Pierre yves bon parents: I wrote these lines from the top floor of my Brussels home. Belgian historic residences are tall, and having a desk underneath the eaves helps keep them in shape. Each day, one must climb four flights of stairs to reach this little room that I’ve set up facing the time of the trees. From above, I see the seasonal cycle approaching during my books, and these days, the promise of the approaching summer. It’s lovely and even a little warm. I hear the birds singing, so unperturbed by their tranquil companion that I have to believe they stop on their own on my little terrace to pirate.
And, by bending the ear more precisely, I can also hear the exclamations and screams emanating from the balcony of a nearby café. Without a doubt, this is the most reassuring sound in this tumultuous year. This is the clamor of life. As with the others, the terrace of the café Chez Franz has been vacant for months. In December, we sold Noel sapiens. Two or three weeks of activities in addition to that, and then nothing. Un long hiver, sombre et gris, et un long printemps, a la mode d’un tunnel sans end, avec ses incertitudes et sa terrifiante peur. My little Marcos was infected with Covid in April. Sa classe a été transformée en cluster. She shut down the school, and then the whole campus was engulfed in flames. And we are familiar with isolation.
That was two months ago when the third wave approached. Since vaccination campaigns have been accelerated, the time for reconquest has closed gradually, almost like liberation. I had my second injection of the Pfizer vaccine over the weekend. Additionally, she left a wide opening on the flank. There is no risk, however, that this will make me an antivaccinationist; on the contrary, vaccination is the only way to avert pandemic. Barricades and social distancing have limited use in practice. We saw this last autumn when the release of summer 2020 after the harsh confinement of the spring triggered the pandemic’s second wave.
I believe that immunization against Covid should be made mandatory. This is what the French Académie Nationale de Médecine recommended a few days ago. The scarcity of vaccines is no longer an impediment. The vaccines are available, and it is more likely that we will run out of hands to vaccinate shortly. Or, as the clé goes, if 30% of the population refuses vaccination, we will never achieve communal immunity. The tragedy that has engulfed the world over the last year and a half requires that we impose on Covid the same obligations imposed on variole, diphtérie, tétanos, tuberculose, and poliomyélite.
I await the day when the masks, the true ones, those who have concealed our faces for so long that we no longer know who is behind them, will fall. I failed to come at an important meeting at the prefecture of Yonne last week wearing an ill-fitting child’s masque with a polished ours, only to be rescued at the last minute by an old worn-out masque discovered in the bottom of a manteau pouch, when I was already bracing myself for scorn. Mieux vaut la peine de rire. After the pandemic, we will undoubtedly have enough of such tales to share. It is still necessary that she recalls and then vanishes.
Un vent de liberté, si légitime, accompanies these lovely spring days. It is possible, though, to be imprudent when nothing is gained. Vacciner, vacciner encore, tel doit être l’objectif si l’on veut retrouver le bonheur d’une vie sociale, le plaisir de revoir nos proches, nos parents âgés, ceux que l’on n’a pas vu depuis parfois un a parce que voyager était devenu impossible, parce que c’était trop dangereux pour eux et pour nous. Un year sans grands-parents is une longue période. I see it for my children. I pressurize them in exchange for their need to run towards them, their bras tense, when the car’s doors or the airplane finally open with the approaching vacation time.