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Bitter Lessons Of Corona

Bitter Lessons Of  Corona

The Corona Virus is booming while the global economy goes into a deep recession. The current agenda of social, economic and political developments in the world is determined by this tiny and invisible virus. The mass media deliver  to us daily  horror reports about the angry pandemic directly into the living room. There is no shortage of informations, analysis, research into causes and solutions, therapy tests and rules of conduct to avoid the infection and its dissemination. There is hence no need for further descriptions of the serious consequences of the corona crisis. Instead, this article tries to highlight some lessons and trends from this crisis.

It may sound cynical if, in the midst of such devastating life threats, the  cause of such challenges is being considered as the bearer of possible worthwhile messages and developments. In fact, the pandemic reveals the helplessness of humanity in solving unexpected challenges. The human  who believes to be  the crown of creation  has  to be aware that he must reflect and recognize the limits of his power. The high pride combined  with over confidence  has  to give way to humility. This lesson is given to all people, no matter where and how they live; no matter how powerful or powerless they feel. The Corona crisis gives indeed opportunity to rereflect on  the interpersonal relationships among mankind  and nations.

We are aware of the admirable technological achievements of man. The mankind has even managed to land on the moon, but it is still far away from creating reliable  living conditions for all people on this earth, although the creation contains all  sources  for a  life in fullness. It seems that we apply  more destructive spirit than the will to save life.  Sometimes  humans turn out to be the most dangerous virus for nature and fellow human beings. We are aware of various types of  manmaid wars  of annihilation. These include world wars and regional wars with the use of even atomic and chemical weapons,  cold war due to ideological competition between east and west, wars between  religions and distribution struggeles  of different  kinds. The question arises which virus infects the brains of the war strategists. This virus  is certainly a mixture of paranoia, security addiction, power addiction, greed and even madness.  In the period from 1939 to 1945 alone, more than 70 million people were killed in the war. The commemorative events in May 2020  to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War reminded us of memories of this incredible crime against humanity. But such wake-up calls influence in no way those who follow the illusion of securing  peace with more weapons. The armament competition  is being relentlessly accelerated worldwide with the waste of vital resources. The decision to strengthen nuclear protection is currently being accelerated in Germany.   This is in no way a proof of credibility since nuclear powers of NATO,  allegedly  to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons,  punish  other  potential nuclear powers like Iran  with heavy boycotts.  

More than 8000 children die every day, i.e. almost three million a year of hunger that acts like a deadly virus. Food is the vaccine against this virus. However, the poor are denied to receive these abundantly produced  life saving ressorces for market reasons. There is no global excitement expressed  in the event of starvation; This is however, significantly different with the spread of the corona virus. No need to wonder why;  starvation affects the poor only, the rich are spared. Corona, on the other hand, does not distinguish between rich and poor people and nations; everyone feels the pain of the pandemic in  varying intensity. Some just couldn't imagine that the tiny virus dared to attack them too. Attempts by some world leaders to trivialize Corona failed miserably because the virus is not interested in their conspiracy theories and stigma tactics. Those who came too late paid the price with life. Their  death would not be in vain  if we would learn  from such experiences,. Kovid-19 sends the signal that the people from all nations belong together, inspite of social distancing. Combating the pandemic requires jointly agreed solutions, especially since the virus recognizes  no national boundaries. The strategy „ Think globally and Act locally“ applies in this crisis.

Corona changes the speed and direction of the globalization process. In this time of severe crisis, nations feel their dependence on the supply of essential goods. The division of labour according to comparative cost advantages does not ensure the sustainability of self-sufficiency. When procuring protective masks during the corona crisis  countries like Germany realize their  dependence  on China although the machines to produce such goods are exported from here.  Similar was the case in the pharmaceutical market. This dependence is painfully noticeable even in the individual regions of the same country like India. Essential food items  such as rice and vegetables have been supplied to the state of Kerala by other states like  Andhrapradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for decades. Foreign workers from Kerala, who earn their income especially in the Gulf States, were promoting the increasing consumer mentality with their transfers. Agriculture in Kerala has been neglected. Some consequences of such policies and omissions are now apparent. The lockdown stopped deliveries from other regions and some of the foreigners returned home. An important source of external funding is slowly drying up. Similar experiences are shared from other regions of the world. The increasing privatization of basic infrastucture  in the fields  of health and education has proven to be an obstacle for government agencies to intervene quickly and effectively  with protective measures. Individual nations and regions are now starting to produce goods in order  to meet their own needs. The experience of one-sided dependence will accelerate a debate towards independence. Mahatma Gandhi's vision of a "self-sustained society" is becoming more vital again.

The Corona crisis invites our attention to certain population groups who have not been in the focus of public until now. Above all, the medical staff in hospitals and ambulant services, as well as security personnel such as the police, fire brigades and service personnel, including the cleaning staff in hospitals,   are working for the virus-infected patients undergoing highest risk. Being in constant touch with the infected patients the nursing staff takes  the risk of self-infection. The nurses are now praised everywhere as angels.  This recognition becomes credible only when there is a noticeable increase in their remuneration. The efforts of the doctors require grateful recognition. In the situations of  significant shortage of respiratory equipments, some doctors even become selectors with the most questionable task of choosing patients for preferential treatment. The result ends with the earlier death of elderly persons in favour of saving younger life.  It is hardly understandable that even well known politicians in Germany indicate their readiness  to compromise in respect of the dominant ethical principle concerning the inviolability of human dignity. The fate of the migrant workers from various federal states in India has been highlighted during the crisis.  They are wrongly referred to as "guest workers" even though they are Indian citizens. The lockdown brings these labourers to the brink of hunger. The schocking pictures of families with elderly persons, pregnant women  and kids who walk miles for miles in order to reach their home villages remain unforgettable in our minds. The epidemic virus  directs our attention also to see the situation of  students and workers in some business companies. In many schools and  factories  the hygienic facilities are in a catastrophic state. The underdeveloped digital capacity in schools and industry was already known and the increased need for digital use during the crisis leads to the realisation that this severe deficit demands immediate attention. Many students are unable to use computers for "home schooling " because they do not have computers or there is a lack of knowledge of electronic use. Children of poorer families are particularly affected. These revelations of the crisis are learning material for more effective planning in the future.

Without neglecting the dangerou s consequences of the corona virus some encouraging developments may also be mentioned here. This includes inter alia a slight  environmental improvement. Due to the lockdown, less toxic chemicals flow into the waters of the rivers like Ganges, Yamuna and elsewhere. Fischer's Fritz is fishing fresh fish again. The climate is recovering a little better because of the low CO2 production.  The air becomes  cleaner, breathing easier and  heavy fog gives now  way to a better view of cities like Delhi. Corona gives practical lessons to those who deny the influence of CO2 on climate change. The Corona Virus also interferes in the social climate. The ruling parties are given great freedom to take measures to combat the spread of Kovid-19. Critical voices from the opposition can hardly be heard, since the electorate expects strict discipline in this  emergency situation. Suddenly, trillions and billions of dollars, euros and rupees flow to reduce the damage caused by viruses, in particular to save the economy and jobs. The acceptance of government loans is approved without heated debates. The democracy  has  hopefully an inbuilt capacity  to reinstate the fundamental rights as soon as possible. In the crisis, people experience very concretely that life can also be meaningfully designed with just lesser goods and luxury. We recognize for example: "small is beautiful", the happiness of the newlyweds is not dependent on the shows with an overwhelming number of wedding guests, belief and spirituality can also be lived without institutionalized rites and dogmatic adherence to  traditional customs. Although the term “social distance” is misleading, people experience that the physical distance in no way hinders nearness. During this crisis, elder people in particular experience the solidarity of their neighbours, whom they had never even known until then. Enriching and grateful solidarity and encounters with hearts, eyes and smiles take place. The virus like Kovid-19 in and around us shall  not be given again a chance to determine and rule our lives, but the lessons learned from this crisis should be heeded. Everything has its time and everything conveys a message for further learning.

(Published on 1th June 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 23)