Community |

The Rise of Empathy, The Good Sense of Community

COMMUNITY | 17 April 2020

The global spread of coronavirus disease might put the world into horror films when people are afraid to even go outside, but there is a silver lining and it's the empathy of collective acts to help each other during the devastating period. Photo by Phinehas Adams on Unsplash/NOW!JAKARTA

Before this Covid-19 pandemic happens, one might not even be familiar with the neighbour living beside their door, especially for anyone who lives in the city that likes to keep themselves private, barely know a bit about their surroundings. The virus is still considered the most contagious threat that causes the world community in sorrow making the horror movie Pandemic and Outbreak in real life but the film might get it wrong, as Guardian wrote, this pandemic turns us to be more caring neighbours.

Many people might recognise how residents in Wuhan, China and the community in the City of Bergamo come out from the balcony of their apartment, shouting each out and singing along to cope with the situation during the lockdown. This virus can keep us, human in distance but not our heart, realising how beautiful the sense of empathy and humanity during these dire times. If so, our sensitivity to the community has been tested during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

If there is a bad pandemic, there's also a “good pandemic” where the sense of collective action spreads to any human being across the border, building solidarity that might we have never seen before. Recently, the Muslim residents of Berlin heard the call of prayer (azan) for the first time to show the solidarity during the Easter celebration hen the Muslim community out there only will hear Azan during big festivities. While the churches also rang the bell to show the same energy during the quietest Good Friday in the second week of April.

As each human in a different corner of the world is feeling closer through the power of social media, this positive action has inspired others, signaling a good sense of community nationwide.

As the number of infections has been rising in New York City, USA, it’s almost difficult for certain demographics to do their self-care for daily needs until young people contribute themselves to help senior citizens do their grocery shopping. And who would have thought that your fiance is greeted ‘Happy Birthday’ by the almost entire residents from the window’s apartment? In the UK, thousands of communities in aid groups have been picking up shopping and prescriptions, installing digital equipment for elderly people.

In India, Argentina, and Iraq, as the developing nations, the food donations are collected to be distributed to families and individuals who are considered the most vulnerable. Also in India, the ingenious kids got creative by installing homemade hardware to avoid people getting exposed by the virus when they have to press the button floor in the apartment. AS many health workers including doctors and nurses work 2 hours handling theCovid-19 patients at the hospitals, students at Prague, Czech Republic, offer the help to take care and babysit children for the health personnel.

Taxi drivers in Rome, Italy provide free service to doctors and nurses who have to work everyday, battling with the nonstop shift to be able to have secure mobilisation during a pandemic. In Syria, barbers have been volunteering themselves to do a haircut for many people while teachers in the Philippines are organising free reading sessions for many kids in the archipelago nation. In Paris, some public spaces are transformed to be a shelter for the homeless to protect them from getting a transmission of the virus.

In Indonesia, female tailors, housewife, and independent designers make reusable masks to be delivered free to people who need it in their surroundings. While people donate the masks for ride-hailing drivers who deliver food to their house daily to make sure protection to those communities. Recently, people in  Sulawesi cheered up their neighbour who tested positive for Covid-19, shouting “Semangat! Semangat!” to their neighbour who has to be ongoing treatment in the hospital. Those are just some sparks of kindness that can be seen during the crisis in Indonesia that is now also struggling to curb the spread of the virus that has been exposing other island provinces in the archipelago.

Worldwide artists, comedians, and dancers are united to entertain many people who have forced themselves to stay at home, organising special content to invite people to sing, dance, and laugh for a moment to release the stress during self-isolation.

One might just realise that we have so much in common. Noting the book Free, Fair and Alive by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, defined the commons as “a social form that enables people to enjoy freedom without repressing others, enact fairness without bureaucratic control … and assert sovereignty without nationalism”. We only can hope that this resurgence of collective action will sustain and survive after this pandemic ends.

 

We are better, together as one!