I see the life of every human being as the sum of moments, events, coincidences, and phenomena that color and shape our existence. I have the impression that when looking back to life experiences in retrospect, people tend to more easily and thoroughly remember the gloomy moments experienced during life. Perhaps the powerful emotional shock these experiences leave, makes them more deeply ingrained in the memory.
In my 25 years, an unusual segment that will long stay in my memory is the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation it brought around the world.
During the first month of the lockdown, I had the impression that it was all a blow to the human ego, which seeks complete control of the planet. Empty streets, curfew, the closing of many factories, wildlife taking over through their characteristic sounds, nature that became even more beautiful in my eyes, lack of crime news — all these were just some of the evidence that humanity needs to reflect in order to change our approach toward each other and nature.
Later, for many in Kosovo, the threat from the virus became a secondary issue as we witnessed our local politicians’ absurd actions to the detriment of the population. I formed the opinion that the politicians did not care about the number of COVID-19 cases and the risk threatening the people; on the contrary, they focused all their zeal on political battlefields, with accusations and attacks against political opponents being harsher than ever before.
We already had a degraded and unethical political debate, mainly focused on personal attacks. The politicians’ behavior left a bitter feeling at a time when strong unity was expected to fight against a common enemy that would cause huge human loss and a decline of the financial situation in a country where unemployment has been for a long time now at a high level.
Meanwhile, the number of infected people kept increasing. The virus circulated in unexpected ways so that even health specialists were not entirely sure how it worked.
Fictional and real screenplays
It seemed to me as if time had stalled in one place, but I did not want to sink into despair and apathy, so I found rescue in books, classic and comic movies, music, online theater performances, cooking as something new for me (this hobby still leaves much to be desired), delving into albums of old family photographs and outdoor walks to clear my mind from the occasional bleakness of the lockdown.
Another passion I cultivated during this time was writing. I continuously write short stories, plays, screenplays for movies, a personal diary… I started to cultivate this passion after enrolling in the Journalism Faculty some years ago.
I am currently writing a screenplay for a feature film, and its narrative mainly revolves around a family living in the future. More or less, the topic corresponds to the current situation — isolation. The problems they face expand in several dimensions: Not getting used to new technological inventions that eclipse human relationships in real life, family resistance against the authorities that require to obliterate every sign of the past in their lives. All these problems push them toward lockdown.
In the screenplay of my real life, the lockdown ended after three exhausting months, when the government measures for fighting the pandemic were lifted, and I was free to practice my profession as an actor. For around a month, I worked in a theatrical performance under continuous stress; since as an actor, I was exposed to the risk of infection during the rehearsals on stage.
A new horizon of thoughts had already emerged for me regarding the outbreak of this deadly virus. These thoughts led me to the idea of the creation of new world order; as a consequence of this pandemic, the world would start practicing entirely different ways of living. We would start to continuously use masks, gloves, and social distance, noticing increased surveillance at the global level, even after the pandemic.
Prudence and care
I have never doubted the existence of this virus, being even deeply indignant with the conspiracy theories, thoughtless statements, and the “expertise” of people who believed and still believe that this virus is a big lie. I might have had some of the weirdest doubts about the origin of the virus, but today for me is more important to follow the health guidelines without getting caught up in bewildered and useless thoughts that lead to dead ends.
For me, different assumptions of people seem to be expected, but I also think they should not echo throughout the media, let alone get presented as facts. The philosopher Umberto Eco has a quote which best reflects the boundless virtual space that allows everyone to share their thoughts to a wide range of audiences: “They once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community … but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner.”
This implies that we should prevent the spread of such a mindset that counterproductively generates doubts about the virus when, in fact, we certainly know it exists as a global threat. We are all the same in front of the virus, and should not forget our responsibility toward our loved ones whose lives we may put in danger with our reckless behaviors.
My profession is such that it requires observation and the study of human nature, thus in the future, there will be performances, movies, and TV shows depicting the pandemic and all that it brought along. I support the idea that artistic work stems from significant events that inspire artists’ precious works everywhere.
While we wait for the day when COVID-19 will be a closed chapter, I hope everyone has learned some lessons — individual and collective — that we will always keep close to the heart.
This blog is part of our #Youth2020 series. Want to share what’s on your mind? Click here to find out more.
Feature image: Arrita Katona / K2.0.