The pain the pandemic has caused both collective society and the individuals making up that society is sad - heart breaking, in fact - and reflects so many deeper challenges that future generations are going to have to deal with and learn how to overcome.
One of the biggest challenges the young generation of today, and in the future, are going to have to overcome is how to find new ways of being, new ways of living, that both celebrate and protect the individual, while at the same time allowing the group, as a collective, to prosper.
Does anyone remember the 1998 animated movie Antz and Z, the one little ant who thought differently from the group?
This is my greatest fear arising out of mandatory vaccinations and the dangerous stigmatisation of the unvaccinated: that to protect the group/species, the collective is, once again, determinedly using relentless propaganda to force mandatory Covid 19 vaccines and the carrying of covid vaccine passports, and any individual who thinks or chooses differently from the group is crushed by cyber-bullying, ostracization and scapegoating.
At 8 billion and growing fast, the human species is not facing the threat of extinction. So where is this leading us as a species?
What will our future societies look like? Will we have Nazi-type ghettos for the unvaccinated? Will we in South Africa go back to segregated townships - instead of Sandton for the whites and Soweto for the blacks, will we have the Kingdom of Libertas for the vaccinated and the Ghetto of Famulatus for the unvaccinated?
Who will stop the unbridled abuses on individuals that occur when we all believe in the propaganda of the government in power, like the Germans did under Hitler and the white South Africans did under apartheid? Have we not yet learnt the lessons from history - and recent history at that! How short human memory is that we give up our hard-won freedom for the illusion of being safe.
How do we know what is really the truth about vaccinations when history time, and time again, has later shown so much misinformation with deliberate agendas? Human life, since the days of Mrs Ples, is inherently fragile, transient and finite. If one has the courage to lift oneself out of the fears, discomforts, disappointments of the personal experience of the pandemic - if we stop seeing ourselves as victims, helpless in the face of an overwhelming threat to our survival as individuals and as a collective - perhaps we'll come to realise there are much worse dangers to humankind on the prowl: the loss of our respect for those who hold different opinions to ourselves, the loss of faith and hope to support us through the inevitable dark times and the loss of freedoms that have taken thousands of years to evolve to the imperfect version of human rights that exist today.
So many serious concerns that could impact future generations are being lost in the uncompromising propaganda around vax vs unvax (from both sides!).
Every person who believes that vaccinations should be mandatory and vaccine passports are acceptable, so that they can have the freedom to travel and go to mega music concerts, should ask themselves this: do you want your children and your children’s children to be safe from death (a state of human existence which, tragically, is inevitable for us all) but be unable to think or choose for themselves, children who are not unique human beings fully expressing their individuality, but robotic-like beings who can’t be anything other than what is dictated by an arbitrary elite who history may prove to have implemented right or wrong moral standards and political or legal policies, such as mandatory vaccines and the carrying of vaccine passports? Just as history showed that forcing parts of the population to wear yellow stars or to carry a "dompas" were not, as the propaganda of the day stated, acts for the common good but rather acts of oppression and tyranny that had dreadful consequences.
The terrible challenge for today's generation - and for future generations - is to learn how to fiercely protect the human freedoms that encourage individualistic thinking while still having the faith and trust that the group will survive. This is not to deny the very high cost that each individual pays in terms of all the little ordinary joys and pleasures that have been denied - that grandchild, known only through a zoom screen, the funeral no-one could attend; the eagerly anticipated wedding or holiday that couldn't be shared with loved ones - all such valid personal sorrows, but all part of the necessary sacrifices needed to strengthen and evolve the species as we head off into an unknown and seemingly dark, scary future.
Despite these personal heartaches, the light of hope is there, as it always has been.
The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War in 430 B.C.E. and as much as two-thirds (66%) of the population died. Through the ages there have been many more pandemics, including the infamous Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1920, which inconclusive data shows killed between 24,7 million to as many as 100 million people globally. Currently, as at 21 December 2021, the Covid 19 pandemic has killed 5,8 million people globally (just under 1%).
Each pandemic death is a personal tragedy, but the loss or voluntary surrendering of our human rights out of fear of dying, or grief for the lifestyles and lives that the pandemic has taken from us, is surely a greater tragedy.
Oh, this is indeed a terribly complex situation. But, if we can work together, like Z and his fellow workers from Antz, to build a ladder that bridges the personal pain of the covid pandemic with the critical need to protect the individual's human rights from draconian laws then - as the human species has survived previous pandemics throughout history, we’ll survive this pandemic. And I’m positive we’ll soon be living in a world, while very different to pre-covid times, will still be a world that can be celebrated and enjoyed in new and exciting ways.
And, hopefully, we'll also still live in a world that celebrates and enjoys the freedoms of the individual's human right to choose.