Back in quarantine

No time for a meme this month. Now, I am in a quarantine again, only it is not so organised as last time. We avoid close contact, but have to leave our rooms all the time, there are so few of us and so many extra duties – tending the vegetables, gathering the animals, keeping the watch and guarding the little food we still have.

We at least hold the campus. The soldiers fired warning shots and many of us ran, but more stayed and fought them. We thought they would not aim to kill us, but they no longer care about killing. They do not shoot a lot, but we now know this is only because they have few bullets. Many students and staff died beating them down from the walls with broom handles and petrol bombs. This distracted us from the few who came in without uniform, and took much of the food from our stores, and also destroyed the runs for the rabbits and guinea pigs. We caught some of these, but too late. We capture many weapons, and in the middle of the fighting, with people in panic and grief, the few soldiers we caught were shot. We did not want to do this, we wanted to be better than them.

Even during the fighting, the Party leaders keep asking the Quarantine Movement committee members: where is Zhen? Where is our leader? After the fighting, when the army retreat from the walls and we begin to list the loss and damage, we find the answer. He is in the committee meeting room in the Democracy Building, hanging from the light fitting by his neck, leaving a note saying only: “I am sorry, I must resign.”

We have fought up close with the army, so our worst fear now is that many will be infected. We go in teams of three to minimise contact amongst ourselves, and bring the dead to the burial place, by the Jing Yuan memorial. We have no time to dig more graves. We pile up the bodies, including Zhen, and throw on the remaining petrol, but the fire does not take well and there is nothing we can do except leave them, and abandon the meadow and the Yuan buildings.

We gather the little food that remains from a few hidden personal stores of those who died or ran away. There is not really enough to feed us for another quarantine, but we have no choice. We do not even decide if those in the inoculation experiment need to join the quarantine or not. They each decide for themselves. This is wrong and frightening, how we cannot make a decision anymore that everybody will follow. How can a quarantine work if everybody makes a different rule? But we must try.

10 thoughts on “Back in quarantine

  1. Wow. Those soldiers were evil. They could have been doing what you were doing all along, instead of sabataging it. I can only wish the best for you now. Maybe your cat will catch you one of the escaped rodents.

    How long will you quarantine now? I am wondering, based on your prior experience, if you have a good idea of how long the incubation period for the flu usually is. Sometimes it is very fast, like Jack’s parents, but how long can it be?

    Best wishes,

    • Evil? I don’t know. They were desperate for the food, like all of us, but they expect they will keep getting supplies. When this stops, it is too late for them to start a quarantine themselves.
      We offer, long ago, that they can join us if they let us search for anti-virals before they come in, but they know what it would mean to stop taking these pills.
      Latest research that is put on an academic socnet says the incubation without anti-virals is no more than five days, but there are many other factors – it will still be safer to quarantine for 28 days, but I don’t know if people will stay in their rooms so long without food.

    • Many messages like this come to us. Some of them bring hope, encourage us with a sense of our power, and our responsibility. We are the first self-organising quarantine, and so many put their hopes in us, look to us for what they should do. But I think of what happened to Zhen, and I fear for us. The hopes of others are hard to carry.

      • You can’t take on all that responsibility. In the end, what you do has to work to keep you going, not to meet others’ expectations.

        • Yeah, keep going for you, not for your cheerleaders. If people can’t find their own will to carry on, screw it, you can’t do it for them. Just look after yourself.

          • In some way, you are right – we must not lose our own way to be a symbol for others. But we cannot abandon everyone who looks to us – if others can learn from us, then even if we fail everything we worked for is not wasted. It is difficult to keep in the middle of this path. I have no clear answer.

      • Yes, poor Zhen. I was thinking about the discussion of utopias, and it’s sometimes said that the best people to be leaders are the ones who don’t want to be. But maybe a leader needs to have a personality that delights in power and being looked up to, to keep them sane under the weight of all that stress.

        • I do not know if there is a way to be a good leader at this time, or if there is any time to be a good leader. One who delights in power only makes decisions that will keep power. One who does not delight in power will be destroyed by those who do.
          Zhen was good at speaking, and at seeing the way things work, and arguing for a good decision, but he was better as a strong voice among many voices, on the forum and in our early meetings.
          Today, I read many forums used to organise the student occupations around the world. Many of us thought, because we are the first, we understand everything the best, but there is much we can learn. There are many ways to make a decision without a leader.

Reply to this

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s