Vaccine, not bombs

Health Care System should be given priority over Weapons of Mass Destruction
Vaccine, not bombs
A health worker prepares a vaccination dose as he stands in the middle of a paddy field to administer jab to farmers in north Kashmir's Pattan on Saturday, 5 June 2021.
File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has taught lesson to all humankind across the globe that importance should be given to medical facilities rather than to deadly weapons of mass destruction. It is reported now that the mental health issues have increased by five times during pandemic. India witnessed 3.54 lakhs death, and counting. As many as 30,071 children were orphaned, lost a parent or abandoned mostly due to the COVID-19 as per data submitted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Likewise most of the economic activities were affected during this period and daily wagers were the most sufferers in the pandemic

This was an opportunity when the countries across the globe could have joined hands and put in all energy and finances in controlling and minimizing the damage done by the Pandemic. But it doesn’t happen despite repeated appeals by the scientists and medical personnel. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)-2020 report has highlighted that the nuclear weapons industry continued to flourish unabated. The US has been the number one spender on the nuclear weapons during 2020. It spent 270000 crore rupees or 51.72 lakh rupees per minute on nuclear weapons. China spent 72970 crore rupees or 13.97 lakh rupees per minute. Coming to South Asia, Pakistan spent 7297 crore rupees or 1.4 lakh rupees per minute. India spent 17500 crore rupees or 3.3 lakh rupees per minute. This amount is half the money allocated towards vaccination. All the countries spend more than 5 to 15 % of their GDP on the defense. In these severe circumstances of this pandemic, some countries are still engaged in modernization and selling and purchasing of weapons and other war related equipment.

During a year when health care workers' lives were at more risk, an acute shortage of life support systems and critical health care facilities were witnessed; some countries still decided spending on weapons as a priority. The fault doesn’t lie with the leaders of these countries alone. Behind them is a massive enterprise of vested interests, eager to get a piece of the 72.6 billion dollars taxpayer- funded pie. The twenty one companies profiting from nuclear weapons spent 117 million dollars making sure that lobbyists kept the systems they build as the solution to policy makers’ problems. At least $5-10 million of these is used in funding these think tanks –who write and research about nuclear weapons. The Military Industrial Complex in connivance with the governments is out to make profits from spending on nuclear weapons.

This information is intentionally not allowed to percolate down to the people fearing some section of the society is bound to react and demand from the governments to show more concern towards life of the people than modern weapons. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) has been constantly raising the issue of humanitarian consequences of nuclear war. Even if the war does not occur such huge expenses on the nuclear arms race if diverted towards welfare could solve the problems of health and education for a large section of the people particularly in the developing nations. It is disgusting that none of the governments in the nine nuclear weapons possessing countries took lead to denounce the spending on nuclear weapons under the present circumstances. Instead we are watching unashamed war in different regions of the world which could have very serious consequences as the big powers are overtly or covertly involved in it.

The whole responsibility comes on the shoulders of the peace movement to raise this issue, educate the public and organize them to put their foot down to demand end to arm race for the sake of mankind otherwise the upcoming waves of the pandemic with new variants of the Corona Virus will continue to play havoc in which the poor countries and poor in the poor countries will have to pay the ultimate price. In these severe circumstances of this pandemic, the third world countries should resolve their disputes amicably; end the arm race and purchase of so called sophisticated weapons and concentrate more and more on education and health care facilities.

We have witnessed during the recent past that the proper universal health care system has served to mankind and saved lives of millions of people across the globe; on the other hand, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is totally opposite, these weapons has destroy civilizations and counties across the world- the best examples are Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan etc. In order to counter such Pandemics in future and the present pandemic the only solution is to have better health care facilities in best possible way.

Dr. Aijaz Hassan Ganie is Assistant Professor, Kargil CampusThe Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has taught lesson to all humankind across the globe that importance should be given to medical facilities rather than to deadly weapons of mass destruction. It is reported now that the mental health issues have increased by five times during pandemic. India witnessed 3.54 lakhs death, and counting. As many as 30,071 children were orphaned, lost a parent or abandoned mostly due to the COVID-19 as per data submitted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Likewise most of the economic activities were affected during this period and daily wagers were the most sufferers in the pandemic

This was an opportunity when the countries across the globe could have joined hands and put in all energy and finances in controlling and minimizing the damage done by the Pandemic. But it doesn’t happen despite repeated appeals by the scientists and medical personnel. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)-2020 report has highlighted that the nuclear weapons industry continued to flourish unabated. The US has been the number one spender on the nuclear weapons during 2020. It spent 270000 crore rupees or 51.72 lakh rupees per minute on nuclear weapons. China spent 72970 crore rupees or 13.97 lakh rupees per minute. Coming to South Asia, Pakistan spent 7297 crore rupees or 1.4 lakh rupees per minute. India spent 17500 crore rupees or 3.3 lakh rupees per minute. This amount is half the money allocated towards vaccination. All the countries spend more than 5 to 15 % of their GDP on the defense. In these severe circumstances of this pandemic, some countries are still engaged in modernization and selling and purchasing of weapons and other war related equipment.

During a year when health care workers' lives were at more risk, an acute shortage of life support systems and critical health care facilities were witnessed; some countries still decided spending on weapons as a priority. The fault doesn’t lie with the leaders of these countries alone. Behind them is a massive enterprise of vested interests, eager to get a piece of the 72.6 billion dollars taxpayer- funded pie. The twenty one companies profiting from nuclear weapons spent 117 million dollars making sure that lobbyists kept the systems they build as the solution to policy makers’ problems. At least $5-10 million of these is used in funding these think tanks –who write and research about nuclear weapons. The Military Industrial Complex in connivance with the governments is out to make profits from spending on nuclear weapons.

This information is intentionally not allowed to percolate down to the people fearing some section of the society is bound to react and demand from the governments to show more concern towards life of the people than modern weapons. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) has been constantly raising the issue of humanitarian consequences of nuclear war. Even if the war does not occur such huge expenses on the nuclear arms race if diverted towards welfare could solve the problems of health and education for a large section of the people particularly in the developing nations. It is disgusting that none of the governments in the nine nuclear weapons possessing countries took lead to denounce the spending on nuclear weapons under the present circumstances. Instead we are watching unashamed war in different regions of the world which could have very serious consequences as the big powers are overtly or covertly involved in it.

The whole responsibility comes on the shoulders of the peace movement to raise this issue, educate the public and organize them to put their foot down to demand end to arm race for the sake of mankind otherwise the upcoming waves of the pandemic with new variants of the Corona Virus will continue to play havoc in which the poor countries and poor in the poor countries will have to pay the ultimate price. In these severe circumstances of this pandemic, the third world countries should resolve their disputes amicably; end the arm race and purchase of so called sophisticated weapons and concentrate more and more on education and health care facilities.

We have witnessed during the recent past that the proper universal health care system has served to mankind and saved lives of millions of people across the globe; on the other hand, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is totally opposite, these weapons has destroy civilizations and counties across the world- the best examples are Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan etc. In order to counter such Pandemics in future and the present pandemic the only solution is to have better health care facilities in best possible way.

Dr. Aijaz Hassan Ganie is Assistant Professor, Kargil Campus

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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