. . . or perhaps it is doom to the naysayers.
Trying to keep the students in the pod engaged with learning this week, we did a general knowledge quiz on the “Kahoot” website. The eclectic collection of questions included, “According to The Times in 1890, by 1950 the streets of London would be under nine feet of what?
There was laughter when one of the answers that appeared on the screen was “horse poo.” The laughter was even greater when that was revealed to be the correct answer.
The doomsayers of late Victorian times could not see that their vision of the world was limited, that human ingenuity would bring unimaginable changes that made the prophecies of doom seem the ramblings of myopic people. (Given the revolutionary technological changes of the Nineteenth Century, it is surprising that there was not a greater confidence in the possibility that crises might be averted).
Human beings have an extraordinary capacity to deal with crises, to deal with the unexpected and to continue with progress that was no more than interrupted.
Read the history of Germany after 1945, it is a story of a country that was devastated, a country whose cities lay in ruins and whose industries had been destroyed. A generation later, the German industries had left their British counterparts in theIr wake.
Fifty years later, the genocide in Rwanda had erased all progress that had been made in the small African country. A generation after the genocide, Rwanda has made huge progress. Don’t believe me, look at Rwanda’s assessment by Transparency International and compare it with others around and even with that of some countries in Europe. When the European Union this week published a list of fourteen countries in the world from which it would accept visitors without quarantine, Rwanda was on that very short list.
Diverse countries in diverse corners of the world have demonstrated that human resilience is sufficient for people to triumph over every adversity.
Driving south on the M5 motorway just after seven o’clock this morning, the first indicator of an indomitable spirit was easy to see: a heavily laden car, with a canoe on the roof, pulling a caravan. The sites in Devon and Cornwall presumably reopen at midnight.
Covid-19 does not spell the doom of the ways of life we have known, it is no more than a brief interruption. The naysayers of progress will find that they have been as wrong as those who believed London would be submerged in horse manure