Meelis Oidsalu: Virus and antibodies

Meelis Oidsalu Source: Kerli Halliste

Our current utopian-seeming reality offers the chance to study the present with the seriousness of a science fiction writer. Crises can be nasty and exhausting, but they are always honest, Meelis Oidsalu finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

There is no need for audits or personality tests in a crisis – everything is out in the open. I have participated in efforts to describe the lessons of several social crises that always tend to culminate in experts with 20/20 hindsight focusing on mistakes made. Crises are often presented as failures, with little optimism in terms of achieving systematic change.

After the Bronze Night in Estonia, the plan for a Russian-language television channel emerged and when ETV+ was finally created following events in Ukraine, it came under ample and heavy criticism. Critics claimed that the dominion of the Russian media in the Estonian information space was unshakeable.

The crisis at hand has considerably boosted the ratings of Russian media outlets in Estonia because local Russians are also aware of the peculiarities of the ruling culture and information treatment east of the border. After all, Moscow has spent decades advertising its post-truth discourse.

An idea that was born out of the Bronze Night crisis is bearing crucial fruits.

It turns out that while the disruption had a temporarily ruinous effect on togetherness in Estonia, it nevertheless bolstered society's immune system with hardened antibodies. The listener and viewer figures of ERR's Russian channels are currently busy putting the presence of said antibodies to the test.

Depressing military events in Georgia and Ukraine gave NATO collective defense new life. The British, French and Danish fighters currently stationed in Tapa are the antibodies of these crises.

Opinion pieces written during the crisis at hand have already attempted to stretch perception of danger and put it at the disposal of strategic change, such as preventing climate change. A cynic would now say that this danger fetish will disappear along with the crisis. While cynics are often right, some always make fools of themselves.

The antibodies of this particular crisis could end up in healthcare and not just on the level of increased awareness and better health behavior. We can see how the state is capable of organizing treatment in a much more patient-centered manner overnight.

The running of regional hospitals that have suffered from poor management culture for a long time is being reorganized by experts. The state is calling sick people at home to ask them whether they're complying with treatment.

We are even talking about the coping of doctors… Studies carried out all over the world have shown that burning out and suicidal thoughts are becoming more frequent among medical staff. It has been claimed that whether patients stick to treatment depends largely on the doctor's conduct when meeting with the patient. We need to make sure this virus produces antibodies able to activate our medical workers' mental well-being and work satisfaction so that making sure people stick to treatment would require less police resources next time around.

However, the most positive truths this crisis has revealed are manifesting on the global scale.

First of all, we need to realize how successful we've been at preventing global epidemics (of violence) after World War II. All of it seemed to be falling apart during the first decades of the century at hand. People increasingly felt that togetherness had been lost for good on planet Earth.

At least now we know that mankind can hold its breath together. Despite the difficulties and aftershocks caused by the epidemic, the world really needs this knowledge today.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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