Healthcare workers have also unwittingly and more so unwillingly become the last line of defence for that same society which for decades invested just enough into healthcare – just enough to win the election and prevent a revolution; much like everything else considered ‘unprofitable’.
Writen by: Voja Zanetic
There are at least three basic freedom limitations.
The first is when someone else is preventing you from doing something. The second, when you are preventing yourself. The third, when it is your health that limits you.
Those who have experienced a sickly childhood know a thing or two about the combination of the first and the third lack of freedom. When your parents limit your activities, for the sake of your health. Whoever came into a position to be of ill health without parent supervision knows of the combination of the second and third lack of freedom. And living in these viral times gives us an insight into a combination of all of the above.
By this viral chance, we are once again not allowed to go out, so we don’t get sick. And in this collective pseudo-return to childhood, the infamous undershirt has been replaced by – a mask. The draft, historically the most frightening cause of all illness, has been replaced by handshakes and physical contact. ‘Don’t’, ‘be careful’, ‘what are you doing’, along with ‘wash your hands’ have brought us all back into a juvenile state. Hard-earned freedom of adulthood is in retreat against the need to survive in this dislocated childhood re-run. How much freedom is left? The question itself makes you sick.
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Healthcare workers are at the centre of our neo-retro childhoods, unwittingly, and definitely unwillingly so. Their systems of work, created for times of peace, are now at war with the Virus. And like in every war, the narrative produced those not on the front lines is callously similar – ‘this will all be over soon’, ‘we are at the verge of victory’. There are the jabbering conspirators, just like there always have been.
The perspective of those who haven’t been recruited doesn’t allow a realistic understanding of the war. You couldn’t see Stalingrad from Berlin, or Okinawa from New York. Those who aren’t healthcare workers, or healthcare warriors, know very little of this battle. The small pieces of the picture of the invisible enemy come from those who returned home from the hospital trenches. These are, however, stories of former patients, those who were wounded but weren’t on the field: the healthcare workers are still our far away soldiers whose war stories we will learn one day when This is all over. One day, who knows when.
Throughout history, wars were started or prolonged out of genuine faith that they are impossible to lose, and so was this war. Predetermined by the fairy tale of impossible defeat: from the ‘herd immunity’, to a vaccine, the ‘miracle weapon’ that will turn things around and is just around the corner. In the seemingly infinite space between ‘ah, it’s nothing’ and ‘it won’t happen to me’ is a massive black hole, in which are our freedoms and our hospitals. And with them, our culture and civilisation. Our vicinity.
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And in our local Vicinity, transition processes have made sure that health, like many other necessities, is basically only accessible to those with either money or power, or both. Healthcare workers have also unwittingly and more so unwillingly become the last line of defence for that same society which for decades invested just enough into healthcare – just enough to win the election and prevent a revolution; much like everything else considered ‘unprofitable’. That same society – presumably for the same reasons as before – is now making a huge effort to perpetuate the self-illusion that the virus and the epidemic will not change the way we have lived so far, what we did and how we did it. That, apart from maybe a fresh paint job and a bit more equipment in the hospitals, there isn’t much left to change. The idea is that, when those who were sick are cured, we postpone curing everything else that is sick for healthier times. Because there is no medication for it, or doctors, or that matter.
Happy continued sick leave.
We’ve earned it.