Global Meltdown

On Sunday, 22nd of March 2020, for the first time in recorded history since the Whiteman brought Christianity to our shores through colonial rule and 63 years of independence, this Sunday will go down in history as the first Sunday that all churches went silent – no congregations to chant the TE DEUM or the Psalms. No choruses.

The great doors of the Holy Spirit Cathedral at Adabraka remained shut, then the Methodist stone brick built cathedral at Asafoatse Nettey Road at James Town remained shut and the Presbyterian Church of Resurrection at Makola could not open its doors.

What is the problem?

His Excellency President Akufo-Addo, in a telecast, has ordered – with subsequent parliamentary endorsement, that all schools colleges and churches funerals and social gatherings should be closed or suspended up to a period of four weeks.

Why such unprecedented extremely abnormal orders?

About 500 years ago in the year 1551, a certain Frenchman, Nostra Dames, wrote that in times to come, during the twin year, a green (disease) will come from the East and devour life in the country of seven hills (Italy). Another writer specifically mentioned Wuhan as the source of the plague.

And so in December 2019, leading up to January 2020, the twin year, news splashed across the world of a new epidemic called coronavirus that savaged the world; starting from Wuhan; a city in China.

My first born, Hyebere, works in China as a pedagogue, so you can imagine how restless I became with daily horrible news coming from China about the devastation being caused by the plague. I was comforted only when he told me that from where he was to Wuhan is like from Accra to Bawku – very well, but even so be careful.

No country lives in isolation and in modern times where there are over one thousand flights a day between countries, the disease was bound to leave Wuhan to other parts of the world.

It started slowly then gained currency to the alarming heights where today, according to John Hopkins University, the total world cases of COVID-19 is over 300,000 with over 12,000 deaths. In the USA, they have over 24,000 cases with over 300 deaths. Europe has become the mainland of COVID-19, with Italy as the epicentre, recording over 54,000 cases and 4,000 deaths.

In Italy, the core of epidemic is in a city called BEGARME and it is a sorry sight seeing convoys of military trucks conveying dead bodies away from the city.The pressure is so much for the health workers there that they have started distributing patients to nearby cities. The situation is bad.

The good news from John Hopkins is that a total of 91,000 patients have fully recovered from the epidemic.

Nostra Dames’ prophecy was for Italy, and so Europe is bearing the brunt. America, Canada and Australia, and other areas like Africa are in the peripheries.

Governments around the world are responding to the pandemic in remarkable orders. Most governments have ordered the closure of schools, colleges, bars, pubs, restaurants, churches and public gatherings. Cinemas and theatres are all shut down, and all sporting events cancelled or postponed. In England, the Premier League has been suspended, and my boys in Manchester United are relaxing for now.

All the major international news channels like CNN, Euro News, Al Jazeera, BBC and others show cities in lockdown, empty streets, and create the impression that the world is at a standstill. Even the famous New York city, the 24 hour city that never sleeps, especially at Manhattan – the streets are empty.

Any comments on all this? Oh yes, plenty of them

My very first comment is that I read sometime last week in one of our newspapers that Senegal has developed a ‘serum’ which kills COVID-19 100%. So there is a cure for the pandemic. But the First World is down playing the Senegalese serum, not mentioning it at all, rather giving prominence to ongoing research to isolate the antibody and get appropriate vaccine for it. Are they doubting the potency of the Senegalese serum? Or it is professional jealousy?

The pandemic started in Wuhan, China, but the Chinese have so severely brought it under control that they have dispatched a team of doctors to Italy to help them.

It has been one week long since the Ghanaian leader made sweeping orders to arrest the spread of the disease in Ghana. Sadly enough, none of the international news channels has made reference to it, instead we have ‘breaking news’ of similar measures announced in Germany, Spain, Singapore and other places. Why? I don’t understand.

Like China, Japan was one of the earlier countries to contract the disease but they took quick measures and subdued it.  Now Japan is so confident that they can call for the reopening of schools – a return to normalcy.

And so Japan is putting its foot down, that there will be no postponement of the 2020 Olympic games slated for July. Some stakeholders are calling for postponement in the interest of athletes, but Japan says not at all.

Right now we are in March. I think by the end of April and May, the pandemic would have seriously subsided, and June July will be free of COVID-19. But the issue is – Olympic Games – the ultimate in sports glory. In this era of lockdowns, which athlete can go for training? Will two months be enough training for Olympic glory?

My final comment on this pandemic is the hand of God. I was shocked to the bone narrow when last two years in 2018 at a funeral in New Edudiase, a Catholic priest, preaching the sermon said in Jeremiah 1: 4 it is written that “I knew you before I formed you in the womb!!!!!”

How else can somebody predict with amazing accuracy that in 500 years’ time a plague will come from the East to devastate Europe?

I dare say that as I write this Sunday, 22nd March 2020, God knows the name and nationality of the person who will be Secretary General of UN in the year 2120!!! And if that is so, then any wonder that the Bible says that even the very hairs on your head are numbered!!!

Reader, life is not just flesh and blood. Nothing happens in this world by chance. Absolutely nothing! There is a Supreme Being teleguiding all our thoughts and actions. And so, I confidently end this article in the words of the first verse of Methodist Hymn Book (MHB) 898:

 Oh God our help in ages past

Our hope for years to come

Our shelter from the stormy blast

And our eternal home.

BY Nkrabeah Effah Dartey