Have you ever stood in a gas chamber used for terminating innocent people? I have...
One of the resources that has been a great support on my journey into meaningful and empowering life is a book “The Choice” by one of the Auschwitz survivors Dr. Edith Eger.
The book came back to me as I’m facing yet another choice…
For me this book strikes a deep resonance as far as life philosophy is concerned. But it also hits home for a different reason. I’m from Poland and Holocaust is part of my homeland's history. I grew up with it (the history) and visited Auschwitz not once. The most horrifying experience was when I stood inside the gas chamber in one of the concentration camps in Germany (those were destroyed in Auschwitz as Germans fled). I don’t even have to close my eyes to remember it. My whole body remembers with eyes wide open… it’s something I cannot put into words. The terror I feel. Because it’s beyond comprehension. How could someone do that? And how could so many follow suit and see nothing wrong with it?
It didn’t happen overnight. The normalization of the division and making “others” less and therefore deserving to be treated like no human should was a result of years of deliberate work.
For glimpses of everyday examples I really recommend Dr. Eger’s book. I have yet to read it, but my dear friend tells me there's a lot of insight on this subject in the book “The Gulag Archipelago”; a history and memoir of life in the Soviet Union's prison camp system by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. My paternal grandfather suffered imprisonment from communist government. I may share some more about that in the future. I must say I totally forgot about it and suddenly the memory resurfaced triggered by my current life experience and the choice I’m facing.
Do we really need to go down the rabbit hole again? Normalise yet another division that makes allowance for “legally approved” discrimination. Do we need to repeat a whole cycle again to learn the lesson? Cannot we see the patterns in our history? There’s many examples; colonialism and religious superiority to name just a few on top of the tragedy of Holocaust. Cannot we learn from them?
Why do I ask this question? Because if I don't "arm myself" against c-19, from 17 December 2021 I will be legally classified as an "inferior citizen” and refused a lot of my rights as a citizen of Queensland, Australia. I won’t be able to go to pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes and any other hospitality or ticketed indoor or outdoor sport and entertainment venue (including cinemas, theaters, festivals, theme parks etc.), as well as Government-owned galleries, museums and libraries. A few days after the announcement of the upcoming changes, I already hear how deeper the restrictions are being pushed… for most businesses that are not essential (to “live”) to reject those who are not "armed". Access to hospitals will also be limited and there’s concern about doctors refusing to see "unarmed" except for emergencies. Police are to be employed to make sure I’m not trying to access those 👆🏻 unrightfully.
The mockery that’s also an insult to any intelligent person is how it’s being presented - as a “reward” for those who are "armed". How come is it a reward if until 17 December we ALL, "armed" and "unarmed", HAVE ACCESS to it ALL? It’s not a reward. Those who are "armed" are not getting anything up and above (except for a possibility of winning some money, but that’s a whole other story). To make it a reward, the right first has to be taken away. So as you can see, there’s no reward. There’s PUNISHMENT for those who won’t do as the government wishes. (That's even openly stated on the Qld gov webpage: "We’ve been saying for months now that there will be consequences for choosing not to be "armed" – beyond the risk of serious illness and death if you contract COVID-19.")
Why does the government feel so powerless when it comes to having its "arming" targets met that it has to enforce compliance? Why those who trust their bodies, and above all - choose to exercise their legal right to bodily autonomy, are being mocked and made look stupid or irresponsible? I realize that for a certain part of the population personal health profile may require them to "arm themselves". And that’s fine with me. Everyone should do what’s best for their own health and that of their family. I do respect that. However, I’ve been consciously working on and looking after my and my family's health and well-being for years and would like to be able to make an independent decision whether or not I and my children need additional protection. Why am I being made feel guilty and selfish if I choose not to "arm myself" against c 19? Why is someone else given power to shame me for my choice? On what ground? What risk do I pose to others? How am I a threat? Please, can someone explain? Really, as it doesn’t make much sense to me. If you "armed yourself", why are you afraid of the "unarmed"? The "arming" makes you safe, doesn’t it? So what’s the matter? Are only those who are "unarmed" possible transmitters of the virus? Or can both "armed" and "unarmed" do that? Do you know? Have you checked? I have. And even the Queensland government website states ""armed" people can still carry the virus, although the risk is reduced.” As an engineer I’d like to know the details. How much less of a “threat” to others is the person who "armed themselves" versus the one who didn't, so that we create an allowance to treat the "unarmed" as a dangerous monster? I do understand that it’s about reducing the risk of having the health system overwhelmed, but...
Why does anyone who asks questions and tries to make an informed decision be immediately labeled as antivaxer?
Why are there so many people that are reluctant to "arm themselves"? They cannot be all crazy or blinded by some conspiracy theories? In fact, most of the people I know are highly educated and therefore seek to make an informed decision, and feel uneasy and suspicious not only when the whole spectrum of information is not being made available to them, but especially when they are being coerced.
Why do I worry that if I use the word va€€ine in this blog, it may be deleted or my account blocked? The fact that I even am thinking about that is really concerning.
Why do people have to be forced by having their human rights withdrawn to roll up their sleeves or as per the gov advertising “arm themselves”? If the "arming" ”is safe, effective and free”, why is there so much resistance?
Most of the people I know "armed themselves" not because they were worried about the virus (in fact some of them here in Australia already had it* and would have preferred to have it again rather than "arm themselves"), but because they were forced to do it by otherwise having their rights compromised, including their ability to work.
*side note: both of my parents had covid, as well as other family members in Poland. No one had to be hospitalized including my Dad who in 2018 had a hemorrhaging stroke. They all are well.
It doesn’t make sense to me when people "arm themselves", not because they are worried about the virus and are looking to protect themselves, but because the government makes them do it through imposing limitations on their human rights.
If I don’t "arm myself", I won’t be able to take my children to government owned museum, galleries, libraries or for any type of entertainment, eg. cinema, play, theme parks, tourist attractions, not to mention being able to eat out. How fair is that?
Shouldn't those who decide not to "arm themselves" and hence won’t be able to use government owned, i.e. tax financed premises, be offered tax exemptions?
I've also heard an interesting opinion that those who don't "arm themselves" should be declined treatment in case they get infected… Following that train of thoughts, should for example smokers and alcohol drinkers be denied treatment from tobacco and alcohol related conditions?
The more I think about it, the less sense it all makes.
However, the reality is that if I don’t "arm myself" before 17 Dec 2021, I will be legally classified as an “inferior citizen” and my life will be compromised. I won’t be able to take my children for the usual outings during school holidays and am not too sure about their sport and other activities when the school resumes in January. What’s more, we will need to cancel our Christmas holidays, as Heron Island won’t allow any "unarmed" guests. I don't yet fully understand how it will affect my professional life. However, when the borders open, I may not be able to see my parents. I’m an only child. Both of my parents are in Poland. I haven’t seen them for over 2 years. They haven’t been able to cuddle their only 2 grandchildren for over 2 years. My children haven’t seen any of their family members (except for their mum and dad) for over two years… There have been serious illnesses (including cancer) and deaths in family… how do you think I feel when I am being refused simple human rights? I will tell you. I feel sad, angry, disappointed, resigned, furious, hurt and… slowly arriving at calm. I realise that being centered and at peace will not only spare my nervous system, but also enable me to make a better choice. Being lost in emotional turmoil I become reactive and I forget. But calm I remember. I remember I have a choice and I’ll exercise it according with my heart's guidance. I have faith. I have deep trust in life that no government is able to strip me off and I’ll use it to my advantage. I’m not a victim. My choice will come from an empowered space. And my conscience won’t keep me awake at night.
Armed or not, we are all human beings and should stand together united not divided.
We are smart enough to learn from the past… Why wait for history to repeat itself…
Let’s stop turning a blind eye pretending we don’t see what’s happening… human rights are at risk in Australia. Today it may not concern you, but who knows what tomorrow brings?
Treat the other the way you would like to be. Armed or unarmed, we all could do with more kindness and compassion during this challenging times.