Let’s ignore reckless calls to lift restrictions
Re: Lockdown fatigue being recognised, September 14 editorial.
I notice that some of the most vocal proponents of lifting public health measures are Pakeha business interests who lament the economic impacts of lockdowns and travel restrictions. When asked about the illness, death and fear ravaging all the other countries that lowered public health protections — especially for minorities and the poor — these anti-lockdown capitalists tend to talk out of both sides of the mouth; in one breath saying there are so few cases restrictions aren't necessary, and in the next saying there is no way to control Covid so why bother trying. In the end, their only consistent complaint is about economic impacts on their business interests. They assume the rest of us should share this concern.
Meanwhile, most of these privileged few and the people they know are vaccinated and eager to use their wealth to travel and to open New Zealand to foreign tourists.
This reckless attitude is reminiscent of 17th and 18th century Europeans who came to Polynesia and the Americas for the purpose of trade and profit, and who disregarded the known risks from the infectious diseases they carried with them. The resulting waves of epidemics caused 70-90 percent declines in indigenous populations, and then these same Europeans blamed all of this on the “inferiority” of those devastated communities and “dying races”. From the 1860s to 1960s, these facts were twisted into a white supremacist worldview cloaked in the fleece of Christian piety. These poisoned spiritual fruits of self-centred greed and lust for power were widely accepted by Europeans of the time, including those who colonised Aotearoa.
I wonder if generations will look back on our time and see that Covid health risks for Polynesians, the poor and those hesitant to accept the vaccine, risks that are a direct result of global travel and trade, were again explained away by double talk from impatient European businessmen and politicians — or will we refuse their reckless calls to lift restrictions and realise that those men's personal power and profit has always mattered far less than they insist it does? Time will tell.