Tuesday 31 March 2020
The best of times, the worst of times.
This wretched virus has certainly made us think more about our priorities.
It has also made most of us think how very lucky we are to have lived so long and so well in very liberal societies. Those of us who live in 'first world' countries are extremely fortunate.
Yes, we've had knife crime, a drug epidemic, terrorism, and now COVID-19, but water continues to flow from our taps, electricity still issues forth from our plugs, our loos flush, and most of us have plenty of food in the store-cupboard. One only has to look at the favelas, shanty towns, and refugee villages around the world to know that we are extremely blessed, and that our systems of government are the best there are.
I'm no believer in gods and devils, but the bible does contain plenty of common sense. One short phrase that often comes to mind is Christ's Mandatum novum do vobis. Having washed the feet of his disciples, he commands them to 'love one another, as I have loved you'. With all our woes, we are seeing a return to this spirit of amitié. Neighbour is once again helping neighbour, people are making sure that those who are alone have everything they need, and people are applauding the selfless workers who look after us when we suffer.
Will good come from this appalling pandemic? I feel certain that it will. When all is over, we will be more appreciative, more aware, and more cautious. For many, their financial circumstances will take a long time to recover, so any previous 'spend now, pay later' attitude will need serious review; which can only be a good thing.
Of course there have also been plenty of examples of profiteering from the epidemic. There will always be 'spivs' who leech off the unfortunate, who buy-up every bog roll in order to 'blackmail' the needy, or who fight in supermarkets over the last tin of beans. But these people are usually soon dealt with.
In general, I am hearing of kindness, of families communicating, and of benefaction. I do hope it will last, and that much of the previous selfishness will slowly disappear. My fingers are crossed.
Look after yourselves, and others.