I’m not sure why I put it off for so long, especially after all the amazing reviews. I guess I didn’t want it to ruin my love of the book, which is chilling beyond belief.
I’m talking about ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ series, which I’ve (finally) been watching on Amazon Prime.
OMG. It is so brilliant. Terrifying, disturbing, dystopian, but brilliant.
And I’m so glad I waited till now as it’s even more unsettling (as it’s supposed to be) when watched with the backdrop of COVID-19.
Sometimes, stories of oppressive societal control are easy to dismiss as unrealistic. But, with this past year showing us exactly how quickly and easily the government can take full and utter domination over our freedoms, it makes the idea of such totalitarian control all the more petrifying. How did we get here? With the law telling us that we cannot even see our own parents in our personal back gardens, and us believing that this nonsense is for the greater good?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a COVID denier. I fully recognise the need to eradicate this terrible disease. I support the lockdown. I’ve followed the guidelines. But I also find it disturbing that our freedoms can so easily be stripped away.
And where is the dissenting voice? Why are people trolled online if they question the government’s decisions or if they are sceptical about the vaccine? In a country that has always prided itself on giving its members freedom of speech and freedom of choice, it seems ludicrous that these freedoms are so easily removed (with the unwavering support of the people). I’ve seen intelligent, educated people posting on social media that those who refuse the vaccine should be named and shamed and disallowed to travel to crowded places (holidays, festivals, clubs, sports stadiums etc). How does this dictatorial idea support democracy? How is it inclusive of all those who either feel deeply anxious about the vaccine, or have allergies/ illnesses that advise against it, or even those who simply don’t want it? Isn’t forceful inoculation a step into dystopia?
Yoga teaches us to accept everyone without judgement. This is one of the things I love most about the practice. The physical shapes I am able to pretzel my body into are great (and hopefully improving all the time) but even better is the spiritual journey inwards, the kindness the practice advocates, and the compassion and understanding it encourages for those whose opinions are different from our own. This is what yoga is really about. It’s not about getting better at yoga – it’s about getting better at life – something Margaret Atwood tried to teach us with her novel.
I think the impact and fear of COVID has meant that freedom to express our true voices has suffered this year.
Discrimination is awful. Of course it is. But this means we need to allow everyone to express their true voices without fear of being shut down, not just those who fit the governmental narrative. It appears we’re not allowed to peacefully protest, we’re not allowed to refuse the vaccine if we want any social life again, and we have to accept that social media is being refereed.
I fear that freedom of speech and freedom of choice are being wiped out because those in power can decide what we can and can’t say, what we can and can’t do. They decide what to tell us, what to keep hidden; they dictate what we’re allowed to post online, and they use power and control to push their own corrupt narrative.
We are not all the same. Nor should we try to be. Our views, preferences, decisions will vary. There is beauty in diversity. But whilst celebrities/ famous people are being shunned for expressing an anti-populist opinion (note: it’s not ‘hate-speech’ just because it’s unpopular), we are falling down a very slippery slope. If we silence those voices that are different to our own, surely we’re entering the first stages of Fascism. The narrative that is being pushed right now is not one of freedom at all; it’s one of anti-freedom. It’s appalling. And it terrifies me.
My new motto is: DEFINE AND EMPOWER.
I will define all the differences I see, and then celebrate and empower each and every one of them.