Today, people in Malta, locals and foreign, went on their balconies to salute and applaud the people in the medical profession for their work so far and also to encourage them for what’s next. Yes. What’s next. But who knows what’s next? As I joined my neighbours in this show of solidarity, I admit. I shed a tear.
By the way things are evolving, the patterns are similar to other countries. We tend think we’re immune to what happens abroad, we tend to believe that it will not touch our friends, and then when it happens we hope it will not touch our families, us.
At the moment the sentiment is of hope, concern and anxiety amongst all. The drama unfolding in Italy doesn’t help. But when one sees the numbers in Italy, which are huge, and also what is going on in all of our neighbouring countries, one can realise that we’re not immune.
The anxiety goes into many levels. First the health, as we’re talking of a health issue. But then there’s economy, and if economy might be too abstract, this can easily be translated to jobs and the longevity of one’s business and the livelihood of those who work within that organisation. The impact on one’s quality of life, the way this will impact ones commitments. We’ve had it good for quite some time and perhaps we had it too good. The sentiment propelled people to grow and work more.
Let’s dispel the notion that business people are greedy. The work and provide work, which is translated in the livelihood of many families. Many businesses are small in their size, small in terms of number, but big in terms of output. Most of the money earned is re-invested in their people or equipment or services to ensure that things can go on…
These concerns, the business concerns, the concerns about our families, the concerns about our parents, our children our friends… our everything are heavy to carry. There was unity, we felt like one. The sense of togetherness was not only a sense of appreciation towards who is on the frontline, but also because at this time we also feel to be less alone.
As I read, prepare, digest, write and communicate news on the matter, as I’ve been now for the past three months, things start to seep through.
First I was writing about distant China, then it hit me, like most of other Maltese when it hit Italy. The drama in Italy saddened me, like others, while increasing the level of anxiety about when this will hit our island.
The first news were about foreigners who got it… then it was the first Maltese…eventually how things are evolving, we’ll soon be speaking about our relatives and ourselves, our colleagues and our friends.
We might have to report worse news, and we’ll keep referring to ‘numbers’ out of respect to the individuals. But every number is a person, a family, a human being…
We need to be prepared to having to deal with something ‘unprecedented’. It’s like we’re waiting for a Tsunami but we don’t have anywhere to shelter ourselves.
This is not a media frenzy. We don’t like to report stuff like this.
We in this field are not on the frontline like the many dedicated workers in the medical profession and healthcare profession who carry tests, cure people, assist doctors and whoever is engaged in this ‘war’.
We observe, report and in the process we feel helpless… We might feel even more.
This is not another story. This is a reality, which is too big to determine, understand and see the end.
These are not normal times.
Earlier today, I paused… and said the words of our own national anthem, which is a prayer… and which at this junction in our history gains new meanings…
As such, here’s my prayer
Lil din l-art ħelwa, l-Omm li tatna isimha,
Ħares, Mulej, kif dejjem Int ħarist:
Ftakar li lilha bil-oħla dawl libbist.
Agħti, kbir Alla, id-dehen lil min jaħkimha,
Rodd il-ħniena lis-sid, saħħa ‘l-ħaddiem:
Seddaq il-għaqda fil-Maltin u s-sliem.
(Translates Rene Micallef):
Guard, Lord, forever, as you’ve done erst and ceasing never,
This land whose name we received, our motherly-named Mother.
Her you have draped with a light whose grace exceeds all other.
On those who govern, sovereign God, bestow understanding,
Grant wellness to those who work, largesse to those employing,
Make firm, make just all our bonds, the peace we are enjoying