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“And so one day the world was filled with the dire promise of a viral apocalypse and suddenly, borders that have been defended by wars were broken with droplets of saliva. There was equity in the contagion distributed equally to the rich and poor. The powerful, who had felt infallible until then, saw how you can fall before a kiss or a hug. They realized what was and was not important, and then a nurse became more indispensable than a footballer, and a hospital became more urgent than a missile. Lights went out in stadiums, concerts and filming were suspended; masses and mass gatherings stopped. And then there was time for reflection in solitude, and everyone came home to gather in front of bonfires, tables, rocking chairs, and hammocks and told stories that were about to be forgotten.

Three droplets of snot in the air have put us to care for the elderly, to value science above the economy, they have told us that not only the destitute bring pests, that our pyramid of values was inverted, that life always comes first and that the other things were accessories.

There is no safe place, we all fit in everyone’s mind and we begin to wish the neighbor well, we need our neighbor to stay safe, we need him not to get sick, to live long and to be happy. And together with a paranoia boiled in disinfectant, we realize that if I have water and the one beyond does not, my life is at risk. We return to being a village, solidarity is tinged with fear and at the risk of losing ourselves in isolation, there is only one alternative: to be better together.

If everything works out, everything will change forever. Looking at each other will be our greeting and we will reserve a kiss only for those who already have our hearts. When all the maps are stained red with the presence of the one who crowns, the borders will not be necessary and the transit of those who come to give hope will be well received no matter their language or skin color. It will no longer matter if I did not understand your way of life, or if your faith was not mine, it will be enough for me to encourage you to reach out when no one else wants to.

It may be, there is only one possibility this virus will make us more human and a new pact will emerge from an atrocious flood, with an olive branch from where we will start from scratch.”

Translated from Empatia Viral by Edna Rueda Abrahams, Psychiatrist, Buenos Aires, Colombia