If today our country continues to fail to get a handle on the virus it would be because we have the highest per capita epidemiologists in the country. At every street corner, rum shop, and wake, Trinis display knowledge of vaccines- why it is good or bad and which are the best vaccines available in the market. It appears that propaganda holds a high reputation in this country-not truth and facts.
Vaccine rebels appear to be on the rise in the ongoing scenario. I know of a family that refused to take the vaccine until one member contracted the dreaded disease and died. In no time, the others rushed and secured their jabs! Despite this experience, a few are still trusting in their mean defiance.
This pandemic has revealed that we are not a healthy population. Too many have chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, and heart diseases. It also revealed that our health system lacks the resilience to fight back in times of crises like this one. It would be safe to say that our health system has failed us.
Are our health personnel advocating the practice of yoga and pranayama to strengthen the body in its fight against the virus? Or, the benefits of ginger and turmeric in our diet to strengthen our immune system? Are we playing our part to keep ourselves fit and healthy so that if we contract the disease, we are going to have a fighting chance to overcome it?
There is much talk about individual rights and freedoms; however not much is said about individual responsibility. Are we telling the youths of the nation that they are responsible for their health? Throughout this country, it is the norm to have cook-outs and drinking of alcohol day in-day out. Has any priest, imam or pandit, or social worker spoken out against this destructive lifestyle?
The alcoholic beverage lobby appears to have a tremendous influence on society. There is hardly a social gathering without the serving of alcohol. Even after funerals alcohol is consumed to come to terms with the departed!
Meat in the diet is another norm. To have a social gathering without a variety of meat dishes is a perversity. To be a vegetarian is seen as strange and lacking in knowledge of proper dietary practices. The average doctor makes it his duty to recommend a meat and fish diet for vegetarians, should they suffer a headache and have to appear before him.
The problem in this country is that we have normalized lies, half-truths, and innuendos. Many surmise that indulging in this kind of cheap propaganda-repeating everything said in social media- would give them an air of superior knowledge.
It is never too late for us to cultivate our intelligence rather than leaving it to be overrun with weeds and vines and wild beasts like in a jungle. Now is the time to develop our potential to become critical thinkers, that is, to question not only the media but all that is heard and seen.
Our minds must cease to be garbage bins for propaganda that continue to make the most damning statements only because they know they have audiences around the world that only swear to their brands. The latest missile from the NYT is that only Moderna and Pfizer vaccines offer protection against the Omicron variant and went on to discredit the Chinese, Indian and Russian vaccines.
Change begins now and with oneself. This is a lesson that few understand. Unfortunately, we continue to put our lives in the hands of a government and other institutions that have very little interest in our wellbeing. For example, do we need a government to tell us to eat a balanced meal, exercise daily, and have an eight-hour sleep?