My generation of Belizeans, those of us born after World War II, have been here before, and I am referring to the present threat of coronavirus Armageddon which is frightening, in some cases terrifying, Belizeans. The difference between back then and now is that when planet earth was faced with the terrible possibility of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia in October of 1962, we teenaged Belizeans had no idea what the hell was going on. We were living in ignorance. Perhaps, as they say, ignorance is/was bliss.
There were people in the American military who wanted to destroy Cuba with nuclear bombs in October of 1962. People on the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, like Air Force General Curtis LeMay, were absolutely apoplectic over the fact that the American-financed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April of 1961 had failed. They blamed U.S. President John F. Kennedy for not providing air cover for the Cuban exiles (trained in Guatemala) who invaded Cuba, and the hawks in the American deep state, in retaliation, were responsible, at least in part, for the assassination of President Kennedy in November of 1963. I believe this.
Unlike us Belizean youth, who were being kept in the dark in October 1962 by our teachers in the religion-controlled schools we attended, the youth of America were fully aware of the near catastrophe of the so-called Cuban missile crisis, and they watched the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on television. When the new President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, began to escalate the war in Vietnam in 1965, a large segment of American youth had already been alienated by the danger in which their lives and limbs were being placed by the older American generations, Exhibit “A” being the October 1962 missile crisis. The youth of America rebelled, and there emerged the hippie generation of the later 1960s and early 1970s. “Little innocent me” entered the United States in August of 1965 when all this uproar was beginning to come to a head in America.
Insofar as the present coronavirus scare is concerned, I don’t have much to say. Mose and the people at KREM Radio and Television, with the assistance of superstar Sandra Coye, are doing a great job of educating the Belizean people.
For me, as Sandra pointed out on Wednesday morning, the reality is that in Belize those of us who have any kind of education were taught in religion–controlled schools that the reaction/solution to all problems should be prayer. Yet, I personally have not heard anything from Belize’s religious leaders since this crisis began to emerge a few weeks ago.
Mose, Nuri Muhammad, Dominique Norales, David Almendarez, Sandra Coye, and the people at Kremandala have been offering proactive advice where the war against Covid-19 is concerned. This is a crazy time in Belize and in the world. I wish that the solution was as easy as praying. But, one must concede, prayers never hurt. Prayers soothe our psyche. Still, the important point here is this: we cannot allow our faith in prayers to generate any kind of false optimism amongst our people.
Hurricane Hattie in October of 1961 was very bad, very traumatic. Covid-19 has the potential to be worse, substantially worse. It is truly scary. The one thing is that today we are living in an age of information, which offers us the opportunity to self-educate, to acquire the knowledge to help ourselves. Knowledge is power. In October of 1962, Belize and the world could have been destroyed, and in Belize we would never have known what hit us. Can you imagine?
Power to the people.