I have listened and watched with great admiration the number of campaigns and advertisements on the use of facemask and how many people are trying their utmost to get used to wearing one amidst discomfort and sometimes the forgetfulness to carry one along while going about our duties.
The stress of handling it, putting it on and when necessary taking it off can be of great inconvenience and even though wearing the face mask is an important precautionary measure to dealing with the Corona Virus pandemic, there is need to be cautious of the possible effects.
However, on a lighter tone, little attention was paid to the persons behind every facemask, which literally disguises people’s faces and their facial expression.
History of Wearing Facemasks
Before COVID -19, people who used to wear facemasks often were medical staff such as doctors and nurses and they still use it for very good reasons for which we all know.
Other health staff may use face masks because of stench from lavatories while they clean among others.
With COVID-19 staring us in the face, the whole world has joined the race in the use of facemasks to ensure protection of the world’s population whilst efforts are made to find treatment, cure and vaccinations to uproot the pandemic.
SECURITY AND THE PERSON BEHIND THE MASK
Some people who perpetuate crimes such as armed robbers often wear face masks to disguise themselves in order to perform their clandestine activities. This measure of putting face masks does not alienate robbers from their usual reason for wearing facemasks.
To a large extent , some of these people capitalize on the situation now, as this will make it easier for them in their operations as we all “look alike now;” they are now going to kill two birds with one stone.
Despite the views that have come up when sampling opinions, some indicate that the use of facemasks makes it difficult to correlate people’s facial expression with their thought, because this correlation is a necessity for communication, lest when one is not careful in picking up a quarrel with someone in facemask he or she might get hurt or hit unexpectedly.
Therefore since one cannot read the facial expression of people in facemasks, there is need to be mindful of choice of words used, helpful words and not hurtful words as scripture advises.
On the other hand, as a security alert, a little care and precaution should be paid to those behind these facemasks. Individually and as a nation, this should also be a matter of concern.
A kind advice would be, when it is so necessary to deal with someone you do not know or are meeting for the first time, from a distance, it would be appropriate to ask the person to pull down his facemask for a moment before you can engage with the person. If the person resists, call off the meeting until COVID-19 is over.
This also extends to people in facemask we might be dealing with on social media, for instance, video calls, virtual meetings or conference and so on. If the person is not with other people, it would be appropriate to gently ask him or her to drop the facemask. It is important to do the same if he or she requests it.
At least, this will accord both of you the opportunity to know whom you are dealing with.
Be careful whom you deal with, particularly, those who show up at your doorstep, whether you know them or not.
Be mindful of your security in the midst of the fight against COVID– 19, for both are equally important.
Stay safe, wear your facemask and be security alert at all times.
By: Rev Fr Nicholas Aazine, SVD