold War moniker, third to the capitalist ‘First World’ and the communist ‘Second World’. You might also know it as ‘the developing world’ or any one of a plethora of terms you learnt in geography (assuming you still remember any of them). I’ve called it the forgotten world for an obvious reason; it’s been forgotten.

The spread of coronavirus has had serious consequences for this country, as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you. The reason you’re probably here is because you’ve run out of other things to do while sat at home. That’s not a criticism, by the way. This series accepts those of all levels of motivation, whether high or negligible. I should know. Writing this is as much, if not more, procrastination for me as it is for you reading it, trust me. But anyway, while we are undoubtedly feeling the effects of coronavirus in this country, and indeed across many of the middle to low income countries, the countries on the periphery of global affairs are under-acknowledged during this crisis.

Did you hear about South Sudan recording its first coronavirus patient on Sunday 5th April? I’m willing to bet you didn’t. Why does this matter? Because aside from this meaning that yet another country is now swept up in the pandemic, South Sudan is particularly vulnerable to an outbreak. The country has only just patched together a unity government after 6 years of civil war, which saw the deaths of 400,000 people, and over a million are still displaced. Add into the equation the devastation to healthcare services that all this entails, and 6 million already on the verge of famine. The result could be horrific.

Yet I only heard about it because my mum follows David Miliband on Twitter (yeah, I know), and I can’t think that’s right. I know that naturally we focus on the events closest to us, and those we can identify with more easily – hence why events in Europe and America affect us so strongly. But when I found out that the Gaza Strip, an area with about the same population density as Boston and far more poverty, is facing this virus with less than half the number of hospital beds per thousand that we do in the UK, and this hasn’t even made the world news page of the BBC website, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. Ok, so more than half of the population of the Gaza Strip is under the age of 25, making them less at risk, but they’re also more likely to have underlying health conditions, and with less treatment options available, their chance of survival is much lower. This is before we even get to the refugee camps dotted all over the world, which have poor living conditions, sanitation and healthcare as it is. Yes, I am aware that we have a right to expect our government to look after the people in this country first. But the results of forgetting the people who live in the global periphery could be tragic, a tragedy that we and our friends abroad do have the means to ameliorate.

So, that’s been my political rant for this week. Otherwise, I am doing ok. I feel like I need to remember to write these posts regularly – I didn’t on Monday, and my week has been the worse for it. Not that ranting about politics or jotting down my thoughts is the only thing stopping me from sliding into depression, but it does keep my focus on what’s going on around me. Speaking of which, the news of Boris Johnson being admitted to the ICU did unsettle me. I know it’s as a precautionary measure, but the notion of the leader of the government being struck down, by the threat he’s attempting to lead our response to, is unnerving. It’s also been quite depressing. Depressing that we’ve had various people, always online for some reason, crawling out of the woodwork to say that they don’t care whether he lives or dies, or being actively pleased at the possibility of his death. The man has a pregnant fiancé and a family, plus he happens to also be human. A bit of empathy isn’t hard, people. That being said, I was somewhat irritated when #ClapforBoris was trending; I’ve no problem with empathy, but elevating that man to the level of a beloved national institution is frankly ridiculous.

I’m sorry, I know I said my political rant for the week was over, I can’t help myself really…

All that being said, I hope you and yours are keeping well, and that you’re doing better than me at remembering which day it is.

More articles in Writing from Quarantine
  1. Writing from Quarantine, 23rd March 2020
  2. Writing from Quarantine, 25th March 2020
  3. Writing from Quarantine, 30th March 2020: Long Live Society
  4. Writing From Quarantine
  5. Writing From Quarantine, 8th April 2020
  6. Writing from Quarantine, 15th April 2020
  7. Writing from Quarantine: Politics and Science
  8. Writing from Quarantine: The University of Home
  9. Writing from Quarantine: Staying the Course
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Politics. Foreign Policy. Counterterrorism and associated issues. Anything else I might be drawn to writing about. Thats all really.

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