The imponderables

The world celebrated December 31, like so many other times, the end of a year and this time that of a decade. The joy for the arrival of 2020, a kind of magical figure, beautiful, round number, easy to read and pronounce, would soon fade away. At the time there was no idea that in just one week one of the greatest calamities would be unleashed in recent times. This is an imponderable. And in this case, due to its magnitude, a bigger imponderable.

The coronavirus proved how fragile we are. How poorly prepared and uncoordinated the world is for something like a severe pandemic. No matter how advanced science and technology is, there is no way to predict certain facts, these imponderable calls, not even having at hand that new thing called artificial intelligence.

Nor do we imagine that soon the videos would bring us Dante scenes, recorded in hospitals with crowded corridors of terminally ill patients; insufficient supplies and spaces; selective patient admissions; doctors and healthcare personnel, anonymous heroes, working to infinite exhaustion with the mission of saving lives. It is the televised horror, the family suffering online, the powerlessness of not being able to help the sick. The fear of contracting the virus hangs over ourselves and over our families.

The world was not prepared to contain a pandemic of this nature and serve tens of thousands of infected. Thousands of poorly conditioned hospitals, as a consequence of neglect, improvisation, corruption, lobbying, the dance of billions and billionaires, the politicization of everything, the planned polarization, the new communication technologies, uncommunication? All this makes up the amalgamation of the 2010s and the nightmare of the early 2020s. We live in times of improvisation and chaos.

Are there other imponderables?

By the definition of the word it is impossible to know. An unexpected and inevitable element or event cannot be anticipated. For example, who would have thought that the IFEMA facilities, the Madrid Fair, the same one that hosted the COP25, the twenty-fifth climate conference, preamble to the Paris Agreement, in just three months would become a huge hospital against an unprecedented and aggressive virus that threatens the entire world. That is a great imponderable, and at the same time a cruel symbology, that due to the forces of destiny, the pandemic and climate change are housed in the same room, two enormous threats of our times.

On climate change, it does not belong to the group of the imponderables, since it is already among us and is getting worse as science has measured and warned in recent decades. The climatic anomaly can lead to situations as dangerous or more like that of the new coronavirus. Measurable and proven facts are ignored by human masses who share this noble blue planet. Worse still, people who are aware of these facts deny them, so a party of deniers has been created, made up of a large group of people. But there are also the indifferent, those who do not want to know about the problem, much less get involved in the solutions.

Events in the world have always happened unexpectedly and inevitably, with consequences that cannot be known or specified in advance. Let the coronavirus tragedy serve as a warning bell for the other tragedy to come, unless millions of people get involved and force their leaders to take real measures to prevent the greatest tragedy.

A final note

Let’s be responsible, let’s comply with the quarantine and the other preventive measures dictated by the national and world authorities. But once we get out of this 21st century plague, let’s turn to the fight against climate change, which could be much more damaging than the coronavirus. Each one from his trench and according to his possibilities must join this fight.

Sandor A. Gerendas-Kiss