With the click of a button, I4th February became 15th.  No time to write yesterday – or inclination, for that matter.  Too tired.  Too cold.  Too uninspired.  Let’s face it, just utterly bored!  Is it just me or does this feel like the calm before the storm?  As though we’re in limbo.  Feels decidedly ominous, actually.  Has the threat of COVID subsided?  Suppose it depends on what one considers – or considered – the real threat!  The virus may have evolved in that it has become less potent, physically, but its effect on life – the world – remains insidious and far-reaching.  Think about it.  How does your life now compare to your life before?  Mine?  No comparison.  Priding myself on being intelligent, educated, level-headed and, most importantly, on being an individual, I find it hard to comprehend – or acknowledge – the extent to which my life has been curtailed over the past two years.  Once free, we are all confined now, be it physically, psychologically or both!  Bit by bit, our ‘territories’ have been reduced, our liberties restricted.  Bit by bit, most brow-beaten and compliant, have adjusted to the mundane; a life devoid of spontaneity.  Like hamsters on a wheel, we are all becoming chained to a new rhythm …

My God, I have depressed myself!  However, night forever becomes day – work with me – as the earth, forever, revolves around the sun and, thus, it is now the 16th February.  Make any difference?  The rain is teeming down outside, a darkening sky boding yet another storm – Dudley, I believe.  Pathetic fallacy mirroring the gloom which abounds.  As Putin torments on the border of Ukraine, Russia and China become ever closer, united against the US in what must surely pose a global threat.  Partygate, meanwhile, is losing its lustre in the wake of the imminent energy crisis and an NHS backlog of more than 6.4 million – no time to be ill!  As Randy Andy agrees to pay someone he has never met a settlement believed to be in excess of £12million, Prince Markle is poised with another grenade of nails for his family, garnering himself sufficient monies to fund his bathroom addiction for life and, all the while, the little group of benign ‘woke’ activists’ are staging a coup right under our noses endeavouring to obliterate gender and wipe out the origins of man.   Perfect.  No mention of COVID?  Surely??

No, hang on, news just in … all children aged 5-11 are to be offered the coronavirus vaccination.  Of course!  As the pandemic becomes endemic and it is a scientific fact that the vaccination does not prevent transmission, it makes perfect sense to inject children with a shot which is still subject to trial until the end of 2023 – and for which the long-term effects cannot be known – and which carries considerably more risk than the virus itself.  Problem?  What parent, certified sane, would possibly concur?  Sadly, far, far too many.  Three words: Mass Formation Psychosis.  Any other rational explanation?  Answers on a postage stamp …

Thank God for Djokovic, that’s all I can say.  A shining light in the darkness reminding us all what it is to be courageous, intelligent and principled, determined to defend, at all costs, the ultimate civil liberty – the right to choose that which one puts into one’s own body; the right to choose!

2022 may still be in its infancy but it has seen my respect for Novak Djokovic grow in leaps and bounds.  While I raged at his treatment in Melbourne, he behaved with dignity and calm throughout.  A pawn in a political game, he took it all, determined not to react.  Confined to a detention ‘hotel’ for days, following interrogation through the night and the deprivation of his phone, he was subjected to police guard and treated as some kind of low life; a threat.  Why?  Simple.  The world’s number one tennis player has declined to be vaccinated.  Based on the information available (or not), he has concluded that it is in his best interest not to – at this point – inject into his body a foreign substance about which there is insufficient data and the potential risks of which, for him, outweigh the benefits.  End of.  Rational decision.  The thing is, he can’t be seen to slip through the net, this world-famous athlete.  He can’t be allowed to veer from the masses and do his own thing.  People will talk.  People will wonder.  People will question.  God forbid, people might think!

You see, throughout this pandemic, the Australians have been subjected to a totalitarian rule second to none.  No exit, no entry, no nothing.  Chained to the rhythm?  Just chained!  The thing is, brainwashed by fear, they were easily convinced that their ‘imprisonment’ was for their own good and, moreover, for the greater good.  Nothing/nobody must, now, upset the apple cart. Enter Novak Djokovic, stage right.  Granted access to the country courtesy of an anonymous vetting process, taking into account a recent COVID infection affording him natural immunity, here was the threat …  Confined for two years and indoctrinated, to most Australians the unvaccinated represent the enemy; an enemy whom they are programmed to attack.  This they duly did, incensed that an entitled tennis player could flout the very rules to which they had been subjected – and complied – and, in so doing, endanger them.  This did not compute.  Malfunction alert!

So it was that, as a political safeguard to ensure ongoing compliance – nothing to do with health – Djokovic was made a scapegoat and his visa revoked, for a second time, denying him the opportunity not only of defending his title but of winning the elusive 21st Slam.  Punishment dealt.  ‘Danger’ averted.  While Djokovic behaved impeccably throughout, the independent who supported him were ‘defeated’ and the masses appeased.  Apathy restored.  Disaster for the free world … or was it?

As the weeks passed, Djokovic maintained his dignified silence but something had changed.  Vaccine mandates for the NHS were looking inevitable, despite protest, until Sajid Javid was challenged, on camera, by Dr Steve James!  The usual words of deflection – scientific, medical, experts – were deemed worthless in his wake and, in that instant, the unvaccinated gained a voice; the fight for civil liberty fuelled by his courage.

The Government had no choice but to revoke the NHS vaccine mandates and absolute control appears to be waning.  Distractions abound, however, for a reason?  Quite probably but just look to Canada and the truckers …  Divided, we may fall but united we stand!  Threatened with frozen bank accounts, withdrawal of insurance, their very livelihoods, they will not falter.  They are fighting for freedom; for choice; for civil liberty.  Didn’t 11 million soldiers lay down their lives for the very same in World Wars I & II?

They make me proud, those truckers.  Restore my faith in mankind.  Djokovic, too.  He, who embodies it all: intelligence, courage, dignity, masculinity, principles, perspective …  In no order, the list goes on.  He broke his silence on Monday night, interviewed on the BBC by Amol Rajan.  Why Amol Rajan?  One can only presume but he was dwarfed by the world’s number one tennis player whose name he seemed determined to mispronounce.  Without bitterness, Djokovic spoke of his experience in Australia where, he said, not one person had asked him about his stance on the vaccination or the reasons for.  More important in the eyes of Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, was his potential to inspire ‘anti-vax’ sentiment and that threat was deemed sufficient, in the eyes of the Judges, to warrant his expulsion.  So, all politics and all wrong.

It is hard to believe Novak Djokovic is only 34.   Highly intelligent – fluent in a mere six languages – his composure is borne of self-belief; self-knowledge.  Growing up in war-torn Serbia, he knows only too well and appreciates the sacrifice his parents made on his behalf.  Most definitely privileged in that respect, in monetary terms, he was not.  However, he credits this upbringing, spawning a need for early independence, as the reason for – the roots of – his strongly held belief in the sanctity of the individual and the individual’s right to choose.  He will not forego that under any circumstance.  Wrongly labelled as an ‘anti-vaxxer’ – convenient – like most subjected to the misnomer, he has had every other.  This one is not like any other.

Asked whether he was prepared to sacrifice the chance to be the greatest player who ever picked up a racket, statistically?  Yes, came the reply.  If his vaccine status prohibits him from playing not only in the French Open but at Wimbledon, is that a price he is willing to pay?  Yes.  In disbelief, the interviewer wanted to know why he plays tennis?  ‘I play tennis because I still feel a connection with the inner child – the four-year-old boy’.  Not for money, nor the acclaim.  Novak Djokovic cannot be pigeon-holed.  His own man, he will choose what is right for him and, clearly, the freedom to make that choice is paramount.  No wonder I have seen so many comments, subsequently, of ‘Legend!’, ‘Hero!’, ‘A real man!’.  If the cap fits …

Yes, I know this is approaching War & Peace but it is important (to me, at least), as is addressing the snipes on Facebook and Instagram suggesting Djokovic is a hypocrite as he has an 80% stake in a Danish biotech firm – bought in 2020 – which is developing a Covid treatment.  A treatment as opposed to a vaccination – not that he is ‘anti-vax’ as has already been established.  Hypocritical?  Justified criticism?  Not in the least.  Such comments merely demonstrate, once again, a complete disregard for the truth: Novak Djokovic believes in – and will fight for – freedom of choice; the individual’s right to choose.  It has nothing to do with the vaccine … but, then, it never did.

Those who will not fight to protect their rights, deserve to lose them.’.

C. A. A. Savastano

This is Trish, signing off.