Anisul Hoque 24 April 2020
Trump, do you know you are responsible for the death of thousands of Americans? The cause of the heart-rending tears of thousands and thousands of mothers who have lost their children?
Putin, do you know, you too are responsible for humans submitting pathetically to a tiny thing— something neither an animal, nor a plant, nor even a sensible object?
Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, do you know that it’s your colossal failure as well that caused this deadly virus to spread from country to country?
President of the World Bank, David Malpass, do you know that you are responsible too for the tears and laments of human beings at this time?
It is you all who took the virus to the tiger in the New York zoo so that it could be the carrier of the corona virus,
Yes, all of you!
Kim, did you know
Moon, did you also know,
Lee, did you too know,
Abe, did you also know
Boris, did you know
That you’ve all brought tears to every human beings’ eyes,
Filling everyone’s mind with fear
And appalling their souls?
Now mother can’t clasp their babies to their bosoms
Sons can’t caress their aged fathers affectionately
Lovers have forgotten what kissing each other was like
Land can’t be found to bury people anymore
And space can’t be found to store corpses in mortuaries anywhere
There is so much oxygen in the world and yet we lack ventilators to let infected people breathe
This is all because together you’ve created a cruel, cruel world!
The 2021 budget for USA’s nuclear submarine fleet amounts to 128 billion dollars!
So much money allotted only for the purchase of submarines
Now we don’t have money for sufficient ventilators!
New York hospitals don’t have the money to buy PPE’s and health workers are working wrapped in garbage bags!
Modi, couldn’t you have provided every Indian with bottled water with the money you spend on atomic bombs?
Then a Rajsthani woman wouldn’t have to walk for six miles in the brain-melting heat across scorching sand in a desert for a drop of water.
With the annual money allotted for atom bombs you could have then built a toilet for each and every house.
With 60 million men and women have to go out into the open to answer nature’s call, what is there to brag about?
Imran Khan, with the money you spend on atom bombs you could have built one hundred thousand primary schools
Each and every year you could have built 10000 hospitals!
All of your globalising strategies have now delivered the corona virus to the lungs of young aboriginal girls of Amazon rain forests.
Your globalising strategies have made the forests Africa’s aboriginal people live in turn blue.
Unable to stand hunger pangs, young girls are taking their lives in Bangladeshi village huts.
Do you realise Modi that your Citizen Amendment Act has failed to stop even one virus?
Was the blood that turned blue in the veins of Delhi’s Ronobir, who trekked the two-hundred-mile road to his village home to cross over to the life on the other side of Death, your creation?
Imran Khan, did you all realise that tanks can’t guarantee security?
Your F-16s are chewing cud like cows
While in the Baluchistan-Iran border thousands and thousands of people are crowding each other and getting roasted in tents in intense heat, without toilets, water…. without tests despite their symptoms. They are getting infected and spreading infection all across Pakistan. No facilities! No humanity on display!
Do you realise erecting border fences won’t ensure security for you all?
I know though that humanity can’t be defeated.
I know people will purchase life at the cost of deaths
Human beings will be reborn. People will come close to each other again. People will hug each other tightly once again. One day a vaccine will be discovered. One day the last corona virus will be eliminated from earth.
But one virus will remain
A virus called greed
What will remain is racial arrogance
What will remain is nationalism
What will remain is racial pride
What will remain is class hatred
What will remain is hate speech
IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, do you know that you are responsible for disregard of humanity?
Jeff Bezos, do you know that you caused a six-month baby to die of corona virus with chest infection by spreading the disease?
Ambani, do you realize that money can’t guarantee security?
When 20 per cent of human beings own 80 per cent of the world’s resources
Corona viruses will show up.
When 2 per cent of human beings hold 98 per cent of humanity dependent, corona virus is bound to show up!
Nevertheless, let a year pass and you’ll forget everything
But it is pointless to blame only you all
You are not the only ones responsible; I too must share the blame for such disregard of humanity, for the pathetic sobs of distressed people!
We will all forget everything
We will all, Trump, make you Trump once again
We will make you, Putin, Putin again
And they will appoint people like you and David Malpass, the World Bank President.
They will appoint young executives to the World Bank who will send toilet rolls to Amazon’s jungles and will advise the people of Africa to use hand sanitisers.
The chimneys will spout smoke once more. The sky will grey once again. The atmosphere of this blue planet’s atmosphere will be full of poisonous waste then.
The sea level will rise; Bangladesh, the Maldives and the Netherlands will go under water….
Trump will grit his teeth once again and mutter, “Everything is under control!”
“Corona scare is a hoax”
“The talk of climate change problems is a sham”
Felani will hang in a barbed wire in the Indo-Bangladesh border
Rivera will die in the Mexican border
In an East Europe border 30 dead stateless people will lie strewn inside a covered van.
The Syrian child Aylan will lie lifeless on a seashore like a doll dressed in red. Three seashells will be seen sticking to his dress; his palms will be in a gesture revealing his desire to live; his pockets will be stuffed with salt.
The young child Omran will look in shock, seeing houses collapsing over his head; his lips will be smeared with blood.
Nusrat will burn, saying. “I will reveal the truth to the world”
Our conceit-filled virus!
And all of you are the chief patrons of that virus—Trump, Putin, Modi, Imran, Boris and Abe
But this virus can’t discriminate between rich and poor, missiles, atom bombs, the CIA, barbed wire fences and boundary walls!
This is because the atom bomb can’t guarantee security
Such lethal weapons can destroy this blue planet six times but can’t even save a child
This is because missiles don’t guarantee security either!
There is no virus greater than discrimination and inequality
There is no epidemic greater than hegemonic rule and greed
There is no disaster greater than nationalism and communalism
There is no virus more potent than war and envy
We need a vaccine to eliminate the virus in our souls
We need ventilators to make the earth serviceable again
The kind of ventilators that will help build a pure world
A world where a few people will not decide how 7800 million people will die
A world where each and every living thing—animals, insects, plants, forests, mountains, skies, rivers, oceans—will exist together, leading the kind of life that calls for a green manifesto!
Anisul Hoque is a Bangladeshi writer, poet and journalist. He works for the Daily Prothom Alo. He won the Bangla Academy Award for literature in 2011. He has published more than 100 books including collection of poems, novels and short-stories. His works have been translated in many foreign languages. He is a fellow of International Writing Program, University of Iowa. Freedom’s Mother and Ballad of Ayesha are two of his famous international publications.