Miami, Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020.
“Loneliness weighs on me. Society too … You contradict yourself. Is loneliness weighing you down or is it the crowd? You take yourself for a thinker and you have no logic ”
I was born on September 6, 1980, in Caracas, Venezuela, some consider that due to my date of birth I belong to generation X, others consider that I am the beginning of generation Y or millennial, a third group defines me as part of a small percentage of people who are called the bridge or transition generation between the X and the millennials, I am inclined to think that I am more than anything part of that bridge, I have always felt throughout my life in a transition of learning and today more than ever, I feel I am experiencing a great transition of humanity, since the world as we knew it will never be the same again.
The Covid19 Pandemic has the planet in quarantine, empty streets, spaces full of silences, perhaps unlike what some think, for the first time, in many years we are not wasting time, but gaining it, because this is the favorable environment for reflection, for introspection and perhaps that is what humanity needs today the most.
The playwright Eugene Ionesco in his play El Rinoceronte (1959) said: “Loneliness weighs on me. Society too … You contradict yourself Is loneliness weighing you down or is the crowd? You take yourself for a thinker and you have no logic. ” What is happening to us as a society with the covid19 escapes our logic, but the life we lived in which we only lived to work, in which making money was the only important thing, where every day we destroyed more and more nature and our planet was also lacking in logic. We lived in crowds, but disconnected by the news, by cell phones and technology, we were without really “being present” in the here and now.
To my children I tell them that they are living a unique moment of humanity, I speak to them about ethics and moral values and I tell them that they will live a different world, that it has to be better than this. The world their parents built and their grandparents and the rest of their ancestors built. After the First World War we realized that we failed, with the Second World War the errors were catastrophic, we went from one mistake to another trying to make up the world for future generations, some of us grew up learning from lack and then thinking and feeling that we only had to work hard to give our children everything we lacked and we have forged a world where all those material things we work so hard for are no longer valuable, everything is disposable, everything has an expiration time and it is better to discard as soon as possible.
The darkest thing this pandemic has shown us is how far our waste economy has come, listening to politicians like former Texas Governor Dan Patrick say in an interview for the Fox News channel (March 24, 2020): “My message is that we must go back to work, let’s live again, let’s be smart about all this and those over 70 will take care of ourselves. Don’t sacrifice the country, don’t sacrifice the great American dream. ”
What resonates most in my ears from these statements are two phrases, one is “let’s be smart” and the other is “the American dream”. First of all, I wonder how you can be smart, losing the meaning and value of your own life. The second question I ask myself is what American dream? We live in a country where most people do not have the right to a fair and decent health system, we live in a country where young people must spend their whole lives in debt to perhaps finish a career in college. We live in a country where many people have 2 or even 3 jobs to support a family, we live in a country where there are children that in their homes they cannot receive more than one or two meals a day, so Is this the American dream? I would substitute a word in this statement and call it The American Hoax, to start sounding a little more honest.
Many reading these lines will consider me socialist, communist and nothing further from reality. I had to leave my country, Venezuela, due to the horror of a communist dictatorial regime that was established there by the deceased Hugo Chávez and it have been perpetuated by the Cuban regime with Nicolas Maduro as a puppet. I could never agree to a system like that that not only destroys a country, but the soul of the people. But, I also cannot agree with a system like the one we have now in the United States, where our politicians openly tell us that it is worth letting our elderly die and that it is worth forgetting quarantine and simply making money again because it is the only important thing, I will never agree to something so abominable. Both systems deserve our censure and disgust. I know that, like me, there are many people who feel caught between two absurd ideologies that are not the answer to any of our needs as human beings.
But where is the answer, what is the best system? Does it exist? I do not have the answers and perhaps I will die without having it. However, with the covid19 I have seen a face of humanity in which I deeply believe, they are, for example, the doctors who have sacrificed and sacrifice their lives around the world to save others, those nurses, those hospital personnel who have given their face for us, who has public questioned the work of so many inept politicians in the world. Yes, thanks to them.
With the Covid19 I have seen the work of the artists, who from You Tube and so many other digital platforms have offered their music for free, as Andrea Bocelli did today in a unique concert from the Duomo of Milan, in Italy. They, from the most subtle and simple part of the soul have put themselves at the service to keep humanity alive with hope.
With Covid19 I have seen priests go out of their comfort zone to help their parishes, I have seen religious leaders setting good examples. I have seen people without creed or religion meditate together, with one voice for peace and love. I have seen how the world after living without stopping, has taken a pause to see what is truly important, “Love”.
I know that unfortunately many with the experience of this pandemic will not change, others, and I think we are the majority, we will never be the same. I say to my children, don’t forget the days of Covid19, some of us lived wars, the fall of communism in most of the world, we lived the fall of the twin towers, it is true, but nothing comparable to the change that Covid19 brings to us. Today we know that we are part of a humanity, which means that what happens to one can affect the life of all the rest, yes, today it became clear to us that the worst virus on our planet and of any system is selfishness. To my children, I say on this Easter Sunday, a beautiful phrase of Jesus: “It is love that will set you free”
Maria Eugenia Fanti
Venezuelan-American journalist and writer