When A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

A number of things are irritating me and taking up my time right now. My fairly new air conditioner is suddenly not working. I’m dealing with lots of rain and drainage problems. A package I ordered was sent to the wrong person at the wrong address. I can’t find anyone willing to come replace missing boards on my chimney. I ordered a door which has supposedly arrived but nobody seems to know where it is and why nobody is scheduled to hang it at my home. I am a born and bred control freak and so I get out of sorts over such things. Then I see what is happening in India with Covid-!9 and suddenly none of my puny concerns seem worthy of anxiety. I am well, vaccinated, living safely inside a comfortable home while my brothers and sisters in India are in a state of crisis. I know that nothing is more important than getting them the help they so desperately need.

I saw a live report from Delhi that left me in tears. The health systems have virtually collapsed there. Hospitals are literally overwhelmed and so many people are dying that crematoriums are being created on car park lots. Bodies lay in wait for hurried last rites while the living desperately attempt to find help for sick family members. Makeshift areas offer oxygen for individuals who are barely alive. The vaccination centers spiraled into a state of chaos and had to close. It is a human tragedy of such depth that it is difficult to even imagine, but the photos all too vividly tell the stories. 

There are many among us who believe that while the situation in India is sad we need not worry too much because we have our own problems here in the United States on which we must concentrate. It’s easy to understand why people think that way but in truth we can no longer afford to be isolated from the rest of the world. The old saying goes that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa we will all ultimately feel its effect. Ours is now a global village of interdependence that makes it impossible to simply look the other way when one nation is in trouble, particularly one that contributes so much to the rest of the world. 

India is the largest producer of vaccines in the world among other things. It is the oldest democracy in the area and has of late made great strides in modernizing and leading in the technological world. We have a connectedness with India that goes beyond goods and services. Some of our most productive immigrants originally came from there. They and their children have become doctors, scientists, teachers, engineers, journalists, business titans and now Vice President of the United States. The contributions of India to the United States are vast and if for no other reason than that we owe it to them to do everything possible to help in this crisis.

More importantly is the sheer humanity of what is happening. We like to think of ourselves as being the good guys in the world and quite often we are. Now is the time to come together to help a nation that is bowing under the strain of illness and death. India is experiencing the nightmare that we all hoped to avoid as we locked down, wore masks, distanced ourselves from others, worked and learned remotely, lined up for vaccines. While we appear to be turning a corner, India’s infrastructures are collapsing from the sheer volume of illness and death. 

it is incumbent on the rest of the world to pitch in to help in any way possible. Up until tomorrow flights were still arriving from India to the United States on a daily basis. Banning those flights does not guarantee that we will not experience a resurgence like India has. We screen and test but what might happen if the more virulent form of Covid-19 that is devastating India were to begin to grow and multiply in our own country? Would we be able to handle another round of increasing deaths and restrictions? My guess is that we would be caught off guard and that many people would be resistant to taking measures again like lockdowns. We might find ourselves entangled in the same kind of crisis that India is now witnessing. It is in our best interest and that of all the world to help to bring the virus back into control in India. Not doing so is not only arrogant and heartless but also ill conceived. 

I hear stories about India on the news but I do not see pleas from people asking for contributions to send aid other than one friend who routed her followers to a Go Fund Me page dedicated to purchasing ventilators, oxygen, masks, and medical equipment to India. If every man woman and child in the United States were to contribute only one dollar we would be able to send over $300,000,000 for such causes. Most of us would never miss such a small amount of money. It’s time we contribute to efforts to stem the tide of disaster in India. 

One of my dearest friends is currently in one hundred percent lockdown in India. She let’s me know that she is doing well but of course I worry about her. Two of our family doctors are originally from India and another is the son of parents from India. I have a personal interest in helping, but then I believe that all of us do. We can’t just pray for India. We must act now. It is our duty as fellow humans to help.  

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