Cases worldwide: 630,000*, deaths: 29,000
Top 3 countries : USA – 112,000 infected*, 1900 dead
Italy – 86,000 infected*, 9000 dead
China – 81,000 infected*, 3200 dead
Romania – 1500 infected*, 30 dead
Currently Reading – Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe
#1 – The Three Things That Annoy Me
When I start writing this, we have already been staying mostly indoors for about two weeks. It is March 28th 2020, in Bucharest, Romania and the whole world is more or less shut down because of a new Corona-type virus, which causes extreme respiratory issues among the most fragile – elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer and the like. Younger healthy people experience milder symptoms and usually can recover without permanent damage. Young children appear to be the strongest in this particular case, supposedly because of an immature immune system which does not try to attack the virus so potently that would cause damage to the very body it should protect. It began in the Wuhan province in China and has now spread all over the world in just a few months. At least this is the data we have so far. And this is a very brief version of all the information circulating at the moment.
It is the age of information; this is what we’ve been calling it lately. However, for years now, we have also been calling it the age of misinformation. Words are abundant but they do not always carry truth. Sometimes it is human error arising from misunderstanding or misinterpretation of facts. At other times, it is fault by omission, minimization or exaggeration, for the sake of click bait and monetary gain. Too many times, it is fabrication, purposeful reinterpretation, out-of context quoting for the most horrible reason – MANIPULATION. This is the age we live in and it is the one thing that scares me more than the virus itself – the fact that we are not being told the truth.
It is the age-old saying, that history is written by the victors, which bothers me a lot right now. Because although it is mostly true, if you really want to see more sides of a story, there are always witnesses’ statements, journals and diaries, which have escaped censorship. And while they might be accused of bias and of presenting a single point of view and missing the whole picture, that is exactly what we should look for. The insight of individual accounts and not the ‘whole picture’ as it is given in history books. History books, I am sorry to say, are anything but objective. I cringe remembering one particular lesson among the first chapters in the Romanian History textbook, which taught Romanian students how to counter Hungarian arguments about the wrongful annexation of Transylvania. This is not the place to go into THAT discussion, but the fact remains that the history book dedicated a whole two pages on how to argue with Hungarians about a moment in history that implied a lot of trauma for a large population, aside from any economic, political or patriotic outcomes. We don’t talk about it. We, as patriotic Romanians, refuse to listen to the other side. And this is the second worst thing about the world today – the ease with which we can choose to not listen to points of view which are unlike ours.
And because all horrors come in threes, my third annoyance today and forever is that, although we like repeating cliches such as, history repeats itself and those who do not learn from past errors are bound to repeat them and so on and so forth, we actually do not learn because we do not read and we do not educate ourselves and we do not do a good job of educating others.
I am currently reading A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe and, in the given context, it is the worst book I should be reading right now. It is infuriating, frustrating and every two pages I feel like going out in the streets and slapping people over the face with it. (Not an entirely brilliant idea since I am reading on my Kindle and I would be ruining my trustworthy companion). But I would just shout loud and clear for everyone to hear:
- WE HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE!
- WE HAVE ALREADY MADE THESE MISTAKES!
- STAY THE FUCK HOME!
- DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE CONTAGION!
- FIND A WAY TO STAY CALM AND KIND TO YOUR FELLOW MAN!
- DON’T FUCKING HOARD TOILET PAPER! (I mean, seriously, how First World is this particular concern? You have fucking running water. If need be, wash your damn bottom!)
OK, rant over. For now. I will keep reading and I swear to all gods old and new, when this is done, I will do a better job at educating people not to be selfish idiots in the face of crisis.