This is not the time to pass judgment but to show solidarity, empathy and understanding. Like most my screen time has shot up since coronavirus first made it to the headlines abroad. Initially, it was waiting for more news on whether it was being contained to one or at most two countries, in the hope that coronavirus would not get the best of globalisation. Then when it edged closer, I was reading the news with dread; the dread that it could reach our shores and change us in ways that I don’t really want. But since seeing news articles on the hundreds of deaths in our neighbouring country and the stories of those residing in Malta and who were caught up in the travel lockdown, I cannot but help think that this covid-19 crisis is exposing some of our worst characteristics.
Too crude to be true
The comments below the story of a young family who travelled to introduce their newborn to their in-laws brought about online comments of a type too crude to be true. I made it only through the first ten or so comments. These readers’ message was basically: ‘Serves you right for not making the right decision.’ It was worse, but I simply can’t get myself to write it.
Then the comments on news articles about Italy reaching nearly a thousand deaths in one day. These were crude a different way. The comments forgot all about the thousand bodies, most of whom being laid coffin to coffin on the floor of a church. These comments didn’t think of the thousand families who couldn’t even be near their loved ones at the time of death and couldn’t even be there for their burial. The comments were simply nasty about one or other politician or one or other trait that we stereotypically associate with the Italian culture.
Not the time of judging each other
I cannot say that I don’t catch myself passing judgment at times when the situation requires a completely opposite reaction. However, this is really not the time for judging each other, but for helping each other. This is the time to show that we are one: we are nothing more than a link in the human race.
Someone else’s death, should concern us. Someone else’s vulnerability to the virus, should concern us. Someone else’s needs in this time of social distancing and quarantine should be our main concern. If each one of us spares some concern and shows some solidarity to those around us, and assists at least those within our reach, then maybe Covid-19 would in the end not only mean disease and death. It could, in the end, mean a community based on solidarity. A community that cares for one another.
Sure, the time for political review of all measures being taken or not taken will come. There is certainly no doubt that a society marred with such big loss will not take lightly to government mismanagement. The disease, the loss of life and that change in our lifestyles that we are dealing with as Europeans will change us and will make us angry for bad administration. But on the way to reaching the end of this health disaster, we need to show more solidarity towards each other. We need to become one community, a community that cares and looks after each other.
Therese Comodini Cachia is a Nationalist MP.