The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coranavirus that originated from China as a “global pandemic.” It has once again been proven that one of the evils brought by globalization is the ability to spread local outbreaks across the world at break-neck speeds. Of course, this is just one of the outbreaks we have witnessed since the the dawn of human history. It is already known that pandemics started to emerge with the transition of humans from hunter and gatherer communities to an agricultural civilization, and thus with the establishment of cities. Another difference of the outbreaks we are exposed to today is related to how fast they spread globally.
I was recently reading a book titled “Hittites /An Unknown World Empire” authored by by Birgit Brandau and Hartmut Schickert. It turns out that one of the oldest outbreaks in Anatolia occurred about 3,300 years ago. In this book, I learned that the decades-long epidemic ended in disaster. The Hittite King II, who lost his grandfather who was a king and his brother who was a king in this epidemic. He even wrote the prayers he made with Murşili. The inscription known as "Plague Prayers of Murşili" contained the following statements:
“And my father died ... The princes, majors, commanders and officers who were with my father died because of this. That's why the people of Hattusa started to die and the country of Hattusa was thrown into disaster.”
The Hittites were in the grip of a grave epidemic that claimed more lives than wars that lasted over 20 years. II. He pointed out that the Murşili epidemic started spreading in the capital Hattusa with the arrival of soldiers captured in the war with Egypt in Syria and spread rapidly throughout the country. On the other hand, we should know that the outbreaks of modern times are closely related to the destruction of ecosystems at the hands of mankind. We should also keep in mind that a butterfly flapping its wings at one part of the world can lead to a dramatic ecological changes at another end of the globe.
It is said that the plague epidemic, which once brought Rome to the brink of destruction, gained momentum with the famous Roman roads that were symbols of the empire’s might. The saying "All roads lead to Rome" is in reference to this. The roads that connected the empire from the Italian peninsula beyond Northern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean carried the plague back to Rome. The history of humanity is also rife with outbreaks. Outbreaks are coming and going, but humanity still exists, it will continue until Resurrection Day.
The nature of the current pandemic is unknown. Tests and investigations are ongoing. We will learn more about this virus in the coming days. Of course, scientists are not standing idly by. Science and outbreaks are literally playing a game of musical chairs. Just as humanity has coped with previous outbreaks, it will resist this outbreak without panic. Once the uncertainty surrounding the virus dissipates, the outbreak will recede and life will go back to normal. As with any outbreak, there are many lessons to be drawn from this one.
China was the epicenter of this outbreak. Now Western Europe has become the hotspot. U.S .President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency and all countries are on high alert. Meanwhile, many conspiracy theories have been circulating like widlfire. Uncertainty, conspiracy theories and distrust are natural allies of mass hysteria. The power struggle between China and the U.S. and the mutual distrust manifested in the aftermath has negatively impcated the fight against the pandemic. The delay in sharing information and data helped the outbreak spread worldwide. Maybe it would have been possible to stop the outbreak at its source if this delay had not been experienced. Unfortunately, this could not be done.
At this point, the global pandemic has become a multi-faceted national security threat for every country. Not only governments, but also individuals and families, we must engage in the fight against the pandemic without panic. In such cases, the risk for the peoples across the world is the same. Therefore, we must make extreme measures to protect ourselves, our families as well as our neighbors and other peoples. We must not forget, for a moment, that our personal health safety is closely linked to that of others.