Short Memory. By Owen Zupp.
“Short memory” was a song released by the Australian band, “Midnight Oil”, while I was still at school. Yes, it was a long time ago, but the words still ring true as history continues to repeat itself in so many areas of society. Personally, one area strikes a little closer to the bone than others.
We have been relatively fortunate, so far, with the loss of life due to COVID-19. Even so, such a statement may ring true on a national level but it is undoubtedly hollow and cutting to those who have lost loved ones. Our sympathies are with every one of those families.
Many more would have been lost to date if it weren’t for the incredible efforts of our frontline health workers. The doctors, the nurses, the first responders and every single individual that provides us with the health system that we have in this country. But I sense a short memory is lurking in our midst.
It was only a matter of weeks ago that citizens around the world were standing in the streets applauding our health workers and the Eiffel Tower was illuminated in tribute. The television channels flashed collages of medical professionals and volunteers across our screens. They were our new heroes.
As the societal shift moves from response to recovery and economics comes to the fore, will these heroes be forgotten like so many others in history? Will their bids for a justified wage be met with a cold rebuttal? Will the ongoing threat to their safety from disgruntled or drugged members of the public remain ongoing?
I was an Ambo in far less threatening times. Yes, there was abuse and even physical violence, but it was not commonplace. Yes, there were drugs in society, but heroin tended to leave the patient unconscious, not in the violent rage that “ice” inflicts. When AIDS first appeared, we would transfer patients in a HAZMAT-like suit, but it was not a pandemic as we see today. A pandemic that I suspect is still far from over.
Should we emerge from COVID-19 and the new normal arrive, let’s not forget who allowed us to resume our lives. Let’s not forget who saved our lives. Let’s not have a short memory.