Dear VFP UK and Supporters,
Everywhere we turn, people are talking about the coronavirus – whether it be the news, social media, kids’ schools, the supermarket… we are surrounded. Perhaps the concerns are being overblown. I for one don’t trust 99.9% of what the mainstream media or government officials say, so even though I have worked in hospital environments and have a background in public health I have found myself not knowing who or what to believe. I know I am not the only one who wonders who it is safe to trust in our country’s leadership anymore.
This probably doesn’t need saying, but a quick rundown of ways the peoples’ trust has been violated by our governments, mainstream news media, and our leadership in general that I can think of right now would include:
- countless wars based on lies
- collateral murder
- cuts to social welfare programs
- cuts to health care programs
- out of control housing price inflation
- substandard wages
- bailouts for banks not people
- staggering inequality between the rich and the rest
- veterans getting screwed by the very governments that sent us to fight their bullshit wars
- veterans getting screwed by charities that purport to raise funds for veterans but don’t
- war profiteering
- systems that mislead children into joining the military
- people in general getting screwed by all of the above
- war criminals being allowed to walk freely while people who have blown the whistle on war crimes have been thrown in jail and tortured, psychologically and physically
- lies and half-truths about all of the above being reported as news…
The list could honestly go on and on and on, but we all know the situation. And with all of that off my chest, for the actual point of this post:
Perhaps this is why the coronavirus is so scary for many – without trust fear can spiral out of control. I for one have made my own decision not to engage in unnecessary travel, not only for my sake, but for my family’s and the general public’s as well. I realize I am in a privileged position to be able to make that decision. I know some people who are in vulnerable positions have to make that decision. And many people have no choice.
During this time, it is important that we remember who we trust and that we stay connected. For many of us, VFP UK is our family of choice. VFP UK leadership are aware that many of our members may have to self-isolate because they are in a vulnerable group, whether it be based on age or underlying health conditions or both. As a result, we have been exploring alternate ways of keeping in touch while doing our work.
The Policy Group recently made the decision to invest in Zoom, an on-line communications platform. We will be using Zoom to host teach-ins around topics that we care about – whether it be addressing peace work, supporting Julian Assange, educating ourselves and the public about the costs of war, or just learning how we can all support one another in our activism. We can also help regions use it to have on-line regional meetings – which could help our members who live at a distance from others to participate more regularly in the future as well.
The Zoom platform was relatively inexpensive on our end, and the app is free for members to download and participate from their smart phone or computer/laptop (download the app from Google Play or The App Store or visit zoom.us). There is also a dial-in option available so members who aren’t internet savvy can still use a phone to participate.
We are working on a schedule of teach-in topics. In the meanwhile, please put your topic suggestions or questions in the comments below or drop an email to email@example.com.
We invite members to volunteer to lead discussion groups as well. This space will be our space. Let’s stay connected and do the work and support one another in the process, even if we can’t all get in the streets for the time being.
Adrienne Kinne, VFP UK National Coordinator