Social distancing wasn’t a thing back in January. I remember late night adda with my friends. We sat close, smoked cigarettes and drank tea made with condensed milk- served in dirty cups.
“I refuse to call it anthropocene since that implies humanity as a whole is responsible for this. No. Thats some malthusian eco fascist bullshit. Capitalocene, a mass extinction event! And this is why, this is why I screamed against authoritarianism, classism and capitalism. Just so this would not happen” I spoke passionately. “The left knew when apocalypse comes these fragile houses of cards will collapse on our head, but now, it’s here.”
“We’ve done our best, you and I. It’s here and in the next couple months. We’ll do things we can’t ever speak off. We’ll do them to survive”, my voice lowers into a sigh.
“Sins from our collective evil. We’ll carry these voices with us, to our graves”
I had so much energy at the start. As Pohela Boishakh came and went I kept my energy up and wrote about class solidarity. I was ready. Like a veteran of a zombie apocalypse, I was ready.
I was active. Discussing policies, working as a watchdog, taking actions to help the underprivileged, feeding stray animals, talking to artists, mental health aid, reading-learning things and re-energising myself. But for us as a collective, at some point when facing overwhelming hunger, everything becomes useless. Every action starts to get plagued by filibuster. We the citizenry, we talk and talk, and by the time one conversation ends the crisis has already mutated into something entirely new. But then again, we the general populace was never equipped to do anything from the start. We are not entities like corporations, institutions, organisations or governments. We’re not streamlined, specialised. There’s no ranking when it comes to our voices (There should be).
But our greatest disqualifier is the fact that we are humans. And that is a fatal flaw. It means we’re divided. Divided among lines of gender, faith and worse- class.
That’s the worst kind of social cancer, Classism. It effects me and my peers in ways we can’t detect. Like the virus itself. We walk around infected in classism. Spreading it. Never realising, until it’s too late.
My peers and I; We don’t represent the poor. Some of us might have had a poor father or grandfather, but that’s a distant memory. The only way we can relate to the poor now is by sight. We don’t understand the poor. We see the poor as statistics, as photographs and as news articles. Worst of all, we think we’re better than the poor. We think our education makes us unequal to the poor. Like divine birthright. We think we are more suited to decide for the poor, represent the poor, save the poor. They’re not our equals, heavens no!
The poor- like stray kittens off the streets. A novelty, a hobby. Something to feel good about ourselves with.
It’s a very difficult thing to unlearn.
That’s why when we propose universal health care/education there’s a huge opposition. Opposition that says, “If we can afford better we should get better.” This statement isn’t from a desire to get better treatment/education. This is from the subconscious desire to not be in the same group as the poor. Some sense of misguided self validation that practically says, “I might not be with the rich, but hey! At Least I’m not with the poor.”
Middle class pride. Useless stuff.