Monday, April 13, 2020


Great dramas require great actors. 

In this Corona crisis, many see themselves as saviors. There is no vade mecum outlining the ways to console, support or bring together. Politicians and concerned laymen try to become what they were not ready to be, with uneven results. This coming to  terms with the new realities of the Black Jack of life and death is painful to watch. There is a large amount of good will and little talent. The road ahead looks risky.

Countries follow their instincts and deal with trauma in their own, more familiar ways. They often look lost but overall they act with dignity. International organisations such as the UN and the WHO do what they can, which is not that much, given that countries are reluctant to be seen as helpless morticians. The EU looks strangely absent, an accountant lost in an unruly storm. NATO is on leave while it could have given a signal that it was open to coming to the rescue. 

The pandemic will have consequences. Countries will have a hard time coming to terms with the aftermath.  Lives will be mortgaged, economies will need intervention, health care will claim revision, leaders will be made accountable. In its deranged logic the Corona virus focuses on the elderly who disappear in some form of Gogol logbook, as if the "new normal" wanted to clear the room from the burden of caring for them.

The banality of death by numbers is infiltrating minds and souls. The use of mass graves or cooling trucks, the repetitive showcase of persons in distress, linked to machines, are slowly depriving us from the closure that comes with respect, grief and dignity.

Few countries do well when challenged in such existential ways. They look cheap, if not exchanging heartbreak for heartless.  No country has suffered the indignities this US president is throwing at what America is often best at-science, generosity, coming together -.  Trump started his presidency with his vitriolic carnage speech. We did not know then that he was  announcing the coming of what he knows best: the death of truth.  He is a man of his word!

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