If you follow what’s going on in other countries, you see nothing but healthy scenes of unbridled panic as populations react and overreact to the threat of the coronavirus: hoarding cans of tuna fish, fighting in supermarket parking lots, and strangers insulting each other because one of them coughed.
Yet here in Luxembourg, people are acting unnaturally calm, as if there’s no reason to push over an old lady just to get the last 14 bags of pasta. You’d think that people here aren’t even paying attention to the sensationalized headlines from abroad.
It doesn’t have to be like this. We can have panic if we want it, but it requires a leader who is willing to take the necessary steps – well, one step, actually – to incite it. Tragically, such leadership is lacking.
It would literally take our prime minister 10 seconds to accomplish this, yet instead of causing a stampede at the pharmacies and runs at the bank, he’s too busy having conference calls with his ministers.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel should go on television and say, “run, and if you can’t run, then hide!” For added effect, he could make some gurgling noises.
Just yesterday, I drove to Lidl to purchase their entire stock of bleach, thinking that I might be able to sell it for 10 times the price if things get bad. While I was loading up my cart, a young, healthy guy asked if he could have a bottle. Obviously, I told him to bugger off.
Did he try to commandeer my cart or give me a punch to the eye? No. He didn’t even call me a stupid bastard or refer to my wife a dog. All he did was shrug and walk away. Is this what we’ve come to? Have we totally lost our animal instincts in favor of cold rationality?
We deserve so much more chaos than this. Other governments seem to understand, but not ours. The saddest part is that the tinder is already here, all over the internet and news media landscape. The petrol has been poured by hundreds of hysterical voices. It’s time for our leader to strike a match and light it. If he won’t, who will?
Costel Moza lives in Bettembourg