In cities, the effect of billions of humans at standstill has become evident in the Earth’s crust. Movements from everyday human activity create countless tiny vibrations in the ground. Seismometers close to or inside urban areas have registered reductions in movement.
(I want you to read this all the way before continuing with my post.)
A few days right after the government conducted yet another inhumane mass arrest in one of the most densely populated areas of migrants and refugees in the city, we were made aware of the death of a hospital security guard who was found dead and positive of Covid-19 by the roadside. It was said he attempted to walk back to his hometown over 370 km away because he had no money and no transportation of his own. A few days before, as the movement control order was loosened — mostly because to allow the ‘economy to reopen’ whatever that means — people flocked to the pawnshops presumably to pawn whatever belongings they have left. At the same time, we believe in time for Eid, we could just order everything we needed, because the ‘essential’ workers in the postal delivery service could just deliver them to us whenever we needed. The poor and the less privileged serve the frontlines, with little to no wage increase, as we merrily tap on the ‘order’ button. We call them ‘heroes’, when in many cases, it means they were put up for sacrifice.
Anne Boyer in her essay The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness said in one line: “Disease is never neutral. Treatment never not ideological. Mortality never without its politics.” As I see people posting of how the virus does not see your status or colour of your skin, I am tempted to slide into their private messages and tell them, that the virus might not discriminate, but the society does. It was exemplified in the most global city with the highest number of deaths in the world where people of colour were hit the most, but it doesn’t take that far to see the same condition happening in our very own country.
Having heard these kinds of news almost on a daily basis, our hearts are heavy. It was almost tempting to opt out of the news, but these are crucial information to know, not just for awareness and certainly not for pseudo-gratitude (“we should be grateful our lives are much better than this is”) but also essential for actions, whatever our capacity permits. So we are enraged and emboldened and we dispense fewer words of love and light and prayers, so for us with a little bit to financially give fork out whatever remaining balance in our bank accounts to mutual aid initiatives, so we order takeout food less in an attempt not to further endanger people on the frontlines delivering them to us, so we call out the callousness of our leaders, so we make a list of criteria of what kind of person to vote for next, so we make noise, so we write, so we organise.
- Our weird behaviour during the pandemic is screwing with AI models.
- Why countries with women leaders are doing better.
- Also, meet Kerala’s health minister who is taking the state out of the pandemic.
- Hong Kong is dense with a crowded subway. It has a lot of travel from China. And yet, no local cases for weeks now. The secret? Its people, not its government, and crucially, the movement that engulfed the city in 2019.
- The first mass experiment in working from home has shown that we mostly don’t need them.
- Why it’s so hard to read a book right now, explained by a neuroscientist.
- Researchers, archivists, and citizens are racing to preserve a record of how we lived and changed during this strange period of history.
- If you are familiar with the works of Rebecca Solnit, you would know that this is nothing new, but: most people are actually pretty decent.
- Another proof — and a very engaging, eye-opening read.
- “We have to think about, we have to talk about, we have to make strides toward an open future before the futurist-consultants come in with their predictive models and techno-solutionism and tell the bosses they have to sell off the world to save it.” Audrey Watters talks about how the imagined scenario created by futurists could still influence the directions of decision-making of politicians and corporations, and how this can affect the future.
- “I know is that I am being tested, and whether or not I am offered this job will depend on the appetite and mood of strangers. “Your final task,” I imagine the dean saying, “is to make a rope out of these ashes. Do it and the job is yours.”” Phew, this essay on the struggle of job hunting hits hard.
- Jeff (Bezos) is so wealthy, that it is quite literally unimaginable.
- I love writing and exchanging letters, so this story about a girl who wrote letters to her postal officers warms my heart.
- More virtual tour: Virtual tours of iconic skyscrapers.
- “In your extended absence, you permit me the use of earth.”
- Reading: I just finished Toni Morrison’s The Source of Self-Regard and Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives. I wasn’t quite ready for the last essay in Hemon’s book.
- Listening: This Radiolab episode about the Golden Record.
- Viewing: I watched The Half of It over the weekend, and oh the feels.
- Food & Drink: Made chicken rice today.