Anthony McIntyre with some thoughts on the death of a thirteen year old from Coronavirus.
He was thirteen years of age and died alone. Father having predeceased him, his surviving loved ones were unable to be at his bedside as he laboured to breathe his last. No mum, no siblings, two of whom had developed symptoms of the Coronavirus that snatched his life in his first year as a teen. As he died they self-isolated. What mourners were there to say a final goodbye were compelled to observe social distancing. When there has been public discourse about herd immunity, the image here conjured up anything but a herd. I was reminded of Lily Tomlin's observation "remember we're all in this alone."
Under Islamic custom, the body is traditionally taken to the mosque first for special prayers but because all places of worship are currently closed, Ismail was straight to the cemetery from a mortuary in south London before his burial.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab’s death is a salutary reminder of the wide reach of Covid-19. Dead from the virus at thirteen with no underlying health conditions that anyone was aware of. Admitted to hospital last Thursday, he died on Monday after his lungs collapsed inducing a heart attack. This is the reality and rapidity of Covid 19. Children are best equipped to overcome it but they are by no means immune to it or, as the death of the London teen showed, beyond the reach of its fatal grip.
The appeal for funds to help cover funeral costs was met with a response that suggested strong social and community solidarity. Most people certainly will be saddened by the death. Nevertheless, there are some who will derive satisfaction from it. They are in the grip of a different virus - hate. Already the religious wackos have featured online, salivating at the thought of Covid-19 being a punishment from the spite-wracked fiend they have created so that their own hatred can be projected onto their Heavenly Hitler. In that memorable quote from Annie Lamott "you can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." The monstrous old tyrant from the bible is punishing Jews, gays, women who have abortions. Joining them have been the immigrant-hating racists promising to spread what they call the joy if they become infected.
So when the hate filled, religious or racist, exhibit their malign wretchedness for the world to see, the writer Mayo Angelou springs to mind: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
Rest In Peace Ismail.