Remember the good old days when Corona was the name of a famous Mexican summer beer? Now the word spreads fear in countries and dread in every heart. And as we, puny humans with feeble bodies and fragile lives, scurry to find some way out of the situation we find ourselves in, we end up inevitably blaming others, blaming the Chinese, the wet markets, and even, the bats. Conveniently we forget to blame ourselves, our greed, our excessive hunger and desire for more, more and more.
We raze forests to create land for growing grains which we then feed to the animals we grow in farms all to feed our extraordinary appetites. We coop up chickens in spaces so small that they end up pecking each other to death or infection, so we cut off their beaks and pump them full of antibiotics.
We use inordinate amounts of water to irrigate the plants that are needed to feed all these chickens and pigs and cows and sheep. Our farms are dirty, unhygienic and cramped, and even if we can look past the horrendous cruelty to these animals in the name of our own superiority over all animals, we cannot deny that such farms are potential breeding grounds for many different diseases.
Then, we go about selling food at wet markets. And when the worst virus spreads from that market to the population of the entire planet, we are quick to point the finger at China and at bats. But how did the virus get from bats to humans? We cannot yet be sure, but it most likely travelled from bats to another animal, perhaps a pangolin, which was then either eaten by humans or the feces or urine of which, humans were exposed to. Whether it was a pangolin or a chicken makes no difference to the argument I am making, which is: it is our human tendencies of greed and lust that has led us here.
There is no doubt that our human tendencies of ingenuity and of pulling together in times of crisis will lead us out of it, eventually, but the price we will end up paying, and in fact, which we already are paying, is enormous. Our entire way of life has been changed. Whether we will ever go back to hugging loved ones without fear of catching or transmitting disease, or go out to the movies, or take the bus to go to work, remains to be seen.
This pandemic could have started in Indonesia, or Thailand, or even in Bangladesh. It just happened to spread from Wuhan. This does not make the virus Chinese and it doesn't help to blame bats. We need to hold ourselves accountable if we are to live through this. We need to look with clear eyes at our own actions and find out where we are lacking and how we can create a better future.
If we survive this, we are going to need the world to come together, to build newer modes of economy, better healthcare systems and more humane societies that work for mutual aid, hopefully with a bit less cruelty toward animals. We are going to have to learn to be kind to one another.