Home to many international artists, film makers, designers, musicians, eccentric wanderers and alike, Berlin is an easy-going metropolis. Or it was until a couple of days ago when it became clear to more-less everyone that it won’t be spared of the outbreak. Unusual unease and latent yet more than obvious tension filled its pores and emptied supermarket shelves. Shops are closed and so are schools, kindergartens, theatres, cinemas, world famous music venues, most bars, restaurants and pretty much everything else that Berliners enjoyed and took for granted until only a few days ago. People still go out to shop food, for a short walk or exercise and it’s safe to say that streets are at very least half-empty compared to how they usually are. However, given the situation, half-empty is simply not good enough so we are all expecting tightening of the measures very soon, perhaps as soon as from coming Monday. More realistic and conscious between us are expecting even more – full curfew within days. There will be no other way to stop the rapid spread of the virus.
Back in 1989, the fall of the Berlin wall marked the death of Communism in Europe. But that was only the final act of decades-long political, military, propaganda, economic and ideological struggle between the West and the East. With this in mind, it is almost unimaginable to think that it might take only a few months and a ‘sneeze’ to bring down Capitalism, at least in its current neo-liberal, predatory form. Looking at the current situation in western countries and the way various governments responded to the crises, any other outcome would be a failure and possibly the last one humanity as a whole was allowed to make. Sounds too drastic and overly dramatic? It certainly does, but drastic change after this disaster is inevitable. I have very little to no doubt about this.
Lenin once said – “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
It is enough to have just a brief look at the first week of European Corona crises to fully understand Lenin’s words. On one hand we have socialist countries of China and Cuba delivering desperately needed doctors, medical equipment and other supplies to Italy, France and, soon enough, to other European countries. On the other hand we have the U.S. that is delivering thousands of troops and some 13.000 pieces of military equipment for NATO war games aimed against Russia, a country that has decided to send support and help in the form of mobile disinfection vehicles and specialists to aid the worst Covid-19 hit regions in Italy. The EU did almost nothing at all but it still found some time and energy to accuse Russia of spreading ‘fake news’ and disinformation about Covid-19 with an aim to destabilise the European Union. Why would Russia do that when the biggest destabilising factors are clearly within the core of the neo-liberal European Union itself, is anyone’s guess.
Naturally, Trump’s attempt earlier this week to buy German company working on the Covid-19 vaccine and have it made for American market – only and exclusively! – was quickly forgotten. I can’t even begin to imagine all the hysteria if such a take-over bid was made by Vladimir Putin or president Xi instead.
Serbia’s cry for help from the EU was instantly turned down. This was hardly surprising after the EU did the same to Italy, however, this case again underlined huge dysfunctionality, neglect and lack of solidarity which might cost the union dearly in the near future. By the way, guess who was ready to help Serbia instead? Socialist China, of course.
The UK, completely oblivious to the reality of the world around, was pushing so called ‘herd immunity’ policy for days, probably until somebody told Boris to cut with self-embarrassment and stop risking himself being hanged from Nelson’s Column by outraged populous. Towards middle of the week UK officials started stepping back from this insanity and have moved with implementation of stricter measures in line with most of the world. But, I am afraid, this will be too little, too late.
Moving away from Europe, in Iran, cases of Covid-19 infection are going through the roof, yet instead of removing draconian sanctions imposed on the country, the US is increasing them. Of course, socialist China again is the one that provided help. In this case 30 tons of medical supplies.
Above is barely scratching the surface but the pattern is obvious and so it should be concluded that neo-liberal Capitalism clearly isn’t compatible with public health care. It is unstable and weak and as such already collapsing after only a few days of serious crisis. It exposed itself as morally bankrupt with utter lack of empathy for anyone – be that neighbour, friend or a family member. Greedy and selfish individualism the west and neo-liberal capitalism is based on is nothing but a house of cards that is crumbling in front of our eyes in spectacular fashion.
Socialist collectivism displayed by likes of China and Cuba – both home and abroad – is something that will inspire many and, hopefully, empower western Left which first needs to radicalise itself and then take concrete actions in order to ensure that drastic change takes place in our societies, economies and political landscape once we are over this crises.
On a lighter note, due to Covid-19, pollution is somewhat reduced, provocative NATO war games are cancelled, criminal casino stock markets are down and there is a French guy who ran an entire marathon length of 42.2km on his 7m wide balcony. So no, it’s not all bad!
“Daaaaaddy!” – little one shouted while storming into my room. “I am ready for the summer! Look at my wonderful shorts! And my sandals! Aren’t they perfect for the beach?”
“Absolutely amazing!” – I have put as much confidence into my prompt reply as I possibly could, knowing very well that chances to get to the seaside this year are levitating exactly around zero percent.
“Oh wow, daddy! Look – the sea!” – she said while pointing her little finger at the bed covered with blue bed sheets.
“Yes! Let’s go for a swim!”
We dived into the deep blue stretching our arms as far as we could. She is a great swimmer, I thought while keeping up with her strokes. We swam towards sunset on the horizon. Just above the blue pillows in front of us, a small bedside lamp fulfilled its role perfectly!