The Corona pandemic came as a sign of the birth of a new world that began to take shape 4 decades ago. The history of mankind needed an aftershock that pulled it from the world of space and communications to a reality of extreme cruelty in its twists and turns. And it appears that this virus will cause the greatest economic, political and social damage that humanity has not seen since World War II.
In his book (Ten Lessons for the Post-Epidemic World), which was recently published in Arabic by the Arab Science Publishers, Fareed Zakaria, an American journalist and author born in Bombay in India in (1964) and a television presenter and prominent author, does not speak about the epidemic as much as he talks about the world. Who seemed to rise up to stay alive after this epidemic, analyzing the response of human societies to it.
Just as the author avoids the verbal battles and daily debates about wearing masks and the efficacy of closures, he did not focus on the closure and its risks to people’s daily lives, and the frantic race to produce an anti-virus vaccine worldwide, and did not address social distancing and the emerging culture of masks.
In contrast to what Farid Zakaria goes to, we find on the other side that the Syrian writer and novelist Ibrahim Al-Youssef, residing in Germany, who has published about 3 books on Corona, believes that the Corona virus has eradicated many habits from our public life to be replaced by other, emerging values that will continue for a long time. And that the muzzle, the sterilizer, the distance between the two, etc. may remain firmly in our memories.
The virus is under the microscope
Zakaria traces some historical incidents related to the epidemic, and he mentions how the Black Death in the late Middle Ages wiped out most of the European population, as the number of deaths as contained in the book reached between 75 million and 200 million people, and the writer added that this disease had continuous rounds in people’s lives. It lasted for 100 years. The author notes that it took until the thirties of the last century when the world was first able to see a virus under a microscope, and confirms that the sequencing of the “emerging corona virus” (SARS CoV-2) was done today almost immediately.
The Lebanese journalist and writer Walid Noueihed says that the world is now passing through a phase of transitional chaos, and the Corona pandemic, which shuffled the cards, is the greatest witness to these accelerated transformations and the potential reversal of these transformations.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Nuwayhed continues that the discoveries and inventions in the past were spaced out between one transitional station and another, and this time divergence was giving the human mind an opportunity to understand the transformation and think about its mechanisms and laws, and mentally reconfigure it in order to fit the pattern of quiet development in its changing temporal nature.
The writer stated that governments around the world headed to the economic downturn, as happened with the famous collapse of 1929, and confirms that they seemed ready to spend trillions of dollars without an expense in order to control the virus.
Whereas Walid Noueihed disagrees, seeing that there is a major economic renaissance the world will witness due to the rapid growth that people will recognize in the field of inventions and discoveries, which will sometimes lead to the inability of people to absorb the new.
Noueihed added that this surplus development may contribute to stifling progress and disrupting traffic at sharp turns, which gives an opportunity for the growth of artificial / imagined identities that tend to close and shut down in homogeneous environments that embrace anxiety, and reduce tension or fear of the negative aspects of a mysterious and accelerating world. .
The author says that the plague wiped out almost half of the population of Europe, and explains that because of the bubonic plague, the economies of Europe at that time were turned on their head, the workers won and the nobles lost, and slavery disappeared in most of Western Europe, while the nobles in Eastern Europe used misery and chaos to tighten their grip and impose Slavery for the first time. And he confirms that in addition to these material effects, the plague has pushed into a European intellectual revolution, for science, modernity and growth to emerge from death and terror.
In this regard, Walid Nuwayhid comments, saying that the transition from a world led by a single central force pulls the various parties towards a point that attracts different parties to the space of their culture, to a world attracted by various and competing centers of power that will initially lead to vibrations and backslashes in the transitional phase before it settles and is located in geographical orbits. Reshaping the image of the world in a political map that does not resemble those maps that were drawn after the spread of the plague epidemic, the discovery of America, and the launch of the Great Industrial Revolution.
Nuwayhed envisions that the world, after 500 years of technological development, has moved from the stage of mechanics to the stage of technology, which means that there is a cultural, political and economic renaissance whose features will begin to appear as soon as the transitional chaos stabilizes and the control of the Corona epidemic begins.
The role of epidemics in wars
The author reviews examples of armies’ use of epidemics to defeat their opponents in wars, and states that small numbers of European soldiers were able to quickly conquer millions of Latin Americans.
Fareed Zakaria confirms that the bubonic plague began in Central Asia in the thirties of the thirteenth century, and spread to Europe in the next decade, the most influential, and the writer adds that a medieval historian accused the Mongols of introducing the disease to the continent by releasing infested rats to the Italian fortress of Genoa with a catapult.
The author says that the Spanish explorer Hyman Cortes faced the Aztec Empire, which had a population of millions, with 600 soldiers, and the author decides that this happened thanks to the epidemic.
He adds – Zacharias later – that the Spaniards were not satisfied with bringing advanced and superior weapons, but also diseases such as smallpox, which they had immunity to, but the indigenous people did not have the same immunity.
The writer records the number of deaths over the course of the 16th century, which killed tens of millions, and draws attention to the fact that the indigenous people believed that the Spaniards worshiped a god stronger than their gods, and this explains why many of them were subject to Spanish control and embrace Christianity, as he put it.
The writer says that since the end of the Cold War (1955-1989), the world has been subjected to 3 shocks, 11 September 2001, the financial collapse in 2008, and the Corona pandemic in 2020, but the writer does not give direct judgments about the political, social and cultural nature of the post-Corona world.
While Walid Noueihed says that there is a possibility of a renaissance in the political field that goes beyond the borders and sovereignty of states, the post-state landscape does not necessarily mean the end of what came before it. This turmoil in the transitional phase will lead to the emergence of conflicting phenomena in their forms and colors between a world that is converging on space and a world that is diverging on Earth, which is likely to grow violently by those small identities (neurotransmitters) that live in isolation from these accelerating transformations.
As for Ibrahim Al-Youssef, in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, it must be recognized that Emperor Covid the Nineteenth was able to divide history into before and after Corona, as his appearance, over a lean year, was not a normal matter at all.
Al-Youssef continues, saying that the Corona virus was able, with the danger of its invisible ghost, to subjugate the entire globe to its authority, but that the vehicle in the sea and the plane in space did not get rid of its promises, threats and dangers!
For his part, the Syrian writer and novelist Jean Doust, who lives in Germany, confirms to Al Jazeera Net that relations have become limited and limited to narrow borders of family and close friends, saying, “I naturally speak of the environment in which I live, namely Europe, specifically Germany. But these ranges narrowed further, and the new relationship pattern caused pressure on everyone. “
The author goes back to talking about the natural and biological risks that could affect countries and groups without looking at the state of wealth and poverty in those countries, as the virus does not distinguish between ethnicities and religions, as all are equal in front of the pandemic.
For his part, Jean Douste says that this epidemic is at least a catalyst for the production of more epidemiological literature, as new books and productions have been added to the global balance that discuss this topic.
Doust added that the coming years will witness more books related to this bleak stage in which humanity lived.
Walid Nuwayhid shows that there is a renaissance the world will witness in the field of culture, which is likely to lead to the breaking of conventional mental images or those directly related to customs and norms, but it will take time to succeed in transcending the traditions that are more established and have the ability to reproduce their forms commensurate with Emerging conditions.
Zakaria says that remote work is a great tool, but it is an imperfect alternative to actual human contact. Not far from the author’s description, Farid Zakaria, we find the thesis of thinker Walid Nuwayhed more detailed and clear when he says that there is a technological revolution that took place and moved man from his earthly world to a space orbit, and it helped the rapprochement between humans, and it needs a period of time in order to contribute to charting the path for human acquaintance .
Noueihed confirms that there is a time gap between the moment of space convergence and the moment of field acquaintance. The world we see is accelerating in rapprochement, but it conflicts with acquaintance.
This opinion is shared by the Syrian novelist Jean Douste – in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net – which confirms that, whether with the virus or not, humanity is heading towards a digital lifestyle, and that the matter is moving at an accelerated pace in harmony with the rhythm of the digital age, which resembles a missile launched into space, and we cannot predict what Tomorrow there will be revolutions in the digital field.
The writer has built a structure that helps readers start thinking about what is behind the direct effects of the Corona pandemic, which the author asserts will become a permanent basic element in human life.
On this pattern, Walid Noueihed goes that the refraction (divergence) has occurred, but the regrouping (convergence) will take his time until he reaches his distant goal, which is getting to know each other. Epidemics usually demarcate the boundaries between the stages of development, and they are similar to discoveries and inventions that always grow to respond to the needs of people, and have their function when they start to expand and spread, but the pace of progress varies from one stage to another due to the different needs, jobs, sites and roles.
Nuwayhed added that the world is now going through a stage of isolation that separates two stages, and this isolation, which is represented in domestic isolation (quarantine), social distancing and breaking the habit of direct contact, will later lead to the formation of social behaviors whose daily features have not yet been clarified.
the new World
The author stresses that any major shock can have various effects, depending on the state of the world at the time, and on the human reaction, whether it is fear, denial, or adaptation.
He says that we are now living in a new era, explaining that this virus will be a pivotal event in modern history, the moment its course changes forever.
Ibrahim Al-Youssef concludes – in his speech to Al-Jazeera – saying that we are now facing something like a prophecy, but many facts confirm that we are at the crossroads of my global life, especially after we passed at a juncture that many of us imagined, that the world is over.
Al-Youssef adds that there are those who saw that life on this planet has ended, and perhaps other creatures will come living on the ruins of our monuments, as this can be portrayed in cinema or science fiction literature – and we have found some of that – especially after political procrastination, and the saying, “Science is powerless.” On confronting this ghostly koean. “
While Fareed Zakaria believes that the epidemic will not reshape history as much as it will accelerate it, and it seems that this last scenario is the most likely outcome, as the author explains, citing a quote by Lenin he once said, “There are decades in which nothing happens, and then weeks come that pass like decades.”