All for one and one for all

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All for one and one for all

Alexandre Dumas, he of the classic novel, THE THREE MUSKETEERS, coined the phrase that we have chosen as the title of today’s editorial. It has gained wide currency for its truth that we should be our brothers’ keepers. We’re all in this ship, and we shall all sink or swim together. According to quora.com, “If one person is facing problems, then it’s a problem for the whole community.” As you’re all aware,we have entered a new phase here in our fair State, what with the 24-hour, one-week lockdown that began at 12:01 today. This will be critical in arresting the spread of the Covid-19 virus – buying our health workers time in terms of strategies to further slow down and arrest the spread of the disease, and giving those who have been infected, time to be treated and recover. After all, we do not want burgeoning numbers of community spread cases to overwhelm the authorities. Our Prime Minister, the Honourable Gaston Browne, in his address to the nation during a historic virtual session of parliament on Tuesday, said in no uncertain terms that, we do not have the capacity to handle a massive outbreak. Minister of Information, the Honourable Melford Nicholas, has also spoken of our limited capacity, never mind that he did so in more morbid terms. He said that our two funeral homes (Barnes and Straffie’s) do not have the storage space to hold more than the normal number of cadavers.

As he has on previous occasions since this outbreak, our PM also mentioned ‘solidarity,’ and with him, we concur. As Antiguans and Barbudans, we are interconnected. Our lives are inextricably intertwined. Irresponsible, reckless and selfish behavior on the part of one person, can heap enormous harm (we’re talking possible death) on countless others. Many of us have heard the tragic account of the South Korean lady dubbed, “Patient 31.” Apparently, this lady, the confirmed thirty-first patient in Daegu, a city in South Korea, developed symptoms of Covid-19, yet continued attending gatherings, church services, a social buffet, and other business-as-usual activities, notwithstanding the grave threat that her decision to not self-quarantine posed to countless others. By way of contact tracing, there is evidence to suggest that the so-called Patient 31 caused the infection of upwards of 5,000 people in South Korea. Food for thought!

In his great poem, NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, John Donne speaks to our need for each other, and he bemoans isolationism when he says, “No man is an island entire unto itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. . .’ Sadly, the world has been turned on its head, and the isolationism that Donne decried, is now necessary. A necessary evil, if you will. We are sociable beings; we crave the company of others, especially that of our family, friends and co-workers (at times) (smile), and those in the many clubs, organisations, churches and other social groups to which we belong. We look forward to the interaction, and relish the notion of the world as a global village with but six degrees of separation between each of us.

Unfortunately, everything has changed. In a poignant piece of prose by an unknown author entitled SUDDENLY, the writer shares, in a sad, wistful way, “Suddenly we slept in one world and woke up in another. Disney has no more magic, and Paris is no longer romantic.  . . . Suddenly, hugs and kisses become weapons, and holding hands and walking in the parks become outlawed. Suddenly, not visiting aging parents and grandparents becomes an ‘act of love.’” Sigh! Oh haste that day when our topsy-turvy world can return to some semblance of normalcy. Of haste that day when we can kiss and hug and embrace warmly and shake hands. We will high-five each other with gay abandon when we emerge from this nightmare.

Until that time however, we must abide by the protocols that have been put in place by the health authorities. We’re talking about washing our hands frequently, not touching our faces, noses and eyes, boosting our immune systems with vitamins C, B and zinc, getting lots of sleep, drinking lots of water, covering our mouths when coughing or sneezing, and so on and so forth. Social distancing is also critical, there really is no substitute for it. Social distancing, health authorities argue, can dramatically slow the rate at which the infection spreads, helping to ease the burden on the health care system. Best practices require maintaining at least a six-foot distance between yourself and others.” [Leslie Goldman, VOX]. Folks, in the name of all that is good, it makes no sense to toss social distancing out the window at the supermarket and fall ill by contagion. It is a self-defeating exercise.

Of course, during this State of Emergency, with the exception of our sister station, HitzFM, Observer Radio will continue broadcasting as usual. The Daily Observer will also be published as in times past. We here at NEWSCO consider it our sacred responsibility to provide the public with news, information, commentary, entertainment and a voice. Remember, folks, “Where there is no voice, the people perish!” And remember, nothing breeds chaos and fear like ignorance, as in a lack of knowledge.

These are perilous times, but NEWSCO believes that we can emerge from this crisis, a more resilient and more united people. We’re talking, “All for one, and one for all!”  

         We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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