Libyan philosopher, poet and linguist Monem Mahjoub (1963) is currently staying in Brussels in the framework of Passa Porta’s ICORN residency programme. During his confinement, Monem decided to write an open letter to the Coronavirus, looking back at the long history of humanity’s confrontations with viruses and wondering if there might be a way to negotiate and even benefit from such contact as a species.
Brussels, 16 April 2020
Good day, Coronavirus,
Two months have elapsed, and you seem to have lost none of your composure. You were able to accomplish your task quickly and silently, before humans discovered you, before they began to take measures. From time immemorial, terrible events have occurred. But humans were a little slow on the uptake. When they finally started to see the facts for what they are, it was already time to take stock of the extent of the damage and to count the losses, all the while trying to discover a solution as quickly as possible.
Is there a bright side to the long history of humans and viruses?
Personally, I do not think that you will die. You will leave, or you will hide yourself so as to prepare a new wave. Humans will open their doors and windows; they will feel alive in the light of a sun that shines for the whole world. They will start to forget about you. And it is then that you will return in a new form, a form capable of adapting to all the existing vaccines. You will once again sow terror, up until the discovery of an umpteenth vaccine, and so on and so forth.
Read the rest of Monem's open letter to the Corona virus on Passaporta's webpage.