The first time my brain entertained the concept of a Godless world I spiraled into a deep depression. I’d excitedly announced I might be an atheist, following an acid trip made of existential nightmares, when I discovered the answers to the universe and beyond but as the reality of what it meant settled in, I lost the ability to feel anything, even the bad stuff. I found myself doing dangerous things just to feel something. I made people cry and felt good about it. I climbed the walls searching for my soul, and grieved for it, honestly believing I’d lost it forever. I existed like this for 6 months or so before my erratic behaviour landed me in a situation where I was forced to reconnect with my body and the outside world but that’s another story.
Religion came easy to me as a small child but on reflection much of that was performative. As soon as I was old and brave enough to choose my own labels, as a young teen, I rejected the faith ascribed to me at birth. It wasn’t just because of the sexual assault I was subjected to by my mosque teacher, or the consistently punitive elders who shoved Islam down my throat at every opportunity, the fire and brimstone kind at that, I just didn’t think it was very cool or conducive to a good life in Britain. I wanted to be like the natives. I searched high and low for a faith I could get on board with, all in, but always stopped short of committing to anything because in the end they all sound the same, secure in their superior worship, incapable of appreciating anyone else’s perspective.
The depression stemmed from the realisation that a world without God was a world without justice, and so it had been for the duration of my life. With every injustice my search for a benevolent God waned, until about a month ago, when the blasted coronavirus hit our shores. 10 years of austerity, of suffering and despair, thousands dead from preventable illnesses and neglect with the architects showing no signs of compassion or mercy until a virus, invisible to the naked eye, forced their hand into socialist action.
The most vulnerable in our society are being given packages of food and other essentials, dropped to their doorsteps, free of charge. I know because I have 2 disabled nieces and the government has been in touch. This is anarcho-communism, where we look after the most vulnerable and ensure their safety. We cannot expect them to go back to the old ‘normal’ when this is all over, these people cannot work, and even when all is well, they struggle to leave the house. Sure, the state only offered because it is first and foremost concerned with its own image, after its bid for herd immunity prompted calls for the resignation of ‘Boris the Butcher’ but for now it has been forced to do the right thing when it always said it was impossible. Let there never be another attempt to cut welfare for these people, there is no justification.
The NHS is slowly being afforded its dues too. Boris and pals spent a decade dismantling health services until God decided to show them up. In an about turn, politicians have been scrambling to secure PPE for staff and ensure that there are enough ventilators and oxygen. If we’d had a fully functioning NHS Tories might have slept better over the past month instead of facing the ire of the international community, relegated to the back of the queue following our sham exit from the European Union. 80 odd MPs have written to the government asking for the student debt of NHS nurses to be scrapped, particularly as they are risking their own lives on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19. This is just common sense to anyone with even an ounce of humanity, to show gratitude to those who go above and beyond. The British establishment has never been very good at compensating the helpers, whether Gurkhas or the Windrush generation, they take and they take, entitled as they are, and discard them without a look back. 19 frontline NHS staff have already sucuumbed to the virus and if the numbers keep on rising, our collective love and appreciation for the NHS will turn into anger. The government has no choice but to cherish the NHS and its army of workers.
Within the NHS coronavirus is exposing the disparity in healthcare for minorities. A notable percentage of victims have been BME, and reasons given range from ineffective communication owing to language barriers to elder Muslims and Sikhs refusal to distance themselves from their places of worship. It’s much simpler than that, BME groups are not taken seriously for a start. From paramedics to receptionists, the gatekeepers are often white and decide whether or not you receive treatment and how quickly. In Birmingham people in the Asian community are afraid to go to Heartlands hospital because they believe they won’t come out again. My own father begged the paramedics not to take him to Heartlands the day before he died but they didn’t listen. My grandmother died in the same hospital. When my niece was diagnosed with a malignant condition a white doctor advised us to forego treatment and let her go so she wouldn’t suffer. We didn’t listen, and she’s still here, 12 years on. Medical care for non whites is like a lucky dip, you never know what you’re going to get and often you have to do all the research and find out what’s wrong with you before you can convince a doctor to run further tests. God is exposing racist rainy fascist island for what it is, no matter how much the natives bleat on about how it isn’t.
Today the home secretary Priti Patel launched a campaign to reassure domestic abuse victims they are not alone. In a similarly pointless exercise as the clap for the NHS (when they need equipment and funding not empty gestures) Preet asked for people to draw a heart on their palms and share their pictures. Apparently this will also show abusers people are watching and help is available. Actually, most abusers do not identify their actions as being abusive, my own dad was horribly violent but would share petitions regarding support for victims of domestic abuse demonstrating such empathy that there are still people in our extended family who don’t believe us. There is some hope for victims however; one perp was handed a sentence of 42 weeks for spitting in his wife’s face and saying he hoped she died from Coronavirus. In my experience you have to be on your 3rd or 4th domestic incident to receive such a lengthy sentence but Coronavirus affects us all so the authorities are actually taking it seriously (unlike domestic abuse in general).
Priti is throwing 2 million at women’s services in the hope they can slow the rising death toll from domestic homicide. It was the Tories who cut abuse services by 50% when they came into power. When I worked in DV 10 years ago, 2 women a week were being murdered by their intimate partners and now there are 5. Coronavirus has exposed the state for the many ways it falls short of its contract to protect and serve. This is just one of a growing number of issues that have been thrust into the spotlight on which the government is going to be forced to act.
The money grubbing universities are going to go bust if the government doesn’t rescue them. That’s what God thinks of your extortionate uni fees, Tories. There isn’t a day that goes by that doesn’t reveal one development or another as the sublime work of a higher being. The Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News UK, publications that vilified Jeremy Corbyn and polarised Britain’s Jews from the rest of the nation went bust just a couple of days ago, citing Coronavirus as the cause. God surely works in mysterious ways but sometimes it’s as clear as the nose on your face.
There’s something deliciously righteous about the British lockdown following the Brexit debacle. All those swooning about freedom and sovereignty must be going stir crazy and feeling completely and utterly helpless in their solitude. Some religious people believe this is a warning shot for those who have lied cheated and schemed, to humble themselves and acknowledge power is fleeting but I think it’s a helluva lot more than that. Most religious people will agree that we are all equal in God’s eyes and should be treated as such but in reality that is impossible in a white supremacist capitalist state and those disparities are never really questioned or understood. Coronavirus is forcing us all to pay attention. We all said Twitter was the great leveler but we replicated the same injustices online. We can carry on as we have been carrying on, arranging people into hierarchies of deserving but God isn’t going to stand for it. We are all susceptible to pandemics.
I cried once for the absence of a God and all the hardships I would endure, knowing there was no justice at the end but I’ve changed my mind and it’s suddenly crystal clear. Who knew 2020 would be so spiritually enriching? Ironically, I finally feel alive.