**5 min read**
A letter to humanity ….
I received on my phone a beautiful video in Italian. It is unique — a letter to humanity. In the name of the coronavirus.
Among the millions of messages and reports and advisories written about COVID-19 to date, this is the most beautiful. Even the anonymous author reflects the spirit of the video. As noted at the beginning: “The author of this video is such a beautiful person that he did not even consider taking credit, with the intent not to celebrate himself”.
Yet for me, as beautiful as it is, it has a single shortcoming. It needs an additional emphasis: Our responsibility towards our beautiful planet with all its millions of species.
Humanity as stewards of Earth.
There is nothing, nothing at all, that can justify our species being favoured over the millions of others that make our planet the beautiful place that many of us treasure. Nothing that can justify our domination of Nature. We have done nothing for the species around us except wrought destruction upon the ecosystems on which we all depend.
We are NOT an exceptional species. We have no special rights.
I wish such a message was part of this extraordinary letter. But let it nevertheless inspire us today — and even more so when we all at last emerge from this dreamtime, from this transformative moment in the history of our species.
Message to humanity - by an author who wishes to remain anonymous
“I’ve been thinking a lot these days, trying to make sense to all of this.
Because there must be sense in this absurd situation in which we are forced to live.
I imagined if the virus could speak, and I imagined what it would say through a letter if it could do it.
And these are the words that I managed to put on a piece of paper.
‘Hello, I am COVID-19. Many of you will know me simply as coronavirus. And yes, it’s me. Sorry for the short notice but it is not known when I will arrive, in which form and force I will present myself to you.
Why am I here?
OK, let’s say I am here because I was tired of seeing you regress instead of evolving. I was tired of seeing you constantly ruining everything with your hands.
I was tired of how you treat this planet.
I was tired of how you treat each other.
I was tired of your abuses, your violence, your wars, of your interpersonal conflicts and your prejudices.
I was tired of your social envy, your greed, your hypocrisy, your selfishness.
I was tired of the little time you dedicate to yourselves and to your families.
I was tired of the little attention that you very often give to your children.
I was tired of your superficiality.
I was tired of the importance you often give to superfluous things to the detriment of the essential ones.
I was tired of your obsessive and frantic search of the most beautiful dress, or the last smartphone model and the most beautiful car, just to feel fulfilled.
I was tired of your betrayals.
I was tired of your disinformation.
I was very tired of your constant complaints when you do nothing to improve your lives.
I was tired of seeing you arguing and fighting for trivial reasons.
I was tired of the constant brawls between those who govern, and the wrong choices made by those people who should represent you.
I was tired of seeing people insulting and killing themselves for a football game.
I know I’ll be hard on you … maybe too much.
But I don’t look anyone in the eyes.
I am a virus ….
My actions will cost you lives.
But I wanted you to understand once and for all that you have to change course, for your own good.
The message I want to give you is simple:
I wanted to highlight all the limits of the society in which you live, because you can eliminate them.
I wanted to stop everything on purpose, so that you understand that from now on the only important thing to which you will have to direct all of your energies, is simply this:
Yours and that of your children, and doing all that is necessary to protect it, treat it with affection and share it with others.
I wanted as much as possible to lock you up in isolation in your homes, far away from your parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren, for you to understand how important a hug is, the human touch, a dialogue, a handshake, an evening with friends, a walk downtown, a dinner in some restaurant or jogging in the open air.
From these gestures, it must start all over again.
You are all the same. Don’t make differences between yourselves.
I’ve showed you that distances don’t exist.
I’ve travelled kilometers and kilometers in no time, and without you noticing it.
I am passing by, but the feelings of proximity and collaboration I’ve created among you in a very short time will have to last forever.
Live your lives as simply as possible.
Do good because the good will always come back to you with interest.
Do what you like and what fills you up. And create the conditions for not having to depend on anything else.
When you start celebrating, I will have just left. But remember, do not try to be better people only in my presence.
Zenda Ofir is an independent South African evaluator at present based near Geneva. She works primarily in Africa and Asia, and advises organisations around the world. She is a former AfrEA President, IOCE and IDEAS Vice-President, AEA Board member, Honorary Professor at Stellenbosch University, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, and at present Interim Council Chair of the new International Evaluation Academy.