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Anger overwhelms us at the social choices that have been made for months

An opinion of Véronique de Stexhe, biblical scholar.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Experts, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Government,

We are angry!

Yes, anger overwhelms us at the social choices that you have been making for months without hearing, without taking into account what we are trying to tell you in all tones, and in a peaceful manner.

Should we enter into resistance like our fathers or our mothers who fought to preserve our freedoms?

Where are the Resistance fighters today?

While during your last intervention on Friday, March 5, you kept reminding us of our responsibilities, you once again announced to us the maintenance of a set of restrictions which disempower us.

Under the pretext of protecting us, you limit our most basic freedoms, those which are essential to life whatever the age, whatever the environment, whatever the philosophical or spiritual orientation.

For months, we have been deprived of everything that gives meaning to our lives.

Man does not live on bread alone and, to use the words of a former teacher, there is a way of “feeding” oneself which gives life and a way of “feeding” oneself which gives death.

How can I justify what I’ve seen at City 2 in recent weeks? How can we justify the fact that we can go so many in a well-known large furniture and decoration store on the outskirts of Brussels, or in a large clothing or food store when we are prohibited from theaters, cinema, restaurants, concerts, and almost places of worship?

In these places of material consumption, we meet crowds of people gathered in front of windows, in front of an equipped kitchen, or in crowded escalators, as if all these “things” could feed our desires for life, for joy, for fullness!

This one form of food, Ladies and Gentlemen, ends up making us nauseous.

On the other hand, meeting up with our loved ones, or for a concert, a theatrical evening, at the cinema or at the church, while respecting social distances, that is nourishing. Nourishing with beauty, dreams, love, creativity. In short: nourishing real life.

And since we are talking about life, we are also talking about death; this death which seems to lie in wait for us all and which creeps into us more than with the virus. This terrible death of those who find themselves alone to face it. This death that we can no longer celebrate, between believers or non-believers. We can no longer accompany our hospitalized loved ones, but we can no longer meet together to pay tribute to them and share one last time all that they have been for us.

After months of waiting, from 15 people, we went to 50!

50 people you have to choose to bury a loved one. Priests and choir included.

Whether at the crematorium or at the church, 50 people and the others by videoconference.

50 people in immense spaces which can, for some, accommodate 1000 people! How did we get there ?

In addition, not a word was said for the non-funeral celebrations. Not a word for these thousands of citizens for whom the celebration of worship is essential food. As if article 19 of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of worship were swept aside with the back of the hand!

Ladies and Gentlemen, do not take us for sheep, who would obey without flinching a succession of measures which vary according to the fears of some and the advice of others.

No risk does not exist. When are we going to decide to resist the yoke of the illusion of zero health risk?

Life is risky, love is risky, faith is risky. Taking no more risk makes us living dead. Is this what we want?

Ladies and Gentlemen, listen to us! We are over 60 years old and we ask you to stop destroying lives in order to protect us. To take balanced measures which can preserve our fundamental freedoms while taking into account our appetite for life. We want to choose our “food”, the one that nourishes shared beauty, relationships, faith. Simply life.

Let us celebrate life and celebrate death by opening our worship spaces or other essential meeting places, so that we can once again, in an organized way, pray, sing, cry and also gather around our dead, without having to do inhuman choices to respect this arbitrary (and inappropriate) number of 50 people, choir included!

Let’s put an end, together, to this system that locks us in and buries us alive!

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