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West should sell us vaccines, or else we will make ours

Dear Western world,

I am writing to you from the Pearl of Africa, the gifted country that doesn’t miss much of your offerings.

We can avail all to ourselves too, only that we do not want to now. As our president keeps reminding you, we can do without you. We are a capable sovereign, not the beggars you think us to be. We only take what you give us because we know it makes you happy.

As Friedrich Nietzsche observed, the giver ought to appreciate the receiver, for without the receiver accepting, there would be no joy of giving. Having said that, let me specifically come to the matter of my letter. We are tired of pleading with you to sell us vaccines, as if we do not have our money.

You made us used to importing everything from your side, now you are turning around to show off with your vaccines during a pandemic!

You know the unwritten rules quite well, of how the world divided roles amongst its parts. Yours is primarily to invent, innovate, and think for us all. Manufacture, and we will surely consume. Have we ever bought your TV sets, radios, fridges, cars, safety pins, cutlery, undies, watches, computers, and else on credit?

You can’t discover vaccines and start telling us that you are prioritising your citizens. Don’t your citizens know that there are helpless people this side that will die if you do not come to their rescue? Stop that crap and either donate or sell us the vaccines.

We are not asking for a favour; this is our natural entitlement by virtue of our incapacitation – which you facilitated by enslaving and colonising us. Don’t tell us that it is almost 60 years since you left. We still let you take our raw materials very cheaply knowing that you will manufacture things that we are willing to buy at whatever price you set.

We are giving you an ultimatum. If by December 2026 you will not have sold us sufficient vaccines, we will make our own. Once we do, do not look for us.

We are notifying you ahead of time. You have ample time to look for other dependants who will wait on you to invent for them. We are not so many that would do you that favour, remember. Do not take our dependency mindset for granted. You will look for us in vain.

China needs us too, perhaps more desperately than you. They have just donated us some vaccines too. They understand their responsibilities to us better than you. Norway gave us some too, but too little considering our needs.

A country as rich as Norway can’t give us such a handful of vaccines as if they do not know that we are over forty million and have only vaccinated below a million. Indians are terrible friends. After donating to us a few doses, and us placing an order for more, they said they now wanted to serve their people first. How selfish! Aren’t ours people too?

We have had enough of this foolery and disrespect. As our president announced, by December this year we shall be having our own vaccine with capacity to deal with all Covid-19 variants. We shall be having a proven cure too. Do not camp at our doors pleading.

Stay there with your vaccines and bad manners. All of you should have prioritised us when you got vaccines. For so many years, we have religiously supported your pharmaceutical industries more than your own countries. Can your countries afford to import over 95 per cent of their medicines? Don’t we do that for you out of love?

We decided not to invest so much in researching and improving on our rich herbal heritage so as to allow your medicines to reign supreme here. Even simple painkillers that we could easily make are imported out of care for your pharmaceuticals.

We have sacrificed our herbal knowledge to go to waste in the hands of opportunistic local gamblers so that yours can come across as superior medicine. Now look at how you pay for our kindness and selflessness!

Do you think we do not have pharmacists and biochemists? Where do you think all our Pharmacy graduates are? We will shock you soon. All these years you have not come up with vaccines for HIV, cholera, Ebola, etc. How were you able to discover several for Covid-19 this fast?

You do not seem to care enough. You are playing monkey tricks with us, but do not think we are stupid. I know that behind all guises, you think we do not have the capacity to make all those little things you are showing off with. So deluded! Planes, rockets, computers, cookers; all that stuff we can make if we give up on caressing your egos. Do not be mistaken to take our choice to buy as a weakness.

Having said all that, here are my last ones. These vaccines you are donating or selling to us, make sure you check them thoroughly for safety – for we are not going to subject them to any further test here. As always, we trust what you make – for that is your role.

Check against any possible side effects before sending the vaccines here. We are ready to give joy to any of you that is willing to give or sell us vaccines. All types are welcome. I know that when we finally make ours, you will not receive it with the same trust we have received all yours.

Nevertheless, that is your problem, not ours. Finally, take this as the last warning. We are not going to plead with you anymore like infants. Cooperate for your own good. We need the vaccines now.

jsssentongo@gmail.com

The author is a teacher of philosophy.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd