Monday, April 15, 2024
HomeCOVID-19Dare to dream, and carry the torch for freedom

Dare to dream, and carry the torch for freedom


MY life has been very fortunate. I was born a few months after World War Two to a generation so sickened by the excesses man could inflict on his fellow that the simple sense of breathing fresh air without fear was an elixir that had hope and promised a kinder, more considerate world.

The people who emerged from the horror of the war were determined to be free and to resist any attempt to inflict terror, tyranny and totalitarianism again. There was a continuing battle with sources of communism which lingered on for a further generation or so, but such control of the many by the few is always eventually self-defeating.

The West enjoyed a relaxed and easy generation, my generation. I was never subject to controls, I lived outside when the weather allowed, played in the sun and wasn’t even aware that my mother was protecting me from a distance. I could roam where I chose. I discovered the world and it was fun. There were some who wanted to cause mischief but I didn’t know about paedophiles or such dangers.

The generation who had experienced the unimaginable were determined to live in peace, dig their gardens, go to the seaside and look forward to a pensioned retirement. Their understanding, strength and decency was the rock on which my childhood flourished. The world was open, free, optimistic and exciting. I was able to create a wonderful life with enthusiasm and hope because of the insistence of my parents’ generation that there were certain rights and freedoms which must never be compromised again. When that older generation told us that you simply don’t do that, or this just isn’t right, we accepted it.

The rebellion of the Sixties was in many ways an extension of that understanding of decency, of hope and of the deep-rooted desire to create a better world. Our parents had sacrificed all for that dream and some of us were going to deliver it with vigour and an enhanced determination; it was an extension of the dreams of all of those who didn’t survive to see the future they helped to birth.

The dream was about spirit, a fearless optimism, a ‘can do’ that knew no restraints. It was never about safety, comfort, not taking risks, so we jumped, and dreamed, and lived with the consequences. We would never again be dictated to or restricted or diminished.

Who then could have predicted that those dreams would be dashed by some around us, the timid, the privileged – and the subsequent fearful, unimaginative cowardice of the new generation to which we gave life? They should have taken on the torch of freedom; they had the foundations of unfettered hope on which to make a brave new world but they hesitated, and were frightened, and they blamed the previous generations for the mess with which they carefully surrounded themselves as a false defence against a world they had made and feared.

Theirs is now a world built on dishonesty, unquestioning from the safety of their cocooned false hope. They are the shame of previous heroes. Where now are those who stand for truth at any cost? Who could imagine that whole populations would hide in fear of a disease with a survival rate of more than 99 per cent, or rush to accept unproven and potentially dangerous vaccines? Who would not to go work for fear of catching something no more deadly than flu? Who would have imagined that we would willingly live with house arrest and wear useless face masks when shopping? Who would stop progress in its tracks, bring transport to a halt and create food shortages on the flimsy premise that the climate is suffering an irrevocable disaster? Who would believe that we would now be constantly lied to about the efficacy of medicines and be content?

Many of my generation have accepted the propaganda; the easy life of conformity is attractive. Some were never rebels. We who should know better have not been loud enough. How can we stand silently by and allow our grandchildren to be abused? The unnecessary vaccination of children is a challenge for all generations now. The ignorance, the refusal to inquire is now unacceptable. It goes beyond my choice, my arm, my risk. The children look to us all for their defence and safety: we must not fail them. Their future health depends on all of us waking up, being rigorous, inquiringly cautious and loving. The people who created the world we enjoy were protective of us, not reckless. They sought solutions to build a better world, a better future, not cancel the advances already made for fear they might bring problems in the future.

Dare to dream; don’t live in constant fear. Be inventive, not censorious. Live and let live, and give hope to the new generation.

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Neil Sherry
Neil Sherry
Neil Sherry was the creative director and chairman of an advertising agency he founded in Manchester. He now paints.

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