The order of nature is unchangeable. By next week the earth will celebrate the Spring Equinox; 21 March, one of the two times of the year when day and night are equal. The date coincides with Egypt’s celebration of Mother’s Day and we are all itching for something to cheer about.
How do you celebrate the coming of spring? If we are to follow the dictates of nature, we flee outdoors and soak in the sunshine, after a long dark and dreary winter. The rabbits, the birds, the insects, and other creatures lead the way, frisking and frolicking as they watch the trees turn green, the flowers begin to blossom and the skies are bluer than blue.
How can we ignore this miracle of nature? How can we overlook the happiness and energy of a new year, bearing hopes and dreams for man to fulfil?
For a whole year our only focus was on a pandemic that paralysed the world, reportedly ending the lives of 2,633,769 people.
Our conversations have centred on who, how, when and why so many have been infected, and how can we protect ourselves. Suddenly, like a shock, we were ordered to a new disciplined lifestyle that diminished our humanity.
Our lives were brought to a grinding halt as we sat at home, crippled and isolated, fearful and lonely, unable to interact with family and friends, grieving for the lost with little hope in sight. For one whole year this was our unnatural state. Our only occupation, our only conversation, our only fear, day in day out was called Covid-19. We have had enough.
It was a year lost — are we about to lose another one?
This crisis may continue ad infinitum and transform us to slaves, or chained animals cowering in the corner of our cage, and that prediction is unacceptable to the majority of the world’s population.
We need that social exchange in order to survive and function. Man cannot live alone, that is why God created Eve to be his companion.
They begat and begat and groups, communities, societies, nations were created. Their sanity is dependent on work and play. However inconclusive the vaccines and researches are, life has to continue and, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join them.”
The first human to do that was Greg Abbott, the governor of the state of Texas, US. Last week, he issued a cancellation of masks and a return 100 per cent to life as it was before that accursed “twin-year” pandemic.
Almost immediately other states followed, perhaps waiting for the first sign from a man of courage, who decided to keep standing. The governors of 11 states have freed their citizens from medical, scientific and state restrictions, who are still crying foul as they slowly lose their grip on the population.
Naturally, citizens are expected to use their common sense to protect themselves, now that they are aware of methods of prevention.
A nod of approval is due to Texas and the man who dared to choose freedom as he watched the powers that be, discomposed jumble of blind, strict disciplinary management of the crisis.
If they are learning on the job, we too can be learning as we cope with it.
The head of the All Business Essential organisation said it best “At some point you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and say: Do I want a zero-risk life?” There is no life without risk. Crossing the street is a risk, climbing the stairs is a risk, lighting your oven is a risk, are we to stop all that for fear of a risk?
“It’s become a farce really. People have quit living for a year — at what price?” said Erik Knudsen, a business group leader.
Students are exhausted, “a year of distance learning wears thin.”
Children are hurt the most although our concentration has been on the elderly.
A BBC programme reported that children are more affected than ever. Restraining their activities can change their lives forever.
Children who have been cured of Covid-19 continue to experience some effects, including serious illnesses. Doctors have already given this syndrome a name — it is “Long Covid”.
“We don’t know how permanent this is,” said the head of the Nation Health Service in England.
Remember the swine flu? It caused serious illnesses at the time and some are still feeling the effects.
Support groups are spreading on social media, including the British NHS, which has its own website.
Had they begun to cope rather than run? Perhaps such complications would be at a minimum.
During the last half century we have experienced a slew of viruses, one succeeding the other, starting with the Hong Kong flu of 1966, from chicken, to swine, to cow, and a variety of HNs.
Since the Spanish flu that took 25 million lives, we have never seen so many pandemics as we have recently.
So many toxic germs have been created for germ warfare, could they have accidentally escaped the labs and poisoned our environment, producing all these unwanted pandemics?
Our main research should be stopping the spread of the disease, not just finding a cure.
An effective strategy, not a try-as-you go regimen of lockdowns is mandatory.
The primary concern of scientific research should be stopping a pandemic in its tracks, not experimenting with our behaviour and ruining our lives.
Prevention is always better than cure.
“Don’t do something to not die, do things to enjoy living. The by-product may be not dying.”
Bernie S Siegel (1932-)
*A version of this article appears in print in the 18 March, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly