Replaying Trauma

Instead of yellow stars, Israelis put on green labels, handed their kids over for medical experimentation to a bunch of eager Dr Mengeles, and put themselves into a camp with the words “vaccination macht frei” at the gate.

It’s actually not shocking. People with untreated psychological trauma will engineer situations where something akin to the trauma can be replayed until it feels safe.

8 thoughts on “Replaying Trauma

  1. Oh gosh, I am not so sure about this one. Isn’t this a bit too harsh? Most people today live a kind of life that is so intertwined with technology and where being constantly aware of what is happening to them and around them is in many cases a luxury that they can ill afford, either cognitively, economically or socially.
    I agree with you that people should be much more critical and questioning, but most people are, by definition (“most”), incapable of having such an “on your guard” attitude towards structures of power. They just try to get along and move on with their lives, minding their business as best they can.
    I know, it’s terrible, tragic even, and probably inexcusable, but I feel that enlightened people like you should not be so unforgiving. I suppose that most Israelis did what the government authorities told them was for their own good, in the same way as you apply for a passport when you want to travel abroad. Some may decide not to travel abroad, most will, however, bend to whatever conditions are imposed in order to get what they need.
    As a teacher I have been put on a fast track to get vaccinated: I am holding out at least until the Johnson & Johnson vaccine becomes available, but all my colleagues have rushed into it and have been vaccinated over the past few days. They are all at home now with high temperatures or even fevers. I disagreed with them about getting vaccinated. They are basically offering themselves as guinea pigs. Other side effects may appear later on, even in a year’s time. And yet I feel I cannot judge them. They did what they thought was good for them. They want to be able to travel this summer, to take their children on holidays abroad, to get back to some kind of normality.
    Personally, ten years ago I decided to stop travelling by airplane and only go (used to go, I should say, given the Coronavideo situation) to destinations that can be reached by train or bus or bike. I am lucky in that in Europe it can still be done, by and large. All the same, I do not look disdainfully down on people who continue to fly, raging at their failure to see that there is a link between their own actions and the resulting outcomes that affect all of humanity. There is a link, but most people feel that their own comfort should come first. I may regret that they should think so, yes, but I cannot in all honesty and good faith damn them for putting themselves and their own needs first. It’s what people do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. // They are basically offering themselves as guinea pigs. Other side effects may appear later on, even in a year’s time.

      What I think is ignored in those anti-vaccine discussions is that one chooses whether to offer oneself as a guinea pig to a vaccine or to a virus. Not being a guinea pig is not an option.

      Massive vaccination seems to be working for Israel:

      [9 March article] “Serious cases dip along with transmission rate, indicating outbreak shrinking

      The figures, released 12 days after the start of Purim, were a sign of hope that the mass gatherings held in some parts of the country during the holiday in defiance of regulations, hadn’t caused a spike in infections.

      Much of the economy reopened Sunday as the lockdown was further rolled back, including restaurants, cafes, school grades 7-10 in low- to medium-infection areas, event venues, attractions and hotels. Higher education institutions and religious seminaries were opened to vaccinated or recovered people and rules on gatherings and worship were relaxed.”


      1. “Not being a guinea pig is not an option.”

        Eh, I don’t know about that. According to Worldometers, there have been ~30 million cases in the USA to date. While I’m pretty confident that that’s a significant undercount, that’s still just shy of 10% of the total US population. Even if one assumes we only caught 1/2 of the actual cases (despite having administered more tests than there are people in the USA), that would still mean that less than one fifth of Americans have had it. It appears to me that, you would have better than even odds at “not being a guinea pig” if you don’t get a vaccine.
        OTOH, if you do get a vaccine, you have a 100% chance of being part of the experiment.


  2. I should also add that before Covid led to remote teaching I did not even have an Internet connection at home! One pleasant side effect of having to get Wi-Fi has been finding you and your wonderful, sane, refreshing and inspiring blog! Talk of silver linings in clouds…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @ el
    I hope I have not been misleading. I am all in favour of vaccinations, what I am not so sure about is these vaccines right now. Rushed production, contradictory statements right and left as to their coverage, effectiveness, indication in terms of age and pre-existing health conditions. It used to take from six to ten years to produce reliable, effective and reasonably safe vaccines. These vaccines came onto the market after about seven months: am I allowed to be a bit sceptical?
    As for being guinea pigs for either the virus or the vaccine, you might as well as say that we are guinea pigs to life. Life is not for the risk-averse, and yet it seems that so many people nowadays seem to be looking for risk-free living. I’ll be blunt about it: there. is. no. such. thing. as. risk-free. living.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If you look into it, one of the main reasons these vaccines were able to be produced so quickly is because scientists have been working on the underlying technology for about a decade. Also, because of the severe world-wide effects of COVID, many of the steps to get approval were allowed to happen concurrently rather than sequentially. This doesn’t normally happen because it is much more expensive, but in this case governments decided the cost was worth it. Without this, the same process probably would have taken ~2 years. Lastly, there was a certain amount of luck involved in that the vaccines were effective: there was no guarantee this would be the case. I’m interested to hear that you’re holding out for the J&J vaccine: although the mRNA technology is brand new (and thus I understand a degree of scepticism), if you look at the biology of it, it should be safer than more traditional vaccines. (I am by no means against the J&J one though: indeed, I took part in the Phase III trial for it!)


      1. I’m not really holding out for the J&J vaccine. I will only take it if I’m absolutely forced to against my will.

        As for the mRNA, it so happened that I’ve been hanging out a lot with pharmaceutical scientists. I’m not authorized to reveal their credentials but these are world-renowned scientists. Very serious people. Whenever I raise the subject of mRNA, they tell me things that make my hair stand on end. When I ask “would you take it?” the answer is “I’d rather snort heroin and amputate all my limbs.” I now know a lot more than I ever expected about the history of this technology and why it was considered hopeless and how it was suddenly given a new lease on life by COVID. It’s a complete accident that these new friends are all in pharmacy. They don’t even know each other. I’m actually on my way to dinner with one of them.


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