The Moroccan public’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic illuminates our society’s misplaced priorities.
As Moroccan authorities mobilized to ensure an effective COVID-19 lockdown, crowds in Tangier, Tetouan, and Fez took to the streets in an attempt to supplicate God to intervene. Amidst this health crisis, self-isolation and preventive precautions should be the norm. This begs the question: Is ignorance to blame?
Many Moroccans have hailed the state’s incredible proactive efforts to limit the spread of the disease over the past few weeks. So, why did heedless people violate lockdown measures and risk the entire country’s health with an irrational impromptu demonstration? Unfortunately, it seems that ignorance is once again the culprit.
No matter the seriousness and extent of government measures to sensitize Moroccans to the danger of the novel coronavirus, it appears that awareness raising campaigns have backfired in some places. This reminds us that our society is more invested in building mosques than in building schools, libraries, and cultural centers.
Videos show people in a state of chaos during an enforced state of emergency, which indicates something is lacking in their perspective. How else could we account for this extremely risky act?
Ignorance is more costly than disease: People who did not personally take proper precautions jeopardized the lives of others, including their loved ones. We have all heard that COVID-19 is easily transmitted. Oddly, some people continue to gather beside mosques and in markets.
What is the role of sheiks in a pandemic? Why are they silent about clear misunderstandings of Islam with regard to plagues and pandemics? Our beloved prophet recommended precautions, not just supplication.
The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to expose realities about our society. One such reality: Some people in our country will resist change at great cost. Rather than learning from the virus’s rampant spread in China, Italy, and Spain, they choose not to seriously care for their lives. It cannot only be chanting religious verses in the streets that shows our piety and devoutness.
Why are we tarnishing the image of Islam with such inconsiderate acts?
In COVID-19 response measures, Morocco served as a role model for the world. Then, ignorant crowds hit the streets to denounce the virus as though pious protests could beat it once and for all. These people must bear in mind that this coronavirus knows no borders, no religion, and no language. The virus attacks the human body and sometimes claims lives. Working on a vaccine is the solution, not praying or chanting in groups.
Let us recall how the virus spread uncontrollably in Spain. On March 8, thousands of women took to the streets of Madrid in a demonstration for International Women’s Day, despite warnings from Spanish authorities. One difference between their demonstration and gatherings of some people here in our country: The Spanish admitted their mistake. Our people believe that praying will fend off the pandemic. I do not agree.
The time will come when Moroccans pay a high price for the mistakes of those who downplay the pandemic’s gravity. Likewise, we will pay the price for not investing enough in our precious health and education sectors. An obvious moral lesson is that we must not repeat Italy and Spain’s mistakes. What is the use of mass media if it does not draw our attention to the repercussions of human recklessness?
While America and Europe are doing their utmost day in and day out to find a cure to the novel coronavirus, some Moroccans recklessly continue only to pray to God for a magic wand. Instead of assuming responsibility and protecting ourselves according to World Health Organization guidelines, some Moroccans shrug off the pandemic. This is a clear sign of ignorance.
Fortunately, most Moroccans have good intentions and have done an incredible job responding to the crisis. In the presence of reckless neighbors, however, their lives will be at stake. I sincerely hope that our society learns the right lesson, to invest in education instead of building mosques. We already have enough mosques.
As long as we lack courage to change hypocritical ways, ignorance will prevail, especially during crises. I would be remiss not to call it as it is: Ignorance is deadlier than the coronavirus.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
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