On stepping from the doorway to the street it’s as though nothing’s
really changed. The breeze strokes your face and a glimpse of sunshine
passes through the clouds to shed light on the pavement, damp from the
night’s rain. Around you there are people, walking as they always do
from A to B, maybe even to C, carrying bags of their mornings’
But something’s not right.
And then it hits you. The imprisonment you momentarily forgot as you
descended the stairwell returns to knock you square in the face. The
pallid faces of those that pass you stink of weeks in the absence of
natural light. You can smell the rickets as their weakened bones grind
pass whilst desperately trying not to attract attention. A glance too
long is suspicious intent. A kiss of greeting is criminal.
We stand up straight, compose ourselves and prepare the excuses. From
queue to line to orderly fucking mess we go, basking in the UV rays as
though enjoying the beaches of southern Spain. You cough and someone
crosses the road. A laugh and heads turn.
This is not happening. It is being done. This is not a natural disaster:
a culmination of environmental forces that level an area, wreak havoc on
normal lives and leave nothing behind but a legacy to be consumed into
the laboratories, although the latter is, in part, true. It is a process
– planned and executed – within a framework of processes, both
complementing and competing. Fluctuating, exacerbating, suffocating.
Isolation is becoming a positive term. To separate and withdraw is to do
your duty. It is to protect those around you: the damaged, dying, done,
because in a world where there’s only one saviour, everyone can be a
victim. As always, our beings are cut in half. Protect the body and the
mind will endure, yet this stimulation deprivation is ripping us apart
from the inside. Slowly. It’s the opposite of a media blackout. It’s a
landslide. A cascade of numbers, facts and proportions that, as
incomprehensible and contradictory as they might be, have become the
newspeak of 2020.
And yet we have no choice but to believe. Science sold out to capital
long ago and, as such, without entering its stadium we are disarmed for
the tournament. We are the pieces, not the players. The stories of those
hospitals that plod along, business as usual, are censored, cast-off and
mocked. Our throats are sore from trying to articulate what we see as
happening. Reduced to a dialogue that merely condemns police brutality,
as though it were something surprising, we find ourselves occupied by
providing services to those that everyone had forgotten about before,
and will again after.
If there are any questions left, don’t let them be said, scream, for the
silence of criticism is deafening.