by MITA MISTRY
“WE ARE only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” (JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) The deadly coronavirus has affected everyone in some way and is causing devastation globally, but could it be a force for unity? Before the global pandemic struck, people have been opposing each other across political, religious, social and cultural lines. And in some places, violence fractured societies further. Now, irrespective of their background, everyone is staring at the same enemy, a deadly virus that doesn’t distinguish between people. Covid-19 doesn’t care about colour, religion or social status.
Nor do borders stop it from attacking at any time. But amid this dark time, perhaps there is a glimmer of light. In the face of global adversity, every single one of us is equal, we are all vulnerable to it, and it is already affecting our normal day to day lives in some way.
Our fight against Covid-19 is not a “them” and “us”; it is a moment in unprecedented times for each one of us to put aside prejudice and stand united. Unity has already begun through small acts of kindness bringing neighbours and communities together. The more we unite and look out for one another, the more we heal our differences and divisions, the stronger we become.
But implementing important government guidelines is not going to be easy as they require changes to our behaviour and the way we live our lives. For some, social distancing may be difficult in the coming months, but complying and taking them seriously can help prevent spreading the disease to those who are most vulnerable, with the potential to save lives.
It is one time in history, where it is ok and encouraged to slow down and self-isolate if you are feeling unwell. This time could be used as an opportunity to pause, take a step back and reflect on what really matters in life.
And looking out for one another takes on a new meaning and transcends simply checking in with each other. Now is a time to think about the bigger picture by putting selfish tendencies aside like buying far more food and essential supplies than needed. When supermarket shelves are stripped bare, it’s the vulnerable like the elderly who suffer and are endangered by this disease.
We don’t have certainty, there isn’t a crystal ball of the final outcome, but we do have a snapshot of the future in Italy and other countries around us to see what lies ahead. And yes, it’s a tough and scary time for everyone. Many people are struggling with anxiety or worry, which is entirely understandable. But please remember you are not alone. We are all in this collectively. And we will get through it if we pull together like a united army against our attacker. Now is the time to support one another, stay connected and not let fear take over.
I pray we all come through this healthy, stronger and wiser. And when all of this is over, I hope we start the next chapter in history in the spirit of togetherness.
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