Coronavirus: Between God’s wrath and personal opportunities
Amid all the confusion and uncertainty that the novel coronavirus has caused, a majority of Pakistanis believe and are confident about one thing: that the virus is the wrath of God against the infidels.
It is one of the many instances that suggest the prevailing amalgamation of conspiracy theories in people’s knowledge that find its abode on the minds of the majority in Pakistan.
If you don’t believe me, then go out and ask people about their opinion. Most of them will say the coronavirus originated in China as it had been persecuting the Muslims minority.
Currently, there are around one million Uighur Muslims reportedly detained in China by the authorities that insist the detainees are being “re-educated,” a Chinese term for persecution.
Then the other justification for the deadly virus comes from another quarter: “See, the Muslims in Kashmir have been detained by the Indians for the last seven months. Behold, now God has detained the whole world as a punishment.”
For the majority, this is somewhere between an allusion and the accusation against the global treatment against the Muslim Ummah.
However, isn’t it critical to know why we associate all our miseries to our advantage or self-pity?
Why we do this?
The answer is partially explained by the past.
Throughout history, man has associated whatever he fails to control with some superior power. The attitude partly reflects the individual helplessness to meet the situation, and partly, the way of justifying one’s ignorance.
It has been human psyche too because, throughout history, a general lack of knowledge had been shrouding scientific explanations.
Due to this, it has been the human tendency to contrive explanations of an incidence when the reason is unable to find its justification.
The coronavirus is no exception!
Where conspiracy theories lead you!
While sustaining the argument, we can say that conspiracy theory is a product of sheer ignorance, misinformation, social disorder, and political chaos.
Unfortunately, Pakistan fulfils most, if not all, these conditions!
But a conspiracy theory is not the illness only, and it is a symptom of the society that recycles the ignorance and misinformation, only to multiply it.
This vicious cycle only snowballs as it moves during certain times like these, and reproduces uncertainties.
In this case, conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic are serving as a tool for the opportunists who know how to turn a crisis into opportunity.
In the most turbulent times, which is more conducive for their gains, they begin to profit by exploiting individual fears and collective ignorance.
For instance, there is a businessperson in India who was recently selling anti-coronavirus mattresses. He claimed that the mattress made by his company would keep the coronavirus at bay.
Similarly, there are instances in Pakistan where some quacks claimed that they had found a “guaranteed cure” to the coronavirus, whose cure all the brilliant minds of the world failed to discover until now.
It is the dilemma of our societies that find the opportunities amid these uncertain times where people’s fears are exploited to personal advantages.