by Adam Leach
This ‘threat’ to our security – our health, economy, relationships, hopes, fears and more – has done and is doing enormous damage. That’s clear. To the people and systems of the ‘rich’ world mainly. And to vulnerable people in those societies, mainly.
It is revealing the selfishness, ego and narcissism of now generations of ‘growth’ and prosperity and the socio-economic classes that have become so dependent on the ease and comforts of consumerism. And there are many bad reasons for this situation – lack of good governance, venal short-termian, failures in adequate or prudent public spending compounded (in UK) by an extraordinary ‘race to the bottom’ over political party competition. Europe, resources and so on.
Of course, the most vulnerable are not in these societies at all but are amongst the many millions who have always been ‘at the bottom’. Many peoples – Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis – who have been persecuted mercilessly for years now are threatened not only by the virus but also by the additional abuse and violence perpetrated under the guise of the virus. And more widely, the virus driven collapse is damaging the wealth that fuels aid, trade, foreign investment, and remittances and philanthropy which have become part of a global system of succor, support, and sustainability. Perhaps as much for givers as receivers.
Gradually, though, deeper rhythms may be emerging. People are being forced – in ‘locked down’ societies – to face up to inactivity and loss of instant gratification, to the needs of others, to come to terms with the inevitability of loss and death. These are the triggers for a recollection of our humanity. This proffer is an opportunity for goodness.
If we do not grasp these truths we face, however, a worse prospect. And while the German President is correction – this is not a war, as with other historic hostilities and contemporary conflagrations – nevertheless it could at the least create instability that no one can control. We may yet come to fight.
For those who remain alive.
 Principal Consultant / Director at Mokoro Ltd Oxford, United Kingdom
International development & humanitarian consultant; strategic leadership with 35 years experience in Africa; East, Central, South and South-East Asia; the Middle East; Russia; and Eastern Europe; and delivering practical responses to social, economic, and institutional challenges.