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Renaissance

International Coronavirus Journal

April 22, 2020

Everywhere on the planet everyone is focused on the same issue: How do we and our loved ones survive the pandemic and its economic, political, and social consequences?

Some 200 countries and some 7.66 billion individuals are currently focused on the same thing: Survival.

The Observer has been following coronavirus developments and discussions in a number of countries, reading newspapers in Germany, France, Spain, The United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries. Listening to news and discussion programs on the radio (via internet) in these countries, and in Cape Town (South Africa), Guayaquil (Ecuador), São Paulo (Brazil), and Argentina.

Everywhere the preoccupations are similar, though in certain sections of the population in many countries, and in many poorer countries in particular, the challenges are greater, much greater.

But one thing that is striking about these conversations is that they are largely taking place within the limits of a national consciousness that is limited to the single country directly involved. To be sure, educated elites may read stories in leading newspapers about what is going on in other countries. This has been particularly true in Europe, where readers have followed what was going on in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. There was a particular interest in the experience of e.g., Italy, as the hurricane came bearing down on, e.g., Spain.

Still, around the world the coronavirus pandemic has been viewed largely through the prism of a national lens, as a national story.

This has been particularly true in the United States, where cable television channels long ago gave up any pretense of covering international and foreign news.

Now, in order to provide a window into what is going on and what people are thinking in other countries, The Observer will provide links to articles and opinion pieces reflecting what others are saying around the world. Because this is a multi-lingual blog, the commentary will be in the language of the original article (French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, or English), perhaps with additional commentary in English when an article is in another language. Comments in the Comment Section will be answered in the language in which they are written.

If you do not know the language in which a commentary or linked-to article or Comment is written, you can copy and paste into Google Translate the text you want to read, and then read it in English or the language of your choice.

Today, we start with a thoughtful opinion piece published in El País (Spain), one of the great newspapers in the world.


El Diario Internacional del Coronavirus

22 de Abril de 2020

Véase,

Rafael Argullol, “: Nuestra época parece necesitada de encontrar un juez que la condene por las faltas cometidas. Tras la Peste Negra fue decisiva la atmósfera espiritual que se apoderó de Florencia,” El País, 21 Abril 2020 (18:30 EDT).

Rafael Argullol considera la tendencia de atribuir a una gran catástrofe el carácter de ser una punición por los dioses o por Díos, o por la Madre Naturaleza, por los actos o deficiencias de los mortales. Pero como los filósofos griegos y romanos y otros han señalado, no es así. El autor cita a la Peste Negra que diezmó a Florencia en 1348, y como reaccionaron los Florentinos. El autor recuerda una conversación que tuvo con un Florentino cuando él vivía en Florencia hace muchos años:

Hace años, viviendo en Florencia, estuve conversando con un historiador del arte especialista en la pintura toscana de los siglos XIV y XV. Le pregunté qué es lo que había ocurrido después de la Peste Negra de 1348 que diezmó la ciudad. Al principio, al parecer, compitieron hedonismo y oscurantismo. Hubo una voluntad extraordinaria por expresar la alegría de vivir en las formas adelantadas por Bocaccio en Decamerón. Igualmente hubo una tendencia a la culpabilización con una renovada presencia del gran tema pictórico del Juicio Final. Ambas posiciones se reflejan en el arte y la literatura de la segunda mitad del siglo XIV. Sin embargo, recuerdo muy bien que mi interlocutor insistió en el hecho de que lo más importante era lo que se incubaba. Tras la Peste Negra lo decisivo fue la atmósfera espiritual que fue apoderándose de la ciudad y que en el siglo XV, en el Quattrocento, concentraría en Florencia la mayor densidad de talento creativo que se ha dado nunca. Ellos mismos, los artistas, lo llamaron Renacimiento.*

*Renascimiento (Spanish). Rinascimento (Italian). Renaissance (French and English).

The Observer

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