V.E. Day, May 8, 1945
One day soon, we hope to be celebrating victory over Covid 19. I have a feeling that, unlike the ‘European enemy’ in 1945, there will not be a declaration of surrender. And therefore, no one day to celebrate the victory.
But I am sure, I profoundly hope, that a day will be chosen to commemorate victory over a foe universally disliked.
(If anyone’s interested in a digital copy of the above-illustrated official programme of the Victory Celebrations, it can be found online of course, or you ask me to send you a copy. It’s interesting to glance over – especially for the British).
I wrote the following a few days ago. Another little collection of thoughts…
I sit here on our roof quite high
Some down there die
I’m in the group of the old
I could be one of those left in the cold.
Do I wish I were young
At the bottom rung
Never a care about the collapsing lung
This virus is not fair
It attacks grey hair
Or those with head so bare
I was born with a desire
Never a liar
To traverse life with water, wind and fire
But now I’m here
Wondering how to protect those near and dear
This is no fun
Staring down the virus’ gun
Never giving up till we have won.
And so I look west
When we, and the sun, can rest.
I watched Bill Gates’ talk last week on Ted Connect. He agrees with many that South Korea’s ‘behaviour’ throughout this crisis is perhaps the example to follow. Here in Israel, like most countries, the lockdown is being carefully lifted. But, compared to larger countries, or those with larger cities and greater population density, it’s relatively easy to follow basic rules.
Then it’s likely that the daily, horrible statistics of new cases, the hospitalised, the deaths will go up 20-30%. That upward curve will take weeks to control again. Another 20-50 will have died. But we are in an exceptional position. For many countries another surge could be devastating.
(Actually I did take the mask off when playing. Obviously, singles only, and no ‘congregating’. Stay in car until your hour, mask over mouth and nose, get your temp. tested (I think that’s a cosmetic test) and onto the court. Lovely).
Cycling, running etc. of course. Exercising on the open public equipment, not yet. I have seen some fishing in our local river, although Israel is not a hub for fishing. I am sure they allow table-tennis, but that’s about it for sport.
The local newspaper shop (plus toys, stationery etc.) has opened. So I occasionally buy a hard copy of the Jerusalem Post, but I’ve actually got used to reading the news online.
The streets are becoming noisier. I’ve witnessed some of the old bad driving habits.
And another reminder that, for the last year or so, we’ve had no ’serving government’. On Wednesday night, agreement was finally reached to form a national unity government, basically resulting from Netanyahu’s main rival, Benny Gantz, abandoning some of his partners and joining him. That will be formally launched next Wednesday.
Will that make a difference to how the virus is handled? Gosh, I hope not. Right now, politics and politicians are not popular. (According to historian, Yuval Harari, interestingly interviewed on BBC’s HardTalk, Netanyahu was close to forcing a political coup, with very dangerous consequences. There again, Yuval is not one of Bibi’s greatest supporters).
Our relationship with the Arab population in Israel and in the West Bank has been dramatically improved as a result of the virus. It is not only hoped, but expected that we shall all benefit from this in the future. Gaza has actually not suffered much – due to a more than lengthy shutdown.
We help as best we can, but we have not seen any move by Hamas to relax their hatred of us. No even the 2 soldiers and the bodies of 2 others have been returned. Not much hope in that direction.
May Covid 19 VE Day arrive soon…