Of ‘Jab’ and ‘Diable’

Dr Rajagopal Soondron

Getting the jab. Photo – GettyImages

The “diable”, the devil virus, has called out for the jab – the vaccination.

We can suppose that what we commonly call as ‘diable’ can be translated to ‘devil’. To many of us that virus, the 7th of the corona family, is the devil incarnate that has disrupted the lives of millions across the world.

Is it really the devil? Some of us may have doubts. Already many serious researchers are saying that we humans are 7% of viral origin! Others put the figure at 50%! So Covid virus may be our faraway relative — who knows.

And the Jab

The jab, otherwise the blow, is the cynical Anglo-Saxon’s name for the vaccination; in other parts of the world the head of state takes it first to motivate their people. That jab might remind us of Mauritian parents who, to frighten their children into submission in the doctors’ surgery, would brainwash those poor kids into the ‘pikire’ anti-culture. However, the Anglo-Saxons had succeeded to raise many an adult and foreign medical student’s eyebrows and distaste by their queer habit of referring to food when describing some diseases: the rice water stools of cholera, the anchovy sauce stool in amoebiasis infestations, pea soup stools of typhoid fever, spruce juice sputum of bronchiectasis! And the jab is in line with that bizarre English medical culture.

In this 21st century we expected that educated people would start to be wiser – but academia and many health professionals are found split into two lobbies. Some of them are of the view that the vaccine produced in record time has not undergone rigid testing to claim to be that safe, being still on experimental basis. Other experts are perhaps espousing the view of the politicians: something has to be done to set the economy back on foot, lest the rigours of a strained financial situation would soon be felt by one and all, pushing most of us into an uncertain future.

Great medical authorities have exposed themselves to ridicule by crying out against the recent jab. Their logic: it took us 10 years of trial and error and retrospective studies to produce a safe vaccine, and here we have a dozen anti-Covid vaccines being dumped in our lap within some months. Meanwhile Europeans are queuing up to have their vaccination as fast as possible, while in other parts of the world – in India and Mauritius – many are hesitating to take the jab. Only time will tell about its safety. But still the majority of the medical profession is for the jab.

On the other hand, a member of the European Union took her Chairman to task for encouraging Big Pharma to make billions out of the vaccines without proper rigid counter control: the corporates will not be liable to prosecution if their products should turn out to be sour. They are thus being seen as the ‘diable’ in person, even going to the extent of blackmailing some governments to accept their terms so as to overfeather their own nest.

An Indian radio reported how a very famous pharmaceutical company had even blackmailed Argentina to mortgage one of its military bases – if she wants the jabs! While the rich countries’ elites who so often want us to believe in their compassion for the poor of the world are – under the counter – hoarding the vaccines. Canada has already a stock of five times what it needs, conveniently forgetting its promise to the down-trodden. It is “boeuf dan di sable”.

Covid-19 may finally do us good by reminding us of the dormant ‘diable’ simmering within us, with the hope that we would yet again learn from our weaknesses and codify new rules for international behaviour. The ‘diable’ is far from dead; will the fallen angel rise from the ashes?

And the ‘diable’

We Mauritians know our ‘diable’ very well for we even have a ‘Camp Diable’. It always kept us wondering why it was so named. As to the ‘diable’ itself, different religions have given their own version of the presence of the devil in our life, as if God Himself has not succeeded to get rid of him when he created the universe. The devil is the fallen Angel, the temptation, the personification of the evil itself, all leading us to infer that Man – full of doubts, always at the crossroads of his conflict between his faculty of reason and his deep-seated emotions — had little chance against the Devil while evolving his concept of God.

Oh yes, the ‘diable’ has haunted all of us since the beginning of time. It represents our negative qualities – just as we have enthroned our positive qualities in an abstract and symbolic all-loving God. Does the ‘diable’ linger in the fear module of our mind, maybe epitomizing the fear our ancestors felt in their dark jungle as they tried to learn to survive? Could that fear have been transmitted from generation to generation through some epigenetic process, thereby generating a complex mental entity – always being fuelled progressively by external prevailing uncertainties of a cruel life and an internally conflicting psychology? And action being equal and opposite, all this led to the antithesis of that inner devil, forcing man to conceive a more noble entity – God ? So as to maintain his psychological equilibrium, thereby ascertaining his sanity down the ages? Who knows. Maybe that’s how we invented God.

Meanwhile the jab, a product of our intelligence, has come our way. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That’s the question. If we don’t, then many of us, specially the elders may not make it far. Will new variants come up and make things worse? And if we get vaccinated, how do we know how safe it is? Most of us are afraid of being at the receiving end, of being that minimal percentage of unfortunates who won’t make it.

For the first time in our medical history we are facing a difficult choice: where doctors are divided, where they have doubts as to what constitute real scientific procedures, many are ready to cut corners because they believe things might get out of hand. And we must not forget that some men, believed to be honourable, are ready to sell their soul and falsify scientific results for monetary reward promised to them by Big Pharma. The ‘diable’ in some of us is still there.

Meanwhile many of us realize that we have evolved a very complex consumer society – a chain reaction that could easily bring misery to millions of us should it get derailed.

Could we prevent that by taking the jab?

We’ll have to put up with delayed reactions, learn our lesson, and save millions from more hunger.

It’s our choice: to surrender ourselves to the ‘diable’or to the jab?

Let’s go for the jab.

* Published in print edition on 12 March 2021

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