We are leaving a very strange period of time behind us. A fearful, feverish, anxious time, which was actually a great lesson for us all. Those days reminded us that life is shorter than we imagine, that we may never get the chance to visit our parents or loved ones again, and that we might be left with a yearning for one last meeting with them.
I will tell the next generation that I lived through a period of time when people shut themselves off behind the four walls of their house. A thousand stories poured out through the doors of the houses and a thousand voices were heard on their balconies. I will tell my descendants what happened to our world in the 21st century, in the year 2020.
I will tell them how we stayed home for days. We were afraid, we cried, we became depressed, we were crushed!
We were a generation that spent one entire spring with its flowering trees, its rainy and sunny days, shut away indoors. We were a generation that missed the smiles of strangers in the street, because we were quarantined. Our meetings were limited, our relationships continued without kisses or hugs. A thousand kisses were found wandering in the streets, the mountains, the valleys, the seas, because we had to socially distance.
The message during those days was “wash your hands well and stay at home”. But why did they use the word “home”? Maybe because home is a safe place… But what about the homeless? What were those living in tents and camps supposed to do? They said we had to wash our hands with water, but they didn’t tell us what to do if we didn’t even have water for drinking.
Slowly the message changed and we were told to keep our distance from other people, but nobody explained how you can do this in a camp where there is not enough room. We saw empty streets and full hospitals. We saw angels descending to Earth to work in the hospitals.
Our generation could never have imagined that all those cafes, churches, mosques, cinemas and parks could close. Our generation never imagined going into quarantine. We never imagined that we would spend those spring afternoons making tea with love in a floral teacup, wishing to offer it to our neighbour. We had to keep apart in order to stay together. Through this experience, we ended up knowing ourselves better. We became wiser and more polite.
I’m not sure I can explain to the next generation why wars didn’t stop, even though the only way to survive was to stay at home. I hesitate to say that a hospital in Kabul was attacked and that dozens of women, children and newborns died before coronavirus could get to them.
I struggle to find a way to explain to our descendants that in the middle of the pandemic, a black man in America died under the legs of a policeman, while shouting “Take your knee from my neck, I can’t breathe?” I don’t know how to explain to the next generation that post quarantine, Greece is preparing to receive tourists, but refugees are still not allowed out of the camps. There are thousands of stories, and I’m not sure if I should tell them all. One thing I know for sure I want to tell our children: “Careful of the days still to come”.