If you’ve been on any news site lately, you’re probably aware that, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Europe is now the epicentre of COVID-19. Events around the world are being cancelled and postponed as we’re being told not to gather in groups and to practise “social distancing.”
While Bon Appétit’s Carla Lalli Music has some handy food tips for surviving this period of self-isolation, and there are plenty of things to binge on Netflix and potentially a new Childish Gambino album, it can be hard to look at the news without feeling heartbroken and mega stressed.
So, thankfully, Italians are turning to the balconies and windows in their homes and cheering each other on. Singing to the street songs of Italian solidarity in unison, I can do nothing but shed a tiny pasta water tear.
They’re joyfully harmonious and reminiscent of the people of Wuhan chanting to each other to continue fighting, and now, Stan Twitter has made it into a meme.
And Mamma Mia, is it good.
Following China, where first reports of the coronavirus emerged, Italy now has the highest casualty rate in the world. Last Monday, 463 out of 9, 172 people infected in the country died. As of this morning and according to the Guardian, the country has been met with roughly 25,000 confirmed cases and nearly 2000 confirmed deaths.
To young adults and middle-aged people, the coronavirus symptoms are just like a common cold (or asymptomatic), but the disease can be harmful to children, people with respiratory conditions and the elderly. With about 60 percent of its people over 40 years old and 20 percent smokers or former smokers, Italy is not only one of the oldest populations in the world but one of the countries at most risk.
As a result, the Italian government put the country on total lockdown. People are confined to their homes, stuck inside with nothing but a window to the outside world and the sounds of their neighbours. And beautifully, Italians have responded to this by singing and cheering each other on from their balconies, singing iconic Italian songs about community solidarity.
Italians in lockdown all over Italy are keeping each other company by singing, dancing and playing music from the balconies. A thread to celebrate the resilience of ordinary people. This is Salerno: pic.twitter.com/3aOchqdEpn— Leonardo Carella (@leonardocarella) March 13, 2020
“We don’t hear many Italian people blaming the country or going after the government,” says former legal advisor at the European Parliament, Simona Mangiate Papadolous during a quarantine period in Los Angeles, “because you know it’s a little bit pointless.”
“Italian people are being an example of how to handle this crisis with positivism and solidarity… people bonding together, sending out messages on YouTube and social media, trying to share joy, artists singing and normal people joining them. Every day at 6 pm, all Italian people are out the window singing.”
So Stan Twitter was bound to get a hold of it eventually
And, because Stan Twitter is Stan Twitter, people are remixing these videos with live concert versions of their favourite songs, convincing the internet that Italians are singing Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” along with others, in an American accent.
And to be fair, I love Stan Twitter for this.
Genuinely shook I haven’t seen Loona, BTS and Doja Cat stans take this meme on yet.
And some people think it’s legit, lol
Even more wild, some artists think it’s genuine. Seeing an alleged crowd of Italians shouting the words to “Roar,” with concert-like acoustics, her own vocals and a choral echoing sound that could only come from a large stadium, Katy Perry said, “You cannot break the human spirit. We are one in this.”
And look, while I did find a copy of Madonna’s Candy LP when I went to visit family as a preteen, Italians are not singing Madonna in the streets. Sorry, Madonna.
But, anyway, as an Italian-Australian, I have never been more proud of my people. Thank you for the memes and please stay indoors and stay safe. That goes for the rest of us in Australia, too.
self quarantine at my bosses house so far so good pic.twitter.com/CeEceDrXsg— indie (@INDIEWASHERE) March 15, 2020
Charles Cornell does it again! @charlescornellstudios InstagramPosted by Justin G. Nelson on Friday, March 13, 2020