Author: Arif Aliyev

It does not pick between the prince or the beggar, man or woman, christian or muslim or buddhist. It forces even the mightiest of countries to withdraw and close borders. Coronavirus has pushed people back to their homes, leaving cats and dogs in charge of the streets. No longer do countries scour for territories to capture, for wealth to plunder. Those who have a roof above their head are mostly grateful for what they have beneath their roof. After all, something like this had to be born sooner or later out of all this pandemonium.

I believe in the might of science, and accept its explanation on the nature of the virus, and how it spreads so rapidly. But other thoughts also cross my mind when I watch the empty streets, the hotels turned into hospitals, the airplanes hauling people scrambling to avoid a disaster, and all these shops that lie closed and empty.

Mankind is once again remembering its more primal needs and values. People are trying to protect their health, homes and loved ones, act more mannerly in public and practice better hygiene. They are becoming more conscious of washing their hands, of dumping garbage everywhere or spitting on the ground, coughing and sneezing in others’ faces or walking around in the same filthy clothes for days, or climbing on each other’s backs when standing in queues. Most are more mindful and caring of their elderly, even if before  they would not even bother remembering them for weeks.

Even the fire-breathing spiteful kings, and the draconian states, are compelled to morality and culture. For the first time in the 21st century, health care expenses are higher than military expenses. Even the banks we all know are lowering the lending rates to zero. Night bars, brothels, casinos, hookah lounges close down, people are giving up smoking cigarettes and narcotics, order in prisons is being restored. The homeless, even those that have been living without ID’s are now being remembered. The frail and lonely elderly are getting care from those who are not.. At last, more attention to education is paid: online courses are being held, students and pupils are finally rid of uneducated teachers and corrupt principals. Educational programs and social calls are broadcasted on TV. If you have been paying attention, it’s as if there are also less of those silly selfies on social networks now: people are sharing more pictures related to the virus instead of those of themselves.

The prospect of disasters caused by pollution of the Earth, and global warming have been a matter of hot debate for years now. Heads of states attend summits, sign agreements, and then break them. Millions are spent on these summits, but nature remains polluted. Have you heard that during the months Coronavirus forced these states into a lockdown, smoke and cloud pollution over the skies in China died down, the fish in Venice canals began repopulating, dolphins and rare bird species started reappearing in areas where they were previously driven out by tourists? Massive fires, floods and earthquakes of 2019 were not good enough warnings for humanity, because most people had not suffered from said disasters. But almost all 7.7 billion of us carry fear of the invisible virus in us…

A friend of mine who lives in one of hardest-hit countries wrote that despite how much the world worships new technology, in such critical times humanity tends to turn not to artificial intelligence and robots, but to their God. They try to stay away from deeds that their God condemns, and avoid eating animals he forbids. And perhaps, if they fail to make into a habit, a disaster awaits the Earth this very century. And perhaps the Earth sees that instead of saving their home, people are searching for other planets to inhabit after polluting every corner of it, and forces everyone back to their homes as a defensive reflex.

The coronavirus isn’t this ill planet’s first warning to arrogant humans that wantonly exploit it, as well as each other. When in a pinch everyone calls for union, responsibility, mercy, caringness and sharing. And as soon as the crisis is over, old words are forgotten, the strong takes the bread of the weak, empty prisons are filled back up, and frozen conflicts are thawed anew.

For as long as we are in this quarantine, let’s stay in our homes, first establish order in our thoughts, then in our lives. Upon our first step into the new world, let us remember our responsibility to protect it for our own future. May the humankind not forget the oaths given to their gods and may the governments not forget their vows to their people.