The harsh rhetoric over the supply of vaccines played out in the last week, with the EU Commission on one side as an aggressor, with the UK and the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on the other. Matters boiled over when Article 16 of the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol was invoked by the Commission, to place controls on the export of vaccines made in the EU into Northern Ireland.
Although it was done as a “safeguard measure”, the EU said, “in order to avert serious societal difficulties due to a lack of supply threatening to disturb the orderly implementation of the vaccination campaigns in the Member States.” It can be described in plain English as a retaliatory move in response to the shortfall in vaccines to the EU. The invocation was swiftly revoked after a few hours, with a short apology calling it a simple mistake, but ultimately it has revealed how taking a moral high ground in ensuring a “fair distribution of vaccines” and “equal, affordable access for all” came crashing down, leaving in the dust the now characteristic traits of nationalism and dirty tactics, pervasive in the nations that espouse the capitalistic ideology.
It can be said that the poor hand that the EU played in procuring the different vaccines led to this malaise, and this is true, but the revelation of richer nations in the Union, like Germany, France and the Netherlands, planned to go at it alone as a separate group, shows that ultimately it all boils down to who can be the first to secure what is required, regardless of their other fellow nations around them. That this poor shadow of a Commission, bereft of heft and legitimacy, had to beg these nations to return to the collective table, shows a weakness in leadership, that has become a common sight in all the Western nations during the pandemic.
The lack of leadership and of initiative has resulted in a forecast by the Economist Intelligence Unit, that it will most likely take until 2024 before most poor nations achieve mass COVID-19 immunisation.
As the world burns in the economic, social and political ramifications of the pandemic, the West sits idly by, content to look inwards and think about themselves rather than for the good of humanity.
As an alternative to this debacle, a state built on the pillars of Islam and with the best intentions of humanity at heart, the Khilafah, would take an interventionist stance on the pandemic, where it would seek to engage in all ways and context, to demonstrate the Islamic method to manage these pandemics.
The Khilafah would be at the frontline in coordination with other states to contain and nullify the spread of this virus, as it would recognise that this pandemic is not confined by boundaries, however good the border infrastructure.
It would share in terms of developing cures any technical knowledge and breakthroughs, without being constrained by unlawful and frankly murderous concepts in these times like patents and royalties. There would be checks and balances during these developments to prevent other nefarious states and actors from usurping control for their own gain.
As was demonstrated when the Irish endured the famine of 1845, the Khilafah would endeavour to help weaker nations with whatever is required to give their populace respite and hope. To conclude, the past year has shown that the world is yearning for true intellectual leadership, which can only be provided by a state built on the words of Allah (swt) and the actions of the Prophet Muhammed (saw). A state built on a message which is the saviour for all mankind. Although many will not know it now, all will rejoice when the Khalifah emerges from mere concepts and ideas, to statehood and reality, to confront all predicaments before her