God willing you will be breathing your first breath in little more than a month’s time. It has been a strange wait, to be honest. While we got ready to greet you, the world started to change in ways that we had never seen before. We’ve lost count of the weeks spent quarantined at home getting your crib done.
I’d like to give you a heads’ up about what awaits for you. Don’t think of it as advice but rather as a sharing of knowledge that might help you understand what is going on. Humanity has been through one huge shock. Nothing, they keep telling us, will ever be the same after all this.
The change will not come on its own. We should be the ones taking decisions to form a better world once all this is over. A world which you would be happy to live in. This is where I owe you an apology. We are failing… miserably.
Tragic circumstances that should have brought humanity together have instead brought out an ugly side of mankind. The world that had a hundred and one lessons to learn from its past, chose to ignore them. Every. Single. One.
Your parents both work for the European project. Our living depends on it, but we also happen to be strong believers in a united Europe and its immense potential. But, right now, your parents are angry.
We are angry that the different parts of the project refuse to participate in the idea of togetherness and instead choose to emphasise their differences and go it alone. I have no explanation for this inability to see the potential of working together.
When I see our leaders blindly succumbing to the waves of populism I despair in the name of your generation. We are failing our forefathers and their idea of a common accord to work for a better world. We are now also failing you because we choose to put your future in danger.
Whether it is in fighting a virus or solving the problem of immigration or safeguarding social and economic livelihood, our leaders fail to realise that the bet they are taking on a fragmented Europe will be lost and the bill will fall at your generations’ feet.
We are blessed to live in a country like Luxembourg that seems to operate with a modicum of logic. The news from your parents’ home nations is not so good. Your mum’s country was literally brought to its knees by the pandemic. It will find it hard to resist the siren calls of the right to shut down within itself and shun the rest of the world.
Your dad’s country does not cease to shame him. Here too we are losing the war. There is no place for reason or logic and I am not sure whether we understand the value of human life anymore. Sure, the pandemic has been reduced to a daily run-through of statistics. Numbers more than anything behind which hide human faces.
Death is weighted. It seems that it does not count much if the COVID victim was old or had “underlying conditions”. We are not so much concerned about those dying but, rather, that we will not become a number ourselves.
Life, human life, is relatively valuable in this new world you see. We have world leaders telling their population to ‘brace themselves for many deaths’. The compassion that we have for the ‘frontliners’ is probably a subdued form of recognition that we might one day be needing them ourselves so might as well encourage them to keep going.
We have learnt fleetingly the value of many workers who had hitherto been invisible in society. I say fleetingly because it is clear that ‘once this is over’ we will go on adoring the golden calf and forget that for a moment – only for a moment – we understood the indispensable, invaluable, immeasurable greatness of man.
Last week, my country’s government chose to let people die at sea. There is no other way to say this. Apparently, there is a set of invisible scales that says that either we let people die at sea or we weaken the battle against the virus.
Do you understand now? Lives are nothing more than numbers. Insipid calculations that lead to cold misguided decisions. Yes, we have failed.
I do not consider myself a practising Catholic but I have always lived my life according to the basic precept of ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’. I find that it underlies even the legal and social structures of a good society.
Unfortunately, our government has chosen to pit neighbour against neighbour. It insulted the workers on the frontline by using them as an excuse to justify its part in murder. It attacked the NGO Samaritans out there who are busy filling the gaps of the failure of project Europe and disseminated false information about their work in a disgusting attempt to clean its conscience.
This government, like many others on the continent, chose to continue to negate the European project and preferred to reaffirm its will to abuse its greatest weakness – the lack of solidarity of this generation of States. It chose to kick all international conventions in the face and strip itself of any remnant humanity.
You see, my child, we are failing you at every step. We are too busy rushing headlong into a society run by evil without attributing any value to the quality of human life.
We will fly flags in your face of fabricated and empty patriotism. We will chant the mantra that should have been laid to rest decades ago. We will do anything to stop being human.
I’d love to be able to say otherwise but the future is looking bleak.