So it finally hit! Or did it? The Pandemic, that all prophets of doom had been forecasting. And as predicted, the media began feeding on it faster than the virus eating at its victims. But this time, global panic never happened. Why? Well, for starters, haven’t we seen this stuff before? Aren’t we numb from 9/11, Anthrax, SARS, Avian Flu, forest fires in the West Coast, floods in the East, and the crash of the global financial system? Haven’t we been hit with umpteen computer viruses that spread faster than biological ones and yet the world’s computer industry and the Internet are still standing. And then there was that famous non•event Y2K…
The other reason that these doomsday scenarios have become manageable in recent times is due to the responses from governments and global regulatory bodies with tightly coordinated activities. 9/11 brought disparate warring counter•intelligence and police departments in America together under one umbrella, Y2K led to global information sharing, the pandemics have led to quick co•ordinated responses from global health authorities, and the financial collapse prompted global political leadership to circle the wagons rapidly with huge injections of fiscal support• great examples of teamwork and sharing in action.
But…but this only applies if you belong in the club of G20 and their associate nations. There are lots of other countries outside this orbit, and their citizens perish needlessly. Like the thousands caught between government and rebel troop crossfire on a strip of beach in Sri Lanka, the impoverished ones dying of AIDS in Africa, the starving in Darfur and the vulnerable left exposed in power vacuums caused by our naive interference in foreign countries that we thought would embrace democracy overnight. Can our political team managers, who have shown great stick handling in recent crises within our domestic shores, reach out to include these other less•mature players in the political game? Can they educate these callow peers that bombing civilians to smithereens or using them as human shields does not win one long•term political stripes; that blocking highways and inconveniencing fellow Canadians does not stop the bombing half a world away, that democracy means handing over control, not sucking it in, and that respect for the law is a pre•condition for any civilised and progressive society?
I think it is time to reach over the fence and impart some lessons learned • if indeed they can be taught.