Let’s Not Go Back to Normal


Juliette Binoche, Photograph: Robert Doisneau

From Juliette Binoche to Robert De Niro more than 200 artists and scientists around the world sign a call to arms by saying “No to going back to normal” after Covid-19. Actress Juliette Binoche who pins it down in the French newspaper Le Monde, recites clearly and precisely that we, as individuals and societies, must act immediately to sustain a coherent and dignified life during and after the pandemic :

The Covid-19 pandemic is a tragedy. This crisis is, however, inviting us to examine what is essential. And what we see is simple : « adjustments » are not enough. The problem is systemic.

The ongoing ecological catastrophe is a meta-crisis : the massive extinction of life on Earth is no longer in doubt, and all indicators point to a direct existential threat. Unlike a pandemic, however severe, a global ecological collapse will have immeasurable consequences.

We therefore solemnly call upon leaders – and all of us as citizens – to leave behind the unsustainable logic that still prevails and to undertake a profound overhaul of our goals, values, and economies.

The pursuit of consumerism and an obsession with productivity have led us to deny the value of life itself : that of plants, that of animals, and that of a great number of human beings. Pollution, climate change, and the destruction of our remaining natural zones has brought the world to a breaking point.

For these reasons, along with the urgency of renewing with a politics of social equity, we believe it is unthinkable to « go back to normal ». The radical transformation we need – at all levels – demands boldness and courage. It will not take place without a massive and determined commitment. We must act now. It is as much a matter of dignity and coherence  as of survival .

For a life worth living in dignity and coherence calls practicing humanity. “What we need to target is to investigate our inner values ​​and to pass them into action with courage once we get hold of them,” says Boris Cyrulnik in the Solidarity of Collective Trauma :

 When the pandemic is over, we will see that we will have dusted off old values ​​that will help us to develop a new way of living together. There will be profound changes, this is the rule.


Duygu Bruce
May 7, 2020

Reference: Le Monde, May 6, 2020 issue


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