It was midnight.
When they brought it in.
Most people, if they thought about it
didn’t want to do it.
So they didn’t:
Didn’t think about it that is.
It was surreal
The way we were ostracised.
Just like that, we were no longer welcome:
At the hairdresser,
At the gym,
At the cafe.
No longer allowed:
At the sports club,
At the movie theatre,
At the library, zoo, art gallery or swimming pool.
Our children suffered.
No after school or club sport, no swimming, no dance, no sitting a driver’s licence.
The mandates marched on relentlessly.
Business after business buying the government narrative,
Hook, line and sinker.
And if they didn’t buy the narrative – they were compliant anyway.
“We don’t like it”, they said, “but it’s the rules”, they said.
To the already traumatised,
Those who’d lost jobs because they didn’t take the jab.
Or those who’d lost their health because they did.
It was yet another blow when they were down.
Families torn apart.
On the one part
We got on with our lives.
We organised alternatives.
We caught up with friends.
At home, at the beach, in the park.
We organised picnics and movie nights.
Old school style.
We laughed, and we cried.
We hugged each other tight.
Basically, we got used to not being able to go anywhere we used to go.
We told ourselves we could live life despite it.
We could live a better life outside the system.
(And the truth is we can and we will.)
All this time, we were hurting,
Hurting real bad.
We wondered day in and day out…
How could our fellow Kiwis not see how ugly it was?
We lamented the lack of science – the loss of morality.
We felt betrayed.
The statistics we’d known all along would vindicate us, came.
And still, the scientific charade was perpetuated.
The emperor has no clothes, we whispered to ourselves.
The emperor has no clothes, we implored family and friends.
The emperor has no clothes, we preached from Parliament.
Meanwhile, at the Hive
We were labelled a “fringe minority”, “a river of filth”.
Ridiculed and rubbished by politicians.
While police played dirty games:
Respect, Empathy. Integrity.
Values discarded on the front lawn.
Peaceful protestors met with riot shields, batons and pepper spray.
Politicians and police.
Failing in their duties.
Failing New Zealand.
And that’s a part of history that can’t be changed.
Seymour. Luxon. Shaw. Bishop. The rest of you.
We see your complicity.
Your numbers are up.
Too little. Too late.
There were, of course, the bright lights, the rebels.
The resisters who refused to kowtow to tyranny
The Steve Olivers, the Lone Stars,
The ones known in their communities.
For standing up. For speaking out.
They paid a high price.
They will always be remembered.
Then one day
We heard it was going to be dropped.
Things had changed, the experts said.
Mainstream media spammed the airwaves:
“Yes it’s served its purpose, but now it’s time to go.”
Facebook friends who’d never said “boo”,
Now piped up to say, “yes, it needs to go now”.
Businesses that had gone along with it,
Invited us back by email: “welcome back whanau”.
And of course, there was the Single Source Of Truth who said:
“So we’re factoring in
at the moment
at what point
we won’t need them
“They’re the kind of tool though
that we just want to keep
should we have another variant
we may need…[to] keep them in the back pocket
should we need,
in the future?”
The words were a thinly veiled threat.
We remembered this was only one battle.
The war was ongoing.
We felt conflicted.
Could we even celebrate this?
The overturning of a most heinous infringement of basic human rights.
Gone, just like that, with the flick of a pen?
But, not really gone.
Still in the backpocket.
Can we move on?
We aren’t sure.
Can we forgive?
It feels impossible.
But we know we need to.
Would we forget?
No, we would never.
And no, we will not.
For it is only the remembering
That prevents it from ever happening again.