Divided by Religion, United by Coronavirus

Aamir Lokhandwala
4 min readMar 7, 2020

As we approach mid-March 2020, I could only think of one title for this piece, since I am currently in Delhi. For readers who have not been able to follow the situation since the past few weeks here in the capital of India, there was violence due to communal riots between the two most amazing religions of the world. If this statement draws ire, and a third religion should in your opinion have been the subject of my satire, please read on, this article is only written for you my selected reader.

The subject of this article is purposely misleading. Don’t read further if you expect a happy ending in this article. This is just another sad reflection of our current times.

Happy picture in a sad article

What do I think, first?

I have a firm belief in the goodness of humanity at a raw level. Let’s be real — of course we have some hatred for somebody or the other at one point in our lives. That burst of hatred is usually limited for that person, or it is just a transient feeling. Hatred against a collective is something I simply cannot believe exists internally.

Damn, strong last statement there. Too idealistic, man. So, what divides us then, Aamir?

Social media today has given the power to a vindictive few to hold the world ransom. Unfortunately, lot of fake news circulates without proper fact-checking, leading to a share-tweet-cycle of unfathomable divisive hate. The issue with most of the ‘shared’ pieces is the staunch two-view theory on literally anything. It’s either us or them. Either this or that. Right or wrong. Black or while. No gray in between. A third opinion is usually lost to the recesses of the Internet like this post I’m writing probably will too. Never mind the grey matter I’m using to craft this as I go along.

Hmm… so what can the non-vindictive people do?

The answer is simple. Small mobs furthering wrong causes can only be tackled by larger mobs furthering inclusiveness. A very small example of something I did in these lines recently was to digest a piece of hate-spreading news and share it with my perspective. It, of course, was positive, I was trying to actually understand why someone would share it with negativity. Here is the original post.

It was originally shared by one of my pals whom I will not name, with a caption like “Now the Middle Eastern fuckers was to take over Canada too.” I re-shared it with “Looks like some conservative parts of the world like the Middle East can learn more about inclusiveness through this. Well done, Canada.”

A screenshot of the post I re-shared on Facebook, it also had a few likes!

How then are people, united by Coronavirus, Aamir?

The answer is stupidity. The connecting dot for many still remains religion. Like this Islamic cleric who believes the virus is the wrath of Allah raining down on non-believers. If I have to stoop down to argue with that logic, I would tell him many Muslims have also fallen prey to this. Logic 1–0 Cleric.

Also, take the case of this Hindu leader who believes the virus comes as a punishment to dwellers of the Earth because they are at the top of the food chain we learnt in high school. Stooping yet again, I would tell him that I have a lot of Hindu friends who relish fried chicken.

At this point, I want to probably change the title of this piece to:

“Divided by religion, United by Stupidity, courtesy of Coronavirus.”

Concluding thoughts…

Unfortunately, I will be a copycat and put down what are great ironic thoughts in conclusion by someone. I think he wrote it to perfectly summarize my article or maybe I wrote this article since I saw a conclusion readymade for me.