Opinion: In the face of ignorance, an ode to our health-care workers
Published Saturday, September 18, 2021 5:00AM EDT
MONTREAL -- Health-care workers everywhere, please accept this apology for the despicable behaviour of a handful of people who have taken it upon themselves to render your valuable work even more challenging.
Know that you are appreciated, valued, and respected by the majority of Canadians who condemn the outrageous tactics being used by a loud minority.
These past few weeks the news has been filled with stories depicting the entitlement of a select group of people so focused on their own rights that they disregard the rights of everyone else.
Just when you think it can’t possibly get worse, they up the ante and head for the hospitals.
Watching these offensive protests unfold pulls at the darkest places of my soul, taunting a reaction that would be equally as shameful were I to stoop that low.
Yet, what would be the point of that, an eye for an eye leaves everyone blinded, and clear vision is what is most needed at times like these.
Instead, I choose to tip my hat to those in healthcare who have laboured throughout this pandemic, saving lives at the risk of their own, showing up at work despite the uncertainties, providing care through their own grief and exhaustion.
Instead, I choose to focus on the givers rather than the takers.
Throughout the ups and downs of this pandemic, I have reminded myself that every story, every challenge, every issue has multiple perspectives.
Getting caught up in one version of anything seems to be a plague of its own in this 21st century where social media and “fake news” feed the beast of narcissism. Seeing all sides, as best we can, opens dialogues, heals wounds, and leads to compassion between communities.
Yet, in the past few weeks, despite my best efforts, it has become more and more difficult to stay loyal to an open mind.
Keeping a broad perspective is challenging when faced with such callous behaviours.
My tolerance began to fade when I first witnessed fellow citizens showing up to protests with yellow stars stuck to their chests.
As the child of a Holocaust survivor whose extended family was largely eradicated by the Nazis, I was taken aback by the ignorance of those who equate COVID-19 health measures, put in place to save lives, with a murderous regime, aimed at obliterating lives.
I feel sorry for those protestors who publicly flaunt their misunderstanding of a catastrophic chapter in history.
This is personal and it got under my skin.
What came next has little to do with my own story, yet fuels my furry even further.
Ignorance, stupidity, naiveté, and narrow-mindedness may lead to questionable choices, but consciously disputing health measures at the very place where the ill and dying are being cared for by the healers is unfathomable.
Showing up with picket signs and chants of protest in the face of those who have spent close to two years putting their lives on the line, both physically and mentally, to care for patients ravaged by this unpredictable disease is beyond comprehension.
As a small group continues to remind us how selfish humanity can be, how about the rest of us drown out the noise by collectively joining our voices (and banging our pots) in a cheer of support for health-care professionals who have worked tirelessly to keep us well throughout the challenges of this pandemic.
Susan Mintzberg is a PhD candidate in social work at McGill University whose research focuses on the role of family caregivers in mental-health care.