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Day 20 - The Aim Should Be - like it was for malaria – Eradication


So, yesterday I made dosa mixture, put it to ferment overnight, and today I’ll be making dosa on a griddle iron, and serving with Ram’s potato chutney and methi (fenugreek) shoots a friend is growing. (If anyone wants the recipes for the three things, just shout and I’ll write them up for you. If I get enough requests I’ll append it on tomorrow’s blog.) We, in Ragoo Lane, have been blessed with breadfruit, avocado (Rajni, I’d love to WhatsApp you a few), green and ripe bananas, atemoya (Sadna you’ll be so jealous, and how I’d love to give you a few – not coronsol!), bred sonz, and bergamot (Firoza maybe I could email you just two) . But this is not the “food security”, that we are talking about. These are just the pleasure we all should get from living with a bit of land around us, or having an allotment, or planting on top of our houses. 

 For food security, LALIT and trade union federations and the MLF have signed up to a demand that the sugar cane estate bosses free up one-third of their land for staples, vegetables, dairy produce, and fruit, while they retro-fix their mills and other infrastructure for food preserving plants – to contribute to food security. The demand has been published in L’Express today in full, and is in an article in Le Defi on-line. Please circulate the petition from our site and our face-book page to all your colleagues, comrades, friends – in Mauritius and, why not, abroad.

 These are the small things we can all do. Even as we make dosa and potato chutney and methi shoots.

 So, as you see, life goes on, with a bit more care for preparing meals, maybe. 

 And this, even as we witness the mass migrations within India that could break anyone’s heart, as people by the million are uprooted and deprived of their already meagre livelihoods in the big mega-cities of the Subcontinent. People are not sure if their fate is threatened more by the epidemic than by the way the State is attacking the epidemic at their expense – by hounding them out, on foot, with nothing but a motri on their heads and a child in their arms. How much mass organization we now need to build world-wide to make sure we are all fed and housed and involved in work. The task before us is clearer now.

 Denial of the inability of capitalism to cope is now no longer possible. The worst in the capitalist world is being exposed. In Johannesburg, we will see it, and in Lagos and Nairobi, like in the big cities in India, but maybe the TV cameras won’t even go to the villages in India or South Africa or Nigeria or Kenya, as they will rarely go to the villages in India as people straggle back to them, if they make the journey.

 Even as we listen, in his memory, to John Prine’s singing, and as we hear all the other great vocalists singing the heart-rendingly tough songs he wrote – he died yesterday of Covid 19 – it is as though we hear him singing about the here and now. 

 Yes, in the USA at the very heart of the world’s present-day capitalism, the precarious life of the working class there – including the unemployed and the homeless – is exposed bare to the world. And to the USA’s own elites. The callousness of so wealthy a ruling class is thus also exposed. En passant, we hear that a worker in a “facility” for the old, in fact, works at three different such facilities, so as to eke out a living. And this is how her exploitation becomes the cause of the rapid spread of death amongst higher classes of people, in the homes. Even as Bernie Sanders, the only Presidential candidate really standing for a universal health care system, really standing on a working class program (if social democrat), withdraws from the Presidential race, bowing out to the centrist, Joe Biden. 

 And as we hear of yet more cruise liners with rich passengers and poor workers alike trapped in distress and thus reminding us of how we are trapped, along with the rich, in our respective societies. And now there is a French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, with 40 sick sailors of the near 2,000 aboard, reminding us yet again of how the military brass depend on the foot-soldiers and below-deck sailors. 

 Captain Brett Crozier was fired for sounding the alarm about the Coronavirus disease spreading like wild fire amongst the near 5,000 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and then he came down with the illness, himself. That was not the end of the story. In the face of near-mutiny amongst the lower ranks in the Navy, the man who fired him, Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly was, in turn, made to resign. A fall-guy, as they say. But it all does show, again for all to see, the power of the broad masses of working people, even in the armed forces. The feet of clay of the god with a golden head. 

 And more locally, where we were subjected to another Pravind Jugnauth uninspiring speech yesterday – of course I’m eternally grateful not to have, say, Trump or Duterte to supposedly represent me – I was not just uninspired this time, but concerned. even alarmed. Jugnauth seemed to be implying the Government is considering lifting the lockdown soon. He even said that, at tomorrow’s Cabinet Meeting, a decision will be considered. This seems to be under pressure from the private sector. Since he always does, in the final analysis, when there is not an epidemic at hand, what the private sector dictates, we can only hope that he does not capitulate under the conditions of so violent an epidemic. 

 And he is threatening to bow down to the bosses, when the epidemic is only just beginning, maybe, to be under control in Mauritius. It would be the biggest error he has ever made, if Jugnauth did this now.

 I’m also concerned that the voice of reason, I mean Dr. Vasantrao Gujadhur, is in self-isolation and not in a position to speak the truth to power, as he has so far done. (May he be spared the illness, as a caring person and also as the voice of reason at a key moment in history.) 

 Like for malaria, in Mauritius we must aim for total eradication. The New Zealand government is doing that. There is no reason for Mauritius not to do as it did in the 1950s, and wipe it out altogether. If the lockdown is lifted too early, all the progress, in terms of flattening the curve, will be lost in a fortnight. And we will find out too late. And if coronavirus disease can make the British Prime Minister so sick, and give Prince Charles the illness, and kill one of the greatest song-writers of all times, I don’t think it will spare any of us – not even a few sugar estate owners and other bosses that put pressure on Pravind Jugnauth and his Finance Minister. 

 Here is the table from 18 March, day the first three cases were confirmed, until yesterday:

Date                Positive Case              New                Death              Recovered

18 Mar                        3                      3                      0

19 Mar                        7                      4                      0

20 Mar                        12                    5                      0

21 Mar                        14                    2                      1

22 Mar                        28                    14                    2                      

23 Mar                        36                    8                      2

24 Mar                        42                    6                      2

25 Mar                        48                    6                      2

26 Mar                        81                    33                    2

27 Mar                        94                    13                    2

28 Mar                        102                  8                      2

29 Mar                        107                  5                      2

30 Mar                        128                  21                    3

31 Mar                        143                  15                    5

01 Apr                         161                  18                    6

02 Apr                         169                  8                      7

03 Apr                         186                  17                    7

04 Apr                         196                  10                    7

05 Apr                         227                  31                    7                      0

06 Apr                         244                  17                    7                      4

07 Apr                         268                  24                    7                      8

08 Apr                         273                  5                      7                      19        

 We need at least a couple of weeks of no new infections.  And that is, as always, up to us, all the people – to remain as isolated as possible for a while, to respect physical distancing, to wash our hands and not touch our faces, to wear masks and gloves in public. 

 And we need to do all this despite not being inspired by Pravind Jugnauth.


Lindsey Collen,

for LALIT, a personal view.