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The world’s tyrants do not want Covid-19 to disappear

April 20, 2020 at 3:18 pm

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Moscow, Russia on 13 February 2014 [Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images]

The coronavirus Covid-19 has achieved what tyrants haven’t been able to by spreading fear and panic around the whole world, encompassing all creeds and ethnicities. The virus does not discriminate between a Muslim and a Christian, black or white, rich or poor, prince or pauper; everyone is the same in its eyes. Nevertheless, all that the tyrants see is the people’s fear, prompting them to be even more tyrannical and oppressive. It is as if they were waiting for this opportunity to further their own interests and put the people into lockdown to which they alone hold the key.

Indeed, the tyrants have taken advantage of the fear and panic to create fear of another kind among their people, as if sticks and bullets were not enough to discipline and enslave them over the years. The virus has made them even more brutal and even more powerful. The mainstream and social media are filled with millions of pages that serve their masterfully-created intelligence industries. The masses, therefore, accept what they say, without thinking, and stay in their homes voluntarily, not by force.

Regardless of the fact that staying at home and social distancing are preventative precautions to protect against Covid-19 and are recommended by the World Health Organisation, the tyrannical rulers who invented such measures will use them even after the crisis dies down as a weapon against their helpless citizens, creating ever more oppression. Ordinary citizens become accustomed to this dull life off the streets and their daily buzz; lifestyles change as everyone keeps to themselves and cares little about what is happening in the country or what their rulers are doing. They become disinterested with no concern for the plight of others and so lose the spirit of solidarity and unity, making the people prisoners in their own homes.

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Tyrants fear the street; it is an obsession with which they are preoccupied. They fear the people rising up against them, despite the abuse and threats used in anticipation of the day that frightens them even more than the coronavirus. The very idea of a pandemic has no effect on them; they continue with their oppression and injustice, and do not even fear the Almighty. In fact, the opposite has occurred, as they terrorise the people under the pretext of fighting against Covid-19.

Fear is the best way for governments to pass laws, even in the West, which we Arabs regard as the fortress of democracy and the Holy Grail of all freedom. Even there, though, some of the governments have passed dictatorial legislation to deal with the pandemic without anyone objecting. This is because they are only thinking about their own safety and security against coronavirus and not the country’s national security, as some people like to call it. In accordance with such new legislation, the police and army have the authority to arrest anyone who does not stick to the quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing rules, with no need to resort to the judiciary; again, it’s done ostensibly to tackle the virus.

Will these special laws be repealed after the coronavirus crisis or will they be extended “just in case” the virus returns? This is what happened in the US after 9/11, when the emergency legislation to combat terrorism allowed the intelligence agencies to spy on US citizens; the context has changed, but the laws are still in use. Nobody, though, has paid any attention, and now the Americans are also transfixed by Covid-19.

Now the fifth generation of wireless communications technology, 5G, has arrived to restrict our freedom and spy on us. Its ability to monitor people around the world is unprecedented; any human being can be placed under surveillance and everything will be recorded. This is what China has used to monitor and control its citizens, especially during the coronavirus crisis.

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This worries many Western writers and activists concerned about freedom in their own countries, which they fear will become like China, as modern technology makes governments more able to control people in an unprecedented manner. We are set to be monitored by billions of cameras everywhere, all with built-in facial recognition technology.

If citizens in the West are afraid that their democratic governments will exploit the coronavirus to use as a weapon against freedom and values, then what about those vulnerable people who are already enslaved by corrupt, tyrannical governments? What will the situation be in the Arab world, with their neo-fascist governments that will certainly use the crisis like a sword on their necks?

The fear caused by the coronavirus is a boon for tyrants, which is why they probably do not want to see Covid-19 disappear. I’d go so far as to say that if the virus hadn’t appeared as a matter of course, they would have had to invent it. Perhaps they did.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.