We — humans; human genders; human sex; humankind — are in the thick of a global pandemic that continues to disturb and claim lives. Although the threat is indifferent to, travel bans, vaccine mandates, ‘vaxxed’ or ‘unvaxxed’ status, the hero or villain narratives constructed in needlessly convoluted sentences — have become a part of the daily shit-show of curated propaganda. The spectacle of it all, threatens to bury common sense in its landslide.
This is not a pandemic of the ‘unvaxxed’. Making such a claim — is misinformation and obscene. Accusing parents — who choose not to vaccinate their children — of neglect or wilful harm, is obscene. Rewarding ‘vaxxed’ folks with discounts and prizes (and — a short-lived — directive/permission to remove their masks) and punishing ‘unvaxxed’ folks with extra subjugation over where they can work, eat, play — is obscene. Simply, Covid-19 is a reckless rebel with a cause to devastate any and everyone.
Last Saturday, 7 August, on what would have been my mums 73rd birthday, I took the opportunity to celebrate her legacy. As I stared at a picture of mum — a framed moment of joy — I let her waves wash over me. I was ready to take a breather from the crisis around the world. Looking out from my balcony, the rain fell heavily all morning, the air ran warm and a shiver jolted down my spine as lightening crackled across the sky and a thunderstorm loomed over South London.
I gathered my youngest son up and sent my eldest on his way to football training, I felt grateful that we had chosen to spend the afternoon at an indoor trampoline park. After a few wrong turns and an injection of my colourful language — we arrived at the park. I spotted the white SUV with my sons ‘bestie’ inside, and the boys beamed and waved feverishly at each other. Once inside, the boys let loose bouncing, flipping, climbing and swinging amongst a crowd of equally gleeful kids to whom social distancing and masking — was just a fairy-tale. Sitting on the sidelines, chatting intently with the other mum across the table, soaking up the soulful soundtrack blaring from the speakers and the relaxed atmosphere brimming with enjoyment of life. I thought to myself; sometimes, just sometimes — despite it all, the world can still feel like a fine place.
Do you believe in a world beyond Covid (BC)? I do. Even though presently, societies everywhere are whipping up outrage and following the trend of ‘othering’ by assigning blame to the ‘unvaxxed’ for the existence of new variants. We have known right from the start, this is a virus that will continue to mutate and breed new variants just like its cousin influenza — that hasn’t stopped mutating yet — despite a ‘flu’ vaccine being around for years. If the mass media, CDC, WHO, etc, could stop deeming it necessary to announce and name every mutation as if it’s breaking news — that would quell the hysteria.
I know the road will be long and far from straight, I know that many humans will get infected and sadly — some may still die, ‘vaxxed’ or ‘unvaxxed’. I also know, that most do/will recover from this infection; but there is still uncertainty about its long-term effects and whether the current vaccines reduce the severity of these or not.
To ‘vaxx’ or not to ‘vaxx’ — is not the question of moral obligation to others that it has been painted as. Rather, in my opinion, in the face of the undeniable evidence that this virus and the last 18 months have shown, it is a question of personal choice that overwhelmingly, only impacts that individual. So, to conflate the facts to fit preferred narratives; to deny the fact that we — humans, are all a threat to each other when it comes to this virus whether ‘vaxxed’ or ‘unvaxxed’; to suggest that those who choose to remain ‘unvaxxed’ should not be able to take up a hospital bed should they become sick, thus widening the already unjust medical apartheid that persists — are choices and beliefs that actually do impact others. I just wonder, if moral compasses are being checked at all when it comes to those things.
‘Othering’ is a road to nowhere. I believe in a world beyond this pandemic, where immune systems and perhaps vaccines (as an optional extra) will have evolved enough to render this virus non lethal or life changing. But, we should all pay close attention to historic events and how this thing continues to unfold. I can only hope that we — humans; human genders; human sex; humankind, are not bearing witness — once again — to the blueprint of how humanity goes down in flames.