C.N., 21, a poet in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo

It’s general panic, an amount of fear, fear became paranoia, and paranoia turned into psychosis, we talk about it because during the 65 years that separates us from the second world war, the biggest event that shook the world whole, the fundamental spirit of humanity has been overturned, humanity has lost hope and all hope for the future. It was no longer about living or dying, it was about surviving.
The black plague in the 14th century killed 60 percent of the European population, this plague just like the covid-19 killed without any discrimination, the artists, the scientists, the thinkers, they were few but precious, and they disappeared without no form of trial. This plague upset the social order and humanity plunged into ignorance for a century and a half but we had not seen anything chaotic and Machiavellian until then, hysteria, cruelty, savagery dominated the world.
There were people who wanted to use this crisis and seize what does not belong to them, these are barbarians who were ready for anything, and wanted to bring the world back to the dark ages, we have almost seen similar thing with our leaders.

Those who survived first secured the future of society and preserved the values ​​that humanity has always held. It was the frustrating, frightening and trembling reign of the Black Death.
Covid-19 claimed the same chaos in its infancy, sowed fear and burned tears. During these sad times, when fear invaded the whole of Europe, America, the Middle East and China, Africa was invaded by the bitterest fear that could be, and was preparing for an outbreak of unprecedented case, the whole world and all humanly organized organizations feared this scourge, and expected the most despicable disaster for Africa.
My country, the Congo was not spared, rather this country was the target of the anger of the pandemic within the continent, according to the gaze of the surrounding world.
Without further delay this universal evil was thus transported by beings whose nature smiled at the pleasure of transcontinental journeys. They were tourists and international diplomats of good taste at the start, with a rather sorry smile bringing with them the worst scourge that the world can know since the second world war.

The most serious measures were thus proclaimed, to the benefit of health and to the detriment of the national economy.
You should have thought that starvation was going to kill more than the disease, the people behaved like cats in the face of containment measures, anxiety between starvation and disease, we could say that the restrictions had the bad luck to be violated as much as we could.
It was a good episode of the cat and the mouse, the disease was for us a zealous cat, it was between flight and prey, in an environment painted with disappointments in front of life, sadness, and stresses of all kinds .
The police and civilians had a good laugh! Attracting boredom and profit, rather the family ration of our dear police officers increases with containment measures, each time he meets a guilty outlaw on his way. But ironically, the opposite was also seen, however, as it was the policeman’s turn to forget his muffler, brave people, women, children as well as men, grabbed them and also pocketed the fine! It was an unprecedented theater! Of the fine which was perceived in one of the forms of corruptions which invade the medium, by “cooperation” or “silent interview”.

When tighter confinements of neighborhoods or communes were envisaged, ironically, everyone left their habitat to go and see if everyone was well confined to their home !!! And other parts of the chairs and armchairs were installed in the streets, seated by old men with beards desperate in appreciable distances who claimed to live a kind of civilization where contemplating nature becomes a remedy and a vaccine, this practice then made laugh health workers and journalists who were allowed to circulate.
The impact of the upheaval in my future was very crucial since it was confused with the deepest despair. This is all the more frightening since a plague in times of war, or if I do not yet know what the end will look like, with the educational life of my milieu, a white year but scary, and the frustration is surely excruciating . How I lived in anguish and misery during the Ebola epidemic in 2013 which shook my society and making fun of the fate when only one feels tired of living!
Projects that disappear over time, opportunities that become more and more nonexistent, and opportunities that drown in a sea that brings with it the forgetfulness of all good memories of time. Remorse goes over my eyes and tears crown it all. A whole stream of tears runs down my chest, the ink empties and becomes scarce, sleep becomes the panacea sought after under depression.
I feel a kind of betrayal, in new contexts, a feeling of injustice; if I understand the exceptional nature of the situation, it still leaves me with a bitter taste. And the impression of seeing my ambitions sacrificed. The fear is immense, the future seems completely unpredictable to me.

Demotivated, and full of feelings of anxiety, sadness and this uncertainty of the future invade my mind. I still do not understand why his feelings are normal, but there is not in spite of personal efforts that I can take initiatives to simply give it up. Time will tell.
I prefer to remain uninformed with the ultimate goal of trying to minimize the risk of falling into a deep depression. Uncertainty about the future, my own feelings, the media that alarms me and this behavior of feeling weird is getting out of hand.
My entourage is just like me also in agony, demotivated, anxious, sad, and this uncertainty of the future invades their minds. Nature has avenged herself against humanity, you would have thought that it requires care and recognition as such.
This pandemic has restored a little moral in society, educated those who wanted it in self-discipline that had to be administered each time we wanted to stay organized and structured during these long days that had l ‘infinite air once started, time has been split.
The government has faced its own challenges buried in its roots, unwittingly ashamed of itself, and has lost the confidence of the people at a time when it should strengthen it.
I hated politics and everything in it, its people and its systems, I appealed to the practice of the arts and spirituality. And that’s how I saved my skin from so much stress.

[submitted on 7/11/2020]

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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