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SOAPBOX: Let’s Make Love Not War

by Jimmy Rhatigan

WHETHER we like it or not, we are now playing hopscotch in a minefield.

Doctors differ and patients die is a well-worn cliché.

As for politicians?

Our body politic is built on sand.

Occupants of what we might call the land of moving statues, will shuffle in the direction in which a popular wind blows and certainly in whatever way will fill their own treasure chests.

Excluding a collection of crazy decisions by politicians and their medical buddies (or enemies, depending on the mood), Covid was from an early stage, a common enemy.

Our people stayed at home and myriad medics dug deep in the trenches, risking their own lives to save ours.

Reacting to an emergency clarion call from on high, the vast majority of our people cloistered themselves in the not so great indoors.

The plus was that our team was united.

We wore our masks, kept our distance, washed our hands and raised alarm bells if we coughed, sneezed or broke wind.

The woeful minus was that after a few reckless faux pas especially those that allowed us to go horse racing and indulge in a Christmas knees-up, many families were left with vacant chairs and tortuous pangs of regret.

Medical chief, Dr Tony Holohan became a folk hero of sorts.

An army of believers, some would suggest, were happy that he could walk on water.


To balance the books, there were and are those who may believe that he and his friends inside and outside of medicine  have relied on fire brigade action.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly became a kind of Comical Ali of Iraq PR infamy.

Ali was the guy, Kilkenny Press readers may remember, who told journalists that his fellow countrymen were in control and that American Troops were being kept at bay.

The latter was as bombs were hopping here, there and everywhere and Iraq was, not days, weeks or months away from falling, but minutes from waving a white flag.

Donnelly is the Minister who has just lashed into the unvaccinated of Ireland, allegedly blaming them for the continuation of the Covid-19 epidemic.

That smacks of having Comical Ali blood in his veins, blaming everyone, anyone except himself and his fellow decision makers in Government, in the HSE and in Nphet.

We would love to be positive.

But when you have a bus thundering one way at break-neck speed and an articulated truck bombing in the opposite direction, what do you do next when you are stranded in the middle of the road?

In many respects, it is wonderful to see local businesses like restaurants, pubs and cafés busy again after taking a real hammering from a ruthless invader.


Rules and regulations were dished out and in some cases bordered on the ridiculous.

We were all encouraged to be cautious as we gingerly edged out of our enforced lockdowns.

That everyone was playing by the rules, business premises and their customers, was maybe a comforting assurance that drinking a few pints and enjoying a steak and chips was reasonably safe?

Freedom is fab. But any abuse by any sector and what is now a safe-flying balloon of trust could burst in our faces.

We have already had the blame game.

Spin doctors were working overtime.

Regardless of what the future holds, what we might dub the great war between vaccinated and unvaccinated may be remembered as a nasty offshoot that included nonsense, lies and damn lies and, sadly, brothers falling out with sisters over an injection to their arms.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail and we will work to help each other to get through this battle of Hell on Earth whether we are jabbed (a new word courtesy of the pandemic), or not.

At Kilkenny Press we would not dare to suggest that people should get vaccinated.

Nor would we encourage anyone not to get vaccinated.

We accept that desperate situations require desperate actions. 


Taking or not taking vaccine, any vaccine or prescribed pill has to be a personal choice.

The great majority of our people have opted for the vaccine and we must all respect their decisions.

Similarly we should desist from making scapegoats of those who, for reasons best known to themselves, have abstained from Covid vaccines.

The term ‘anti-vaxxers’ is being thrown about freely and dangerous terms like murderers, nut-cases and worse, have emanated from those who take the jab and those who don’t.

We accept that ‘anti-vaxxers’ and those who choose not be be jabbed do not sit under the same umbrella.

The magic words Make Love Not War would fit neatly here.

There are those who would promote divide and conquer and sadly many journalists are guilty here.

The journos, innocently or otherwise, are failing badly, particularly when it comes to interviewing members of the medical profession who may not all share the same views.

There are high profile medics who, in their wisdom, are urging the world and its mother to get vaccinated.

And there are those who do not encourage vaccine. 

Sadly, the latter has cost some medics their careers as they have been banned from practising.

That is hardly fair as most if not all have not been allowed to expound on their reasons for abstention.


Despite their best efforts, these medics, many of whom, we would assume were regarded as eminent physicians pre-Covid, it would be a miracle if any of them, would be afforded the courtesy of an interview by local or national media.

We would not expect these medics to be provided with a propaganda podium but neither should they be censored.

We desperately need our medics to be as one.

Otherwise the picture for the future and the health of our children and children’s children could end up in a cauldron of hurt and even disparity.

Instead of encouraging our doctors to sit together at a round table, some journalists are treating those who may have reservations about vaccine as lepers and, how often have we heard the word, crackpots?

Back into the dark ages, truth has been a victim of countless wars.

We flashback to the Savoy Cinema of our youth when as young boys and girls we cheered a cavalry as it pummeled the Indians.

Why did we pick sides?

A misinformed media maybe?

As our people now enjoy unbelievable freedom to drink to our hearts’ content, to fill our bellies and to dance the nights’ away, we hope and pray that all business people and customers will behave and promote mutual respect.


Reality is that while we have more freedom, we may now live in even greater fear than in the early days of Covid as there is no light at the end of a tunnel of hope.

More and more we are doubting politicians who, as we well know, will take risky decisions to save their own backsides only.

Nphet and political parties will have their targets if it comes to apportioning any blame if the wheels come off the wagon they let loose and, God forbid, their plans go belly up,

We have been released in what some may call a bid to save the economy rather than the lives of our people. 

Spinning and precious party politics should have no part to play as we worry about the lives of our children, grandchildren, parents, brothers, sisters and extended families and friends.

It is shame on anyone who would use a pandemic as a weapon to suit his or her own purposes.

Remember the Indians.

They never recovered.

Making Love Not War is the only answer.

And it is far more productive.

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