"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Everyone should pick up The Shock Doctrine on World Book Day Featured

Gurpreet Singh

The post-pandemic situation we all are living in demands that we must start reading Canadian author Naomi Klein’s much publicized book to understand how the corporate world and powerful nations are using the current crisis to pursue their agendas.

Published in 2007, The Shock Doctrine will help us understand the dynamics of what is happening across the border in the US under Donald Trump. The way his right wing supporters are trying to brush aside science and oppose a shutdown in the light of COVID 19 is a part of the ideology Trump and others like him believe in.

Right from Trump, to a Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, almost all pro-business leaders support a free market economy that does not want to work in a regulated environment, and wants to break itself free from government control. What they have in common is their determination to privatize public services and put profits before people.

A crisis of any nature gives them a perfect opportunity to downsize government and adopt tough measures in the name of safety. The insecurity of masses makes the task easier, as they willingly surrender their consent for any change, blindly trusting the recipe being offered by those in power.    

Taking advantage of COVID 19, Trump has begun his crackdown on immigrants. Not only are undocumented migrants being forced to leave US, he has announced his decision to suspend new immigration to save jobs. Notably, he has been purposely referring to the pandemic as the "Chinese" virus to rile up people against those of Asian origin, as the disease had originated from that country.

Similarly, in India, Modi supporters are picking on minorities who are being falsely accused of spreading the coronavirus. Among those at the receiving end are Muslims and people from north eastern states who are taken as Chinese due to their oriental facial features.

The mindset behind such ugly developments has been best explained in Klein’s book, which remains relevant for all times. She goes into the details of similar or worse consequences of many such catastrophes in the past, including the 9/11 terror attack, the Iraq war, tsunamis, or the power transfer at the end of Apartheid. A reader will quickly understand how these tragedies were exploited by heartless politicians and business leaders worldwide. They were no less than the vultures who survive on corpses.

If you haven’t read it, then begin reading it on April 23 and make this year’s World Book Day special, at a time when many of us are confined to our homes with ample time to reflect.

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Last modified on Thursday, 23 April 2020 00:49
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