In spite of the tragic, troubling situations, the globe could be poised to experience a renaissance.
I know that you could disagree, maybe vehemently. I know you could scoff or recoil at the strategy that a pandemic can generate anything at all other than fear, uncertainty and grief. You could even be inclined to halt looking at this column mainly because you imagine the recommendation that a rampaging coronavirus can induce a renaissance of any sort is a click on-bait-pushed “take”.
Like you, I have viewed, impotent, as this infuriatingly obstinate virus has spread with lethal and panic-inducing efficiency. It has manufactured the old and vulnerable grievously ill. It has killed indiscriminately. It has forced us into hibernation, shuttered economies and extinguished a great number of careers and hope.
But the wee, stubborn optimist in me continues to be certain that hope and likelihood exist even in the midst of an unrelenting world humanitarian crisis that will preserve resulting in harm and havoc and perhaps overwhelm our capacity to respond.
If we peer above the grim horizon, there could not only be a way out of the ever-collecting storm, we could also seize the prospect to reimagine our position as citizens not just inside of nations, but between nations and to reassert the primacy of scientific reality.
If we do this – and that, of course, continues to be profoundly unsure – the globe could vogue a renaissance of the spirit of collective motion in the tangible, lasting service of the popular great centered on reality.
Initially, we must listen to doctors and scientists – the women of all ages and adult men who make up the white-coat brigade now foremost the combat towards this insidious ailment. Then, we must do our best to abide by their guidelines with unflinching discipline and persistence where ever situations allow.
As the pandemic rages, we will keep on, no doubt, to oscillate from resignation to an nearly paralysing dread. The doctors and scientists we switch to for support, assistance and nonetheless distant therapeutic alternatives, are the indispensable sources of awareness, calmness and, at situations, reassurance. They are a welcomed existence and a comforting sight.
A lot more than that, we are, I feel, witnessing the extended-overdue revival of intelligence and skills in our general public discourse. Each individual working day, we see and examine it throughout time zones, continents and languages as the who’s who of science and drugs are questioned to make clear what we have to have to do and when we have to have to do it and to raise, when required, the alarm.
Oh, how these intelligent, eloquent and authoritative voices have been skipped. For much too extended, much too numerous irresponsible editors have available an inviting platform to an endless parade of slick charlatans and hucksters who have told us that vaccines trigger autism and that climate alter and, these days, COVID-19 are hoaxes made by “woke” liberals.
And for much too extended, it has been modern – specially between the legion of ideal-wing ideologues and self-professed “contrarians” – to dismiss and denigrate science and the uncovered women of all ages and adult men who generate it with painstaking care and focus to detail.
The record is simple: the white-coat brigade warned us a extended time in the past a pandemic would transpire just as it has transpired in advance of – typically to the poor dwelling in distant lands. They told us the rich and privileged would not be immune. They told us to get ready. They told us how it would transpire and how speedily it would transpire. They did all this with astounding precision and prescience.
Instead, we selected gluttony and complacency. We were much too preoccupied with the listed here and now to listen and act. For considerably much too numerous of us this has intended getting more stuff we do not have to have for an ephemeral jolt of pleasure considering that, generations in the past, we became voracious shoppers who gave up staying engaged citizens.
Much too numerous leaders in much too numerous sites compounded this smugness and insatiable craving for the satisfaction of now with willful ignorance and self-serving myopia. They termed doctors and scientists warning of the impending threat alarmists – if they bothered to listen at all.
They certain us the giddy bash on Wall Road would go on and on and they urged us to preserve getting and getting.
Nicely, the bash is above and the rapacious getting has stopped – briefly and involuntarily. The cocky, quick-sighted politicians and their similarly smug enablers were incorrect. The doctors and scientists were ideal.
Fortunately, although belatedly, most politicians are listening and calibrating their reaction to the health crisis on the advice of doctors and scientists, with the predictable exception of the United States’ dunce-in-main, Donald Trump, and his Brazilian twin, Jair Bolsonaro, between some others.
My family and I are listening to the white-coat brigade, as perfectly. We are staying household, washing our arms and cleansing surfaces often. We are trying to do our tiny, but crucial part, to avoid the virus from infecting us and our neighbours.
Individuals of us who are contemplating and behaving in a way that is meant not only to shield ourselves but people close to us, replicate a renewed understanding of, and dedication to, what it suggests to be citizens in a broader neighborhood.
We know that neighborhood extends considerably past our neighbours. We also know that our behaviour currently has implications and outcomes for a great number of persons in a great number of sites tomorrow. In this precarious instant, we have recognized what it suggests to be a world citizen.
This tenacious virus has confirmed what numerous of us had overlooked – that we are inextricably linked to a person another. The pursuit of our parochial desires and aspirations must not be attained at the expenditure of the desires and aspirations of our neighbours at household and abroad.
My hope, however fanciful it could appear, is that if we reframe our understanding of citizenship – from me to we – we will vanquish not only COVID-19 but the other existential threats we facial area, such as, most urgently, the unfolding climate catastrophe.
That could switch out to be the white-coat lining of the dreadful storm we, alongside one another, shall confront in turbulent times in advance.
The sights expressed in this write-up are the author’s possess and do not automatically replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.