As the world looks for healing from the virus, we must ask ourselves how much of an enemy or an ally has the coronavirus been so far? As we grapple with the unprecedented interruptions to life as we always knew it, we must ask ourselves if these very costly changes have come to completely destroy us or re-invigorate us in ways that are yet unfolding. Are we going to be better off when all of this is over, including the rarely considered implications of the impact of the coronavirus on the obvious and less obvious parts of life, or are we going to be worse-off when the cure has been deployed globally, and we all regained our former groove?
No one can deny all the ‘enemy credentials’ proudly flaunted by the coronavirus. The mounting figures of those infected, those taken, and those who have recovered have become dominant images in our lives. Dictating the tone and focus of discussions, commentaries, and shaping a narrative that almost completely sees the coronavirus as an enemy that must be chased out of town at all costs.
Yet history teaches us that some kinds of ‘enemies’ are best wooed rather than chastened.
Some kinds of enemies are better courted rather than shamed.
That one is better off learning the ways of an unpredictable enemy instead of concentrating every energy at eliminating it. That one might succeed in the mission to disarm the enemy if one became friends with the enemy and looked in the same direction, preferably the direction initiated by the enemy; this time, the coronavirus.
Speaking of looking in the same direction, it looks like the coronavirus wants us to look at the earth again. Differently from how we have been doing in ages. And even how we have been doing since the coronavirus hit our shores.
We have held dozens of earth summits aimed at reviewing our engagement with the earth. Summits that ended with laudable targets but which the world has rarely achieved. Greta Thunberg and the rest of those at the vanguard of asking everyone to treat the earth differently must be smiling quietly in their corners of the world seeing how the earth itself has compelled everyone to back off the many activities that have put the planet at great risks over time. Activities we once thought we couldn’t live without. And assumptions the current worldwide stay at home have easily debunked.
The general quarantine across the globe means the rest of us have given the earth some valuable time to heal. Is it enough? Not likely. But it is a great beginning.
Has the earth needed this time? Certainly. Has the earth needed this time so as to crush and eliminate completely human life? Highly unlikely. Does anyone know how much more time the earth would be needing to complete the healing process? Highly unlikely. Would human life be better served after the earth heals itself? Highly likely.
May we begin by considering the air we breathe? Have you noticed that it feels cleaner and cooler these days? This is in spite of all the face-masks mania and worry about respiratory droplets in the air that could infect us. The air we breathe is better. It’s earth’s early gift to us in this unfolding process.
So open wide the windows and breathe in better from earth’s renewing storehouse of the vital resource. Tell your neighbours to do the same.