Each and every generation had, has and will have its own problems. Around 1910s, there was World War I (which they just called World War or The Great War) and they had the Spanish Flu. It’s a miracle that European countries didn’t get wiped out back then. It wasn’t the lack of opportunities prevented that end, it was the perseverance of the humankind despite the circumstances.
We read these in the history books, we’ve been thought that in schools, we’ve read many articles on this and many other subjects. Wars, famine, plague, witch hunts, we’ve been thought a lot. But I don’t think we ever understood what those meant. I don’t think I ever understood how difficult it can get. The amount of casualties in World War I was just a number on a page, which only had a lifespan until the exam date. Afterwards, many of us didn’t care enough to keep that number in our minds, let alone understand what it actually means.
The world never disappoints
The world was always a cruel place and it doesn’t disappoint now. While we enjoy the biggest tech advances in the world and probably live the most comfortable lives in the history of humankind, now we’re facing with another plague that already killed over ten thousand people and infected over two hundred and fifty thousand people. Let that sink in: In the last four months, we’ve lost over ten thousand people to COVID-19, a virus that causes respiratory failures.
And humanity doesn’t disappoint with its stupidity either: We can smash two atoms together to kill each other, but we simply don’t have enough hospital beds to help people recover. We’re excellent when it comes to killing, not so much when it’s about living. Ironically, we define humanity with mercy, honour and virtues. Those were the first to go overboard when the ship is sinking.
How come we are caught unprepared on this scale? How come we didn’t have enough response teams, enough capability to scale out our care needs? Why can’t we have enough people talking to us over the phone, at NHS 111, and actually getting back to us sooner, rather than after two days? Why can’t we have a pile of ventilators stocked somewhere in the country for, I don’t know, just in case this happens?
Anyway, back to the subject. No one, not even my favourite history teacher managed to help me comprehend how difficult those times were. Not because the average life expectancy was forty-five to fifty at best. People would fall like leaves in autumn, they would lose their kids, their partners, their loved ones. It was just how life was. It was difficult. I’m beginning to understand that, and I don’t like it a bit.
Fuck it all!
We’ve been in a DEFCON 1 situation in our home, for the last week. My wife was hospitalised, under the suspicion of COVID-19. Paramedics came to our home at 5am, and took my wife away, to help her with her shortness of breath and her tachycardia. She was so scared for her life, she didn’t even ask why. We’ve already prepared an emergency bag, she took it and left with the paramedics.
That was one of the scariest moments in my life. I didn’t know what was happening, it was so surreal. I didn’t know if my last glance to my wife would be her wearing a mask, shocked, escorted out by paramedics to an ambulance. I didn’t know if I would see her again. I didn’t want it to be the last. I couldn’t say goodbye to her, I didn’t even realised that until ten minutes past her departure. I sat down on the couch, tried to make sense of what was happening. I couldn’t comprehend the events just took place in my home.
The last week had been so difficult, but this was the Everest of that. I mean, I had my bad moments in life, especially when my father was sick, when we bankrupted, when I was sick, but this was something else for me. I’ve never knew the life could be this difficult at any time, especially at this time. I mean, I just got married, these were supposed to be our happy months. Why is the world knee-deep in dog-shit these days? Why is everything so difficult? Why are we struggling with these? Didn’t we just step into 2020, for fuck’s sake?
My pain, my difficulty was immense. But if you scale that out to the whole country, even the world, it’s crazy. When did the life get so difficult? So complex? Was it always like this and I was so sheltered, somehow I missed it? Then it hit me: Yes, it was always like this.
In the entire history of humankind, there was no peace, no comfort, no stability, for a prolonged period of time. If we weren’t hit by any natural disasters, we became the disaster. We’ve either ravaged and burned what we didn’t but want to have, or we were defending what we had and didn’t want to lose it. It was always this difficult, life was always this hard, if not more. My pain is just a repeat, a bleak shadow of previous pains. I’m facing the same problems in different contexts that my ancestors already faced. The same hardships, but different people.
It was enlightening to realise this, a part of me found it exhilarating to be part of something bigger. Other parts of me, holding the majority, simply said “for fuck’s sake!”. Fuck the world, fuck the community, fuck the scale! This is happening now, this is happening to you! Right now, it’s the only thing matters, not the bigger picture!