I do not entirely understand the following sentences in this article:

Urging visits to Qom, I fear, is the reaction of a government that has at last recognized its own limitations and has, at some level, embraced the virus. These crazy reactions greatly increase the chances that you will soon embrace it too.

Does the last line mean that crazy and bizarre reactions/solutions to the crisis will make us more hopeless and make us simply embrace the crisis?

1 Answer 1


It is a bit of dark humour.

First note that missed the start of the first sentence, I've edited to put the subject of the sentence "Urging visits to Qom" back.

Now the first sentence says the "the government has embraced the virus". This must be a metaphor. If you (metaphorically) embrace something, you accept or give up to something.

John embraced defeat when he realised that the only way to get out check was to sacrifice his Queen.

And if the govenrment of Iran has given up, then it is more likely that there will be a global pandemic and "you" (the reader) will also have to "embrace" the virus (the reader is more likely to get the disease)

"Crazy" ideas like encouraging visits to Qom will make it more likely that you, the reader, will soon get sick with covid19. The metaphorical use of "embrace" makes this darkly ironic, and so humourous.

  • Thank you for the response. I don't think you noticed that the words "crazy" and "you" in the last sentence of my quoted text redirect you to other articles. I don't think the author is referring only to Iranian people in that sentence.
    – a_sid
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 22:35
  • No. The author is referring to "You = the reader" that means mostly Americans (since TheAtlantic is an American magazine). "You" does not refer to Iranian people. And "Crazy" means refers to responses that don't help and may cause the spread of the virus, such as promoting visits to Qom, or using essential oil to treat viral infections.
    – James K
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 22:42
  • So the author essentially meant that Iran's malpractices will cause everyone to eventually accept the virus as their lot.
    – a_sid
    Commented Feb 29, 2020 at 5:01
  • I was thinking the author was referring to the oil treatment (hyperlink in the article) ONLY as the crazy reaction to the virus.
    – a_sid
    Commented Feb 29, 2020 at 5:11
  • Considering that, I did not understand how an oil treatment (which at worst will be ineffective) will aid in spreading (and reluctant embracement of) the virus.
    – a_sid
    Commented Feb 29, 2020 at 5:17

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