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PostBelgium in Coronavirus Times (Angel Vinas, Belgium, 05/20/20 7:07 am)
This little kingdom had the dubious honor of being one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in relation to its population of 11.5 million. The reasons are common to other countries including Italy, Spain, France, and the UK. Slow recognition of the need for taking immediate and drastic measures, a lack of preparation and equipment, absolute need to protect the country's hospitals and ICUs. Disregard for the care homes for the elderly.
Particular to Belgium is the specific political fragmentation and the bureaucratic difficulties of the interplay among multiple layers of governance in a federal system. Only now is the lockdown being eased. It is happening not without acrimony. The social, political and economic consequences will take years to heal. On the other hand, the population has in general been responsive to the injunctions by the central, regional and local authorities.
Personally I haven't been affected by the lockdown too much. Although I can leave my house nowadays I don't dare because I belong to one of the high-risk groups of population.
I have been working on a new book. The publishing house with which I usually publish, CRITICA, had asked me at the end of last February in Barcelona to address a certain subject. It was the last trip I made outside of Brussels.
Mindful of the health risks in breaking the lockdown, I have been working long and hard for two months and a half. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I have addressed one the facets of the Spanish Civil War which hadn't received so far the attention it deserves, notwithstanding the some 40,000 books written about this conflict. I believe that many people will be excited while many others will remain bitterly disappointed because their dogmas don´t pass the necessary checks. It'll be published in 2021 and I won´t say a word about it until then.
I've subscribed to some US newspapers in their digital editions because the future of the West will be put to the test there in the coming months.
All my thoughts are with you.
JE comments: Ángel, your secret is safe with me--especially because I don't know what the new book is about! I am curious as hell what new angle could be found on one of history's most-studied periods: the Spanish Civil War.
And congratulations on turning the lockdown into such a productive time. I am very happy about this, but not the least bit surprised.