woensdag, april 1, 2020


We see the worst of people. American senators trivialised the virus and quickly sold their shares. Infected Chinese in Uganda bought their way out of quarantine and drove 350 km through the country before being stopped. A president stops delivery of essential medical supplies because he does not like the governor.

We see the best in people. Caterers are bringing meals to the elderly. ICT experts protect hospitals from cyber-attacks free of charge. Numerous people exert themselves to care for the sick, to keep society going and not to lose hope.

We are learning a lot, about ourselves, about our society. It is the first time I am experiencing such an emergency situation. The first week after our ‘intelligent lock-down’ I was in action mode. My reality changed every hour. How best to relate to it? Nerve wracking. The second week I discovered I could not go on like this. I tried to find a new ‘normal’ in an abnormal period. Prepared myself for a marathon instead of for a sprint.
Now we are into the third week and I am thinking: this isn’t even a marathon. It is a new road and nobody knows where it will lead to.

Are we heading for a longer period of adjusted living? What kind of world is taking shape? What will come to us through the world wide political and economical instability? Who are going to profit from this misery and how? And even if it is a marathon, then the finish will be in a different world.
I am impressed by our solidarity, flexibility and ability to truly sacrifice when the need is greatest. At the same time it frightens me that we took action so late, even when the danger was so clear.

We have so little experience with danger, that we do not recognize it for what it is. Therefore we have lost precious time. It scares me for that other crisis, the climate crisis, so much more abstract, more general and spread out over a longer period. Will we then also only take action when we feel the consequences – in our own country and in our own lives? Then we will be years too late. We are nearly too late already now. At the same time: how much change can society face now and in the coming time?

Another ‘lesson’ from the now predicts little that is good for the climate disaster. When disaster hits us, it is a bother for everyone. Yet a bit more for the one than for the other. The virus mercilessly exposes the demarcation between those whose affairs are well in order and those where that is not the case.

Too much thinking ahead makes me fearful and gloomy. Then I forget what is most important: which way it will go is something we all determine together, every day. One person may have more influence than another, but even so. So back to today and tomorrow. To the decisions we can make now, to what we can do now. And to enjoying that which is also there, in spite of everything.

Irene de Pous
2020, April 1