We are almost accustomed to our strange circumstances now. Picking our car keys, wallets and purses we don’t even blink when reaching for the masks. We think nothing, now, of greeting our elders by raising our hand at them as if taking an oath instead of by kissing theirs. We don’t recall the last time we hugged someone or when the conversation revolved around something else other than lockdown, closed places of worship and keeping our distance- literally.
The sanitizer is a permanent item on our shopping list and we no longer need to remind our children to wash their hands and scrub them clean. It is habit by now.
Memes And Gifs
We have crafted the memes, the gifs, the funny videos on tiktok and Youtube; made songs out of quarantine lyrics, written about this C thing to death and bored ourselves to tears dissecting all the new laws and directives surrounding it. We have watched all the social media uploads on it, commented, have had to defend our comments; told off the trolls and back again. Rinse and Repeat. Once again literally.
We have skilfully learned to plan our days around the curfew. We have even memorized the virtual class timetables for our kids and are almost on first name terms with their teachers. For those of us working from home, we have taught ourselves to keep a straight face during online meetings when our children shout to us that the stew boiled over and burnt.
Do We Know Any Better?
But what have we learned? How have we as people, resourceful as we have become, how are we better?
What scares me the most is coming out of this having learned nothing. Going back to our selfish, self absorbed ways. Running around like headless chickens trying to prove ourselves. The question is to who?
Old Evil Ways
Going back to our wastefulness, polluting the earth, exploiting the weak and pursuing the trivial. Being obsessed with image and keeping up with the latest trends, the latest internet sensation and attempting to outdo the person next to you.
Throwing ourselves back into the endless grind of work and consenting to throwing our children back into their twelve hour school days. So they can achieve what?
Back to being comfortable exploiting our differences, stereotyping those we don’t really know or understand; picking up where we left off – putting people in neat little boxes that they don’t really fit in. Because we are too lazy to take the time or make the effort to reach out to those who don’t look like us or who are of a different faith from us.
We believe we have better things to do than to think for ourselves instead of believing every thing we read and hear.
Back to fighting over things that don’t even matter or about people who don’t even know or care about us. Where our main concern will be, as always, the mighty dollar or the humble shilling.
Back to having no time for our children or our parents; in the zombie like states we have chosen for ourselves; our phones always our preferred companions. Back to our disconnect from our Lord and Creator.
What will we have learned? From our collective helplessness that this C thing forced upon us, from being unable to hug our loved ones or celebrate with them or indeed even bury them.
Will we have learned anything?
We humans are famous for our short memories – I wonder if this whole thing, once it has passed and, by the Grace of Allah, it will, I wonder if it will have been for nought?
And that is what scares me the most.
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