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ED: Turning the page on a most difficult year

  • Published at 01:16 am January 1st, 2021
2021
Photo: BIGSTOCK

We overcame challenges we could not have fathomed and, with that in mind, let us look forward to 2021

To say 2020 has been one of the most challenging years for us collectively, would be an understatement.

From the very start, as the Covid-19 pandemic became more and more of a reality that we could no longer ignore, and people began to stay within the confines of their own homes, it became evident that this would be a year like no other in living memory.

Little did we realize that, even at the end of this year, we will find ourselves repeating those crucial instructions: To wash our hands properly, to stay inside, to wear masks, and to maintain social distancing, all in an attempt to ensure that this virus spreads no more than it already has.

Little did we know that 2020 would mark the year many of us would find ourselves working from home, attending online classes, learning to stay away from the people we care about the most as an act of love.

For Bangladesh, it was no different -- we saw the number of cases rise each day and the government enforced lockdowns to control the situation, but at the inevitable cost of millions across the nation losing their livelihoods. 

Under normal circumstances, this would be a year of celebration for Bangladeshis -- for March 17, 2020 marks the 100th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a man who spent his entire life championing the causes of the poor and the oppressed. Those programs, of course, had to be curbed in the interest of public safety.

Some of us lost our loved ones despite our best efforts to keep them safe, and we mourned them, and continue to mourn them and the irreplaceable void they have left in our hearts.

But to look back on 2020 and see only tragedy and suffering would also be a tragedy in itself.

In some ways, the coronavirus pandemic proved to us that we as human beings are far more connected than we most of the time realize, whether it be within the same city, nation, or across the world, and that, in order to fight against its eventual spread, we needed to protect our neighbours if we wished to protect ourselves.

For many of us, it was the year we learned to adapt, to learn new technologies, to understand the value of human contact. If we were lucky enough, it was the year many of us reconnected with our families, and with ourselves, as we attempted to learn new skills.

For Bangladesh, it was the year our impressive and rapid economic growth finally came down, for sure, but it was also the year that we bounced back better than anyone else in the region, with experts around the world touting our immense potential. The government’s generous and frequent stipends combined with the people’s resilience allowed us to keep our economy afloat and healthy.  

We overcame challenges we could not have fathomed and, with that in mind, let us look forward to 2021 not as another year of Covid-19 but, rather, the year we decided to defeat it.

With vaccines on the way (but in limited supply) and the threat of Covid-19 far from over (risks of second and third waves abound), it is time to learn from the mistakes of 2020 and do our best as a nation, for all of our citizens. 2021 gives us a clean slate, and an opportunity to fix things and rebuild. Let us keep our chins up and move forward.

The Dhaka Tribute wishes all of its readers a very Happy New Year.

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