Season of Fear

Updated: Apr 4

Ilona Yusuf


Devil's Trumpet

i

corona virus

nano fragment, deviant

crowned particle

craving union

invisible

indiscriminate

ii

mobile phone: frenetic crescendo of WhatsApp conversations

themes


some preventive measures:

blow drying nasal passages with hot air

flushing the virus by drinking hot liquids

self medicating with quinine derivative medication

extended night prayer for forgiveness, prostration


possible causes:

the virus is a deliberate scheme set in motion by a superpower. the pharmaceutical industry will make mega millions from medical equipment and the vaccine that is being made to combat it.

high speed internet causes cell mutation, stimulating the creation of the virus.


reassurance:

the pandemic is an exaggeration. daily deaths from respiratory diseases outstrip corona daily death tolls.


politics: china is moving to be the world’s superpower.

iii

science: knowledge is partial

we do not know the invasion tactics of this new enemy. we are hard put to learn its habits.

we are reduced to a centuries old model: keep clean

we are all committed to washing our hands. our life really does depend on it.

iv

history

a. bubonic plague killed several million in India, including Karachi, in 1897. ‘The colonial government's measures to control the disease included quarantine, isolation camps, travel restrictions and the exclusion of India's traditional medical practices (1)…Indians found these measures culturally intrusive and, in general, repressive and tyrannical. Government strategies of plague control underwent significant changes during 1898–1899…British health officials began to press for widespread vaccination…and also authorised the inclusion of practitioners of indigenous systems of medicine into plague prevention programs.’(2)


b. the great plague in seventeenth century London is said to have begun with trading ships bringing bales of cotton from the Netherlands. quarantining of ships, then issuing them with a clearing certificate, were used as a preventive measure. samuel pepys, diarist, lived in London through the eighteen months of the epidemic. although much of the gentry and the government moved to towns and villages outside the capital, pepys stayed. at the end of the first five months, between notes on what he saw of the plague’s victims, he commented that he had earned well during this time.


v

preventive measures: lockdown

we drive through near empty streets on the fifth day of lockdown. brilliant sun, spring’s new green and flowers.

it’s an eerie beauty. deep quiet. roads clear of refuse. here and there, small groups of people in masks and trainers, walking after a week of heavy rain.

is this the calm before the storm? before multiple infections reach their incubation limit and emerge with full blown sickness?



Islamabad on lockdown

vi

at the end of this pandemic, each nation will emerge with its own set of answers, dependent on demographics, urban crowding and facilities or the lack thereof, hygiene, steps taken to combat the disease based on prevention or cure.

meanwhile, while the pandemic goes on, so does, so must, life, in as much as possible.

stay clean, leave a little to faith, shut out the panicked conversations on my phone, and live and work through it.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda

(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_plague_pandemic

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