Eighty years ago, the world faced the greatest war of all time and it is somewhat similar to our situation today. Yes, these are unusual times we are living in. Although viruses have come and gone before, we have never seen a time quite like this and I am not referring to the virus itself.
From the perspective of a 20 year old boy in University in Dublin, Ireland, I would never have imagined living through a time such as this. If someone had told me at Christmas that this is what life would be like in April, I would have called them insane! But here we are, in a very unique and peculiar time. What makes these two time periods comparable is firstly, the battle at hand between the people and this virus itself, COVID-19.
Secondly, the selflessness of so many of our healthcare workers who resemble the soldiers of WWII and that are willing to risk their lives to fight the virus. And thirdly, the times of uncertainty which lie ahead. No one knows what the outcome will be of this battle, no one knows exactly what the repercussions will be when it comes to an end and it is a frightening thought indeed to not know what lies ahead. What we do know, is that we have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable in our society and to follow the guidelines of our government in order to protect those we love. It is ironic that those who once protected us, who once fought for us are now the most vulnerable and they are the ones who we as young people must protect.
However, despite the horrors of this time, we are witnessing some of the most beautiful moments in the history of humanity. Videos have emerged from Italy, where the virus is at its worst, of people unifying through music and song from their balconies despite the devastation tearing through their country.
In Ireland and the UK people clap from their doorways to applaud those working on the frontlines, candles are lit and lights are shone from houses for those fighting the illness, thousands of retirees return to work to help fight the virus, thousands of volunteers sign up to provide aid to those deemed vulnerable through deliveries or donations, mass amounts of money is raised for charities aiding healthcare workers, mental health and homlessness, young student doctors and nurses join the battle despite the danger they are putting themselves in. Hence, the beauty of mankind is revealed. It is amazing that while a deadly virus rummages through the world, instead of leaving every man for himself, we have stood up and come together and proven that love conquers all. I refer back to my point about if someone had told me that we’d be living like this in April I would have called them insane. Well, had someone told me at Christmas of all the acts of kindness and moments of beauty that we are experiencing during this time, I would never have believed them to be true. For they are remarkable, and out of this world.
Tough times lie ahead, we now face our second economic crash in just two decades and the uncertainty of both the economy and the virus is frightening for everyone. So let us take the time to appreciate what we have while we still have it. For that is the beauty of mortality, nothing lasts forever and any moment could be our last, and although that is a sad thought it makes our lives beautiful. During a time of struggle, sadness, loneliness, and death we are also seeing kindness, love, selflessness, and unity. Human nature at its finest, people making ripples.
By Harry Donnelly