Strange and Dangerous Time

We are going through strange and dangerous time. The very real threat of COVID-19, the alarming speed of its spread and the steeply rising number of deaths, have forced many developed and developing nations taking  urgent and emergency measures. In front of a seemingly unstoppable virus,  invisible but deadly, the very raw fear in every human beings have come up to the surface.

To defeat the highly transmissible virus like COVID-19 stringent measures like the strict social distancing is necessary. Governments of the world need to be flexible to deploy all available and innovative measures to win this war against the mighty virus. 

Among people, from Canada to US to Mexico to Brazil to Italy to Germany to France to Spain to UK to Egypt to South Africa to Bangladesh to Indonesia to Australia, people of every nations are terrified of the grim possibility of an uncontrolled virus stamping out our precious livelihood, our very existence. The colourful graphs showing the near vertical rise of new cases and deaths by the virus are frightening for many. So the people in most nations are demanding their government to take more stringent measures. And the seemingly benevolent governments are responding.

However, we need to be mindful that, “history teaches that emergency measures are frequently abused and at times become permanent. Indeed, they can provide fertile grounds for widespread human rights violations and may even provoke a transformation from democracy to a totalitarian regime.”

This can happen to any nation, even the most sophisticated and the matured democratic ones.

Along with this possibility exists the inevitable and devastating. economic collapse that the very needed lockdown will bring.

In the Common Dreams article, the writer observes that the answer to these very grim but realistic possibility of economic meltdown around the globe is to take a few prudent progressive steps by the government of every nation. Some of these ideas are:

* “A living universal income and freeze to mortgages and rents for people under the poverty line, as well as for those who lose their jobs, the homeless, gig economy workers, the unemployed and small businesses.

* Mandatory paid sick leave that matches one's salary, so that poor sick people will not feel obliged to go to work.

* Free and comprehensive treatment for coronavirus and potentially related symptoms, no questions asked (about immigration status), so that no one goes untreated because of fear or poverty. This could entail expanding Medicare to all Americans, for example.

* Government investment in homeless and women's shelters, and food banks. And massive medical aid to refugees.”

We are going through a strange and dangerous time. Many of us are confused, we have never experienced a fear filled uncertain situation like this before. This strange time is also opening up our delusion filled eyes. We started to value what is more important, like family, over spending invaluable time in never ending entertainment binge.

I can see three possibilities after defeating COVID-19, and humanity will defeat it for sure, regardless of many of our chances  of survival.  These are:

1. The world goes back to its original state, where mindless consumptions of everything, staying indifferent to others’ pain, being numb binging endless entertainment from every possible source returns in heartless triumph.

2. The world regresses to a totalitarian nightmare, every nation separately or collectively merges into a supra autocratic entity, almost like many dystopian novels like 1984, predicted.

3. The wisdom of the world populace prevails and every nation, separately or collectively pursues universal goodness for all so that humanity is well prepared for the  next threat, the looming climate change crisis or the onslaught of more morbid pandemic or whatever crashes with sudden thump.

Let’s hope the goodness of humanity prevails.