Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Can we be more flexible?

Some time has passed now since life, as we know it, has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moments like this call for a much-needed flexibility in our plans and our daily lives. Things can no longer go on as planned. Those of us who always keep a plan B or C aside for emergency and much unexpected situations are the lucky ones when such situations should happen. However, who would have thought that the COVID-19 pandemic would strike and halt life, as we know it?

Take the national elections for instance. Who would have thought that the elections, which already took a long time before a final date was fixed, would need to be postponed as a result of the pandemic? Now, there are political groups who insist that the constitution should be respected no matter what without any regard to the potential hundreds of thousands of infections that might happen because of people’s gathering in the preparation of and during the elections. I say that the constitution is not a Bible or the Holy Kuran with holy words that cannot be changed no matter what. People agreed to and wrote the constitution. And people can and should be able to work ways around it if the need arises. Because at the end of the day, this document is created for the wellbeing of people and not the other way around. Plus. people are weak creatures. Not everything can be planned or prepared for when drafting the law. I personally question the real motives of those who insist that the constitution should be respected and the election held at the originally planned date. Even more bewildering it is when these threaten those who do not wish to go by the constitution, and give the postponement of the elections unnecessary interpretations such as the secret wish of the Prime Minister to stay in power for an extended period of time. Besides, who even said that the elections will not take place at all? It is just unbelievable!

Politics is not the only place where people are resisting flexibility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I had the opportunity to witness just how much the government is rigid when it comes to its laws and regulations related to the imports and production of protective equipment in the country. The import of materials needed to manufacture protective equipment for health professionals or the import of the end product itself should have been one of the areas the government should have relaxed its regulations in order to properly respond to the dire emergency situation the country is in. Unfortunately, I have sadly observed that these rigid regulations contributed their shares to the increasingly rising infections of health professionals in the country. For me. it was heartbreaking to hear that some health professionals are tearing down the large plastic water bottles to make face shields out of it and protect themselves as they try to save the lives of other. Yet, the government is doing its best in making sure that the import laws are rigidly respected and preventing the timely import of face shields and the raw materials needed to manufacture these into the country. I also heard on the radio that the import of some non-medical face masks are facing the rigid import requirements of the country in a time where such shields are direly needed. It makes you wonder if the laws are more important than the people!

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Can we be more flexible in emergency situations? Do we need to go though all the endless procedures and rules in a time where time is the most precious asset we have on our hands?

Contributed by Tsion Taye


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