Thanos is Trying to Kill Us
By Precious Chinula
In the wake of the global pandemic called the Covid-19, many theories on whether it is man made or natural, have emerged. The moment this disease was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, the world – though blissfully ignorant of the troubles which lay ahead, thought it would be easily contained inside the province. Fast forward to 2020, the disease is blazingly ravaging populations across countries and laying bare the iniquities of healthcare systems of rich and poor countries alike. Not surprising considering the mystery surrounding the origins of the Corona virus, which is responsible for the disease, and its nonexistent cure, many have turned to their canons of scripture and have concluded that the disease is an end of times phenomenon. Superpowers, China and America, have accused each other of creating the Corona virus. Others have blamed global warming, which they claim, has freed frozen viruses, and even 5G networks have shared the blame.
Amid all the jabberwocky about the pandemic, a theory connecting the disease to Eco-terrorists and a comic book villain called Thanos, yes! Marvel’s Thanos.
Although there has not been a contemporary generalised rhetoric of what or who qualifies to be called an Eco-terrorist, it can be argued that the term Eco-terrorism implicitly implies an act(s), committed against people and inanimate things, in support of environmental causes. A form of radical environmentalism, Eco-terrorism was responsible for damaging property worth around US$200 million between 2003 and 2008 in the US alone according to the FBI. An Eco-terrorist might, at the same, be an eco-activist but eco-activism is child’s play compared to Eco-terrorism. While the former uses protests, sit ins and other civil actions to protect the environment, the latter doesn’t exercise the same level of restraint and can go as far as Arson and bombing.
Eco-terrorism is on a trend and it seems like Hollywood might be helping in fueling this trend. Hollywood has created lots and lots of villains who portray themselves as environmentalists, and most of them are rudimentary eco-terrorists: Poison Ivy and Ra’s Al Ghul in Bartman, Alan Jonah and his group in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, Ernst Toller in First Reformed, and many others. Out of most of these villains’ designed courses of actions, Thanos’ seems well thought out, it’s so appealing that more than half of the people who saw Infinity war sided with his philosophy.
When Jim Starlin created a comic book character called Thanos back in college, he wouldn’t have guessed that he’d just conceived one of the biggest and most powerful supervillains in the Marvel Universe. He’s not just powerful, but also immensely hulky. Thanos, alias The Mad Titan, hails from a planet called Titan, and has appeared in over five of Marvel’s movies and other countless comic adaptations. In The Avengers: Infinity War movie, Thanos enters the fray trying fetch all six infinity stones in his quest to kill half of all the earth planet’s life, with the help of his lieutenants: Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive. End half of the entire planet’s life? Why? For the planet’s well-being, he says. Although Thanos is just a comic book villain, he definitely – in the Avengers movies – justifies his actions the same way eco-terrorists would. Come to think of it, Thanos’ justification of his actions oozes of radical environmentalism. Throughout both Avengers movies, Thanos plays god while legitimising his actions using radical environmentalist sentiments:”Going to bed hungry? Scrounging for scraps? Your planet was on the brink of collapse. I’m the one who stopped that. Do you know what’s happened since then? The children born have known nothing but full bellies and clear skies. It’s a paradise.””Little one, it’s a simple calculus. This universe is finite, its resources finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correction.””It was. And it was beautiful. Titan was just like most planets. Too many mouths, not enough to go around. And when we faced extinction, I offered a solution.”
In The Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos said, “I’m inevitable.” In reality, the statement is analogous to the inevitability of either the age of Eco-terrorists migrating from mere ecotage to taking human lives in order to save the planet or an age of positive checks by nature – natural disasters that would help put the human population growth in check – as prophesied by one father Thomas Malthus.
But how can a mere radical environmentalist be responsible for a global pandemic this huge? In the 21st century? With all these superpowers around, it wouldn’t take long for these culprits to hang. Contemplating on the preceding questions, one thing becomes obvious,and that is the involvement of a very powerful conglomerate. This brings us back to the Mad Titan. He is a giant villain, who -without the infinity gems – would easily defeat a lot of superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) but the infinity gauntlet gave him the power to tame all the resistance and the capability of doing his intended task. So just like Thanos, the culprit behind covid-19 had to have power/authority. Heads of state and/or influential people behind governments of superpower countries perhaps, multinationals? Or a very sophisticated and well funded secret society. There also had to be resources pooled, which, in this case would be quasi an infinity gauntlet. A couple of gemstones were needed to complete the infinity gauntlet; the obvious one being money; then bioengineering resources; intelligence; military resources; logistics. The reality stone would, expectedly, be the mainstream media. The actors in the mass communication sector would be responsible for manipulating the reality of the coronavirus pandemic. Some bastards in the newsroom have to beautify the charade and twist public perception when and where need be. With every angle covered, Thanos’ gauntlet is complete, the the Corona virus had to be unleashed, in a place full of people and very connected to the rest of the world, to do the conglomerate’s somewhat evil bidding.
“Wuhan seems like a good place!”
One would be tempted to question the benefits of letting loose a virus like the Corona. Well, it’s a no brainer, it is as if the issues overpopulation and over consumption, would be dealt with a single swing of an axe, Just like the Thanos snap. Without ignoring the discourse on the socioeconomic impact of the Corona virus, people should know that the planet will come out healthier if the disease rages on for a long period, just like Thanos’ Titan after he dealt his hand. The dead are piling up, factories are closing, and cities locking down. The implications of this are unambiguous: reduced CO2 emissions, reduced consumption, reduced pressure on natural resources, et cetera. As per National Geographic reports, pollution levels are plummeting in both China’s Hubei province and the highly industrialised northern Italy. It also reported that people in India are reporting “seeing the Himalayas for the first time from where they live,” and reports from Nigeria indicate that pollution stats are improving during the lockdown. At this rate, gains for the planet and consequently for Eco-terrorism are certain, and even if there was to be a collapse of civilization due to the disease, earth would still come out victorious.
Of course if this pandemic is man made, then it is such a monumental failure. The plan is a miscarriage in the same way critics claim Thanos’ philosophy was. The mere fact that the less privileged are contacting or dying from the disease the most, makes it less egalitarian. Based on statistics, the disease seems to be targeting the marginalised and the poor within and across societies, mainly because of their lack of access to sanitation and quality medical services. Of course, the poor might be playing their part in overpopulation, but they are not as equally responsible for global warming as the rich, especially if the “poor” In this context are in the third world countries. Apart from reducing demand for industrial products, as a result of the high death toll, this plan fails to deal with the problems of over consumption and industrial waste in the long term as the major owners of capital are unscathed and will resume operations after the pandemic dies down. Therefore, consequences of the Covid-19 will be incommensurate and harsh on the marginalised and poor populations, rather than the ones doing the real harm to the environment. More so, National Geographic reported that air pollution killed seven million people a year. This proves that the planet has self-regulation measures in place and that a man made pandemic in the name of the Environment is ill-advised, we don’t need Thanos’ hand to save us.
Nonetheless, earth’s health is improving and a certain Thanos is surely wearing a grin whilst watching a rising sun somewhere.