This crisis will produce a new world
We have the right to be ignorant or refuse to acknowledge the coronavirus threat. We might be even determined not to accept that ourselves are vulnerable to this threat. Very much like those guys in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, we may ignore all isolation calls and continue playing rummikub, or the Turkish version “okey,” on minibuses. Or, as we have seen examples of it, we may hide somehow and escape from the police, gendarme or the municipal guards and continue moving around. But, no one is immune to death.
Perceiving the “Those over 65 years old should stay at home” decision of the government should not of course be understood as “Those below the age of 65 are safe.” In any case, we learned with bitter experiences that our corona buddy was in total disagreement with such a perception. On the contrary, while it became clear that the middle and beyond age groups whose immune systems are not as strong as those of the kids and young people, are the most affected groups, kids and young people who might have been infected but because of their immune system may have not been affected from the virus, serve as transmitters. Similarly, people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, MS, suffering from kidney problems or respiratory and lung problems are more vulnerable. That is why the mobility of the kids and the young people must as well be restricted or their contact with such more vulnerable groups must be avoided as much as possible.
Stories from some countries that children were affected as well demonstrate that even at a lesser degree the virus might be a serious health risk even for those groups. This is one reason behind the “stay at home” calls for all age groups. For the success of the fight against this existential threat, transmission of the virus from person to person must be avoided. Therefore, staying at home, self-isolation is the only alternative to a national curfew or an emergency rule declaration that we all just came out of it and know rather well how bitter it is.
“I am walking alone” or “To who I may pose a threat if I fish alone or walk around in a park?” and such selfish and indeed ignorant attitudes endanger not only that person, but all his loved ones and everyone getting this way or the other in contact with them. The government has restricted children entering markets just because they might not be affected but might be contaminated and transmit the virus to the more vulnerable groups.
This crisis will produce a new Turkey. We have to change. Turkish people are sincere and hot-blooded people. The ritual of greeting includes not only handshaking. But also exchanging kisses on the cheeks or if one is elderly, kissing her/his hand. Now, we have to learn to greet each other in some other forms, attach more importance to individuals as well as social hygiene.
It may last just few months or may continue devastating our lives well over a year depending how effectively we will be dealing with this existential threat. Coronavirus or COVID-19 is not the first pandemic the world has suffered. It probably will not be the last. What previous pandemics did? They changed the world. Now, the world will change again, not just Turkey.
I wrote recently how strongly Italians were dismayed with the failure of the institutions of the EU and EU states in helping out Italy to fight this pandemic. Now Spain is heralding similar complaints. The EU has failed in this crisis. China was quite effective, but now there are fears of a second wave. The United States was rather ignorant of the threat. It was the “most powerful country of the world would not be prey to such a tiny problem” was what President Donald Trump probably believed. Now the U.S. has become the new epicenter of the global existential threat.
Which governments survive, what new policies evolve, what new economic, political models might be considered tomorrow or what will happen to the EU we cannot foretell from today, but tomorrow will not be at all like yesterday and definitely a new world is in the making.