Let’s assume for the moment, though it’s by no means guaranteed, that the COVID era will in fact become a time-bound relic of the past, as opposed to an embedded dystopia that lasts into the foreseeable future. Is it too soon to begin talking about ‘survivors’ of the COVID era? Who will they be? How will they talk about that time to younger generations, or to visitors from the few countries that didn’t fall into the trap?
There are other good reasons to think the onslaught is not over, that we are at the moment in a ‘phony war’ while enemy forces regroup. Inflation, energy, food, surveillance are all active fronts in the broader battle. It hardly matters which one will flare up next.
Did anyone really believe on the eve of the sixth lockdown that it would last only as announced? Or did we all suspect another lie? This is a much harder lesson to take – it opens up uncomfortable lines of enquiry such as “what else did /do they lie about?” From there it is a short step to demanding that there be accountability for the lies – and further, that every future announcement is challenged.
We’re already seeing prominent perpetrators and collaborators claiming to have, and to have always had, reservations about what happened. They are trying to create for themselves a revisionist backstory that absolves them from their abominable conduct. These perpetrators and collaborators cannot be redeemed without confession. That they must be forgiven is not in question, but apologies to and restitution for their victims are essential.