Today the world is still. Today the world is at rest. Today the world is quiet. For we are under quarantine. Today we live in isolation and seclusion, confinement and separation. We are encouraged to practice social distancing to save us from a deadly virus that has left the planet bewildered and confused.
But in this environment, made dark, ambiguous and obscure by a threatening contagious disease, one thing is certain. And that is, when the air is clean and the COVID–19 has blown with the wind, there would be the need for a post-mortem into an outbreak, which for several months had domineered the agenda of the world and dictated the life of more than seven billion people.
For some time to come, we may be caught up in dissecting the skeletal remains of a man-made pandemic that was seemingly crafted with biological perfection and precision.
Indeed, much more would be analysed and written about this global plague that flew across the world, while airports were forced to shut down and aeroplanes rested their wings. An outbreak which precipitated a mad rush through supermarkets across the globe and which left international markets tumbling.
Maybe in time, many scholarly papers, reports, articles, documentaries and perhaps Hollywood styled movies would seek to portray and depict the COVID–19 which apparently emanated from a bat, as the essential pause that was required in our rat-race world.
And perhaps from the lens of some, the virus would be portrayed for the death and destruction that is left behind.
But who would dare to peer into a wider lens from which a deadly pandemic could be construed as a much-needed reawakening of a world? Fact is, any theory that the COVID–19 was a “necessary evil”, may be construed as a thought laden with bacteria which should be sanitized with alacrity.
But consider for example that the virus has engaged us in a civil and cooperative world willing to abide by laws, restrictions, and limitations brought about by necessity. Consider too, a quarantine that may have re-energized family life and values and which may have rejuvenated personal, private and family relationships, ironically through social distancing. And consider a virus that has generated political action by forcing global leaders to take decisions to safeguard the welfare of the young, the elderly and underprivileged.
Right here in Trinidad and Tobago, leaders of government and opposition have consulted, albeit a microscopic reflection perhaps of the need for accommodating dialogue throughout the globe.
Consider too, that maybe the airport lockdowns and travel restrictions which may have brought global travel to a near standstill may have also served as a reprieve from the worsening environmental pollution and that the greenhouse gas emissions were reduced through less traffic in our airspace and on the roads.
In the aftermath of this global disaster who would dare to write that this “necessary evil” has forced us to rethink our priorities to preserve our planet against man-made abuse or misuse. Maybe the virus was needed for this world to see the urgency of an international global response mechanism to be engaged in times of calamity and misfortune.
Maybe it was an essential intervention in reawakening a culture of compassion, kindness, and unity of purpose. Or maybe it came not just to sanitize the way that we live today, but to bring sanity to the way that we plan for tomorrow.
Ashvani Mahabir BA, LLB, LEC, MA.
Attorney at Law & Communications Consultant