Social unrest has spread all across the country. Rebel militias have taken control of major cities, and the military is fighting back. You’re in the middle of a civil war. And there’s still a pandemic killing people all over the world. You need to keep your family safe. Come this way.
Things have been getting tense during 2020. There’s the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest. Peaceful protests have broken out, and there have been violent responses in some cases. Even in democratic countries like India and the United States, a civil war seems, at least, possible.
A civil war happens when two groups from the same country are fighting for political power. And no less than 1,000 people must have been killed, with at least 100 people from each side.
The final death toll of the American Civil War remains uncertain, but some estimates say it was more than 600,000 people. And if a civil war broke out during a pandemic, your life would be even further threatened. Should you participate in the fight?
What if you get caught in the crossfire? Are gunfights more dangerous than the virus?
Step 1: Wear a mask
With gunfights everywhere in the city, it might be easy to forget your face mask. But the pandemic is a killer too. The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed 20 to 40 million people, more casualties than in World War I. And remember, hospitals could be captured or overwhelmed with injured people from the on going battles. So getting sick is not an option. Wear a mask, and wash your hands.
Step 2: Don’t be a hero
Some groups might fight for causes you believe in, such as freedom, democracy, human rights, or to stop police brutality. But if you want to survive, look for peaceful ways to collaborate. Try moderate debates, while respecting different points of view. The protests against police brutality in the United States caused at least 25 deaths by the end of October Two-Thousand and Twenty. And in Two Thousand and Eleven, what started as a peaceful protest against the Syrian government, became a violent conflict that has taken almost half a million lives.
Step 3: Isolate
For the best chance of surviving, you must keep away from the conflict and the virus. So stay home and don’t go out if it’s not a life and death situation. But a civil war can last for months, and basic services, such as grocery, water, and electricity, can be unavailable. So stash as many supplies as you can, including bottled water, canned food, and essential medicines.
Step 4: Go Neutral
Now the fight is taking place in your neighborhood. You must get out of your home. Keep your family together, and move fast to another shelter. But imagine you get trapped with a rebel group, and they are not exactly friendly. Don’t argue. At this moment, you’re trying to survive, not convince anybody. A new study published in Nature magazine found that people are most likely to turn violent when they moralize the issues they’re standing for. So take a neutral position.
Step 5: Trust Democracy
In 2001, Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, quoted German philosopher Immanuel Kant, and said that liberal democracies are less likely to go to war. That’s because they’re supposed to be transparent systems that must convince the majority of society before starting a conflict. There are many democratic ways to unburden social conflicts.
Two Thousand and Twenty has been really stressful. A poll conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that more than 66% of American adults see the US presidential election as a significant source of stress. Not to mention the pandemic, right? But remember, there are peaceful ways to stand for your beliefs.
- “Why is there a war in Syria?”. 2019. BBC News.
- “Moralization in social networks and the emergence of violence during protests”. Mooijman, Marlon, Joe Hoover, Ying Lin, Heng Ji, and Morteza Dehghani. 2018. Nature Human Behaviour 2 (6): 389-396. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0353-0.
- “Plague Was One Of History’S Deadliest Diseases—Then We Found A Cure”. 2020. Science.
- ” The 1918 Influenza Pandemic “. 2021. virus.stanford.edu.
- “Preventing Civil Strife: An Important Role for Economic Policy2021.” un.org.
- “Election Got You Stressed? You’re Not Alone — Here’s 5 Ways To Deal With It “. 2021. text.npr.org.