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8th May 2020

By: Creamer Media Reporter

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As we all grapple with this strange and scary new world we now inhabit, it makes one think of what is truly important in one's life.

The love and caring of family has above all else become our new "normal".

This is not to say that we didn't love or care for family before this pandemic and before our state of lockdown but we had begun to take things and people close to us for granted. 

The Covid-19 microscopic virus has turned our world as we know it upside down.

A tiny collection of cells so minute has laid bare our arrogance as human beings.

The world's largest and most powerful countries have spent trillions on large weapons that rain death on innocent people, and now we see all of us - large global powers or small island nations being "levelled" by the novel Covid-19 virus.

This is staggering, for me at least, having grown up in the era of the Cold War with its doctrine of "MAD" or "Mutually Assured Destruction".

The Novel Coronavirus has, in a matter of months, disposed off all that human arrogance of power and our beliefs in that we control life and death.

The Covid-19 pandemic has flung into the the garbage bin of history the conceit that we are alone in, and secure in our wealthy countries and in our wealthy homes.

We are facing the realisation that we are all fallible.

We are pummelled finally, by the understanding that we are one race - the human race - and what affects one certainly affects the other. 

The South African philosophy of "uBuntu" or "I am because we are" - that simple yet profound understanding that all of us are linked by a common shared humanity. 

For those who believe in a higher power, these moments are particularly poignant as "Allah" or any other deity or name the different religions refer to "The Almighty" as is being seen as almost "humbling" us all, His errant children who have strayed from the path of justice and equality and truth and tolerance, and frugality, and respect for one's elders and the countless humanistic tenets that religions share and espouse. 

For those who believe in "The Almighty", these are moments of solemn humility and prayer - salaah - masses - prarthanas - as we implore our maker to forgive us our trespasses - even the ones we may be unaware of having trespassed.

Such deep philosophical and existential ideas all prompted by a lethal microscopic virus that threatens to wreak even more misery and death upon human beings - with of course the most vulnerable in our societies bearing the brunt - the poor, the destitute, the oppressed, the beaten-down masses who have been savaged by the capitalist "profit over people" motive and the prevailing worldwide accepted economic model.

But, I see light here. I see glimmers of hope. This may sound all very well coming from one who lives comfortably and does not have to eke out survival on an hour to hour basis as almost five billion of our fellow humans on this earth of ours have to do daily. 

The hope I speak of is the true humbling of all of us.

We have been humbled and this tiny virus has us terrified.

We have also been exposed to being petrified.

So the hope I speak of is that perhaps, just perhaps, the human race will emerge from this indescribably brutal pandemic with at the very least, having pondered and reevaluated what we as human beings have valued and taken for granted all these decades past since we began to truly progress in the fields of medical science and information technology et al.

These are just a few thoughts on this Friday the 8th of May 2020.

I will endeavour to introspect more.

I want to be less arrogant about anything - be it religion, race, social status, level of education, and all the other yardsticks by which we have until this point in our history measured what "success" and "happiness" really mean.

Prayers and wishes and thoughts to all those battling this plague, and to all human beings, but particularly to the teeming multitudes who have been for centuries beaten down and trampled upon.

They are fellow humans.

They must be accorded the dignity we so blindly take for granted.

Afzal Moolla was born in Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, working as political exiles against Apartheid in South Africa. He then travelled wherever his parent’s work took them, spending time in Egypt, Finland, and Iran. Afzal works and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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This piece was first published on Afzal Moolla's personal blog.

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