Those who eat regularly, have some income, and a safe, warm place to sleep need to stop shouting so loud. Your noise is drowning out the screams from those who have nothing. These are challenging times and all of us must come down a notch or two. The selfish rich and middle classes, need a wake-up call.
Someone who never has bread does not worry about not having bread. But, the person used to eating bread everyday feels bereft they miss bread for only one day out of seven.
We must be careful about shifting limited resources to appease the complaints of the rich and middle classes while there are those with nothing who need help more.
Imagine two secretaries working in an office. They both are retrenched. They both apply for and receive government social relief for those losing their jobs in the current crisis.
BUT…one of the secretaries has generational assets from her late grandfather who built his business exploiting cheap labour during the apartheid era. That fund gives her a certain amount each quarter that she can live on. The other fired secretary has nothing except her salary. Who then should have had access to those limited government relief funds?
We are not talking about the letter of the law, but the spirit of it.
The rich and middle classes need to be slapped out of their comfortable stupor.
We are less concerned about the upper class family that is wrathful because they will only have their house cleaner twice per week instead of everyday. We are more concerned with that cleaner who now will receive less than half of the paltry amount she usually earned.
We have only a small level of sympathy for the previously advantaged, transplanted ex-pats, and the nouveau riche. The whining from people used to taking three holidays a year and can now take only one, must be ignored.
We must focus on basic level needs and hold the country together from the bottom up.
Perhaps instead of closing liquor stores, we need to open churches. Some people need a new ‘come to Jesus’ moment, to wean them away from their self-centred focus.
There are many businesses in distress right now. Some screaming for bailouts the loudest are less concerned about actually staying in business and more concerned with meeting their profit projections.
Many in the privileged classes would have heart palpitations if they had to send their children to a school outside of their self-isolated private school communities. When they scream for bailouts of their business interests, they are actually screaming to keep their segregated communities intact for as long as possible.
Those with cash flow will have a field day buying up the reduced-price assets of the less fortunate. They can afford to sit on these properties until (if) things improve. And yet, some of these people are joining application queues looking for ‘relief’ from state coffers.
We have read whinging opinion pieces from the advantaged members of society, blasting the government for the lockdown.
One previously advantaged writer to a local daily paper had the temerity to gripe that the government didn’t ‘consult’ before declaring the State of Emergency. Selfishness in emergency situations is ugly. We are reminded of the rich men on the Titanic, who threw poor women and children aside so they could get to the life boats first.
Democracy, elections and the freedoms in our constitution are important in times of great upheaval. Once a government is duly elected, it has the power and the duty to act for the good of the country as a whole, not just those who complain the loudest. This includes declaring a State of Emergency.
While much remains unknown about the virus, apparently, it is not those that are healthy, well-fed, and receiving regular medical services, that would be easily infected. It is the poor, sick, undernourished, and underserved that are more vulnerable. The rich and middle classes, therefore, have no problem shouting for policies that expose the poor to sickness but help them preserve their lifestyle.
A question for the wealthy – When the masses of ‘have nots’ weary of having empty bellies and see you happily going off on holiday, where do you think they will go first to find bread? Those who ‘have’ need to think hard about that.
All who can, must give money to proper charities or volunteer to help those in need. Pressure government to open soup kitchens. Advocate for small government stipends paid to jobless people doing public service work half day.
The compassion and common sense shown now, by those who still have something to share, might preserve the best part of the Namibia we used to live in.
Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy year (or two).