Received and translated on 08.04.2020, text originally appeared in the 1st issue of Madrid Quarantine City.
“I’m looking out for mine and you’re looking out for yours, listen to your watch, its ticking is a murmur”
Confinement has disastrous consequences for one of the most important pillars of our lives: personal relationships. These are being forced to distance themselves, to break down, to replace the contact of the flesh with the isolation of bits and screens. It is not like when someone you love marches through life situations to some remote place, where you are certain that the bond will surely be dusty but intact on return, or that it will live on in memory; but there you have the support of all the other relationships on which we rely in our daily lives. This quarantine situation has forcibly interrupted the course of our social interactions overnight, confining our lives to the isolation module. Some people are lucky, and at least (at least because it doesn’t fill the gap left by estranged ties) they can get through the confinement with people they love and on whom they can rely on to support each other, but what about the people who live alone? Who will hear their cries for help when anxiety-ridden suicide knocks on their door? What about the women who have their own jailer at home? It is said that the police will be on the lookout for calls about gender-based violence, but we cannot expect the police to solve these problems, even less so when we know that most of the time they contribute to the humiliation and vexation of the abused woman. Besides, will you really be able to pick up the phone when you’re locked up with someone who dominates you, will you be able to go outside? The femicide figures show us that the answer is no. And what about those who don’t have a place to live? The ones the military will “help” and “relocate”. We shouldn’t trust anything the army says they’ll do when we’re not looking because we’re locked up at home.
And to add another rock to the rucksack, social panic has not only caused individual people to break their bonds, but to try to break those who try to resist. You scold from the balconies for walking together in the street, for shaking hands, hugging, kissing…Collective anxiety on the basis of “I’m staying at home and you’re taking it as a joke”. But talking about whatsapp, skype, social networks and other alternatives provided by technology is not even remotely valid to escape from the swamp of anxiety and madness in which we have been sunk. You need contact, you need to walk with someone without thinking that a patrol car is going to give you a ticket for keeping friendship ties and not falling into hysteria.
What will happen when we can go back out on the street and we don’t know how to relate in a group, face to face in the square? When social anxiety is widespread and we have to unite and fight against the shitty world we live in?
Let’s not let social panic and state control destroy the most valuable things we have, let’s strengthen our bonds to be unbreakable chains that sweep away domination.