Everything stopped. Even funerals. Even tears. Stop to the social contacts, to the modern busy lifestyle, the daily runs; but also, to the compulsive shopping that has stolen your money, your time, your life, and drowned the world in endless mounds of trash and hypocrisy.
Suddenly you stopped working, attending school, taking the train, traveling, going out for dinner, walking in a park, taking your children for a walk, spending Sundays in the malls, training in the gym, seeing a show, watching a movie at the cinema, driving the car, meeting your friends, window shopping, making love, dancing in a club, and even stealing. You have stopped breathing.
Suddenly you ended up trapped in a vortex that slammed you with the knowledge of all your limits, demolished your certainties, buried your arrogance.
Maybe you weren’t as invincible as you thought.
You called me Covid-19: Co as in crown, Vi as in virus and D as in disease. You matched me to number 19, the year you discovered me, but honestly, I’ve always been there. I was only a few feet away, watching you, witnessing your miserable devolution. Before my time, you’d never have believed that hell could really exist and that you, yes you, would have been chosen to go through the circles of Dante’s Inferno.
I warned you!
While you were building walls of hatred and hostility, I filled you with allergies, intolerances, diseases. I filled you with pain. But you didn’t listen to me.
I’ve shown you the destruction of entire forests by the fire of your greed, the melting of millennial glaciers with which you have condemned animals to extinction and irreversibly damaged the ecosystem, smoke and poisons that have deprived you of the blue sky, the spring breeze, the snow on the mountains, the summer heat.
I have made you witnesses of catastrophic earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, disastrous flooding, tragic avalanches that wiped out your cities, swept away your houses, buried your bodies.
But you didn’t understand me.
I showed you the horror of war, the devastation of people in the world, the painful migrations of refugees. But you were too far away to understand the tribulation of the others, too far away to mitigate the evil inflicted by ravenous and incompetent governments who condemned millions of innocent human beings to death and destroyed the Nations of the Earth. But for you, no matter how piteous the misfortune of the others, it wasn’t yours.
Yet, you continued to ignore me.
While the Planet howled all its suffering, you were at the mercy of an unbridled consumerism and materialism that imposed on you lifestyles incompatible with your real possibilities, which forced you to work three or four jobs, taking away precious time from Life, from loved ones, from yourself. You’ve filled your existential voids with futile items, systematically used and discarded, without remotely worrying about the damage you were inflicting on the Planet.
You never cared about the trash overwhelming the landfills of the Earth, polluting seas, rivers, and prairies. And you didn’t care that rampant consumerism and mass production, created to satisfy your non-existent needs, have wiped out artisans and craftsmen, small shops, historic businesses that allowed our grandfathers to be born and to grow, condemning your brethren to misery and children the same age as your children and your grandchildren, to toil. Those same children and grandchildren that you’re now protecting from my devastating fury, the same ones you cannot embrace because they could transmit the virus and kill you.
I didn’t come on my own. You called me, with the law of attraction, with your negativity. And I admit it, I didn’t like you at all. I had been watching you for some time, and I was tired of witnessing such a human decline. I was exhausted from your interpersonal conflicts, from your shallowness and your ignorance, from your whims and your stupid complaints, from the social envy and the bitterness you reserve for those who are more worthy and strive more than you, from the banality of your prejudices and your narrow-mindedness, from the vulgarity that has taken possession of your being, from the rudeness of the new generations, from the selfishness of a society sick of careerism and individualism.
You have stuffed yourself with hatred, rancor and food even when you weren’t hungry, building your illusory happiness on the ruins of the World, on the life of other living beings, on Nature’s devastation.
I saw you touched to the core by Aylan Kurdi’s little body on the beach, but immediately afterwards I saw you slap your child because he begged your attention. I observed your displeasure at the stranding of a polar bear, but I caught you abandoning trash on the beach. I found you protesting against pollution, but I realized that you haven’t turned your home heating temperature down by 1 degree, nor have you given up the car to walk 500 feet, nor even resisted the urge to update to the latest technology. I noticed you fighting against wars, and then destroying your friend’s reputation, or justifying your child bullying a disadvantaged boy. I saw you donating to charities helping the poor of the world, but also slamming the door in your neighbor’s face. I saw your anger against those who mistreat animals, yet afterwards I saw you beating your wife, abandoning your mother in a hospice bed, or offending your son’s teacher. I read your supportive links, prayers, sermons on universal Love, but in truth you were unable to say ‘thank you’, ‘sorry ‘, ‘forgive me’ and not even ‘please‘. As if all was due to you.
You have been globally connected, but separated by mental borders that I’ve torn down, making you vulnerable, making visible those connections that you haven’t seen, that you’ve never wanted to see.
Caught up in showing off your luxury cars, beautiful houses, sophisticated smartphones, mountains of designer clothes, following the trends and influencers du jour, and fed by an arrogant and trite TV, you forgot to hug your father, play with your child, take care of your grandparents, to nourish your soul, broaden your mind.
When was the last time you looked at the stars? How long since you smelled the scent of a flower?
Look out the window: humans have disappeared and animals have returned to populate parks, seas, lakes, roads. The blue sky has come back, you can breathe.
You had all the beauty of our planet at your fingertips, but not the time to appreciate it.
Now you have all the time you want, but I don’t give you the opportunity to enjoy so much wonder. I’m bad, I know it. I’m the mirror in which I’ve reflected all the planetary gluttony enclosed in your human envelope. In your love of shallowness. And this break was inevitable.
I wanted to give you the coup de grâce. Annihilate you. But I left you alive, suffering and deprived of everything. To open your eyes. To let you rediscover the yearning for human contact, a smile, a hug. To get you back to living fully and with gratitude.
Because you didn’t know how to love yourself. Because you hated and loathed yourself. You have demonstrated that with your abuse of poisons, drugs, addictions, and ideologies that have divided you from yourself and from each other.
Forgive me if I haven’t been able to exclude the virtuous people among you. Unfortunately, all of you have paid, and those who took a valuable lesson from it, had absolutely no need of it. But only through collective pain would you have learned. And understood.
There was need of someone who could restore meaning to human existence, turn an ugly page. I did it. I’ve given you another chance. The last one. Now it’s up to you to start writing History again. And I’m sure you’ll do it in the name of Love.
But mind you: I’ll always be there and I’ll be watching you.