Marie Montibert

November – COVID or Occupational and Social Suicide

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“November – COVID or professional and social suicide” Originally, I wanted to write a few words to make people aware of the situation caused by Covid in my newsletter and then finally, these few words about the professional and social state of the people around me in this month of November have become paragraphs and then anger to come out. So I write it more briefly in my newsletter but I speak more freely here.

NOVEMBER,

I told you last month that I was happy and calm about the direction my professional life had taken in the last few months. I am proud to have worked hard and managed to keep my head above water.

But right now, I’m scared. I’m scared. Not for me. Because I think I’ll be fine, even if it’s borderline. Even though I’m tired of fighting and having to deal with lockdowns. I think I have the resources to get through it.

No, I fear for others. My loved ones. My partners. My suppliers. My loved ones, colleagues and friends. Everything impacts me.

COVID has an impact that most people can’t imagine, because sitting on your couch watching TV. A TV whose media reports the worst, diffuse an irrational fear, and makes you even more eager to watch the next day. Like an addiction to an unhealthy show.

The caregivers…. They have a big role in this. Yes, I’m not saying the contrary and not taking anything from them. We are talking about psychology tiredness due to COVID for students. Seriously? I was a student. I worked my ass off with 3 hours of transport a day and I even had a job next weekend, I was never in this situation of knowing if I was going to eat at the end of the month. I was living with my parents. And then, at worst, we redo a year and it’s over. We talked about postal workers, teachers. Why are we not talking about the others? But all the others? All the others who are struggling? And the indirect consequences?

November – COVID or Occupational and Social Suicide

In four weeks, since the beginning of November and the announcement of new restrictions, I had to postpone a wedding again. It’s my November salary that’s skipping, and I don’t know if I could get anything from the loss of earnings insurance. And to be quite honest 1300. – chf per month instead of 4000. – chf doesn’t feel heavy. It helps and we won’t spit on it. But the shortfall is huge… In December I have another wedding and I pray for it to take place, even if I am resigned…

What about January? What about next year? I have 17 weddings next year including 7 postponements that will not allow me to take new couples and therefore 7 weekends blocked for which I will not be able to earn any salary. They’ll cover the losses of 2020. So I’ll take more. Maybe 22 or 23. But if 2021 is the 2020 copy, how am I going to get a living? I’m developing artisan services and the therapeutic boudoir. But will that be enough? I will see. I am tired of being scared for months without seeing the end of the tunnel.

Originally I wanted to tell you in this newsletter about what I could observe around me and the lack of attention people have to this situation of media left a side. I told you I had the resources to get out of it, but unfortunately not everyone does.

Just around me, a friend, tied to her neck, had to close her shop, losing her investment and all the work she invested for seven years. Another one is tired of managing the stops and quarantines of his 40 employees, closures, deadlines to pay when nothing comes in and goes into depression, and a father commits suicide…and I’m not talking about those restaurants that are told to close when they’ve invested everything they had after the first wave– and this is counted in thousands of francs – to respect with hygiene standards. And today we all know it, they are closed and some for a long time.

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November – COVID or Occupational and Social Suicide

This is what COVID really brings to our lives… This is the reality. It is there, the wall we have been running into since March and this famous decision to shut down a whole country, a whole continent because our governments are reducing the budget of the hospital sector a little more each year and are not giving them the means to do so. There are also the directors of these centres who have not been able to learn from the first wave of March, to draw the necessary consequences for proper functioning and to anticipate the second wave. Once it was on us like a tsunami, the hospitals decided to create beds.

Why have we waited so long before sending sick people to hospitals in Swiss German-speaking Switzerland who are twiddling their thumbs? French-speaking Switzerland welcomed the French during the first wave. It is this disorganization at all levels that today puts our economy, our lives! at a standstill. Not to overload already limited emergencies put everyone else’s lives at risk. And we don’t care. We forget it, we don’t talk about it.

We are not talking about aid that does not really help. We are talking about business leaders who do not see the end and who slowly fall into depression. Commit suicide. We are not talking about those who resigned and decide to file for bankruptcy, but for the end of the year to allow their employees to turn around. We are not talking about these companies that have invested in upgrading and closing the door. We are not talking about these companies that have more expenses and bills to pay than aids that have been coming in for 8 months! We are not talking about business owners who are not entitled to anything and have not been paying their salaries for months. We are not talking about people who no longer have any income, about the impact on their lives.

Depression, divorce, internment, suicide. We’re not talking about those who lose everything. And in desperation, take theirs.

And this wall… this transparent wall that separates us. These social bonds that make me love people and show them. May I share with them their sadness or joy. Which make the very essence of social reactions. Between friends and family. They are forbidden to us. I have seen my family for a week in a year. My 5-year-old son feels it very badly. He cannot see his grandparents, whom he is so close to, his aunt, his uncle, his great-grandparents and his cousin. I can’t see my own either. I haven’t seen my nephew more than twice since he was born in September 2019. Facetime is good but it’s not everything.

Contact. Sharing. It’s so important. It’s essential to who I am. So that transparent wall that separates us. That invisible wall that destroys me. Which destroys us all when we decide to blow it up. I would rather die tomorrow but die surrounded by my family than die in 10-20 years and have spent my life alone.

It has to change and now. Before we all fall. That businesses are closing down one after the other, that unemployment figures are not rising. Before we lose what little humanity we have left. We have to say STOP! not COVID because it’s impossible, and we’re going to have to live with it, but STOP this way of managing it, this way of living it.

November – COVID or Occupational and Social Suicide

Here in Switzerland, we are lucky. Only events and restaurants/ bars are at half-mast. Our life is little changed. My professional life is. But I understand and I accept. A wedding is a potential cluster. I accept for now. But we must quickly realize that weddings are also necessary for the happiness of people and a population. Happy family events are necessary for our survival. If there is no joy. There is no hope and without hope there is nothing. I accept. I accept because it’s financially manageable at the moment.

On the other hand, I do not understand why restaurants and bars have a formal prohibition to open. They have respected what the government asked them to do. They are serving at the table. Even the bars have adapted to remove people standing in groups, uncontrollable. And it’s not Saint Patrick every day, either! For going to the restaurant before this new wave, I didn’t feel in danger.
On the contrary, I felt safe. Safer than when I go shopping at the supermarket and people get in my face. Then the restaurateurs have to reopen. They must because they are the largest employer in Switzerland and France, and if they sink, our economy will sink with them!

Dear France of my childhood, I am far from you. And this is perhaps what saves me here in Switzerland. This host country offered me a new start. From Switzerland I see. I see that your freedom are restricted and you say nothing. You shrug your shoulders. You say to yourself that it will pass, it doesn’t matter. Until the day when the non-return is over. Until the day, you have nothing. Do you know how World War II began? By the same curfew as October. I don’t want to say there will be a new war. I just want to say that human behaviour from that point on has collapsed. Life restrictions, booming economy, puppet government, surviving, just surviving. The rest you know. At different levels, different means, different tools that our future holds?

Dear all, dear one who reads me, especially take the time to speak with your loved ones. Especially if they’re a company, especially if they have employees. Especially if their business is impacted. Especially if they’re technically unemployed and they end up confined to their homes. Especially if they are unemployed at all because they have lost their jobs because of COVID, especially if they are losing income. Especially if they have couple issues. Especially if they separate from their spouse because of the situation or not. COVID is creating a new situation, but it is just an enhancer at all levels, taking the time for them to stand by and listen. Maybe you’ll be the one to save their lives.

The facts are there. I know more people physically and professionally shaken by the health crisis than people who really suffered from COVID. “Mild symptoms”, “no more than a flu”, “nothing bad”, “nothing at all” and then there are people at risk, Most of them are already sick, weak and old. And risky events like weddings and other salons. So yes, let’s protect these people by investing financially around them to create an effective safety cordon. By paying caregivers to go to their homes. Drugs. By compensating employers. By compensating those who have no choice but to wait like my colleagues and I.

But let us also protect others. All the others by giving them the freedom to work and sustain a fragile economy. Sooner or later this money will be spent, either now to be effective, or tomorrow for the unemployed and long-term sick stops… Money from a debt that will not be repaid. Hop… Erased! Incredible! So why bother?

November – COVID or Occupational and Social Suicide

We don’t talk about all that. We whisper it among ourselves. With this person. Almost shameful. I talk about it. I’ve been talking about it since March. But people weren’t willing to listen. Now people are starting to understand. You’re starting to understand. If I do not speak today about this anger and what I feel, this growing injustice, I would be remiss. So I’m not doing it today and I can’t blame myself for not saying or doing anything. I want to be able to say without being hypocritical, you did nothing! As Zazie says, “I was there to count the dead, I was there and I did nothing, And I did nothing, I was there, I was there and I did nothing.” And I don’t want that. I’m afraid. For my loved ones. For my loved ones. For people.

So I do it at my level. I write it, I make it talk, I hope. Talking is moving forward. It’s solving. Then every word you speak to save your neighbour will bring another, until the day when the whisper will be a common voice and the whisper will be heard.

It’s probably not the place. But I didn’t know where to write it, so it’ll be here. And if you don’t like it, that’s okay. At least you will have read! So, what are you going to do ?

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