By Saladdin Ahmed
There are three reasons to believe that COVID-19 is a communist agent. First, it is universalist; it does not recognize or respect national borders. Second, it is atheist; it has forced cancellations of pilgrimages, along with thousands of other religious rituals. Third, it has been threatening the capitalist economic order across the globe.
Perhaps it is inappropriate to joke about COVID-19. However, the pandemic’s increasing traumatic effects across the world are precisely the reason we should also joke about it. Those of us who have lived through calamities realize that sarcasm, far from being disrespectful to human suffering and loss, can be nobler than any serious expression that will inevitably undermine the actual experience. Those of us who have lived through something along the lines of the following examples know the indispensability of sarcasm: living defiantly in the face of the terror devised by a totalitarian regime; being a political prisoner under a fascist regime; taking the first physical steps to leave every place and everyone one has ever known; or, crossing bloody borders in a mythic-like quest in search of a place where one can continue to exist, even if merely as an ontological mistake. Humor is almost a natural coping mechanism when everydayness becomes a struggle for survival. One can easily observe that despite the apparent contradiction, there is more laughter among political prisoners who are facing death than among the affluent in luxurious social settings that are prepared specially to prevent boredom and dread.