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The Royal Palace, Madrid: Some forgot social distancing but the error is easily rectified.


By Jack Wright

This calls for a celebration! Without forgetting for a moment the thousands of lives that were tragically snuffed out by the virus that originated from Wuhan, China and escalated into a horrible pandemic, yesterday, 2 May, the Government of Spain has given us back a small fraction of our pre-COVID19 freedom. We were let out of our homes for a few hours. It was the beginning of the desescalada (the loosening of confinement). The beginning of something that we don’t know for sure what. But it’s something that feels precious because somehow it smacks of rebirth.

For nearly two months we stayed home. We didn’t complain. Now we have some of our freedom back.

This was a valiant government that has had to implement stringent and potentially unpopular rules while navigating wholly uncharted waters in order to lead a terrified country into a safe port without even knowing where that port might be or how really safe it was.

But in the middle of all the uncertainty, there was one thing unequivocal: a deep sense of gratitude. We wouldn’t be here now, out on our first true taste of sunshine and the soft breeze of spring, without the healthcare workers who have put their own lives on the line so we could live. Their heroism is breathtaking.

It calls for a celebration.

As we slowly and warily go back into the world to grapple with the new normal, the celebration is profoundly mixed with gratitude.

The kids were slightly ahead of their elders. They could play outdoors since 27 April.

As we celebrate, we’d better make sure that the heroic sacrifices of others will not have been made in vain.

As we celebrate, let’s not forget either that we’ve reached the first phase of the desescalada after nearly two months of unrelenting confinement because we’ve uncomplainingly and wholeheartedly followed the rules of the Estado de Alarma (State of Alarm) – and continue to do so. We stayed home.

We’ve lived by the rules so that we all could live even though some of us hadn’t been able to make it. And we grieve for them.

Don’t let the few exceptions among us mislead us into thinking that breaking the rules will hasten the complete recovery of our freedom. It just isn’t true.


Featured image (Royal Palace, Madrid)/Gary Campbell-Hall, CC BY2.0
Empty street in Spain/Hector Rivas
Girl on scooter/Jose Antonio Morcillo Valenciano, CC BY2.0