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[Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.]

Sitting unhidden in one of my barrio tiendas sipping on a litre of Poker beer, it dawned on me that less than a year ago such behaviour was officially prohibited and had been for the guts of 12 months.

Lads on the lash, facemasks in force. A tienda bar in Barrio Santandercito, Bogotá, Colombia.

Saving face: Colombians seem particularly keen on facemasks.

I’m not sure about you, but as things gradually return, for the most part anyway, to how they were pre-pandemic, I’ve nearly forgotten how absurd those “lockdown”/restricted-movement days were (it’s good to have my various blog posts during the period as a reference point. See, for example, https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2020/03/coronavirus-collateral-damage.html and https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2020/06/coronavirus-auxiliary-killers.html. Here’s hoping the internet’s Ministry of Truth doesn’t get at them).

Failed estate
This isn’t to say that my tried-and-trusted Bogotá tiendas are devoid of signs of those crazy times. Clientele’s wearing of facemasks under the chin is one rather inane reminder. There’s also the odd sign to wash one’s hands (a tad difficult in establishments without adequate facilities in this regard), to wear aforementioned masks and even notices to disinfect your footwear, a practice that was found early on to be rather ineffective in combatting contagion in most settings.

As for the facemasks, Colombians seem quite happy to wear them, anywhere and everywhere. Whatever about their efficacy in terms of reducing the spread of respiratory infections — the jury is still very much out — they may at least offer some protection from Bogotá’s contaminated air. Although, when worn around the chin, it’s unlikely they’ll be of much help.

Nonetheless, it’s good to have some reminders of what we’ve just gone through — as long as they’re kept at a safe physical distance that is.

Of course, people still afflicted by coronavirus monomania will not only say that all draconian measures introduced were necessary but they are also likely to argue that they didn’t go far enough nor last long enough.

Again, the evidence that strict lockdowns work in combatting a disease such as covid-19 is far from conclusive. And when viewed solely through the lens of Sars-Cov-2, one is guilty of inflicting other causes of pain and death on those who would otherwise be fine. It’s a delicate balance, one that many countries appear to have got shockingly wrong.

“Those who have been most faithful to the creed, if they’re not quite rewriting recent history their changing tack is explained as ‘we weren’t to know.’ Really?”

As we begin to accept that we must learn to live with covid rather than stop living and as we move our focus onto the next global cause for concern, any proper, unbiased analysis of the last two years must critically examine the role of much of the media in unquestioningly following the official line.

A majority in the Fourth Estate, not for the first time and it certainly won’t be for the last, decided to take refuge elsewhere.

A dubious narrative was established and followed with fervour. “The Science” — the one that promoted heavy-handed containment measures and has coerced people into taking covid vaccines even when it is clear that some have robust natural defences against the infection — became the true faith.

Hygiene recommendations aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus on display in Bogotá, Colombia.

Signs of the time. Careful now …

Those of us who dared ask fair and reasonable questions were blasted as heretics. We were selfish, content to needlessly let people die, so the attacks went. Very early on in this collective, dangerous insanity I called out what was for the most part nauseating, hypocritical virtue signalling (see https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2020/03/coronavirus-fallout-virtue-signalling.html).

We now have some of those who were most faithful to the creed backtracking. If they’re not quite rewriting recent history their changing tack is explained as ‘we weren’t to know.’ Really? They seemed utterly convinced of their righteousness at the time, trying to rubbish those of us who went against them.

Centre fight
In any case, it’s quite easy for them to shrug all this off now. Vaccine certs proudly in hand, life is pretty much back to normal. (More power to the countries that are doing away with jab passes — little by little, society appears to be taking a more reasonable, rounded approach to this. Let’s not mention atrocious Australia, crazy Canada or nefarious New Zealand, though.)

Thus, some people tell me I should get over all this, ‘hum a different tune’. For the most part, I am doing that.

However, the agents of coercion and control who were given a new lease of life with the arrival of the novel coronavirus continue to try to make life difficult for us “infidels”. ‘Just conform, goddamn it!’

Many appear quite happy to have the state overseeing more aspects of their lives, often falsely believing that it’s for the greater good of society. It generally means a little less personal responsibility, too, so they’ll acquiesce.

Yet, an all-powerful state with much of the media in tow, doing its best to silence — or cancel, if you will — dissenting voices, painting any opposition as conspiracy theorists and so refusing to engage with it, is not something to be endorsed.

It’s why I won’t simply let this go, not while we still have what is effectively nothing more than official opinion or debatable science being peddled as unquestionable fact.

As we’ve seen over the last couple of years and as history has repeatedly shown us, giving free rein to such forces rarely leads to positive outcomes.

The centre can hold for a little while longer. We have to be prepared, though, to battle hard to keep it together.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.

Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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