global pandemic: covid-19 blindfolds our eyes
By Ben Bestetti

A global pandemic like a world war?

I didn’t see the first world war. I didn’t see the second. This circumstance, together with the gradually acquired awareness of the great socio-economic-cultural movements and riots occurring around each of the two conflicts, made me feel lacking in something important. Over time this feeling has even changed in a sense of profound and disturbing normality. And then, I could realise that the fortune or misfortune of many intellectuals were linked to those war events, huge and in various respects both absolutely new. There was a known strong socio-cultural militancy, starting from a futurist experience.

I cannot say if I would have been an interventionist or not. I can only say that I didn’t experience that strong climate. Yes, I experienced the 1970’s, also with the awareness of the international climate. But it was clear that each country had its own issues to crack. International politics was, of course, interconnected, but sentimentally it came later. Or sometimes before, when it had influenced the individual country. And, it is clear that the Seventies, while presenting typical and strong characters compared to the Sixties (as I have proposed and supported this thesis in various forums) have their prime mover in the 1968, a movement which was definitely international, also if within the Western culture.

But the oil crisis was truly international in the Seventies, environmental pollution (many thought it wasn’t something to worry about then), and more of course. Wars were always reaping deaths in the suburbs, far from the centers of Western establishments. A very hot period. Yes, I have militated directly on the social, particularly in the revolutionary terrain of private broadcasters (TV and radio).

Despite all this, what one did not grasp was the simultaneous worldwide involvement which had been typical of the two great wars, especially the second.

Please, no one let me say now that I am happy that a new and unusual world war is underway in the form of a global pandemic. Rather, I think it deserves to underline that ours is the time of proxies. And their jurisprudential and economic foundation says that they presuppose a central and strong command that becomes sprawling, and even fragments, so that the whole social fabric ends up metabolizing them.

Nor, moreover, do I intend to recite the rosary of conspiracy: suspicions or doubts cannot turn into conviction. One day we will know more and better. And we will probably confirm ourselves in full in the vulgate that the responsibility was to be connected to the case.

Moving on. Presently, this global pandemic affects the entire globe, it is the “most global” destructive phenomenon ever recorded.  But I’m not happy about that, of course. I probably wouldn’t have been if it was real classic war, maybe with the icing on the cake of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This “war” (or better to call it “overwar”, nevertheless a disaster) bursts out when the US and China face each other on the ground of world economic events.

What is the case up to? It produces the easing of the tension of markets around the world, inflicts a setback on the Chinese expansionist project. It further impoverishes economically weak countries (also Italy is among these), destabilizes people who live in suffering and precariousness (even bewildered at the level of ethical references). New generations are blocked in the tunnel. The geography of feelings and social life is distorted, the private life of the individual is destroyed. It kills a lot of people, perhaps after a terrible suffering, it leaves the healed and asymptomatic in doubt about the after-effects and the evolution of contagion, even if eradicated. You are left in a position not knowing if, when, and how the pandemic will disappear.

If: the ‘if’ is not rhetoric. In fact, as said by some researchers, the global pandemic could well turn into an epidemic, a kind of new normality and a possible coexistence with no annihilation of the virus. In the meantime, we are invited to observe all appropriate precautions, with a kind of spirit of adaptation. Also, because time will pass before we can benefit from it confidently and diffusely of vaccines and very specific therapies.

Consider also another unintentional random problem: the media bombardment, inevitable, globally. A nightmare climate then. Is there someone who rejoices at this moment? Yes, also this by the will of chance. On the other hand, what should some global pharmaceutical companies do, if not their own work. Also, because every being on this earth has no choice but to trust in them. They could earn an over-profit too. The important thing is that what they tell us is not “politically correct“, but is deontologically correct.

A trivial question: Does such a situation attest that it is more or less than the world wars? Excluding, obviously, the hypothesis of a conflict with the use of ultra-technological, deadly and inhumane weapons that we have today, war kills wildly, combines terrible disasters, everyone suffers the terrible consequences. Therefore, any of the powerful will be careful not to use them, how it has been so far and how we hope it will continue. But, excluding this hypothesis, I insist on comparing it with the great wars to point out that, once finished, everyone has their faces turned towards the future, or the after. However, in the case of this pandemic, who can realistically foreshadow the after? A great job certainly awaits everyone, and all the specialists, not least psychologists. Think of the minds marred by the first great war, imagine then what this overwar will do.

We will all be called to become Aedi, mumbling to children and grandchildren what Covid-19 was in its long acute phase.