The term “global village” has become something of a cliché in recent years. I have always understood it quite academically as a description of economic interdependencies and the ease of international travel and communication. For me, it has remained a fairly abstract concept – until the Covid-19 pandemic, that is.
The course of this pandemic has awoken in me a renewed awareness of our mutual interdependencies and commonalities at a far more human level.
In the early stages of the epidemic, it was easy to dismiss the disease as a “Chinese problem,” with a White House official labelling it the “Kung Flu”. The myopia of such sentiments rapidly became apparent as cases were detected across the breadth of the planet. It never was a Chinese problem – from Day One it was all of our problem. The failure to timeously recognise this simple fact allowed the disease to progress to levels which cannot be contained.
A third of the world’s population is now in some form of lockdown. And although the socio-economically disadvantaged sectors of the world’s population remain the most vulnerable to its effects, we are all confronted by the threat of the virus. Chinese or African or American or European, rich or poor, prime minister or street sweeper, we are all susceptible to the virus. As a result, in many respects we all share the same fears, hopes and dreams.
We also share the same stupidities – as evidenced by the “corona parties” held by young people in South Africa, Europe and the USA, or the Scottish Chief Medical Officer having to step down for breaking her own lockdown rules, and the New Zealand Health Minister being demoted for the very same reason.
As I watch people’s Instagram stories from lockdown across numerous countries, I appreciate the experiences people are relating, even in languages I don’t understand. I empathise with them because we are sharing a similar experience. To an extent that I have never felt it before, I feel a deep oneness with them all.
We are indeed a global village, wonderfully populated by people of different nationalities, financial means, languages, gender identities, religions, strengths, ethnicities, political persuasions, sexual orientations, wisdoms, stupidities, ages, cultures, and educational backgrounds – but all of whom share the same humanity and humanness. We are the World – we will get through this together.