History in the Making: Documenting Covid
Documenting the pandemic at a Pan-European level
Over the last few months we began a project collecting evidence of life in Europe during the last months, under the working title "Make Covid History". So far it has focused primarily on the phenomena of solidarity, hope and community building. As a next step, we are moving to a Pan-European level and sharing the experiences and results of the diverse collecting actions with a continent-wide audience.
Solidarity and hope through Europe
A spontaneous action took place March 20, 2020 across the Polish and Czech border. The cities of Cieszyn and Český Těšín, normally connected by bridges over the Olza river, were blocked by border controls. Families, friends and colleagues were suddenly separated.
As a reaction to this, a group of Polish inhabitants made an eight metre long banner with an inscription in Czech: ´Stýská se mi po tobě Čechu´ (‘I miss you, Czech’).
As a response, Czech people on the other side of the border created on the same day a banner with: ´I ja za tobą Polaku´ (‘I miss you too, Pole’).
On the next morning another banner was added in Czech on the Czech side: ´Chybíte nám Poláci!´ (‘We miss you Poles’).
Banner “Andrà tutto bene” (everything will be alright)
The rainbow is a symbol of better times after the storm. But in Italy, it is also well known as a peace symbol. The message of “Andrà tutto bene” has spread very quickly across Italy. The slogan is found on other materials too: post-its, simple sheets of paper hanging on shop doors or as a hashtag. Similar to other slogans, for example #iorestoacasa (I stay at home), it is becoming one of the most prominent sequences of words associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Banner “Tout ira bien”
From Italy, the rainbow has spread to other countries. For instance, it is becoming very popular in UK, where big rainbow children’s drawings even appeared in the Queen’s television address on 5th April 2020. They bear similar messages of courage and optimism, and also of support for medical staff. In Belgium, several initiatives followed the Italian one, and were amplified on social media. The main slogan has been “Tout ira bien”, or “Alles komt goed” in Dutch, always accompanied by the important message “stay home”.
The Center for Research and Training of Northern University is fundraising to help the county hospital in Baia Mare, Romania. So far, with volunteers, they have raised money for the production of 310 protective masks, decorated with this “Totul va fi bine” sticker and two ventilators.