A Pandemic of Cynicism

Translated  by Katrina Hassan

We don’t want to see injustice of any sort, not because it hurts, but because we do not care even one bit about the suffering of others. 

If we come across injustice on the street, we cross the road to avoid it. We go in reverse or jump over it as if it were a mud puddle. We are good avoiders. Historically, we have skipped over and avoided the reconstruction of social fabric. There is not a virus more lethal than cynicism and human kind is the best at it. Viruses come and go. The way information is managed by the media and governments is what makes a huge difference.

We have dengue fever for example. Developing countries are swamped by it and millions of people die and will keep dying. You do not see governments and the media turning on the red light of emergency. 

Ilegal abortions kill millions of women and it does not constitute a worldwide emergency. They should be safe, legal and free. Extreme poverty is the worldwide double standard calamity. With this, I do not want to underestimate the importance of this virus that we the world are living through. I am not saying not to follow instructions, but the grand majority of the worldwide working population cannot stay home in quarantine because they are living day to day. Not to mention that at work, their oligarch bosses will not give them the days off.

Who will pick the fruit when its in season? If the badly paid farm workers without rights are not seen as human, nothing will change in this crisis either. Whoever dies will die and new people will be found to do the job. This will be the case for the undocumented workers worldwide. It’s nice to see the Italians singing on the balconies and playing the guitar to show unity and culture, showing their humanity. Why haven’t they ever united like this to demand humane treatment and labour rights for the migrants that come to Italy, drowning, from Africa and other parts of Europe? A quarantine in which we pray for the undocumented migrants, what a luxury! Alas, they are not important, they have never been and never will.

Those with means and with time have emptied out the supermarkets. This gives you an idea how ransacked countries feel when they’re affected by dictatorships and invasions. It starts by emptying out supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies to create chaos within the population. It hasn’t even been a week and the shelves are empty, the basics are gone. Imagine years of dictatorship where rape, torture and disappearances and murders are the norm. Could we survive something like this? I speak clearly to those pompous and arrogant generations. The older generation already knows what they are made of. They are an example and they guide.

We can imagine what it means to have an economic block in countries like Cuba and Venezuela. Cuba, being like this for decades, is still an example of humanity to the world. They are taking their doctors and medicine to the world, to help people. This was not taught by Fidel, but the people themselves know how to resist with dignity and a conscious. They resist the world’s cynicism, silence and enormous injustices. 

We can imagine how Palestine lives, how Iraq lived and how Syria now lives. Hospitals are bombarded, and so are schools and homes. Their olive trees get torn down with heavy machinery and their crops fumigated so they stop growing. Their supermarkets are bombed out. They are shot at point-blank if they get too close to the wall that day by day robs them of their land. Of course we can imagine it, but we prefer to cross the road, because that pain, those cries for help, and the dignity of the people that keep fighting spits in our face, at our cynicism. Of course, we are living in a pandemic, we always have been. A pandemic of cynicism, insensitivity and of double standards.

I hope that at least, we will have the guts to look to the other side the road of these fancy borders and countries. I hope we can delve into the historical memory of our own people. I hope we can remember the land that was ravaged and the population that was forced into exile. We should demand that every human stays at home. Not just for those swinging on their privilege and class. The privileged, without a care in the world, point out the behaviour of the working class in this pandemic of cynicism.

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Ilka Oliva Corado @ilkaolivacorado

06 de abril de 2020

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