How to describe 2020 – Tenacious?

The past five months of the year 2020 have been completely grave, somber and macabre, yet the word ‘tenacious’ comes to mind….

Where is the sunrise each day when foremost in my mind is the devastation and death caused by the the dreaded COVID-19, the destruction of life and property due to floods in Bangladesh, the massacre of innocent babies and their mothers in Kabul, and the sheer loss of life due to the plane crash in Pakistan. I use the word tenacious because words with negative connotations like sad, sorrowful, gloomy and heartbreaking have been used and re-used so much that diminishing marginal utility has seeped in, rendering their essence and impact diluted. Also, the word tenacious seems more apt as it contains a sliver of hope hidden somewhere in its deep crevices. After all, there are still seven months of this not-so-welcome-anymore 2020 remaining! The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the world in which we live: the old and vulnerable dropping off like flies, countries in an unprecedented and never-seen-before shut-down mode, social distancing forcing us to give up on the chemical rush of oxytocin which only a tight, warm hug can release, but most of all, the sheer unpredictability of the coming tomorrow!

As social animals who thrive on human interactions, the biggest change we have had to adapt to is a new virtual mode of communicating with friends, family and colleagues. A deluge of pictures and videos of Zoom concerts, birthdays and happy moments are doing the rounds on social media helping us stay connected with our people. Along with these social connectives, there is also an endless discussion on how mankind has a chance of emerging fresh, rebooted and reset like a new born child post this COVID world. Being the strong idealist that I am, I would like to be optimistic, and hope that we will re-emerge in the world with greed, jealousy, arrogance, gluttony and lust all purged from our souls, ready to go back to our lives, now with love, equality, generosity, compassion and humility as our new best friends.

But all good things usually exist in an Utopian world, while we are living more on the edge of Dystopia where idealistic perfection barely exists. Let us take the example of the footage on TV of people pushing and shoving in supermarkets with no consideration for others, reminding us that greed and gluttony still breed within us! Endless monologues on social media about ones personal achievements peppered with an abundant use of ‘me’ and ‘I’ shows the rampant existence of arrogance! But worst of all, still finding shocking news of sexual harassment and rape in the daily newspapers just below the COVID-19 worldwide numbers screams at us that lust is going nowhere!

So is there a lesson for us behind all these disasters, or are they just a few rocky miles we encounter whilst on our journey in this world? In Biblical and Quranic history, we have read many stories of how calamities and disasters were rained  down when mankind brought itself to the edge of destruction. Post these calamities, humanity was reborn into a new world order with pure, unstained hearts after burying the seven deadly sins deep in the ground. I would like to be optimistic and hope that the tragedies of the past few months will propel us to search within ourselves and bring forth the white and unstained part of our souls. And that this collective goodness will have the power to steer the course of the next seven months of 2020, leading it towards calmness, peace and happiness!

So let us look for the silver lining in the word ‘tenacious’, and persistently cling to the hope of a better tomorrow. But for that, we need to bury our deadly sins in order to emerge clean and pure from these difficult times, ready to help the world heal. And let us look forward to a time when we can hug our special ones, hold hands as a gesture of love and come together in a full circle!