Difficult Conversations – An Open Letter to the Vaxxed
Dear Fellow Citizens:
During my second year at Combermere School, a lunch-time game was organised by students, where one boy would chase the other boys in the class around the school. If he caught one, he would lash him once and that boy would join him in hunting the others. If they caught another boy, then both would lash him, and he would join in the hunt.
Eventually, there were only two boys left to be caught. I was the smallest and slowest boy in the class – because I was the youngest by up to 2 years. But I evaded capture by sharply changing direction when chased – a frustrating tactic for the chaser.
LAST BOY STANDING.
I was eventually caught, and my initiation into the hunter group resembled a gang beat-down. Those recently initiated now had an opportunity to be on the giving end – and they did not hold back. Once initiated, I had to join the hunt for the last boy.
Unlike me, he was genuinely fast. He should be rewarded for being the last boy on the run. But instead, he would receive the greatest punishment. He was inevitably caught. As the previous last person caught, I was to deliver the final lash as others held him.
He looked at me. A few minutes ago, we were on the same side. I gently touched his back, and I saw an expression – gratitude, something I was not given the opportunity to express when I was in that position.
THE WAY OF FAIRNESS.
Combermere is the way of fairness. Sometime during that game, I think that many of us understood that the game was unfair. But being caught up in the game, we unthinkingly acted our assigned roles. To my knowledge, that game was never played again during my time at Combermere School. That was 45 years ago.
Last week, I took an antibody test to see whether I unknowingly had COVID-19. The test was negative, so I am still on the run. I follow the sanitary protocols, and they have worked. However, I feel that I am not only being chased by COVIOD-19, but you, the Vaxxed.
Twice in the past 4 months, I was denied work opportunities – I was told that it was because I was not vaccinated. As a senior Structural Engineer, I am fortunate to have options. But others in this unVaxxed group do not. I see others in this group being threatened with employment termination, having their freedoms restricted, and losing opportunities for career advancement. What gives you the right to do this?
Once you achieve your aim of 70% injected, are the remaining 30% to be permanently unemployed, or undesirable and untouchable outcasts? Have you thought this thing through?
The unVaxxed are now being accused of being unChristian for not getting the injection. They are being accused of not caring about Barbadian children who are too young to be vaccinated. How dare you? I mean HOW DARE YOU!
Last week, I wondered what would have happened if those who had not been caught, simply refused to play the game until the rules were changed. Why should those who are doing everything right, be punished for their success? But 45 years ago, we were hunted, scattered, and divided. Last week, I realised that we do not have to be.
I am asking for a truce – an end to: the hostile threats, the denying of work and employment opportunities, the discrimination, and the despicable accusations. I am calling for a truce.
The world is going crazy, and we have little influence on what other countries do. But we can discuss how we can exist together, during this pandemic, on this island we call our home. So far, the rules have been written by the Vaxxed and exclusively for the Vaxxed – is that fair?
So why should you listen to me? I think that I have some standing. Of the 9 political parties who contested the last General Election, Solutions Barbados got the third highest votes cast, at 5,842. To put that number in context, it represents over 5% of the total votes cast, which proportionally would represent approximately two seats in the House of Assembly on our first outing.
Solutions Barbados candidates generally spent less than 3% of what the BLP or DLP candidates spent. I spent about 2% of what the BLP candidate spent. Despite that, outside of the BLP and DLP, I received the most votes cast of any candidate from the other 7 parties.
LET US REASON TOGETHER.
So, on that basis, I am calling for a truce. Perhaps Mr David Ellis may moderate an honest discussion on how we can move forward united on this matter. To help you empathise, consider the following hypothetical situation.
Suppose the WHO claimed that a new variant made the Vaxxed a danger to society. Would you want the unVaxxed to treat you like how you are treating them? Would you want the unVaxxed to put you in isolation concentration camps? Would you want the unVaxxed to stop you from working, earning, playing, or going to school? Would you want the unVaxxed to take away your unVaxxed children because you were a potential danger to them?
We are being deceived into treating each other as enemies. We are not. We are your fellow: classmates, workmates, congregants, family members, and citizens. We were recently on the same team where our common enemy was COVID-19. Now, more of you are behaving like hunters – and every week, I am feeling more like the hunted.
I am asking for an honest discussion of the rules. To facilitate this honesty, it should include what should happen if the Vaxxed are later found to be a danger to Barbados. That may seem like an unlikely nightmare scenario – but the unVaxxed are currently living your nightmare.