Lockdown Log: The Old Normal

Candice Nolan / Jul 17, 2020

Lockdown Log: The Old Normal

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who gets it. People are shocked, for example, that our healthcare system is collapsing. A whole expose was done by the BBC recently. But, South African’s are familiar with the old normal. Coronavirus is a Génocidaire.

Well, really, it’s more like the zombie apocalypse. Since the world is essential doing battle against something that is not alive. You cannot defeat death. A virus is a non living protein like structure. It survives by enlisting your cells to make copies of itself. Your lungs stop functioning because the tiny cells that make up the tissue have been zombified.

South Africa was in crisis long before coronavirus reared its ugly faceless headlessness. Apparently, our rural areas mimic China in the early days of their own outbreak. People are dying in droves but they are not being tested. Morgues are overwhelmed. Bodies are simply piling up and infections are spreading. That’s what I heard, from someone who knows these things.

Coronavirus Command Council

South Africa’s lockdown was designed to preserve the tax base. Maintain the status quo. Break the back of the great black danger. Hence the deaths in custody of so many black men. I watched Special Assignment the other day. The military and police will likely be cleared of all wrongdoing. We had a precursor in Marikana.

The President held another imbizo the other day. Someone asked him about farm murders. They wanted to know why he doesn’t acknowledge the big black danger that is sweeping the South African farmlands. I pause for emphasis. Because, quite critically, Ramaphosa fails to acknowledge farm murders because there is no concerted attempt by black people to kill white farmers.

But the President is all about appeasement. So, he told the gentleman that he cares about every single murder victim. Every death. The woman who dies at the hand of her husband. The farmer killed by his workers. Every death. But nobody asked him whether he cared about the mineworkers who lost their lives at Marikana. Are our memories that short? Or was the president simply addressing a people/tax base closeted from the horrors of his government?

Are we silent because the guns are not trained on us or those we love? To paraphrase Martin Niemöller wrote “First they came for the mineworkers at Marikana, and I did not speak because I was a mine owner. They they came for Collins Khoza, and still I said nothing because I am not black. And then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me” It is an indictment on every South African. We cannot remain silent in the face of the old normal.

Apart hate

Some white restaurant owner was waxing lyrical about the latest alcohol ban. He said, and I quote, “None of my patrons are taking up hospital beds in the public sector”. This was in response to government’s justification of the ban, to free up hospital beds for covid-19 cases (as opposed to the flurry of accident and stabbing victims). Surely, this very comfortable white man, cannot expect the government to impose an apartheid type ban on alcohol sales?

It all sounds so callous to me. While people are fighting for their lives, those under lock down (protected by the army and the police) are complaining that they aren’t making as much money as before. And they are legitimately worried. Apartheid may well be off our law books (well, kind of), but it is practised very deliberately as part of the basket of tools to battle coronavirus.

It’s easy to bring the police and military in to protect the have’s from the have nots. Suburbia is clearly defined. One can patrol its access and exit points, shut down highways and interchanges. The President clucked to the locked down middle class, “You haven’t seen a soldier, right?! Don’t worry, you are safe” Well, I’m paraphrasing. The things I blog about are very controversial. There are some who might label it conspiracy theory.

But it should be shocking to hear that an outside broadcaster, the BBC, exposed the failings in our public healthcare system. They are there for all to see. Local journalists have been exposing these all the time. The rich just don’t like hearing about it. Apartheid atrocities are shocking to many today. Many middle class white people insist that they didn’t know what the government was doing in their name. Plausible deniability. Are we becoming complicit in this new form of apartheid? Apart hate. Distrust of the poor. Surely, they are out to get us. They outnumber us. Let’s keep our military guns trained on them, in case they get any ideas.

The great equaliser

The apartheid mindset. For all our Mandelas and Rainbow Nations and TRC’s. It was all a farce. But, the coronavirus is a great equaliser. Because, just as its decimating poor rural communities, it is starting to touch the previously untouchables. It doesn’t seem to care who your father was. Or how much money you have in your bank account. Nor is it concerned with how many businesses you own/staff you employ.

It’s lovely that we have press freedom. That I’m able to write what I like. And you, dear reader, are able to stop consuming information that you don’t like. It’s the great hope of a bygone age. Because it forces one to constantly take stock, to question everything and to stand up for injustice. Evil thrives when good people stand by and do nothing. The time for resting is over. Because the more things change, the more they stay the same. This is the old normal.

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