On Sunday, July 11, 2021 Italy was crowned the Champions of European football after beating England 3 -2 on a penalty shootout to break the 1-1 draw and separate the men from the boys.
The game caused a lot of emotional roller coasters, some were very happy and yet still others had their hearts broken like Chota a “Man U” fan who nearly fainted because of the loss.
I personally did not watch the game because as usual I was very busy in Covid wards attending to patients. Yes it is still as busy for us in these centres and as usual all days are Mondays here; we still have a lot of patients to attend to because even one patient is one too many for us.
I was later on like most people able to follow up how the game went. To Italy I say “Brava,” to England “sorry for your loss, there is always the next time.”
And to all of us I want to highlight some very important aspects I believe the tournament brought out directly or indirectly.
IS EUROPE BEYOND RACISM?
If I could help it this is such an ugly topic I wish I could avoid but unfortunately it is the reality we all seem can’t ignore. Like Martin Luther King Jr said and famously quoted even by rappers like Thupac Shakur that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
And because I don’t want my life to end prematurely, I will touch the topic.
England football players Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford faced tormenting racist abuse online after missing penalties against Italy.
The three players took the last three penalties, two of which were saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, and were all immediately targeted with racist language and emojis on their social media accounts
It is reported that the Metropolitan Police began investigating the abuse and said on Twitter that the abuse was “totally unacceptable” and it would not be tolerated.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leader of the opposition Keir Starmer, and the Football Association President, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, also condemned the racist abuse.
This ugliness of colourism and racism brought us slavery and the slave trade. It brought us the colonialism of Africa, Apartheid and even fuelled the Holocaust. Locally, it looks like tribalism. In Rwanda, it caused one of the worst human tragedies when Tutsis were gruesomely massacred by Hutus.
It is this ugly face that uur late Father of the nation Dr Kenneth Kaunda didn’t want Zambians to see among the over 72 tribes in the country.
KK preached “One Zambia One Nation” and I hope we remember this even as August 12 draws near. At the end of the day, come what may, we are all Zambians, regardless of our race, tribe, religion etc.
I have personally certified both blacks and whites, witnessed post-mortems for both blacks and whites. Honestly, just after the surface skin colour it’s very hard to even tell the difference as everything else looks the same.
The colour of blood is red for both, the heart is usually in the same place, so is the brain, the kidneys and liver etc.
I condemn racial attacks and all forms of discrimination in the strongest terms possible.
IS EUROPE BEYOND COVID?
One other aspect is that some of the stadiums were full with spectators. Football is hard to play without spectators. It seems Europe is slowly getting back to the pre Covid era. And what contributed much to the opening is the progress in the vaccination status of most of the European countries.
Of course Europe has not eradicated Covid-19. It is and still will get surges but I want to believe the severity won’t be as was in the earlier days of the pandemic when there was no vaccine.
SARSCOV2 keeps on mutation with the Delta variant being the current one causing much havoc. Scientists are already in the lab seeing how best they can improve on the current vaccines to target the significant changes in the virus.
Eventually Europe may start treating Covid-9 like flu and with annual inoculations depending on the mutations of the virus, life might soon get back to normal there.
THE FUTURE WITHOUT AFRICA?
Most Africans are still very sceptical about the Covid-19 vaccines with some believing the “whites “are up to no good, that they are out to wipe out “black” people with these “evil and deadly” vaccines.
I always ask those who think like this that which people are most vaccinated between “whites and blacks?” And that if the “whites “really wanted to wipe out the “blacks,” why not just use a very common drug like Panadol as it and most other drugs that “blacks” easily buy over the counter are also not made in Africa?
If we are not careful, Africa might be the only continent not fully vaccinated and risks being left behind in almost all aspects. This will be worse since the continent is already behind in a lot of important aspects of development.
While our friends are talking of flying to Mars with Jeff Bezos, the current richest man in the world willing to pay billions of dollars for the first human trip to the red planet, Africa still struggles with internet connection.
Very soon international travel will make vaccination status a must. That means those not vaccinated won’t be allowed to fly out. The world has changed and is moving in a certain direction and we too must move along.
This is actually not the first time global vaccination was mandatory. The world did this before in the united effort to eradicate small pox whose eradication one renowned professor of medicine says is the greatest achievement of mankind after the moon landing (although some now think the landing was a hoax).
Whatever the case, small pox itself was successfully wiped out by inoculation.
Indeed, Africa should up its sleeves and improve its vaccination rate. On the other hand the most advanced countries should also make it a priority to help Africa become fully vaccinated in any way possible including by donating more of different types of vaccines to the continent.
IS ZAMBIA BEYOND THE
Most Zambians have gone back to their normal lives and campaigns are also surely gaining ground. It seems we are past the danger zone of the Covid-19 or are we?
Yes, admissions may have reduced but the positivity rate is still high, most cases are asymptomatics and mild cases isolating from home while the hospitalised patients are still very sick and dying. B.I.Ds are also still a common sight.
A workmate called me yesterday that she had just buried her last born brother aged 24 who succumbed to Covid-19 and that currently her mother is also battling for her life on oxygen. In a couple days, I have seen a number tragically taken away by Covid-19’s deadly hand and the latest victim was just yesterday. The truth is we are really not yet out of the woods.
Please let us continue to stay vigilant and to continue observing the well known preventive measures.
Please mask up properly, observe hand hygiene, socialise wisely and please weigh your options carefully about vaccination and consider the ramifications thereof.
Whether it is AstraZeneca or any other vaccine that seems to be effective is much better than having no protection at all. Again remember even if the vaccine may not prevent you from catching the disease, it will help preventing the disease burden.
Until then, aluta continua.