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March 19, 2020

VIRAL EMPATHY

It seems the world became infected with the promised apocalyptic pandemic – and “just like that” those borders that were defended with wars and racism and no compassion were broken with simple saliva drops. There was equality in the contagion between the poor and the rich, world powers that felt almighty learned how easily they can fall to a simple hug or a kiss.

And we all found out what was important and what wasn’t when a nurse became more important than a football player, a hospital more important than a missile. The stadium lights were shut down, the concerts were stopped, movies halted, masses cancelled and large gatherings prohibited until the world had the time to reflect alone and to wait until everyone came home to gather in front of the fire, around tables and rocking chairs and tell tales about important things that otherwise were at the brink of being forgotten.

Three drops of snot in the air have made us take care of the elderly, to value science above finance, it has taught us that it isn’t only the poor and the sick bring pests, that our pyramid of values was upside down and that “life”  was always first and everything else was just accessories.

There is not a safe place in the world – but in our mind everyone fits and we start to wish each other well, to love our neighbors and hope he remains safe, we need him not to get sick and to live a long life and be happy and next to a disinfectant paranoia we realize that that if I have water and my neighbor doesn’t – that it is my life that is at risk.

We have gone back to become “the village”. Solidarity gets stained with fear and the only alternative to get lost in exile is to be better together.

If everything turns out alright, everything will change forever.  A look will be our “hello” and we will reserve a kiss only for someone that already has our heart, when all the maps become stained with Coronavirus red, lof those that come with hope will be well received under any language, any skin color. It will no longer matter what your social status was or if your faith wasn’t my faith. All that will matter is that you have the courage to extend your hand for someone when no one else wants to do it.

It is possible – it is a possibility that this virus makes us more “human” and that from this torrential rain emerges a new pact, with an olive branch starting from zero.

We have the ability to love unconditionally – in the past few days, have you spoken to more strangers with kindness?  Called your parents more often? Realized how you wronged someone and felt sorry? Forgave someone that hurt you and wished them well? Did you feel you wanted to run to someone you abandoned and hold them tightly? Did you give the last loaf of bread to a complete stranger? Did you feel worried not so much for yourself but for the world?  THAT is our humanity, our ability to love and care for each other that gets tainted by beliefs and politics and labels.

Once we overcome this crisis – let’s pretend it hasn’t gone away and let’s wait with patience for someone to cross, or let them in line in front of us or simply – listen to them and love them for what they are: Another human being like yourself plugging along in this world trying to find love and happiness.

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