Sketch by Neda Y.

What does Coronavirus teach us?

Coronavirus teaches us spiritual and moral lessons that have been long forgotten. It teaches us equality, as all humans are equal regardless of their lifestyle, culture, religion, wealth, skin colour or geographical location.  

Coronavirus teaches us that the door to your room becomes a border when you are not allowed to go out, even if you need to. Going through the door is forbidden.

Coronavirus teaches us that borders can now be crossed without passports.  Those documents, which have been eluding us for years have little value now.  A virus can cross borders with no identification papers.

Coronavirus teaches us how foolish humans have been, taking for granted the most important necessities, which millions of people have always been deprived of: food, water, medicine.

Coronavirus teaches shame to those who are full of greed, selfishness and arrogance. The only way to survive is by helping, sharing, giving and taking care of others.

Coronavirus teaches that anyone can become like those who for years have been waiting agonisingly for others to decide their future, not knowing their fate.

Coronavirus teaches us patience instead of panic – just like many had chosen patience for years, because they knew panic would cause them more harm.

Coronavirus teaches us that life can lose its meaning when you are forced to live without any purpose or expectation – or in a prison.

Coronavirus teaches us that without freedom of communication, people become prisoners.

Coronavirus teaches us that nothing can be the exclusive property of anyone.  It has to be shared with others, even if it is your body.

Coronavirus teaches us that all humans are vulnerable.

Coronavirus teaches us that my disease is also your disease, as it may affect you tomorrow. That is why we have to be responsible not only for ourselves, but for each other.

Coronavirus teaches us what it is like to be a refugee: to be vulnerable, ignored, alive but hidden, free but in prison, with thousands of thoughts, but forced into silence.  Just wishing to stay alive, without the promise of a real life beyond the border.

Today, everyone has learnt the meaning of life-threatening borders, now that one’s room or house have become impenetrable frontiers.

If you can no longer live like you used to, know that we have been living in unusual conditions for a very long time. If your children’s schools are closed, know that our children had no schools, nor expectations for their future.  Their schools have been closed and destroyed for decades.

You may think you are far from the world of refugees. But know that you too, are now similarly forced to remain alive, ignored, in need of asylum. So far, we refugees, fought against our unusual living conditions with our minds. But this virus asks more from us. How can we fight this new enemy physically? How can we lock ourselves at home when we do not have one?

We hear the order: “Observe hygiene!” These words are meaningless in the conditions that we live. We do not eve have water to drink, so how can we wash our hands often? The first victims of the disease will be our children, (not “refugee” children, not “immigrant” children, just “children”). They spend their lives in the midst of garbage, sewage and polluted surroundings. We could never observe the recommended social distancing, as there are so many of us! We are locked like links of a chain to each other. Finally, coronavirus teaches us that one room is enough to feel safe. Give shelter to another person and teach them what it means to be alive!

Many see coronavirus as a great disease, but if you think a little deeper, it can be viewed as a great lesson too.

Parwana Amiri