Sunday, 23 February 2020

A run-in with viruses

In ancient Rome, the seventh of February was traditionally the first day of spring, when the favonius, a gentle westerly breeze began to blow, bringing warmer air to the Mediterranean. On the eighth day after that, February 14th, that same tradition said that birds began to choose a mate for the year, and hence the origins of Valentine's Day.

It's certainly pleasant here in Italy with warm sunshine and light breezes and, by and large, it's doing me good. Three weeks ago I went to Milan to conclude some administrative business and probably because of suddenly being thrust into the bustle of a big city in winter at the height of the flu season, squashed onto public transport with bug-ridden commuters and having to spend time in health authority facilities, I picked up a vile winter vomiting bug that left me unable to move for days and took over a week to recover from and start eating again. I escaped from the city as soon as I felt able, but not before picking up flu which left me pretty feeble for another week and I've been coughing ever since.

So the moral is, stay isolated and don't mix with people! Not really, but it just goes to show how the crush of the big city is perfect for spreading germs. The coronavirus threat from China has become a source of hysteria - Chinatown in Milan, which is Europe's biggest, was deserted because in the public mind any oriental person is a vector of death (and white folk cannot distinguish between Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese and so on). Human stupidity and prejudice know no bounds.

How do we kill the viruses of racism, discrimination and stupidity? They seem to be very prevalent at the moment.

Sue x


  1. Hope you're soon feeling better!

    The question you asked is echoed all over the world. If I had the answer, I'd run for President! Unfortunately, I don't. For all of us under the TG flag, above all, stay safe!


    1. Thank you, Mandy.
      By the way, now I'm mending, I'm finally getting round to putting your new blog on my blogroll. Sue x

  2. I hope you're feeling much better now, Sue. A double dose of lurgi does not sound good at all.

    As to the spectre of bigotry, I don't know. I hope it's education and familiarity. There was a comment made in the US media - pre-bigot in charge - where the newscaster said that when firebrand hate speech folk rap on, everyday folk who know someone who is LGBTQ+, well, they think 'but Auntie Jane is not like that'. In a good way, that creeping acceptance and drift into the mainstream is a good thing. Unfortunately, there are those who wish to control the narrative to demonise others.

    1. Thanks, Lynn.
      The last 4 years have seen a tip to bigots being the ones in power, rather than ranters on the margins of politics. That changes the dynamic. As does the irresposible nature of media that loves a debate, whether that debate is fuelled by genuine opinions based on facts and realties or by fake news, lies and hate. The latter scenario has no place in political and social discussion and yet it is treated now as though it had equal weight. The narrative is becoming ever more like that of the 1930s and we know where that went. Sue x