The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

TMID Editorial: Coronavirus – A lesson in sacrifice

Saturday, 4 April 2020, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

World War II came to an end 75 years ago and few people who lived through it are still alive. They are now in their late 80s or 90s, and many of them will remember the hardships of the conflict and what it meant to have to sacrifice so much – be it loved ones who died or were injured, loss of personal possessions, curfews and homes kept in the dark so as to avoid making an easier target for the enemies, and shortage of essential items.

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Once the adversities of that terrible period were over, the people who survived gradually rebuilt their lives. As a country, Malta progressively charged ahead; the following decades were not without their problems, but generally speaking the standard of living improved, and in their great majority the Maltese learnt to live well. Lifestyles differ from person to person, according to one’s preferences, but on the whole we could not really complain.

Then Coronavirus came, and things changed. Very rapidly, one may add.

What was taken for granted was suddenly taken away from us. Our freedoms have been, temporarily, frozen as the country battles against an invisible enemy which has created so much distress and altered our way of life. And we do not know when this will be over.

We have all been hard hit, including the 80- and 90-year-olds who have been told to stay at home, and are now even deprived of a visit from their children and grandchildren, fearful as the situation is that they could contract the disease and, being more vulnerable, run bigger risks of complications and possibly death.

Most of the younger people have been brought up in a world where they have everything they want, much more than they need. What for other generations were luxuries are today items that everyone has. Added to this, the great progress of technology over the past years has meant an endless list of gadgets which are quickly discarded once a more modern device is invented, rendering the previous one obsolete barely months after its invention.

Given the age gap and different experiences, it is perhaps harder for the younger ones to accept that sacrifices need to be made. It is not easy, for them, to understand that for a time they must give up what they had become used to as being normal, and instead lead an altered lifestyle – for some time, until all this is over.

The silver lining from all this is that when the Coronavirus scourge is beaten – we do not know when, but it will happen – many of us will hopefully no longer take everything for granted. Going to a restaurant, for example, had become natural for many of us, as was a trip abroad, maybe more than once a year for those who could afford it. Now that these pleasures of life have been momentarily taken away from us, we will learn to appreciate them more when we will be allowed to resume our life as we knew it.

As for the younger generations, this experience will serve as an eye-opener. They ought to learn that what they have today can be taken away from them so easily.

Unlike World War II, bombs are not raining down on our homes, but what we are experiencing today will similarly change the face of the world and our outlook towards life.

It is a wake-up call we must all listen to.

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