Coming out of isolation

I am becoming more settled about the changes that are taking place in my life and getting ready to move. Some of the anxieties are reducing and I have been able to look “outside the tent” a little more than in the past two weeks.

I have been isolating for the last four months and apart from the changes in my circumstances  i am also going to have to get used to the new normal with face masks etc. I will be organising home delivery for the weekly food shop and limiting my interactions as much as possible.

So what has been going on in the outside world. In many ways not a lot. There has been the usual chaos surrounding Covid and mixed messages, trying to balance conflicting interests and priorities. Last week there was the dreadful, devastating explosion in Beirut. Seeing that on the news when the second explosion happened was staggering. A colleague at work is Lebanese and has family in Beirut. He told me that his family’s office was within half a mile of the explosion and he saw on the news that their building no longer existed….gone completely flattened. It took some days for there to be any news and yesterday he got news that his nephew was alive and although badly injured had survived. He had been outside the building about to get into his car and was blown over the top of his car by the blast rubble landing on top of him. Two other family members are still missing.

This explosion reminded me of watching the 9/11 attack in New York on the news. Not really believing what you are seeing. It is as if these are scenes from a blockbuster movie, yet they are for real. Over the next few days you watch people trying to come to terms with their shattered lives, the loss of loved ones, loss of shelter, loss of the most basic necessities to survive.

There is a international movement to give aid to support the Lebanon in this dire crisis, as indeed there should be. Yet this has sparked demonstrations. The corruption in government is such that the people do not want aid to go to their government. The government and its incompetence is blamed for the explosion. Any aid should go direct to organisations on the ground and by-pass their corrupt government.

This made me think about what is happening here. I read many reports of business and deals being done by our “democratic” government which appear to be less than ethical. Contracts are being given out worth millions of pounds under the cloak of it being necessary as a result of the Covid emergency without proper scrutiny… in fact with no scrutiny at all. Contracts for ferries to a company with no ships, contracts for PPE never supplied, contracts to companies where the government’s special advisers have close links. The public here will lose faith in our government, if indeed this has not already happened. Will there be protests on the streets here in an attempt to hold the government to account? A few years ago I would have considered it inconceivable but the present reluctance to be held to account seems unprecedented. I hope that will not happen here.

Then, my special interest subject bathrooms. Despite all the hype and that there would be an announcement on 22nd July I have not seen anything. The battle continues to wage between trans activists and TERFS though not with the same energy. Interestingly more cis women are beginning to complain about being policed in bathrooms (presumably for not looking feminine enough). I read  a tweet saying that “I lurk in bathrooms to call out transwomen and cause as much embarrassment as I can, its great fun lol”. That made me feel better!

In the light of other hardships embarrassment, however unfair and unwarranted and however much all people are entitled to basic dignity, equality and their human rights, it is not life threatening. Something such as the explosion in Beirut emphasises the need to live now and be present. I hope I will be able to do that as I move into the next season of my life.

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