It feels good to think that we have finally snailed through the pandemic and arrived at the post-Covid-19 phase, although scientists continue to cry out that we are still not quite there yet.
Whatever the case is, most of Europe has had to, as Boris Johnson would put it, “fire up the engines” of its economy; highstreets are buzzing, factory chimneys puffing and in offices, keyboards are clicking and clacking again.
Although city roads and town centres seem to have fully woken up from the four-month slumber of Covid-19, the worldwide economy is still lazing around and doesn’t seem ready to get back to life.
Experts say that the global economy has never in the recent past been hit so hard and that it will take nothing less than a miracle for it to get back on its feet.
So, the economy, as you read these lines, is set on snooze. In this global state of alarm and despair, we got to see hundreds of thousands of citizens flock to pubs, filling the insides and then spilling out onto pavements and even roads to enjoy the booze they had been deprived of in the days of lockdown.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research – an England based think tank – has estimated that up to £210 million were spent only in the UK on alcohol consumption on the first day that pubs were allowed to open after lockdown. This amount is way more than what underprivileged countries have to spend on major heads like education and health, or both, for the whole year.
Let’s leave developing countries aside for now as they seem to be of least importance for many Western powers. Let us just stick to their own economic slumps that have ensued the coronavirus crisis.
The USA and the UK are said to have faced a terrible economic crisis for the first time in many hundred years. Economists suggest that it could take many years for them to recover, but that too is conditional with the economic, political and social stability of global affairs – something that has become only a fairy tale lately.
It is in this grave economic disaster that the public of these countries decides to spend millions to fuel a habit (or addiction) that has never brought any good to any individual, community or nation.
The irony is that most of these people who turned up at pubs on what is being called the Super Saturday – millions across Europe – are those who have been complaining about redundancies, job losses and furloughs during the lockdown.
Now that it has been lifted and it is time that we all got back to work, millions of pounds and euros are being thrown down the drain (almost in the literal sense).
National Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter tweeted in the early hours of Sunday morning and expressed what the police force had been through the night before:
“Finished my late shift with the @HantsPolice Southampton City late shift. A busy shift, we dealt with anti-social behaviour, naked men, possession of class ‘A’ drugs, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights, more angry drunks and was called a fascist pig by somebody we tried to help!”
It is sad that this is the state of a nation that has only just recovered from the shock of coming face to face with death in the surge of a pandemic; if at all, that is. With governments deeply concerned about the economic damages and how to recover from them, the public seems indifferent and is busy spending on habits and addictions that will not take the nation anywhere.
Underprivileged countries sit and watch these scenes on the TV (if they have one) or see photos of these jubilant pubs thriving with jolly pub-goers in newspapers (if they can afford to buy one) and go to bed (if they have one) thinking how they will buy their families breakfast in the morning; if they escape the coronavirus, that is.
This is the stark and dark reality of the world we live in. This is where the injustice of superpowers is exposed before the eyes of the world. This is where the veil of civilisation is lifted and the scary face of the so-called civilised world gets to be seen. This is where the need and relevance of religion for humanity is strongly felt.