Osservazioni di un anziano

Le analogie che osservo tra le esperienze della Seconda Guerra Mondiale e la pandemia da COVID-19.
United Kingdom, Northern Europe

Story by Alice McLure. Translated by Daniela Pratesi
Published on September 17, 2022.

This story is also available in GB de



Lockdown, autoisolamento, distanziamento sociale – il lessico si è espanso e questi termini piuttosto scomodi sono diventati familiari come il fish e chips.  Ora che ho più di ottant’anni, mi trovo a riflettere sull’apparente enormità di questa minaccia, mentre mi chiedo se mi sia mai capitato di vedere una cosa del genere.

La prima cosa che mi viene in mente è la seconda guerra mondiale – avevo 7 anni quando è finita la guerra, quindi non sono certo un’autorità sugli orrori di quegli anni, eppure sento che le necessità della guerra sono diverse da quelle di oggi. Allora, milioni di uomini e donne combatterono e morirono per i loro paesi. Trovo quell’altruismo difficile da contemplare nel mondo d’oggi.

Nel mio paese, l’Inghilterra, in mezzo al razionamento di cibo e vestiti, i municipi e le chiese venivano riservati all’addestramento degli uomini, mentre le donne si facevano carico dei lavori maschili e chi lavorava nelle fabbriche di munizioni si esponeva a grandi rischi. Alla fine della guerra, il mondo del lavoro era cambiato irrevocabilmente.

Il blackout era obbligatorio e sotto il controllo di guardiani designati. Non appena compariva il minimo spiraglio di luce, si sentiva bussare alla porta e i guardiani non se ne andavano fino a quando non fosse stato tutto risolto. Non ricordo nessun risentimento nei loro confronti – li ricordo mentre prendevano una tazza di tè, di passaggio, e mi hanno detto che riuscivo di solito a svegliarmi e a regalargli un’interpretazione dell’inno “We Plough the Fields and Scatter!”

Certo, in quegli anni c’erano disordini e malcondotta, ma c’era anche qualcosa che si potrebbe definire “solidarietà” in tutta la nazione. Sicuramente pochi avevano dubbi su quale fosse l’origine di tanta sofferenza.

Vedo analogie tra le esperienze della seconda guerra mondiale e il COVID-19, questa pandemia che ha portato via tante vite e ha probabilmente causato incertezze per gli anni a venire. 

Durante la guerra, la gente accoglieva a braccia aperte il maggior coinvolgimento del governo nelle loro vite. Ora, per ignoranza o per presunzione, alcuni scelgono di sfidare le norme di sicurezza e decoro del governo. Anche se il razionamento del tempo di guerra ha contribuito a modificare i comportamenti, essendo tutti costretti ad acquistare una quantità limitata di prodotti, oggi abbiamo il dramma della carta igienica. Allora si riconosceva che erano tutti ugualmente a rischio, mentre oggi pare che tanta gente si ritenga al di là del pericolo, senza nessuna preoccupazione per la minaccia che possono rappresentare per gli altri.

Eppure oggi vediamo ancora comunità che si uniscono – uno dei nostri vicini ci ha infilato un biglietto nella cassetta delle lettere, offrendosi di aiutarci in qualsiasi modo. Ogni settimana ci siamo presentati ad applaudire il nostro Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, che è frutto delle esperienze della seconda guerra mondiale. Cerchiamo di fare esercizio e di mantenerci in salute. Aiutiamo dove possiamo e siamo grati per l’aiuto ricevuto.

Ma che dire dell’Alzheimer del mio amatissimo marito? Dovergli spiegare la situazione ogni giorno, anche più volte, diventa sempre più oneroso, e veder progredire la malattia man mano che passano questi giorni strani è doloroso oltre ogni dire.

Poi, quasi in risposta alle nostre preghiere, nella nostra vita è arrivato Zoom. Le chiacchierate bisettimanali con la famiglia, la riunione settimanale con le ragazze all’estero, l’aggiornamento del gruppo di lettura una volta alla settimana…non dobbiamo più muoverci!

Dai 7 anni agli 82 anni di età, ho visto gli effetti di due eventi mondiali di enorme portata.  Se sono ottimista sul futuro? Un pochino sì.


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Alice McLure

Alice McLure

This is a tale of a long life and a multitude of opportunities. I studied Chemistry and Biochemistry at Glasgow University in the 1950’s, worked in hospital biochemistry in Scotland and Canada, and as a biochemist at UCLA until my son was born in 1964. I worked in Nigeria on a WHO-funded project and, two more sons later, I completed an M.Sc. in Information Science at the University of Sheffield where I then worked for seven years.  Then, by fate, I came upon F International, a computer systems and software company whose ethos was to keep women in the workplace during their child bearing years, where I worked until 1985 as a Manager and consultant. In 1987, I joined the Civil Service where I remained until I retired, developing prototypes for online learning, then as a member of the Occupational Standards Branch, and finally a frequent visitor in Brussels implementing the UK Second Diplomas Directive.

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