THIS year, new year celebrations across the world remained low-key due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The governments and people at large showed self-restraint and followed the SOPs.
The routine yet grand fireworks at the Sydney Harbour on new year’s eve were reduced to a small-scale display at midnight, while the 9pm fireworks were cancelled. A lockdown was observed in London, whereas the occasion was celebrated with very few revellers around New York’s iconic Times Square.
Across Pakistan, most markets, restaurants and clubs were closed down early, and the usual celebrations were put off. However, in the farmhouses around Islamabad and housing societies on the outskirts and in rural Islamabad, the event was celebrated as if nothing was ailing the world at this point in time. Private gatherings and functions were in full swing with loud music and merrymaking.
One such event was organised in the residential society where I live. The celebration went past midnight with music and fireworks going on. It was sad to note that they had no consideration for the sick and the elderly living in the same neighbourhood. How some of us could be so insensitive and inconsiderate to the grave situation that the world is going through? In fact, that very day the death toll from Covid-19 had crossed the five-figure mark in Pakistan, but it did not deter the revellers from violating the SOPs.
Considering the surge in the number of cases, the new year could have been welcomed a bit solemnly and in a dignified manner as was done by the rest of the world.
Muhammad K Sufi
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2021