If there was ever a doubt as to whether propaganda, subliminal messaging, repetition and mass media has an impact on the mindset, outlook and approach of a people then let me confirm that it’s impact is real, it’s impact is long lasting and it’s impact in the modern world has achieved the outcomes it has desired through the internet, TV and social media.
I have lived through apartheid, I have lived through 911 , I have lived through the war on terror , I have lived through the 2008 economic crash and now I live through Covid-19(aka Corona). From being labelled and treated as inferior due to the colour of my skin, through being singled out for my name and Islamic attire when I travelled and thereafter borne an increase in living expenses due to my financial position, recent history has cetainly shaped how we all view the world.
As a minority living in the tip of Africa, we Muslims seem to have taken the collective responsibility for the spread of Covid-19 on our shoulders. In some respects this is great – we have risen to the challenge in terms of helping where we can whether it be with food parcels, blankets, assistance to EMS personnel, leading the scientific charge to find solutions (unfortunately vaccines seem to be our only silver bullet)etc.
The responsibility we have borne has however surfaced the programming we have been through over the last few decades.
We are the only religious group to share daily stats on our infection and mortality rates from Corona publicly even when our government has decided not to classify based on race or religious grouping. “All terrorists are muslims” is what has been drilled into us previously – this has translated into “The irresponsibility of us as Muslims in SA has led to our mortality rate being above our percentage of the population. We are the cause of the rise in infections” .
We are the only grouping that seem to be fixated that our religious symbol i.e the Mosque, the Musjid, the Musalla is the source of all infections in our community. “Mosques are a breeding ground for terrorism” was the common phrase spewed by global leaders during the War on terror – ” attending congregational prayers in the musjid is the primary source of an increase in the spread of Covid-19 in our community” is what we are told by some of our progressive and vocal leaders in the community.
We have created such divisions in our discourse, families, communities that we tolerate no alternative views . We have lost diplomacy and tact. We have scared each other to the extent that asking questions is taboo. We label each other as conspiracy theorists, extremists and radicals for having alternative medical views on Covid-19 and its treatment. “You are either with us or against us” was the war cry post 9/11. We are doing the same now to each other. Who needs enemies when we have each other.
We are, as a community, at yet another critical inflection point in our history. We need to dig deep. We need to unshackle ourselves from this conditioning and reconnect to the principles of our faith, forge new connections to the practices of our beautifully outlined way of life and take a step back, look at the bigger picture and work collectively to come out the other side a better community. We need to focus on our core issues and resolve them else when the next calamity hits we will be back to ground zero. We need to lead and not blindly follow – that’s our legacy and key principle of Islam.
From The Middle