Biswadip Das
Published : 5 August 2023, 11:05 AM
Updated : 5 August 2023, 11:05 AM

Pandemic and COVID-19.

These two words, associated with a deepening sense of despair, distress, fear, grief, vulnerability, anger and isolation, have dominated the broad brushstrokes of the story in Bangladesh and the crisis-convulsed wider world for the better part of the year we are leaving behind.

In 2020’s slipstream, as we pay evanescent, ever-evolving tributes to those we lost – and continue to lose in every which unimagined way – the confluence of the inequitable effects of the once-in-a-century pandemic and profound social disruptions will continue to shape our conversations.

The novel microorganism has enshrouded and decimated the world we knew and already clocked millions in preventable deaths, leading to a social crisis, an economic crisis, a human crisis. As we are stepping into 2021 with the deadly flu still raging in different variants and a vaccine rolled out in the West, we are still unsure what the world will look like by the time the human race will have got on top of the pandemic.

Arun Devnath, in the cover story, discusses at length how the pandemic has brought together nations to fight it off, their struggles, and the major economic challenges it poses moving forward.

He appreciates the efforts the Bangladesh government set in motion as a social safety net during the lockdowns. But he is critical of the limitation of the efforts, especially for people who do not have the luxury of taking time from work to “mark themselves safe” from the virus.

Sabrina Karim Murshed narrows her focus on how the closure of schools has challenged parents to deal with their children stuck at home 24/7 and the burden of keeping them engaged in activities with scare resources.

Naadir Junaid, a professor of media studies and a guest author for this edition, argues the Bangladeshi content on the OTT platforms lack the panache to win audiences stuck indoors and will affect their psyche.

Columnist Syed Badrul Ahsan lays out the geopolitical aspects of the upcoming year, focusing mainly on Afghanistan and how the end of the Afghan war closes a chapter of world history brought about by 9/11. The region, he reckons, will “remain a cause for global concern, now and in the immediate future”.

Having lapped a year of our extensive pandemic coverage, we concede things look bleak, but let’s not despair about general morosity. We are all in the ‘new unknown’ with collective resilience, and 2021 is the year we will finally begin to say au revoir to the pandemic. The scale of operation pooling all the resources needs to be massive, but we believe that working in lockstep, the human race will reinvent itself to pull off such a feat.

Biswadip Das

Chief Copy Writer