Main image: Grave stones for unknown migrants in Augusta, Sicily, alongside the grave of a young woman who was identified – Getty Images
Here in South Africa, we are in the grips of a new strain of the virus, a variant of the SARS-COV-2 Virus – currently termed 501.V2 Variant, not to be confused with the new variant in the UK which has been named VUI-202012/01 (the first Variant Under Investigation in December 2020). It is reported to be 70% more infectious than Covid-19.
I am fortunate enough to be able to go into Lockdown 4 mode, only leaving my home when it’s absolutely necessary, and no socialising. For me it makes absolute sense. I don’t have to rant about beach closures, travel, restaurants closing at 9pm and liquor retail outlets days of business cut from six to four days. I’m keeping myself safe and at the same time, keeping others safe.
The simplistic measures to protect ourselves: wear masks, wash your hands often, use sanitiser and keep your distance, but even that is too much to ask for.
This painting by very talented Cape Town artist, Nikki McQueen, says it all.
You can see more of her paintings in the Alice in Plagueland series on her website.
In stark contrast to our whining complaints are refugees that have run from their wartorn countries in fear of their lives, giving up most of their belongings and carrying with them what they can, hoping for a new life. Often they don’t get a new life, their lives end.
This is one story, a woman with a mission, Dr Cristina Cattaneo, the headline: 1,000 lost on one boat – this woman hopes to name them.
“On 18 April 2015 more than 1,000 refugees and migrants left Libya in an overloaded fishing boat bound for Europe. On a moonless night in the Mediterranean the vessel sank. But those who drowned are not forgotten – for the last five years a team led by an Italian forensic pathologist has been on a mission to name them.”
“Cattaneo’s obsession is naming the dead. That is normal if a plane crashes in Europe, she says. Why should it be different for migrant travellers?”
What a wonderful woman. Most people aren’t interested in the poor, the faceless, the nameless and the voiceless, those desperate refugees who many would prefer to forget.
And some news from the outgoing American president. For once he’s doing something good.
“Yesterday the Trump administration announced that it is imposing sanctions on 18 individuals and entities – including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s wife and some of her immediate relatives, the commander of the Syrian military intelligence, the Central Bank of Syria and close advisers to Assad in an effort to hurt Assad economically and draw him back to the negotiating table to find a political solution in Syria.”
“Asma al-Assad has spearheaded efforts on behalf of the regime to consolidate economic and political power, including by using her so-called charity and civil society organization. Her and her family’s corruption is one of the many reasons that this conflict lingers on,” Rayburn said.”
The ending of this war is long overdue and I hope that all the people that were party to the misery of the Syrian refugees will be punished in one way or the other.
So back to the virus.
I am thankful that I have a country that I call my home. I am thankful for peace. I am thankful to have a roof over my head. I am thankful to have food in my stomach. I am thankful for all my comforts. I am thankful for the skies and nature. I am thankful for so much…