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Leave the experts to get on with the job, not the politicians

Alex Tabisher writes that we are all in this dilemma, and we need cohesion to fix it. He writes that it is better to leave the experts to get on with the job. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Alex Tabisher writes that we are all in this dilemma, and we need cohesion to fix it. He writes that it is better to leave the experts to get on with the job. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 14, 2021

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by Alex Tabisher

Be all you can be. Read. If you read, you gather information. That information will fuel the conversations you have. The development of conversational skills and etiquette constitute the elements of socialisation.

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We share the human life spectrum through our use of words.

This week I look at acts of conversation that often do not take place. Readers of my column are probably the very last to be told the things I am saying. But Oscar Wilde balances out the latent ambivalences with the clever adage: the answers are all out there. We just need to find the right questions.

Start with our national health dilemma.

Are the right people driving the process? And if the answer is yes, then why are there so many stands being taken and then reversed? Why could the government hand out money like candy at the outbreak, and now find it hard to secure a top place in the queue for access to a vaccine because they are not able to meet the price?

They are correctly accused in the Weekend Argus of “irregularities and systemic gate-keeping.” Well-said.

Why are we haggling over prices and preferred suppliers when the issue should be roll-out first and recover the shekels later? It is true that our effectiveness at cohesion was reduced precisely because the issue was politicised.

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The cure does not emanate from the president or the ANC. The cure comes from a nation united under a faith-based imperative that transcends preference in any domain.

I have become very sensitised to the daily acts of bravery that are sometimes reduced to statistics or touted only for their political mileage or newsworthiness. It is here where we need intelligent readers. We say the hospitals are full. This cannot be true. What they should say is "the hospitals’ capacity to absorb the Covid-19 scourge is overloaded". Reading that bit of factual, not fake news, leads us to the next stage.

Who are the real heroes that we should be reading about? Surely, the medical personnel on every level who go into a Dante’s Inferno daily to practise their healing skills. But what about their families? Who can reassure a wife that her brave husband will be home tonight. Or the parent that his child will be back home safe and untainted?

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And how can we not protect these valiant souls from attack in their arena of service? The law concentrates on keeping beaches and pubs closed while ambulance drivers are robbed or killed. And what about our teachers, who dread the opening of schools as surely as Lot’s wife dreaded the first fatal showers of Spring?

Moral galvanising does not depend on sporadic utterances from politicians. We do not need a near-tearful president who takes it on himself to mourn in public for our national grief. Even our faith-based communities are too obedient to the numbers game dictated by ecumenical authority. Why aren’t we all praying all the time? Why is every day not a day of national prayer? Why do we light a candle on the say-so of the Prez? What about our collective, non-racist, non-sexist national consciousness that says: every life matters?

It’s not about acting to prevent death. It should be about saving and improving lives. Mercy doesn’t have a hierarchy. Pity has no levels of intensity. We are all in this dilemma. We need cohesion. Remove the politicians from the equation. Leave the experts to get on with the job. The Chinese proverb says clearly: He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, he knows not that he is a fool.

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* Literally Yours is a weekly column from Cape Argus reader Alex Tabisher. He can be contacted on email by [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

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