Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing, quarantine, or isolation.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I’ve been thinking and talking with colleagues quite a bit about the situation with the corona virus in the world. There is much to say.
First, I want to note that I am not minimizing the threat of COVID-19. However, I think that talk of it, and concentration on it, has become excessive and obsessive, this to the exclusion of other issues that, in my view, we must work on. Also, I fear that there is a great deal of talk and little or no action. That concerns me greatly, as so much talk will not get us far. I will make some suggestions for action later in this letter.
The person I will be describing is fictionalized for ethical reasons. He and his family are a combination of people whom I have known over the years. The situations that I describe are very real, though.
During the last few months, the situation for migrants in southern Europe has gotten worse and worse. More are coming. Governments are treating them like criminals rather than people fleeing from war and poverty. In Croatia, the president has admitted that she has instructed the police to ignore international rules, and so the police are acting violently at the borders to push them back. We continually are hearing of serious injuries. Furthermore, the conditions within the official camps are getting worse, and ngos are not being permitted to enter them, particularly to give psychological assistance. People who assist migrants also are being treated as criminals. What we are seeing and hearing is that migrants are harming themselves, attempting and committing suicide, and committing acts of violence in greater and greater numbers. This is hardly surprising considering that they cannot move further, nor can they return to their regions of origin. They also are ashamed to go home, as their families expected them to succeed and to bring them out of the horrors of what they have experienced.