“Bani Adam” is a piece of poetry by Saadi, a famous Iranian poet in the 13th century, who won the title of one of the songs in the eighth album of the British band Coldplay, entitled Everyday Life, due to its human-friendly theme in 2019. This poem is declamated into Persian, English and several other languages in this piece. The album includes two sections, Sunrise and Sunset, and the music is performed in the sunrise section.
A few months later, in a speech by Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, arguing to extend the three-week quarantine in the country and call on the Spaniards to adhere to restrictions on saving their lives and the lives of others, this piece from the book of Golestan Saadi is once again heard by the world. Sanchez, citing the ” Human beings are members of a whole”, speaks of the power of society to deal with problems and calls for the unification of Spanish society against the coronavirus. He concludes from this poem that if the pain of others does not affect you, you do not deserve to call yourself human. “The whole of humanity today is a single body threatened by this disease” he added.
These two examples are not the only ones used to invite people to “come together”. Former United States President Barack Obama read the Saadi verse in a 2009 Nowruz message (the Iranian new year), and in 1977, the poem was sent to the Voyager spacecraft for distant spaces. These days, the global Covid-19 epidemic and its bitter and sweet consequences shared with all people in the world, have once again reminded Iranians of this proud poem, and the story of “writing this poem in Persian nastaliq alligraphy on a wall at the United Nations”.
Ever since the coronavirus became widespread in the world, we have witnessed developments that have been reminiscent of many vital issues. What is important is the level of all commonalities and intangible chains between human beings, and it seems that for many years we humans have forgotten them. Now that human life is in danger, we have returned to the ancient patterns of our ancestors and, willingly or unwillingly, have helped to save the earth. So in these days of the crisis, in the midst of grief and mourning, one can look for opportunities and glance at a Post-Corona world. The pandemic has taught us that none of the people on this planet, regardless of colour, race, nationality, religion or wealth, are superior, but rather all equal. During the presence of this little guest, we may have repeatedly reviewed the examples hidden in Saadi’s poetry, in every language and literature, in our minds. His words from 800 years ago, remind us that humans, wherever they are in the world, are connected like a chain, and today, nature has shown us that the boundaries and policies of rulers can never break this chain.
However, in this article, we intend to bridge the difference between Saadi’s ancient poetry from the ones of other Persian poets, from this comprehensive and humane point of view. Saadi has always been mentioned as the world’s most touristic and world-renowned Iranian speaker and poet and has therefore been recognized as a social poet.
“From every harvest, a cluster has to be found and offered, must travel and see”, he says. Saadi is said to be a poet of “expediency” and “moderation” and that is why in times of conflict, strife and extremism, many politicians and artists in places far from the Persian-speaking frontier use his words to invite people to peace. Especially to know that he lived in the most turbulent times of Iran’s history, when all the holes of hope were closed, in the era of the Mongol invasion and domination of this land. It does not matter whether Saadi’s poetry is on a wall of the United Nations or not. It is important that he is able to recreate the human spirit and thought throughout the centuries because of the depth he sees and hears in a territory beyond borders.
The pandemic created great opportunities for reconsideration, which itself led to great and forgotten journeys, in and out. Perhaps these two types of journeys, which these days, regardless of borders and cultures, are all travellers around the world, can together create valuable grounds for creating new approaches to tourism development in the Post-Corona world.
Inward travel, which due to disconnection from the outside world, led to awareness, creativity, and the discovery of the innate and natural capacities and assets of individuals, families, and nations. A journey into yourself. A family trip to the good memories of the past and the experience of being together, enjoying the tastes and smells of home and local foods. Listening to long unheard pleasant songs through windows. Travelling to the depths of stories and the writings that were waiting to be read on the shelves. The journey to dreams or the wishes that were engraved on the pages of paper or canvas with pens. These are the experiences that these days on this inward tour, are happening for all of us, in every corner of the world. In a larger circle, local communities became more aware of the common interests and health of survival, and eventually, governments became more and more aware of the need for change and planning based on internal assets and capacities.
Travel to the outside world, despite the limited and sometimes elimination of permanent communication facilities, is done through the use of creative communication methods, which led to awareness and recognition of human-made capacities and capabilities. Taking advantage of the available communication capacities showed us new ways to see, hear and get to know each other and the world around us, to create travel experiences in shorter times and with more limited damage to nature.
It seems that the piece “Bani Adam” by Saadi, the globe trotter poet, is a message for decision-makers and experts in the tourism industry to draw upon sustainable development principles. This piece is part of the first chapter of Golestan’s book, which was written during his many years of travels and was presented when he returned to Shiraz. Currently, the strategy and performance of those in power in different countries facing this pervasive problem have shown us that to strengthen and repair the global human chain, there is little hope for the will and power of governments. Undoubtedly, strengthening this chain is only possible with the belief and desire of each and every member of human society. In the meantime, it seems that tourism, not as an industry and economic sector, but as a way of thinking or a way of life, is a valuable tool for changing beliefs and shaping this valuable human chain. The strong role of individual actors in the tourism development process provides valuable capacity to repair and revise approaches for interconnectedness and the friendship of the world’s citizens.
Hence, perhaps the Post-Corona world may be able to witness a higher human empathy and development by forming a new face of the concept of tourism. Perhaps in the Post-Corona world, the use of the bright side of knowledge and technology will replace its dark half and open a new chapter in the future of science and education. The Coronavirus reminds everyone that every child of Adam is a member of a single body, and now everyone on the earth is sick because that single body is sick. This may lead to a change in people’s perceptions of the inside and the outside world, and ultimately to a revival in the recycling of the environment and local social values from all the damage that human beings have done selfishly over the years.
This article was originally published in Moondo.