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Satyen Kumar Bordoloi |
April 23, 2003 12:55 IST
If you think the only relation between SARS and WARS is phonetic, think again.
I assume you know all the versions of America's most recent war -- the US version, the Iraqi version and the real version. Believe what you may, you cannot deny the economics of it.
Each precision-guided missile costs a fortune -- $60,000 for a simple one, $1 million for a Tomahawk, and $2 billion for the cruise missiles, I am told. To date, hundreds of these 'fortunes' have rained on Iraq, bringing misfortune to millions.
In a way, the $74.7-billion war bill passed by the Congress is petty cash. Because, the invisible cost, dependent on the minds of world leaders, could be even more. Plagued by war psychosis, they will invest more on weapons. Their logic: 'Today Iraq, tomorrow us'. In a world where the United Nations has been so blatantly defied, no country will now feel safe. Which means the expenses related to war will shoot up worldwide, leading to the neglect of basic human facilities.
This is where SARS comes into the picture. We humans are the self-proclaimed smartest creatures on the planet. But no matter how scientific or advanced we become, we are still at the mercy of Nature. What better proof do you want of that than the fact we have not been able to find a cure for the commonest of all ailments, common cold?
SARS now holds humans to ransom. Consider that WARS and SARS broke out at the same time -- like brothers in arms. The two may have been born apart but are achieving the same basic function: causing human misery. Incidentally, both seem to have killed and hospitalised almost the same number of humans.
While the US bombed Iraq, Nature came up with her own precision-guided missile -- SARS. The entire world has become its target. In this backdrop, do some wishful thinking. Imagine if those billions of dollars wasted on war were diverted to finding a cure for SARS!
Let's equip our scientists with money and everything they need in this fight. After all, it's our lives they are fighting for. The global nature and rapid spread of SARS show we are not isolated when it comes to diseases. We truly live in a global village, where an epidemic cannot pass through one country and miss another.
Unlike WARS, which are waged in certain pockets of the world, diseases like SARS gobble up the whole planet. We are at war with Nature. Someday when we get lucky enough to win this battle against disease and untimely death, we might want to consider issues like poverty, unemployment, infant deaths, sanitation….
Let's join hands and win this SARS war first. For ourselves. And for posterity.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh