COVID 19 is a real disease. In Florida, which has a comparable population to Australia and no lockdowns, there have been 44 000 deaths attributed to COVID 19.
In Australia, Google reports 1002 deaths.
That means that it could be argued that Australia’s lockdowns have saved 43 000 lives. The ripples of those lives will spread out in our society and instead of causing so many people heart-rending grief, our loved ones will be safe.
All of those people have families. All of those people are part of our community.
At the same time, the lockdowns worry me.
Deploying troops in civilian communities worries me. Using military leadership to organise a COVID 19 response worries me. These are people who are literally trained to kill, who deliberately joined an organisation knowing that they might be involved in killing people.
Is that really who we want trying to stop frightened teenagers from visiting each other in Western Sydney?
My understanding is that military personnel cannot be held criminally liable if they fail to follow the laws of the state or territory they are deployed in. I’m also aware of the recent war crimes accusations in Afghanistan, where Australian troops seem to have deliberately shot civilians.
Another thing that worries me is governments putting restrictions on freedom of movement, freedom of association, and the freedom we expect as citizens of a democratic country to go about our lives peacefully, privately, and without undue examination of our personal lives. Civil liberties are important.
This is why I think it’s OK to protest the lockdowns. My problem is not with the protest, but with the protester’s methodology.
Many people in Australia feel that our democratic freedoms are being eroded, and I think that it’s important to express political actions and opinions in a safe and calm manner.
Examples of appropriate protests in this climate:
- Sign this petition, here
- Get all your protesting people together, and instead of blockading Central Station, blockade the Harbour Bridge for an hour or two, safe in your car, social distancing, not catching COVID. Note that there is a process in Australia for authorising protests, and I highly recommend you follow this process.
- Get all your protesting people to make a placard, stand in their local shopping centre wearing a mask for an hour, call the local paper, and take pictures and put them on social media
- Start a T-Shirt campaign on RedBubble or Café Press
- Write to a media organisation– your local paper, the TV station you mainly watch, the websites you usually visit and others expressing your opinion.
- Write to your local member (they Do take public opinion into account)
- Put a post up on social media about it
- Make Art about it
- Read blogs about it and share them.
You have power. Your opinion matters. Try to find a constructive way to express it.
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