অটোয়া, বুধবার ৮ এপ্রিল, ২০২০
Listen to the Corona Virus - Anton Fernando

As the Corona Virus is unleashing its mayhem, its wise to pause and reflect for a moment, not so much on the virus itself, but on the human factor. 

The more I watch the endless news coverage on COVID-19, I noticed that I was becoming more anxious, clearly my anxiety level has gone up and I am not alone in this, grocery shops are reporting long lines and shortage of stocks as people are not just doing regular shopping but hoarding, in fear of enforced quarantine for days and weeks. The images from Italy, France, and Spain, the empty streets, ghost city centers, all have shot up our fears.

Fear does strange things to humans. We become totally irrational, illogical, submissive, even violent. Fear itself becomes a contagious virus, thru the word of mouth, fear is spread and passed onto each other, and our collective consciousness is brimmed with fear and anxiety. The media obviously does a great job at amplifying the fears, perhaps they could add some reality based data into our minds. We have to understand the numbers, in a world of plenty, some 25,000+ die daily from hunger and related problems and yes over 1000 deaths have been reported in Italy and China, and the death toll is on the rise, so no denying this corona outbreak is serious, which require prevention and attention, but wouldn't it be nice, if we pay the same level attention to those 25,000+ humans who die daily from hunger and starvation. 

It doesn't' induce any fear or anxiety in me when I hear that some child died in Africa or Bangladesh from hunger, its a mere footnote, but the fast spreading virus had me worried. Perhaps I know deep down that i may never face a starvation like situation, but with this virus no such assurance, it could happen. That's another thing about us humans, we only worry if something could happen to us, otherwise we're totally indifferent to calamities. Imagine those war zones in Syria and Afghanistan, ongoing for over 15 years now, a whole generation of kids will grow up knowing nothing but war and constant bombardment. Do I care? Does it give me fear and anxiety? Of course not, I live in a comfortable safe country, where even simply crossing the road is highly regulated with safety in mind. Yet I am one vote for the governments who have gone to war in Syrian and Afghanistan, so my hands are not that clean no matter how much i sanitize them. 

What about profiteering? Abuse of cheap laborers in foreign countries where workers toil in crowded factories for 12+ hours a day just to make peanuts in wages, equally here at home we're accepting and allowing the minimum wage slaves, who must toil for at least 50 hours a week to be able afford a single bedroom apartment in most cities, and increasingly they live hand to mouth, miss one paycheck they will face serious financial hardship, and paid sick leaves or vacations are unheard of. Meanwhile the US government in response to corona outbreak bailed out the Wall-street bankers with 1.5 trillion dollars, which we could have used give to every adult (in US) 1000$ a month for 4-5 months, imagine how that would have prevented the spread of this virus. (google Universal Basic Income or UBI Stimulus). 

Man has been the dominant force on earth for ages, and the list of abuse is simply endless, from what we have done to ourselves, to each other, to nature, and to the animals, Here when I say man, I must clarify that it means man of every color, creed, culture, caste, region and religion. The corona virus doesn't pick and choose its victims, its spreading thru the globe, touching every corner of the earth. 

May be the corona virus is here to say loud and clear: STOP the fears, STOP the anxiety, STOP the wars, STOP the refugee crisis, STOP the labor abuse, STOP the healthcare crisis, STOP the homelessness, STOP human trafficking, STOP fracking, STOP elite 1% controlling all the resource and wealth while the rest live hand to mouth, STOP the propaganda machines that keep on electing aristocratic families and dictators to office, STOP the hunger and starvation, STOP the industrial farming, STOP the animal abuse, STOP this insane obsession with defense where now some counties spend 55% of their national budget on defense, STOP the racial, identity, gender, caste, cultural, regional and religious conflicts that are endless, STOP the enslaving of life, STOP all abuse against life. 

I hear the corona virus is screaming at me, at us, to help us wake up, but this awakening is only possible when each individual take up the challenge to self-reflect and change their ways. Life is every one of us. We have to first stop abusing ourselves. 

This tiny virus has put the world on hold, markets are crashing, middle class people are working from home, cities are quiet, traffic is much less, even empty airports, there is a strange silence however, as if the rat race is forced to slow down, we have been chasing the GDP and productivity for nothing, all that can come crashing down so fast. 

If we don't hear, see here, someday only silence will remain, like it was long before man walked on earth, no let's not go there, I don't see the annihilation of human race from earth, as small pockets of humans are waking up around the globe, dedicating their lives to creating awareness about change and human values, putting humanity first, putting life first.  

Join us, become one vote for equality for all, so that we can create a world that's best for all. 

That much I can hear from the corona virus. What do you hear? 

Anton Fernando
2020/03/16
Ottawa, Canada