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Memory and Hope: tribute to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic | ISEG aligns itself with this initiative

A series of initiatives all over the country in tribute to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic are going to take place on the 22, 23, and 24 of October.  These initiatives originated with the mobilisation of a group of citizens who created the Memory and Hope movement. In conjunction with ordinary citizens, the Office of thePresident of the Republic, Universidade de Lisboa, and ISEG support this initiative of memory and hope, among other entities. Luís Mah, an ISEG professor, is a member of the Promotional Committee.

The virus that struck the world in 2020-21 is being fought effectively by health measures and vaccines which have been developed in record time. The trail of devastation is desolating: 180 million people have been directly affected, of which nearly 4 million have lost their lives. This is a tragedy of overwhelming proportions.

When looking at the post-pandemic phase which is now actually taking place, we cannot forget and we cannot turn a blind eye to the traumatic experience that the last year has represented for hundreds of thousands of Portuguese who lived through, and are still living tragic moments.

Consult all the programmed initiatives on https://memoriaeesperanca.pt/. We invite you to hold a minute’s silence at 14.00 on Sunday, 24 October, together with your family or work colleagues in Memory of the pandemic and to celebrate Hope for its eradication all over the planet.

Read the Manifesto in portuguese here and in english below. Sign up on this link.


Manifesto:

Memory and Hope: tribute to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic | ISEG aligns itself with this initiative

“The virus that struck the world in 2020-21 is being fought effectively by health measures and vaccines which have been developed in record time. The trail of devastation is desolating: 180 million people have been directly affected, of which nearly 4 million have lost their lives. This is a tragedy of overwhelming proportions.

Although the challenges facing our societies are great, particularly in terms of health and the economy, the scale of the tragedy seems to have slackened off in those countries of the western world that control the production and access to vaccines. Nevertheless, the obstacles confronting the release of patents and the lack of international solidarity has meant that a large proportion of humanity, especially in the southern hemisphere countries, continues to suffer and die dramatically from Covid-19.

Even in the so-called ‘developed countries’, the situation concerning the control over the most serious health aspects of the pandemic  which we are confronting can be considered you be precarious, because it is systemic: we will only be truly safe from Covid-19 when everyone on the planet is safe.

When looking at the post-pandemic phase which is now actually taking place, we cannot forget and we cannot turn a blind eye to the traumatic experience that the last year has represented for hundreds of thousands of Portuguese who lived through, and are still living tragic moments.

We cannot, and don’t want to forget the almost 900 000 people who were infected, many of whom went through desperate situations from which they are still recovering physically and mentally.

We cannot and don’t want to forget the more than 17,000 people who died. A large number suffered alone and died far from their loved ones, without the opportunity to say a final goodbye. We cannot forget their relatives and friends, especially those who were unable to be alongside to say goodbye to the hospitalised or institutionalised patients, and to all those who were not even able to bury them.

Neither do we want to, nor can we forget the various categories of professionals who worked to the point of exhaustion on the front line, as well as those other professionals who, on other fronts, enabled the country to keep functioning. We cannot and don’t want to forget the memory of those who parted and the pain experienced by those who stayed behind, as well as all those relatives and friends who also suffered with the pain of others.

We cannot forget those who, in Portugal, and all over the world, died not because of Covid-19, but because of the weakness of a health services that could no longer attend to other serious illnesses.

We cannot forget the pandemic of loneliness that has affected everyone, especially the many elderly who have lost their lives or their mental awareness, making us realise that the lives of the elderly are no less precious than those of the young.

Mourning is indispensable. It is a personal and social act that helps one say farewell to those who leave, whilst providing recognition of the life that they have lived. It also helps one to heal the wounds and to move on. The circumstances of the pandemic and the restrictions of movement caused by it didn’t enable the mourning process to even begin, in so many cases.

Community mourning is essential. In a pandemic, there is a collective and community dimension of mourning that is not a result of just the sum of individual or family mourning. Community mourning needs to be carried out, because the tragedy that erupted and the trauma that it has caused are both social and global.

Affirming hope is equally necessary. Hope in strengthening social relations that are fraternal, fair, and which offer a future for all, whilst being aware of the risk of a return to the old normal. Hope in being better prepared to face together the post-pandemic challenges and other challenges that lie ahead. Hope based on the acts of solidarity, dedication, and attention that we have participated in or witnessed during this long ‘winter’.

To affirm hope is to not give up thinking about another world, to question the model of a society that is centred on having and not on being. To recognise that we are all vulnerable and interdependent, that we are all in the same boat, and that recognising this can help us to overcome fear. A group of citizens has constituted a Promotional Committee in memory of what everyone has experienced, to highlight the collective mourning, to affirm the hope that moves us, and to pay tribute to the victims of the pandemic. This group believes that it is necessary and appropriate to propose the organisation of a civic initiative, at both the national and local level, that will help satisfy the concerns described above”.