The coronavirus has been like a great curtain fall that has uncovered the scenes, for better and for worse. This is how Daniel Bernabé, journalist, warns in his latest work, ‘We were already at the end of something’ (Bruguera editorial). And he does not speak of love as a couple – it is vox pópuli that the pandemic has resulted in many ruptures – but of society. At the community level, as well as at the romantic level, the covid has uncovered and highlighted failures that we already lived with but that we ignored. “We cannot take the coronavirus as an alibi to blame him for everything,” he asserts. The cracks were already there before and this crisis has only shown them in all their splendor. These are some of them, about which we should reflect and learn, as advised by Bernabé.
Global threats are not science fiction
«The first confinement, practically worldwide, left the most emblematic areas of the big cities empty. As if humanity had disappeared ”, recalls the journalist. In those moments, and perhaps for the first time, many people realized that, essentially, we were all in the same boat (or in a similar one): a Chinese and a Spaniard, a rich man and a poor man, a person of the right and a leftist, a religious fanatic and an atheist … We all watched life from our windows without being able to do anything but wait. “This event it gave us back the idea of universality, that we are part of an international community where collaboration against threats is essential ”, he highlights. So the pandemic uncovered something that had already been said, even if it sometimes sounded like science fiction stories: global threats are not hearsay and, as a species, we are condemned to cooperate.
We despised the rural environment
Decades ago, there was a massive migration from the countryside to the city. Many towns disappeared, others survive as a vacation spot for returnees … Before the COVID, there had already been a warning of emptied Spain, of how a way of life was disappearing , With everything it implies. But we all looked the other way. What were we going to do?
With the outbreak of the pandemic, whoever was able to go to the town (less population density, less risk of contagion). These forgotten places regained prominence. And some thought the same as the burdened hobbits in ‘The Lord of the Rings’: “We should never have left the country.” «The rural world is often an idealized construction from the affluent urban world. However, I think the pandemic in this regard explained three things to us: that There is a very crowded Spain where the peripheries of the big cities have been harmed, due to the enormous time that is used to access the workplace; that space is also a quality of life, with houses that are only good for spending the night, and that there are enormous territorial disparities between the so-called global cities and the rest of the country, ”says Bernabé.
«The social class, which had never disappeared, despite the fact that we had been insisted this way from the neoliberal dogma, is what has decided essential aspects for our lives throughout this year and a half of shared pandemic», Underlines the author of ‘We were already at the end of something’. It has been proven that those who had a better and more spacious home had a better time, that those who had a precarious job lost it and that having money, although it does not immunize against the virus, does help to pass the pandemic in better conditions. For example, it has become very evident, with teleworking and the need to tele-educate children in the hardest times of the crisis, that technological equipment is needed at home that not everyone could afford. This was nothing new, but the covid revealed it as a harsh reality. The gaps, yes, they have gotten deeper. Not only social, but also economic and gender issues (some advances in equality have been blocked by this crisis).
«Job insecurity is not like the coronavirus or like a storm, a natural event that happens beyond our control. It is the arbitrary decision of the owners to maximize their profit without investing capital ”, points out Bernabé. In his opinion, the labor reforms of recent years were already preparing the ground for what has now become evident with the pandemic: that many people were (are) on the labor tightrope and live from day to day. The ERTES and the self-employed difficulties in coping with the crisis showed that the model was far from perfect.
A very painful teaching: the loneliness of the elderly
The loneliness of the elderly already existed, of course, but we have seen it more starkly now. Many have had to be helped by neighbors, others have fallen ill and died alone in their homes, in residences contagions were the order of the day … «We should always regret that the generation that raised postwar Spain has suffered in their old age a pandemic in which we failed them, and this unfortunately is undeniable. Residences cannot be a sector open to speculation where venture capital funds do business: risk, as we have seen, usually passes from capital to people ”, laments Bernabé, who, despite this hard reflection, wants to make it clear that , the covid, in addition to uncovering fissures in society, also carries the solutions in the same ‘pack’: “Strengthening the public and active democracy.”