The Pandemic Is a Portal: A Conversation with Arundhati Roy
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Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt as nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality,” trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.
We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
Join the acclaimed author to discuss this essay and her recent writings on the existential threat posed to Indian democracy by an emboldened Hindu nationalism, India’s new citizenship laws that discriminate against Muslims and marginalized communities and could create a crisis of statelessness on a scale previously unknown, and the meaning of freedom in a world of growing authoritarianism.