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The World We Left Behind
Supremely OT/Personal Remarks on Life 'B.C.', that is, Before Covid, Peppered with Remarks on 'Presentism' and 'Intersectionality'
Dear readers, first of all, feel free to skip this one if you don’t want to check out my somewhat mad—and dark—ramblings.
One of the strangest aspects of the past 3+ years is the scourge of what is commonly called ‘presentism’, that is, the notion that everything and everyone is, and must be, compared to present circumstances.
If you’re so inclined, the notion of ‘intersectionality’ would furthermore dictate (in the most literal sense of the term) that this must be done giving preference to any individual’s ‘lived experiences’ and feelings, too.
I’m not inclined to subscribe to these notions, but what I will say is this.
For whatever reasons, I’ve been going to ‘old’ photographs on my 'phone.
By ‘old’, I mean the pictures I’ve kept from the period of my life when I had a phone that didn’t have so much storage capacity that, every now and then, one had to ‘clean’—actually: pick and choose—the photographs one would like to keep.
Most of these date from less than a decade ago.
Most of them are of my family: my wife and our two children, as well as pictures of my close relatives, with or without any of us.
It is so weird, that much I can tell you, flipping through these pictures—really: moments I tried to ‘hold on to’ more than once—without experiencing a profound sadness, if not sorrow, for the world we lost.
For the people—individuals—who fell victim to the unyielding propaganda efforts of these past 3+ years.
Our children were born in 2014 and 2017, respectively.
The World of Before Three Years Ago
I will never forget that fateful spring of 2020 when our entire world was literally ‘turned upside down’.
Fear came out of everyone’s mouth.
Masked people were everywhere: in the staircase, in those shops deemed ‘essential’ (enough) to remain open, even outside on the streets.
We lived in Switzerland back then, which was one of the last countries to ‘lock down’. And when it did, it did so half-heartedly.
You may read up on it in one of my first posts:
I’m not bringing this up to remember, starry eyes and all that, a world that was ‘perfect’ before Covid. Far from it, if anything, 2019 used to be known in legacy media as ‘a year of protest’, with many 'mainstream commentators asking, somewhat anxiously, if 2020 would be worse than that (go ahead, look it up, it’ll blow your mind, provided you don’t ‘google it’).
Back to the Old Photographs
I recently re-read Stefan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday, in which the exiled writer bemoaned the profound loss of many, if not all, certainties that characterised life before July 1914.
Mind you, Zweig wrote these lines in the depth of WW2, and I’m in no way comparing the present to the persecution of Jews at the hands of the Nazis.
What I’m trying to say is this: I read his book well before Covid. When I re-read it, it resonated much more with me than I anticipated when re-reading other books I’ve read many years ago, incl. Solshenitsin’s Gulag Archipelago or Joachim Fest’s Hitler biography.
Flipping through the pictures of smiling people, family and friends alike, of the youthful bliss enjoyed by our children before Covid, I am, for once, (almost) at a loss of words.
The World of Yesteryear
It moves me to tears to consider even a fraction of what these past three years may mean to children born in, say, 2019 or 2020: masked parents and grand-parents. Mandates to ‘flatten the curve’—for two weeks, remember that one?
People treating their own flesh and blood like ‘disease vectors’.
Politicians, assisted by their spineless executioners in legacy media, declaring this or that necessity. To save grandma.
I recall, anecdotally, I know, my direct neighbours upon moving to Norway: two elderly ladies, one of whom, sadly, had a husband with late-stage Alzheimer’s in a nursing home.
She spent Christmas 2020 alone in her home, quarantined, because a care-worker in her husband’s nursing home had contact with someone who ‘tested positive’ for Covid. All other of her family members, of course, got together.
I remember walking over to her front door with our children, home-baked cookies in hand, wishing her ‘Merry Christmas’. It was so sad to see her alone. It was sickening to learn that the nursing home ‘inmates’ were also isolated, because Covid.
Or so they said.
I’m so sad, sickened, and full of sorrow, all at the same time.
Why We Must Carry On
It still sends shivers down my spine thinking about this utter madness.
It’ll take years, if not decades, to repair that kind of damage. It’ll take an eternity to atone for these sins.
I’m unsure how to close this one, but I’ll state this: we must carry on, for the sake of our children, yours and mine, and to begin to make amends for what has happened in these past 3+ years.
As a monument to the human spirit, I’d like to share with you a few pictures I took in late August 2019. It’s a couple of my childrens’ drawings, sketched on a long paper roll stretched out over the living room in the apartment we rented back when we lived in Switzerland.
I’m unsure whether these were ‘good’ or even ‘better’ times than ours in early 2023, but they are indicative of the world before Covid. I treasure these moments, which are, to me, almost like visiting my dead relatives’ graves: memories of times past, and indicators of, perhaps, a better future for those who come after us.
P.S.: I’m honestly unsure what our children meant when they did those drawings. I photographed them nonetheless because I still think these are awesome.
Carry on we shall, because we must; we owe it to those who come after us.