EDITORIAL: Now is the time for empathy and facts

Image courtesy: Namibia Fact Check / Canva

Let’s not confuse, misinform and insult each other at this time of rising COVID-19 infections and hardship.

By the time you read this, Namibia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases will probably have gone up again, meaning more people infected and affected by the fear and uncertainty that comes with that personal knowledge and condition. And the rest of us will have been jolted again by the now constant realisation, and the burdensome feeling of inevitability, that we or our loved ones could be next.

COVID-19 has brought us a sense of personal and collective anxiety probably never before experienced by most. It is a specter lurking over all and everything. It has touched us and it has changed us. And, casting forward from 30 June 2020, it could still really, deeply harm us.

That should give us pause.

This should be the moment where our humanity comes through strongly and assertively – as it already has in many COVID-19 ravaged places – awakening a sense of oneness in the confronting of this new threat and the overcoming that we must struggle for. This humanity and oneness has already shone through to some extent, as we witness the outpourings of charitable giving to the less and least fortunate in our communities.

Unfortunately, the impulse to harm has also stepped forward – divisiveness, abuse, stigmatisation, violence … and disinformation.

It is this harm that threatens to define this time in human history, as the emotional and psychological violence, and the associated real-world and physical violence, of lies, conspiracy theories and propaganda storm and overwhelm all our best efforts and intentions. And many of us have become inadvertent, but enthusiastic, perpetrators.

Let’s not propagate harm. Let’s not spread fear. Let’s not become part of this dismal, damaging tide. Let’s not be the fuel or accelerants of the searingly blazing disinfodemic inferno.

Let’s be truth.

And let’s …

Stay safe.

Stay healthy.

Stay home, if you can.

If you must go out, stay at a distance.

And wear the mask, wash your hands and use the sanitizer.

That’s not much, but it’s a lot.

And above all …

Stay informed.

With facts.

Namibia Fact Check editor Frederico Links