Terrifying realities of this slave to antisocialism
No, I am not afraid. I am absolutely terrified. The breakdown in the economy is frightening enough and when and how we come out of it is very much a daunting question. If our leaders are not hyperventilating yet, they should be.
We are a service-dependent economy, whether we like it or not. We do need to think and execute on plans to make our economy a more substantive endeavour that is sustainable and not dependent completely on the whims and health of others.
But what terrifies most is beyond an economic crash, which can impact us for years to come.
I am not afraid of catching the virus or even dying. I am terrified of an eventual breakdown of civil society and what makes us human.
Just a month ago, I made a pilgrimage to Ghana to attend the burial of a university friend.
Maybe 800 or more people were in attendance for my remarkable friend of 40 years. We shared ourselves and our love freely.
Eighteen days ago I was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at Harvard, at an alumni board meeting and gathering. We met. Then we sang and danced and communed. We hugged. We watched a student musical parody at the Law School.
We expressed our love for each other and we exchanged ideas and thoughts on all things not virus over pizza, chicken wings and a few drinks until the wee hours of the morning like we used to back in the day.
I have watched the world close down since my sojourn of friendship to Ghana and that marvellous weekend of friendship in Cambridge.
Businesses are operating remotely en mass.
Schools and universities are closed. Conferences are being cancelled all over the world.
The theatres on Broadway have gone dark.
The Metropolitain museum and her sister museums have shut their doors to the public worldwide.
Bars and restaurants are closed around the globe. Birthday parties and even funerals are being cancelled.
We cannot meet in groups larger than ten. But many of us are not meeting at all.
I have a virtual date on Sunday evening with my friends, Charles and Josephine, to have dinner.
We are all trying to keep in touch by phone, text and social media.
Can we survive this for two weeks, two months or even 18 months as predicted?
We need to eat. Apparently, we also need mountains of toilet paper. What we also very much need is human touch and companionship.
We need sport. We need rivalry. We need art and music. We need to dance together.
We need to see our family, our friends, even those we think we do not like.
All this is what makes us human.
We are isolated like never before and this isolation could go on for a very long and inhumane length of time.
Our loss of what makes us human is what terrifies me the most.
•Cheryl Packwood is the former Overseas Representative for the Government of Bermuda in Washington. She lived in the Ivory Coast, where she was practised law and was part of the pioneering of GSM telephony on the African continent
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