The next few months will prove to be the real litmus test of where societies really stand, on a moral plane, as economies plunge, jobs are lost and civil unrest takes its toll.
In times of turmoil, when universal human suffering reaches our doorstep, we begin to blame “others” for our misery. Today, the world at large blames China’s unhealthy food habits for serving as a breeding ground for the coronavirus pandemic. In individual countries where the COVID-19 has claimed large numbers and brought healthcare systems to their knees, citizens are blaming governments for their lack of foresight. Then again, governments are blaming citizens for not following public orders to avoid gatherings and self-isolate. And it goes on. That’s natural; its human tendency to find somebody to blame when we find ourselves incapacitated by the situation, helpless and desperate.
Then again, it’s in times like these that we need to morally introspect on why we got here. I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading and quite agree that this pandemic is a way of the Earth saying she has had enough of years of exploitation and excesses and needs restoring. Then again, I see this through another moral lens. You see, the pandemic is a counterstrike to our collective human consciousness that has been corrupted by indifference and culpability in sufferings across the world.
We looked through the papers and sighed as we saw young children in Yemen reduced to bones by hunger and famine. We indulged in ineffectual dinner table conversations on the inexplicable human tragedy in Syria, where children froze to death in brutal winter conditions. We lamented on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, shaken by images of capsized boats and floating bodies. Yet we, as a collective human race, did nothing. We allowed governments and regimes to unleash so much human suffering on people who were not “among us” because it didn’t affect our lives — our careers, our children, our travel plans, our lifestyles. And that’s why we are here today, because we allowed our moral compass to fail us.