Quarantined Italians inspire with their balcony concerts

The coronavirus is only partly about a killer illness that's taking down too many people.

It's also about the disruption of life — from the missing toilet paper on store shelves to the painful ending of church Masses and services to the cancelations of weddings and travel to the fears for the economy.  Most of all, it's about the isolation, the forced "social distancing" that's exactly the opposite of our human desire to gather and be together in times of crisis.  It's the right thing to do to protect each other (since none of us knows if he is a carrier), and the aim is right, too — to force the virus to die down for lack of opportunity to spread.  But for human beings, isolation from one another in a crisis is a hard test of endurance.

The Italians, who are under a complete national quarantine and suffering the gravest losses probably anywhere now, have recognized this.  They've also come up with something that enables them to be together while staying safely apart:

Notice that they're not playing many global pop hits — they are singing and playing explicitly Italian music and songs, one of which is, delightfully, opera.  What is more Italian than opera?  In some cases, the voice of the late Big Pav flows again across Italy, reminding them of their national greatness, reminding them that they are all in this together.  In times of national crisis, it's natural to rally around the nation and flag, not the multilateral institution.  The Italians are rallying around being Italian and, being Italy, trying to cheer and console one another.

It's a thing of beauty.

Compare and contrast to the cries of despair that came from the balconies of Wuhan in the earlier days of the coronavirus — communism has wrung the life out of the social capital of China, leaving only a sense of broken civilization.  That's not true in Italy.

And sure enough, the national flag is being rallied, too — someone came up with the morale-booster for the Italians, showing the air force projecting the flag from the sky to make the people feel better.

President Trump is cheering:

Who doesn't love people who know how to make lemonade out of lemons?  The Italians have shown us all something valuable, perhaps as valuable as medicine, given the circumstances and our human needs, as we prepare to hunker down and get through this, too.

Image credit: Twitter screen shot.

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