People wearing masks in a park in Shanghai, China | Qilai Shen | Bloomberg
People wearing masks at a park in Shanghai, China | Representational photo | Qilai Shen | Bloomberg
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Coronavirus is our 9/11 moment. Things will never go back to the way they were. Surveillance systems will never be the same, and public places will constantly remind us of it.

In the US, Covid-19 deaths have already overtaken the number of people who died due to the 9/11 attacks.

Masks, hand sanitisers, temperature guns, disinfectant sprays, contact tracing, scrutiny of travel history and geo-tagging – this will become part of our post-pandemic world. Old twentieth-century notions of privacy were hit hard after 9/11 terror attacks. It will get another punch after coronavirus pandemic and medical surveillance.


Also Read: Jayant Sinha: Coronavirus will change the world like 9/11 and 2008


9/11 altered lives

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 44,000 lives globally. Many experts and thinkers of our time tell us our lives will never be the same again. And they’re right. The coronavirus crisis doesn’t threaten to halt our lives completely, but it will certainly alter them for the future.

P.J Crowley, former United States assistant secretary of state for public affairs, wrote about the impact of 9/11 on people’s  lives, “If there is a lesson to be learned from 9/11, it is persistence…Building up a global immune system to fight this disease will take more than a decade. It will take a generation.”

After the 9/11 attack, airport security was amped up and surveillance technologies were redefined. Over the years, it became normal for people  to be patted up and down during security checks. Moreover, Muslim travellers had to carry the additional baggage of being harassed by security personnel just by the courtesy of their last names. People wearing turbans were also not spared of the airport security’s wrath.

It introduced the concept of terror watch lists, which gave governments unprecedented power to surveil on people. All over the world, countries joined hands to protect their citizens and unleashed the war on terror.

The 9/11 attacks also brought a cultural shift. Film stars with a macho image heavily capitalised on it, taking on roles where they defeated terrorists. Countries reasserted their boundaries and the identities attached to those.


Also Read: Virus hands world leaders sweeping powers they may never give up


No going back to normal

Coronavirus pandemic has left the world shocked and powerless.

Watching any number of dystopian movies could not have possibly prepared us for this. As the world tries to find its grip over the situation, time and again it will look for a more permanent solution to prevent such an outbreak.

A year down the line, we should possibly get used to a temperature gun pointed at our face each time we would enter a shopping complex, movie theatre or even an airport. Health care workers in hazmat suits seem to be a close everyday reality.

Contact tracing will also give the government the right and the insight into who you meet and when. Technology will only make tracking each citizen easier and smoother. Many democracies will also claim sweeping powers over their citizens under the garb of coronavirus surveillance.

Moreover, if air pollution could not force masks to become part of our daily attire, then coronavirus certainly will. We may also have to remove our rubber gloves before  eating our meals. And maybe PETA will keep trying to convince us all to turn vegan.

Fortunately, turbaned individuals may be spared the wrath of security for a while. However, recent episodes of xenophobia around the world related to Covid-19 suggest that it will be Asians this time who will be viewed with tense eyes.

This pandemic will change our lives forever and we may not go back to the normal. But, humans adapt and change is a habit.

Views are personal.

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51 Comments Share Your Views

51 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah I do admit India needs to work in controlling rape cases.
    However, that being said India is one of the best countries for minorities. Here they are given reservations and subsides. Government of pakistan don’t even acknowledge that they have people from other religions. During coronavirus pandemic they denied food to non muslim population ever heard about that in India. Here when muslims are approached for testing they stone the people from health department, they choff off hands of law inforcement individuals. If someone from there community dies due there negliance they destroy hospital property and beat up health officials who risk their life for them.
    In saudi arab they don’t provide permanent citizenship to people from other religion other than muslims.
    In pakistan, they loot, torture, convert any one from other religion. If you want learn about hell for minorities go to pakistan and observe.

  2. No, not all Asians. You’re only talking about East Asian people and those who look “Chinese”. Nobody is talking about South Asians like Indians or Bangaldeshis or Southeast Asians like Malays and Indonesians. Stop trying to push this view in order to fear monger with these flashy headlines in order to think it affects everybody who is Asian, it doesn’t. At the end of the day, Chinese/East Asians and Muslims don’t deserve to face any discrimination. Hopefully, the world will understand that vilification is completely unacceptable. Nobody deserves hate.

  3. (1) Muslims in USA are being battered by Coronavirus? 70% Coronavirus Cases in USA are Black American Muslims , are they paying the price for 9/11 (2) Now , Iran has overtaken China in terms of No of Coronavirus Cases. Persians now Iran looted RAMJAMBHOOMI – Temple Gold, Peacok Throne by Nadir Shah. Iran is now paying the price.

    • india 60,000 and india paying cost Of Voilence and mass killing Of Muslims in Kashmir….contineous descrimination Of indian Muslims….

  4. The writer of this article seems to have an extremely active imagination so far removed from reality that it lacks any useful purpose.

  5. To the people who don’t know, here “The Asians” means ‘Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Malaysians, Indonesians’ people.

  6. If the writer feels so paranoid, she should stay home for the rest of her life. Times change, and himan beings are adaptable. Learn to live with changing circumstances, rather than intellectualizing everything. I wonder, why introduce Muslims in this monolog?

  7. So basically what you are saying is the whole of Asia will turn into countries like Pakistan where minorities will be raped and forcefully converted and when you are converted you will be killed for not being religious enough.

    • India has 29 times more rape cases bruh. Anyone with a sane mind knows india is the worst country for minorites

  8. The editor it seems was on quarantine while this shoddy hitjob was passed on. The Print is baffling at times to me! Its so alarming that people in journalism just about get away with anything because there is always another breaking news to hit the audience with!

  9. The journalists thrive on meaningless stuff spread over two pages. What is written tomorrow will have no relationship with what was written yesterday.

  10. This Earth has so many idiots but maximum are from one community guess which?

    Come to ground or people will come in hoards and you might just be vanished like the dinosaurs

    Just stay inside and stay safe.
    Inform it your friends also they don’t seem to understand

  11. Meaning less article. As assumed by muslims that one day all has to accept Islam. Every religion says same thing that one day all has to accept their religion.

  12. Revelation from god! My bloody left foot. which God created Corona virus? God has better work to do than create corona virus that too to safeguard organizations like ISIS.

  13. Pollution is not just caused by air, there are electromagnetic pollution, radiation pollution etc. We should study all the causes for our loss of immunity and rise of epidemics.

  14. In fact the numbers indicate that Asians are withstanding the virus better than Europe and US. Why this sadistic writing and is it getting published?

  15. I honestly wonder how someone proved this and that particular headline was selected.
    I genuinely can’t believe this is published. You need to sit down and read your headline again.
    How is targeting a group of people genuinely going to help?

  16. Grewal is ignorant of basic geography and thinks everyone else in the world are the same. It is the Chinese and not the Asians. Asia extends from Turkey in the west to Japan in the east and many countries and ethnicities in between. Do not equate terrorism to this, as communicable infections have protocols in place ages ago. Some of our laws are almost 100 years old. It looks like the author of this BS,has a very fertile imagination and negligible analytical capabilities.

    • The nexus between ‘Jihadis’ and ‘Khalistani Separatists’ funded by the intelligence outfits of a nearly bankrupt neighbour is the fountain-head of such dribble.
      The so–called ‘ liberal’ and ‘secular’ media outlets either unwittingly or otherwise, provide a platform for such compositions.

      If senior Editors are allowing such expressions then there is no prize for guessing where they stand !

  17. Why Asians and not Chinese. How much money did you took from Chinese government. I don’t understand how an organization headed by a person like Shekhar Gupta write such rubbish.

  18. Believe me,there is Prophecy in last and Final revelation from God that the whole world has to accept and embrace Islam. Islam is the official religon decreed on earthlings by God, but the earthlings have forgotten it.So your capita that asians will be the new muslims appears to be correct and justified.

    • Oil industry fallen flat. Many oil companies are shutting down operations as the demand has come down drastically. Many of these oil economies will be bleeding for months to come. Some may go bankrupt due to heavy borrowings. Keep praying. It helps.

  19. WASHINGTON — Yuanyuan Zhu was walking to her gym in San Francisco on March 9, thinking the workout could be her last for a while, when she noticed that a man was shouting at her. He was yelling an expletive about China. Then a bus passed, she recalled, and he screamed after it, “Run them over.”
    She tried to keep her distance, but when the light changed, she was stuck waiting with him at the crosswalk. She could feel him staring at her. And then, suddenly, she felt it: his saliva hitting her face and her favourite sweater. The New York Times

    • It was only a matter of time before the coronavirus pandemic started to show a rupture in Western relations with China. Today, the market got some of the first hints of a rising probability of “decoupling”.
      Evidence came today in the form of two BBC reports, one of the U.K. government of Boris Johnson (who has COVID-19 now) saying there would be ramifications for China failing to share how they stopped the virus from spreading. One such punishment was getting rid of Huawei in their 5G program. FORBES

  20. I don’t understand how a news journal like the print that is headed by a level headed person like Shekhar Gupta publish such leftist rubbish. SG please review what your yet-to-mature interns write before you publish. They’re too idealistic to write anything meaningful in my opinion.

  21. After Tablighi jamaat becoming the high source of spreading Corona, focus on Muslims has returned back. In several Asian countries, Tablighi Muslims have become the prime carrier of Corona virus.

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