By Professor William Mallinson,
Universitá Guglielmo Marconi,
Cagnes-sur-Mer, 20 March 2020
Can I do it? Read on, and decide for yourselves at the end of this small article.By the time that you read it, I may, or may not, be back in Greece, but stranded in France.
Friday 20 March: I am writing this from the South of France, Cagnes-sur-Mer to be precise, whence I am trying to fly back to Athens to be with my immediate family. But Aegean Airways have cancelled two of my paid for flights, evidently for commercial reasons, until May (so they say). So much for the myth of ‘scheduled flights’ and ‘customer care’. Maybe Lufthansa will get me to Frankfurt tomorrow, and then to Athens, unless they also prove to be liars. Well, it seems that Corona is undermining ‘customer care’ and ‘business ethics’, since the Greek government has not forbidden inward intra-EU flights. Profits before people.
And now, connected to the above, my father’s recent comment about our ‘human’ race:
‘The inhuman race comprises the most evil and violent creatures in the world. There are a few others, such as, for example, sharks, but for thousands of years, it is humans who have enjoyed killing people, many completely innocent, in their millions. And it’s still going on!
I sometimes wish that I had been born a monkey, and spent my days in the forest, looking for fruit and nuts. But then I thought, how long would it be before my forest was cut down to make paper for advertising? So I gave up the idea.’
Unless you are already bored or confused, read on
Yesterday, this happened by the sea in Cagnes-sur-Mer: a kind 72 year-old lady I know was simply sitting on a bench by the sea, having a chat on her telephone. Three policeman marched over to her and accused her of breaking the law, even though she had her identity card and a paper allowing her to go shopping. She asked what she had done wrong, whereupon they said that they had been calling to her across the street to get up. She explained that she had not heard or seen them, as her back was turned, and because she was on the ‘phone. These low-level inhumane creatures then said that she would be fined 135 Euros in the post. I advised her to contest the fine, if they dared to send it.
If this sort of abuse of decent and innocent citizens goes on, some people might start to take the law into their own hands. The lady had seen no notices forbidding people to sit on benches near the sea. I would myself probably avoid doing so. Nevertheless, the fine is inexcusable. On top of that, to justify himself,the policeman claimed that the virus was in the air. When the lady asked them why they were wearing no masks, they said that it was not to frighten people!
And now to my central point, in case you have read this far: please consider that in any crisis, the lowest and the worst attributes of human nature tend to crawl out of their shells and attack ordinary, decent people, even small seventy-two year old women making a telephone call by the sea.Conversely, a crisis can also bring out the best in some human creatures. For example, the above-mentioned abused lady cares very much for her neighbours, and helps them unselfishly. And most state nurses here are working very hard. I am impressed. Yet the forces of law and order are displaying their worst side. They are in panic, because their bosses are in panic.
Part of the cause of this is the phenomenon of extreme digitalisation, globalisation and secret drug abuse by officials, often in ‘big’ jobs, a phenomenon which seems to be replacing thoughtful administration and a sense of responsibility.For one week, we have received no letters, and are expected to go ‘on line’ to communicate about vital matters. Yet many people are not ‘on-line’, and cannot, or choose not to, be.
Tension and irritation are beginning, at least in France. If a few nasty Lilliputs can harm innocent people on the Côte d’Azur, then what about Paris, France and the world?
I began this short story/article/comment by asking whether I could do it. I wanted to suggest that we are currently seeing the worst side of human nature emerging. Can we please slow down, stop the contrived panic, and learn to me our own masters? And here is your examination question, in case you are still reading me: ‘It is easier to confuse in order to control, than to control, in order to confuse. Research, discuss, comment, analyse, evaluate and propose’.