Sunday, December 6, 2020

 

FROM THE AUTHOR - DECEMBER 2020

It has been close to ten years since 21 Aldgate was published.  I've given book talks in Europe, Africa, and America; on ships, in cafes, in private homes and pubs. And because I no longer communicate with the readers of my book personally I'll use our blog to tell you how I'm coping with the Covid epidemic and the ridiculous political situation we find ourselves in here in America. I have dual citizenship - born a Brit, hence the story told in 21, and a resident in the USA, .- which brings me to what I am witnessing now.

Covid has isolated us - we are informed by our television broadcasters depending on the channels we watch. The party in power won't give an inch.  The opposition remains resolute. Education is interrupted. Social gatherings where opinions could be given, limited to just a few and they mostly agree with each other. The internet has taken over.  Tweets are the new information deliverers. Our Ma and Pa shops are closing. We are cut off from our families and cannot safely travel.  A curse has been put upon us and the world and we're only just beginning to work out how to deal with it. And worse of all science is ridiculed and magical thinking has taken its place.

History should have taught us we are heading for yet another disaster.  We have re-entered the era of the thirties.  We have half the population indoctrinated and the other half trying to bring some normality back into our lives.  You only have to watch documentaries of how the Nazis came into power to realize the similarities we're experiencing now.  It's the same - find someone, something, anything to blame and keep repeating the same lies and you have all the converts you need.  Then send money to the loudest voices, pass disinformation onto those who have swallowed the Kool-Aid and make sure your children and grandchildren get the message. And so it grows and becomes a movement which has every possibility in time of overthrowing democracy and the promise of the very reason America came about. If this doesn't sound like the period leading up to the Second World War then we are deafened by the rhetoric and blinded by the images set before us.

I haven't opened 21 Aldgate for many years, but I'm thinking of reading it one more time - why? Because it will remind me of my youth and what it led to in the 1940s, of my life as it was then, and I need a refresher course.  Perhaps you do, too.

PATRICIA FRIEDBERG






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