“In the Beginning was the Word”: Why COVID-19 Renders Words even more Powerful
By Prof. Azza Karam
From Inter Press Service
March 25, 2020
This global pandemic has completely changed life as we know it. It has affected the way we connect and communicate as we maintain social distancing from our loved ones and communities. The overwhelming constant stream of headlines and news we engage with can leave us feeling defeated.
Prof. Azza Karam, Secretary General of Religions for Peace International, shares how important it is especially at this time to pay attention to our use of words. Words are a powerful tool that can heal and comfort. In his piece, he encourages us to use words of love, compassion, and mercy with ourselves and those around us. --Atsuko Mochizuki
NEW YORK, Mar 25 2020 (IPS) - I was able to take office as the secretary general to the largest global interfaith organization – Religions for Peace – with interreligious councils (IRCs) composed of senior-most religious leaders representing their religious institutions, in 90 countries, and 6 regional IRCs, a week before we had to ask all employees to work from home, in compliance with New York State law.
As a person who feels functional with direct and open communication, where I can get a sense of the person (or persons) I am talking with, having to take leadership over an office of people I can no longer be with, feels a little like trying to run with legs tied together. It can be done, but it is tough.
And this is now the new normal, not only in the US, but everywhere in the world. For the first time in recorded human history, coming together – even within and among nuclear families – is a dangerous option, literally done at the risk of health and lives.
Thanks to more and more governmental regulations designed to ‘flatten the curve’ of a deadly and racing rate of Covid-19 infections, ‘social distancing’ is identified as the only viable option until a vaccine can be developed and given. Social distancing literally means not being in the presence of one another.