Writing in the time of COVID-19: The threads that bind and tear asunder
Located against my positionality as a woman of colour from the global south, I deal with the micro and macro dynamics — particularly the intersections of these — of COVID-19. My grounded-ness on account of an invisible virus, spreading like wildfire within and across nation-states, wreaking havoc, destruction and death, is used to illuminate the ramifications of lockdowns and physical distancing. Governments are placed in invidious positions as they try to balance the scales between keeping the economy going, sustaining livelihoods and preserving life. While global and community solidarity are threads that bind in dealing with the extremely pernicious consequences of COVID-19, national self-sufficiencies, resources, capacities, and ethical leadership are essential in determining how countries handle and respond to the virus. Given its impact on all countries, some believed COVID-19 to be an equaliser. However, patterns that emerged reflect that COVID-19 has exacerbated inequalities based on social criteria like race, gender, class and nationality. COVID-19 might alter our futures in ways that are currently inconceivable, and it is invading the spaces within which people breathe, live, learn, love, marry, work, play, and die. But these personal spaces exist within the spaces of the infra-politics of power that I deal with in this article.
Covid-19, Power, Inequality, Race, Class, Gender
- Allyn, B. and Sprunt, B. (2020, March 17). Poll: As coronavirus spreads fewer Americans see the pandemic as a real threat. NPR24 Hour Program Stream. https://www.npr.org/2020/03/17/816501871/poll-as-coronavirus-spreads-fewer-americans-see-pandemic-as-a-real-threat
- (Athal, K. (2022). The correlation between COVID-19 and cybercrime. https://www.entrepreneur.com/science-technology/the-correlation-between-covid-19-and-cybercrime/417674
- Cousineaus, P. (undated). http://www.picturequotes.com/synchronicity-is-an-inexplicable-and-profoundly-meaningful-coincidence-that-stirs-the-soul-and-quote-267873
- CNBC News (2020, May 15). https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/15/trump-downplays-need-for-coronavirus-vaccine-itll-go-away-at-some-point.html
- Dumenil, G. & Levy, D. (2011). The crisis of neoliberalism. Harvard University Press.
- Eye Witness News (2020, April 29). ‘It just got worse’: Domestic violence surges under SA lockdown. https://ewn.co.za/2020/04/29/it-just-got-worse-domestic-violence-surges-under-sa-lockdown
- Heywood, M. (2020, July 7). The Constitutional contract is being broken – we must repair it and demand a fair society. The Daily Maverick, Maverick Citizen Editorial. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-07-07-the-constitutional-contract-is-being-broken-we-must-repair-it-and-demand-a-fair-society/#gsc.tab=0
- Human Rights Watch (2012). Egypt lifts unpopular emergency law. https://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/31/world/africa/egypt-emergency-law/index.html
- Keynes, J. M. (1933). National self-sufficiency. Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 177-193. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/interwar/keynes.htm
- Klein, N. (2020, May 13). How big tech plans to profit from the pandemic. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/may/13/naomi-klein-how-big-tech-plans-to-profit-from-coronavirus-pandemic
- Kleinman, A. (1999). Experience and its moral modes: Culture, human conditions, and disorder. Tanner lectures on human values, 20, 355-420. https://tannerlectures.utah.edu/_documents/a-to-z/k/Kleinman99.pdf
- Ksatryo, P. (2020, April 30). Transnational Sister Solidarity? How COVID-19 sheds light on the invisible 99%. The Governance Post. https://www.hertie-school.org/the-governance-post/2020/04/transnational-sister-solidarity-how-COVID-19-sheds-light-on-the-invisible-99/
- Lefafa, N. (2020, April 29). COVID-19 lockdown provides ‘perfect storm’ for SA’s GBV crisis. Health-E News. https://health-e.org.za/2020/04/29/COVID-19-lockdown-provides-perfect-storm-for-sas-gbv-crisis/
- Macupe, B. (2020, May 21). Education: A state of unreadiness. Mail & Guardian. https://mg.co.za/education/2020-05-21-education-a-state-of-unreadiness/
- Mlamla (2020). South African lockdown sees 72% drop in murder, 87% drop in reported rape cases. https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/sa-lockdown-sees-72-drop-in-murder-87-drop-in-reported-rape-cases-47039156
- Orsi, P. (2020, March 20). Mexico’s president in no hurry to confront virus outbreak. https://nbcmontana.com/news/nation-world/mexicos-president-in-no-hurry-to-confront-virus-outbreak
- OYOGist.com (2020, April 3). “I won’t close churches, Coronavirus can’t survive in the body of Christ”,President Magufuli. OYOGist.com Reports https://oyogist.com/2020/04/i-wont-close-churches-coronavirus-cant-survive-in-the-body-of-christ-president-magufuli/
- Ramanarayanan, D. (2020, May 12). COVID-19 shines spotlight on race and gender inequities in healthcare. https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2020/05/COVID-19-shines-spotlight-race-gender-inequities-healthcare/
- Renteria., N. (2020). El Salvador murder rate plumments. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-el-salvador-violence-idUSKBN2492DS
- Sewpaul, V. (2008). Social work education in the era of globalization. Caribbean Journal of Social Work, 6(7), 16-35.
- Sewpaul, V. (2015). Neoliberalism. International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd edition, 16, 462-468. Elsevier. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.28062-8
- Sewpaul, V. (2020). The Arc of Our Paths: Growing into Wholeness (A Memoir). Reach Publishers.
- Steger, M. B. & Roy, R.K. (2010). Neoliberalism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780199560516.001.0001
- UNICEF (2020). Fact sheet: Lack of handwashing with soap puts millions at increased risk to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
- UNESCO/UNICEF/World Bank (2021). The state of the global education crisis: A path to recovery. https://www.unicef.org/media/111621/file/TheStateoftheGlobalEducationCrisis.pdf.pdf
- UNODC (2020). Research brief: Effect of the COVID-19. Pandemic and related restrictions on homicide and property crime. https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and analysis/covid/Property_Crime_Brief_2020.pdf
- UNODC (2022). Crises and corruption: Emergency responses during COVID-19. https://www.unodc.org/documents/corruption/COVID-19/CRISES_AND_CORRUPTION_EMERGENCY_RESPONSES_DURING_COVID-19_E.pdf
- WHO (2020). Coronavirus disease: Weekly Epidemiological Update. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200831-weekly-epi-update-3.pdf
- Worldometers.com (2020 August 4). https://worldometers.info/coronavirus/