SABAH CARRIM

Look at how Africa is

untouched

say the black man and the black

woman

with a twinkle in their

eye

(and a bit of

schadenfreude)

pointing at the map of the world

and at the

vast space

of unshaded colour.

And in the meantime, jokes and memes

circulated

on social media

are there to mock this collective

paranoia

—one is of Mexico, now

urging Trump

to get going

and

erect

the wall

in many

different

parts of world

preventive measures

have been

prescribed by snake oil sellers

and

witch doctors

one suggests

good old cow dung—

another a book

by Hegel

a third details the merits of

black seeds, and

a fourth

of

violet leaf oil (rubbed on the anus).

And in the meantime

people wonder and theorise

about

why shelves in shops are

empty

and toilet paper

scarce

chuckling and laughing at

all the

possibilities.

And in what’s left

of

social gatherings, people discuss apocalyptic

writings

by authors who supposedly

predicted

this pandemic

(when in truth they only had

the skills

of the poet, the astrologer

better known as Nostra

damus,

born in the sixteenth century

who, trust me, is taken too

seriously)

And in the meantime, thinkers and

philosophers of this age

comment

on the absurdity of this phase—

reflecting that if the world created

smart phones, smart this, and smart

that

why is it surprising, that we now have

a smart

influenza

And beyond all of

that,

the talk is about how

the virus is now

the final blow

in a world that was already destroying

itself

by creating distance between

us

where we are now

forced

to abstain from all contact with

one another

and are advised even by

our best friends, our parents

and our well-wishers

to

keep away—to

self-isolate