Australians have been going a little bit nuts the past two weeks, stock piling toilet paper and fighting over hand towels but beneath the memes and the jokes there is a definite tone of fear. I’ve been wondering a lot lately about why this is. Certainly this is something that most Australians haven’t faced before, we are all having our privilege challenged in a very direct way. It’s brought out the best in some of us and the worst in others.
The truth is that for much of the world this is everyday life. Food insecurity, medicine shortages and potential loss of income is something that much of the world struggles with on a daily basis. I have to be honest, I’m glad Australians are being challenged like this. I hope it will make us reflect more on how we have treated refugees and other disadvantaged peoples.
I wonder if this sense of insecurity and foreboding is what my Grandparents felt during the War? The sense that things you have no power over are spiralling your life towards the unknown. I guess that’s where the toilet paper thing is coming from. People are exercising their choices in a way that makes them feel in control of a situation.
It doesn’t surprise me that people are reacting with fear and mistrust when our Governments have been systematically dismantling and undermining the institutions that are supposed to take care of us; Defunding our health systems, breaking down protections for workers and pushing the general population further and further in to rental stress and job insecurity. Covid19 might well be the straw on the camels back but it comes on top of an economic system that is already collapsing.
On a more personal scale I refuse to buy in to the panic. Hoarding and bunkering only make it more difficult for the more disadvantaged people around us. I’ve been checking in on my family, making sure they are okay, making sure my Dad has some kind of plan incase things turn worse. The daily shop now feels a little like a trip in to the Badlands, foraging for the few food items I need to get me through the week, but always I keep reminding myself that I’m already damn lucky and well ahead of many other around the world.
I urge you all, not to give in to the baser instincts of “me first” and remember that we all live in this community together. It’s hardly the end of days… yet anyway.
Be safe out there and wash your hands. x