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Corona-diary: Entry 1
Back to diary time. I confess, the boredom is already seeping in and I’m used to working from home! But here are three thoughts and a tweet:
1. The governmental responses in the UK and US are indicative of the absolute failure and the blind faith in the ideologies of neoliberalism, extreme capitalism and individualism that have been peddled to us for 40 odd years. Our health systems can’t cope, people go to work because they have few savings and no sick days, our ‘leaders’ are far more concerned about the markets than about human lives, our media is largely private and is therefore not giving objective facts and editorializing far too much, and public attitudes are too focused on individual wants and selfishness (I want to go/come/stay/travel/buy loo paper etc.) than thinking about the collective good and personal responsibility.
2.We are hard wired to be social. Now that we can’t kiss and hug, it’s amazing how much we need to still have physical contact – shown in the elbow bump, the shoe dance, the fist bump – we want to connect and touch. In Wuhan at night, people were shouting out of the windows of their tall buildings, venting and hearing each other: feeling that they were together even if alone. This tweet below shows people in Siena singing together in their aloneness. I hope that out of this crisis we emerge with a much stronger sense of communality and get rid of the whole ‘I am a rock, I am an island’ mentality.
3. A salute to all my friends and colleagues who live and work in war zones or countries where the state long disappeared or is untrustworthy. As the pandemic unleashes in the US, I think we will see community organizing emerge, while the powerful will withdraw and take no responsibility for the mess they’ve enabled and fanned. My amazing partners at the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership show how personal responsibility and action can make a difference in the world and a world of difference. Stay home, wash hands, sing. See you soon.
Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini is co-founder of the International Civil Action Society Network (ICAN). ICAN has established a network of women civil society leaders in the Middle East and North Africa who are at the frontline of tackling extremism and militarism, while promoting peace, rights and pluralism. She has been a leading international advocate, researcher, trainer and writer on conflict prevention and peace-building. She was among the civil society drafters of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. She provides strategic guidance and training to key UN agencies, governments and NGOs worldwide, and is the author of Women Building Peace: What they do, and why it matters.