The Covid pandemic and its consequences for public and private life have been talked and written about endlessly in the past year, from a great many different perspectives and views.
IISH and The World
The IISH, like many other scientific institutes, has been closed down by current government measures as a result of the coronavirus. This closure in no way means that its staff like researchers and collection curators – stand idly by. This current crisis encourages reflection on themes in which the IISH as an institute is closely engaged, such as social inequality and labour relations both locally and globally, the role of civil society, but also changes in world views before and after the corona crisis.
IISH and The World
When I walk in, Natalia is sitting at the kitchen table in her daughter’s flat in Rotterdam, frantically writing. While Polina brings me tea and biscuits, her mother practices a poem she wrote in honour of the ‘Night of the Executed Poets’.
But it seems you do not realize, Meneer Pangemanann, that your report is not for the general public. Only a very few people in the Indies and in the world have read and studied it … You will never know, and indeed do not need to know, who else has read it.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer, House of Glass (New York, 1992), p. 24.
The Black Lives Matter protests in the United States resonate strongly throughout the world. Not only in Europe, but also in Seoul, Monrovia, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and even in war-torn Idlib in Syria, where a mural honouring George Floyd has been painted. But the protests have also generated opposition. Critics of the protests often point at other forms of racism, for example in Asia and Africa, asking ‘what about racism in other parts of the world?’ Although in itself a legitimate question, it is used as a rhetorical strategy to trivialize widespread institutional racism against people of colour, especially pertaining to descendants of enslaved Africans in the Atlantic world.
“One fateful night in the summer of 1918, with the Great War about to end, in the heart of the darkness three menacing horsemen each in possession of a whip and sword silently breached the walls and entered the town. One was called Famine, another Spanish Influenza and the other Cholera. The poor, the old and the young fell like autumn leaves ravaged by the assaults of these ruthless horsemen.”
The COVID-19 crisis mercilessly exposes the fault line between the employed and the self-employed in today’s Dutch society. The closure of bars, restaurants, and clubs, the restrictions on the work of hair and beauty professionals, and the cancellation of mass events have a direct impact on the livelihood of entrepreneurs and the self-employed, while, for the time being, most salaried workers continue to receive their wages regardless of whether they can continue carrying out their tasks or not.
Comparing Covid-19 and the Spanish Flu: Not so much the ‘Great Leveler’ but particularly hitting the poor, by Ulbe Bosma
“The Coronavirus pandemic will cause famine of biblical proportions”, the UN warned on Tuesday 21 April. It immediately made a headline in The Guardian and other media followed suit. The COVID-19 epidemic not only has grave consequences for societies with fragile health care systems, for many countries it comes after locust swarms have battered their crops.