Millennium Post

Coronavirus: An Italian experience

A small but vivid reflection of a lived experience in Italy as it continues to suffer due to COVID-19

I was imprisoned a month more than people in other countries and with restrictions akin to those levelled on citizens in a country at war but without seeing the enemy. Now, after an emotional release for limited fixed-term freedom and after reading conflicting opinions on everything in general, these are the reflections that I decided to share.

China, in my opinion, regardless of how the virus came to be, holds a big responsibility for this crisis starting from their lifestyles! The biggest, most obvious point of responsibility in this regard is the neglect in the containment of a contagion they knew about. Where was the WHO in all this? There are darker possibilities still in China's complicity but let's look ahead and reflect in case there were other reasons that have, so far, not been considered.

A turning point

On the news worldwide, Italy was initially derided for what others saw as a lax and ineffective response to the pandemic. We were blamed for spreading the virus in Europe and even India. Regardless, the measures taken by Italy became an example in what must be done for other nations once COVID-19 reached their shores

Italy suffered first and was harder-hit because Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont are important centres of commerce for our country and as a consequence, the most frequented regions by entrepreneurs and tourists, especially Chinese tourists.

On the seriousness of the contagion factor of COVID-19, I believe that recent data attests that the certainty and severity of the second wave of COVID-19 should not be underestimated. Doctors already speak of it with precise certainty. As we struggle through our caged existences, we must acknowledge that we are going through a change of era. We are forcefully being made to be aware of the impermanence of what our life has been and are being given a taste of what our lives will be. Nothing will be like before. Psychologically, we will all be just that much more separate from one another — I have seen glimpses of this from people's attitudes.

But this isn't new. Survival is not certain in an ultra-exploited world that does not offer necessary resources for all. This is the way of the modern world and it is made so by the few who unfortunately exploit the people in different ways, treating them as slaves and enjoying maximum privileges. Keeping us glued to a virtual world made of TVs and mobile phones, they have found ways to distract us and also make us pay handsomely for such a 'privilege'! While we 'sleep', accrue bills and make plans for the purchase of a new car and the latest smartphone, we sell ourselves and our lives bit by bit.

Economic damage today is a worldwide problem which would require immediate action, with responsibility and determination on the part of all nations. With uncertainty abounding, will Europe be able to recover from this epochal catastrophe and finally build a union of people driven by common interests but also differentiated by their complex and unique cultures? That remains to be seen as the world may yet move to a more fractured tomorrow.

Can we pull through?

Italy has been and is still being exploited by Europe, leading its people to exasperation. The Italian people want out from this one-sided union by and large. Our experience with this contagion has taught us that we can survive on our own, unaffected by the demands and dictates of Europe at large. The demands to take back our autonomy are growing.

Another aspect I wish to draw attention to in this struggle is the perception that a vaccine is the only way to salvation in this disaster as it leads to dangerous thinking that simply attempts to cure the problem with a shot and does not attempt to consider the causal factors that led to such a disaster in the first place.

Even if we 'fix' this problem. What about the next viral contagion? Viruses evolved and getting injected with a new vaccine every single time isn't exactly a great plan. I am not a doctor and I do not have skills in this regard but I limit myself to things I have personally experienced.

And what is see is that our increasingly frantic, disjointed and intense lifestyles lead us to not to consider our connection with the universe as part of the whole and more and more often we forget to keep a balance with our surroundings and environment. Intensive animal breeding with anabolic steroids, medicines and antibiotics being administered preventively and recklessly pollution of our environment are all activities that entail significant effects on our bodies.

I trust in human awareness and in the awakening of consciences towards a union of intent, values and qualities to realign actions in respect of the planet that hosts us. The time has come to make things follow a natural course for a necessary energy rebalancing so that humanity does not self-destruct. I extend an invitation to all the like who believe in common respect. We can still change course! Only by staying united will we transform a destiny already planned by others into a chosen and shared one. Let's not get carried away by the wave! Our grandparents fought the war for us, now it's up to us to continue fighting for our future!

The writer is a leading artist

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