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)