Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2020. 3:47 pm CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
By Gordon Kirkwood: Belize passed its 28th day since its last Coronavirus case on Tuesday May 12th 2020, and even though there has been no official change to the state of public emergency regulations in the country, Sarteneja village this afternoon had a very different feel about it. The early fears and paranoia that surfaced during the outbreak were gone, there were children on the piers, people swimming in the sea, families gathering under trees in their yards and I could walk into the grocery store at last. Yes, all theoretically illegal, but there was a definite optimistic feel in the air.
Most people of this generation have not lived through a World War, but their parents and grandparents had. So, I started to think that the feeling that people were starting to have today in Belize was similar to how people felt at the end of those conflicts. And just like the fear instilled by the rapid progress of the virus and man’s inability to control it, the euphoria of having beaten it, is a feeling I have not felt before.
“Was this World War 3?” I asked myself, well knowing that those who lived through the previous two world conflicts didn’t know they would be named World War 1 and World War 2 after those conflicts had ceased.
There are a great many similarities and a few differences between the Coronavirus pandemic and a World War.
The similarities that came immediately to mind include:
– We were facing a formidable enemy that advanced rapidly in the early stages of the battle despite everything done to slow its advance.
– There is a huge loss of human life. Although the death toll in the World Wars is still way in excess of the Coronavirus Pandemic, who knows at what number the death toll in the latter may end?
– There were both frontline and civilian casualties. But World Wars had many more frontline casualties than civilians, whereas the reverse is true for the Pandemic.
– Some people deny that they happened. Contrast the Holocaust deniers with those who downplay the severity of Coronavirus.
– After the main conflict is over, there is still a risk to civilians. For World Wars there is still an ongoing risk from lost or abandoned munitions and mines, for Coronavirus there is a risk of getting infected in other countries or when the virus is re-imported into your country from another.
– The normal way of life before the conflict was disrupted, with countries coming out of the conflict having to rebuild supply chains and re-invent the ways of doing things.
– After the conflict, there was a new normal, with technology developed to help win the fight and to live at home during the conflict making its way into daily life. And, the growing realization that the hardships during the conflict taught us the true value of things and helped humanity shape the future.
– For many years afterwards, people celebrate the end of the conflict. For World War I – Armistice Day; World War II – VE (Victory in Europe) Day and VJ (Victory in Japan) Day, and for the Coronavirus Pandemic I foresee that a VC (Victory over Coronavirus) Day will be celebrated on different days representing when each country beat the deadly infection.
The differences I see are:
– In this pandemic, the enemy is a virus whereas in the previous World Wars the enemy was human. However, the armed protest again lockdown in the USA shows how successfully the virus has turned humans against each other.
– The World Wars were between big countries, who had the best organized forces and advanced equipment. And the little countries either kept their heads down or sent their men to fight for the big countries. And the big countries celebrated first when it was over. However, in the Coronavirus Pandemic several little countries have proved to be better organized than the big countries and those little countries, like Belize, will be celebrating victory, while the big ones still struggle to win the conflict.
– World Wars tend to be won or lost for everybody on the same day when the vanquished party surrenders. However, in the Coronavirus pandemic, the victory will be declared country by country. Meaning that one country, like Belize, can be getting out and celebrating victory, while another next door, like Mexico a mere 1 mile away from where I write this, can still be suffering significant losses and continuing the fight.
So, given the abundance of similarities, and few differences, I believe that some, maybe all, will see the Coronavirus Pandemic as having been World War 3.
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