Sunday, 29 March 2020
The coronavirus crisis has hit Germany with full force. Infections are increasing rapidly with schools, factories and bars closed across the country. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there were 13,979 coronavirus infections in Germany on Thursday afternoon, (19 March) more than in any other country except China, Italy, Iran and Spain.
But Germany has only registered 52 deaths (20 March). Neighbouring France, by contrast, reports 243 deaths. Spain has had 803 deaths. The US, the UK and Italy all show case fatality rates significantly higher than Germany.
In Germany there have been a high number of tests with laboratories conducting about 160,000 coronavirus tests every week.
Mass testing means lower fatality rate because it allows detection of Covid-19 even in patients who suffer few or no symptoms, and who have a much better chance of survival.
Experts also point out that Germany now has the chance to prepare for a surge in serious infections, with hospitals across the country expanding intensive care capacity and boosting staff numbers and with a government buying up as much critical equipment as it can.
Meanwhile here in the UK Boris Johnson has set our minds at rest by announcing yesterday ( 21 March) that good stuff is on its way.
“to give you an idea of what is coming down the track, we’re in negotiations today to buy a so-called antibody test, as simple as a pregnancy test which can tell whether you have had the disease and it’s early days, but if it works as its proponents claim, then we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practicable. Because obviously it has the potential to be a total game changer.”
So for the UK it is ‘‘negotiations’. ‘early days’, ‘as soon as practical’ and ‘potential’ game changers.
We have no idea how the Coronavirus epidemic will develop over the coming weeks / months. We can say that since 2012 there have been a 120,000 deaths in the UK due to austerity policies.
Information above comes from a FT article which is is here:
and from the Guardian which is here:
Boris Johnson is neither here nor there, but with his train set in La La land.
Saturday, 28 March 2020
Barcelona residents in Coronavirus lockdown bang pots and pans from their windows and balconies. On 18 March protests were being held across Spain to demand that Felipe VI's father, King Emeritus Juan Carlos I, donate more than 100 million Euros to the public health authorities amid the COVID-19 outbreak, an amount he reportedly received as a donation from the Saudi monarchy.
This comes from a tradition known in this country as ‘Rough Musiking’ - raucous noise used in protest against kings and queens, landlords, tax collectors and other oppressors of the people!
I remember helping organise the banging of drums, bells, cymbals and other percussion instruments outside Westminster Cathedral when Tony Blair was giving a ‘faith’ lecture there.
Who would you like to ‘rough musik’ while we are in our Coronavirus lockdown? Any ideas of who should donate their ill-gotten gains to the NHS?
Friday, 27 March 2020
Johnson speaking on 15 March 2020
We are not, repeating not,
closing schools now. The scientific advice is that this could do more
harm than good at this time.
Johnson speaking on 16 March 2020
We think it’s much better
that we keep schools open for all sorts of reasons.
Johnson speaking on 18 March 2020
We think that now we must
apply downward pressure on that upward curve by closing the schools.
Every time Johnson talks about his government policy on Coronavirus he repeats these three words, “The scientific advice.”
What is this newly discovered science of ‘upward / downward curves' children? Put your hand down Johnson. You haven’t a clue.
Thursday, 26 March 2020
A LETTER TO MY GRANDSON
This is the letter I would like my grandson to read when he is old enough to understand its contents.
TO: Rhys Douglas-Wilson
written on 26 March 2020
I am writing this to you as your grandfather - your dad's dad. I hope I am still alive when you read it so that we can meet. I have missed being able to get to know you, but if I am no longer alive I hope it will help you understand who I was.
I did meet you when you were a few months old, but your mum decided I could not be your grandfather and since that day I have little idea what has been happening in your life. I hope all is good and that you are well and happy. This is the only photo I have of you.
I have not been too well in recent years; brain operation, heart surgery, stroke and heart valve infection. I was not expected to live, but I did. I spent a lot of my convalescent time thinking about you and about your dad, my son, who I love very much.
I was also given a lot of support from my wife Anne and from your uncle Ben. He does not have an easy life but is very brave and very positive. I hope you have a good relationship with him.
Even after six years I still do not know why Jonny has agreed to cut me out of his and your life. You will have to ask him.
I do know why your mother and grandmother, Renata, have behaved the way they did, but before I say more I want to add that I hope you have a good relationship with your mum, your dad and your grandmother.
I am sure Maria is a great mum and I know that Renata is capable of giving you a lot of love.
When Maria 'sacked' me as your grandfather she told me that her reason was that I had 'selfishly' taken Jonny into a 'war zone'. This is UNTRUE as Jonny came to Mostar four years after the war there had ended. His stay there changed his life for the better **
She told others that, I chased 'hookers’ (prostitutes) in New Orleans. Again UNTRUE. I think she was referring to a day in that city when I went to look for an elderly black guy I had met and to whom I had promised $20. After getting the money from a cash dispenser I told Maria and Jonny what I was going to do. Sadly he was not where I had met him and he never got the promised money.
For many years your grandmother Renata claimed that I 'abused' your dad. UNTRUE . She has since denied saying this, but I have communications from Jonny who remembers the allegation. When I visited Renata's aunt Mirijana in Zagreb 21 years ago she told me she was shocked that Renata and her father were 'going around Zagreb' making this and other allegations about me. I remember her adding, 'If Nada (Renata's mother and your great grandmother) was alive she would never have allowed them to behave in this way.'
Renata has also claimed that when I was running War Child I sold trucks to the Bosnian army. UNTRUE. It is true that other members of War Child were selling them. You can read about all this in 'Left Field', but when I found out I alerted the then War Child Trustees and to this day have retained the documents proving this to be the case.
So far as I know Jonny has never agreed with any of these four allegations made about me and it remains a mystery to me as to why he has agreed to silence me.
Here is what your father wrote to me on 1 Jan 2013:
“You make Maria so happy I think you complete something she missed out on.. and not in a needy way but in a really positive way. The money you gave us rescued us and made this life possible and now this baby will make our family even more. …I am so blessed and you are so responsible for my strength, Anne too. I know Anne will be exhausted and we completely understand if she cant make it but please express to her how much we love her and hope she is happy to be a grandmother.”
And the last communication I received from Jonny was on 30 Jan 2015 when he wrote this:
“just wanted to write to you to say that I love you and also to say that there really isn't an issue between you and me.”
I am sure Renata is angry with what I wrote in my published memoir about our divorce. You can read that chapter here.
I have no idea why your mother dislikes me and Anne. We both liked her and I can only guess that she experienced unhappiness with men in her past.
I hope that you will be given your own copy of the book which I have dedicated to you. That you will then understand the truth about me. 'Left Field' can be read here:
I hope that someone will give you your own copy of the book with its dedication to you.
Here is what I wrote four years after Left Field’s publication.
Finally I wrote about the grief involved when losing Jonny, a living son here (under a pseudonym) which concludes with a song, “In the Living Years" by Mike and The Mechanics.
I am not angry or bitter, but massively regretful and sad. I have so powerfully wanted to see you and get to know you. Perhaps we will still be able to.
I take this opportunity to send you, Jonny, Maria and Renata as much love as can be accepted from me.
PS I lived as long as I did because of the love and strength I received from my wife Anne and from the love and solidarity I once received from Jonny and have continued to receive from your uncle Ben and from my sisters, Liz and Joanna. Here is your father and uncle a few years ago! Jonny was so cute and I believe that in his soul he still is.
Someone who knew your dad well in Bosnia recently wrote the following to me when hearing I was writing to you.
Please try to talk about Jonny and his talent, his joy in Bosnia, in what ways it was different and more positive than his life in London. He used to say how he won a scholarship to a fancy Highgate school that was full of spoilt rich kids of war criminals and Russian despots. Kids that took coke and heroin at the age of 15. His coming to follow you in Bosnia saved him from a life of debauchery, selfishness and drugs. He was admired by famous musicians and producers who took him under their wing and tought him many production and post production skills. Talents and connections he used to get where he is now and which eventually led him on the path to meet Maria and make Rhys. It led him on a path to a different kind of education and enabled him to meet people who made a difference in our world of despair and war. Jonny is someone who each and every Bosnian and Croat he ever encountered admired enormously. He had an energy and conviction that was hard to ignore. That inspired people and this energy only came about because he had a father who led him on this path. It is so ridiculous that he cannot acknowledge that now.
- - -
‘You should remind yourself that what you love is mortal, that what you love is not your own. It is granted to you for the present while, and not irrevocably, nor for ever, but like a fig or a bunch of grapes in the appointed season; and if you long for it in the winter, you are a fool.’ Epictetus
Not a day passes when I don’t think about my two sons, Ben and Jonny, and my grandson, Rhys.
was Jonny able to exclude me from his life over so many years, years
when I had life-threatening operations, illnesses and a stroke?
Not long before I was expelled by Maria as grandfather Jonny wrote this to me .. “just wanted to write to you to say that I love you and also to say that there really isn't an issue between you and me.”
Earlier he wrote this to me … “You make Maria so happy I think you complete something she missed out on.. and not in a needy way but in a really positive way. The money you gave us rescued us and made this life possible and now this baby will make our family even more. …I am so blessed and you are so responsible for my strength, Anne too. Please express to her how much we love her and hope she is happy to be a grandmother.”
After my 'expulsion' Jonny wrote this in an email to a mutual friend ... “David took me to Bosnia where I was once beaten by many Croatian police who hospitalized me, I had guns put to my head multiple times and once someone fired a gun next to my right ear and I lost 20% of my hearing … For years now Anne has been spitting venom at my mother and both her and David have actively worked on making me hate my mother ** ... My father has a long history of bad behavour, he was arrested multiple times, he jumped from job to job and was financially unstable his entire life … He is hothead and I can't have him near my child … David comes from a long line of abusive drunks … The doctors told him the reason behind his brain issues were because he was heavily drinking since the 60s. He was an alcoholic and depressive before I was born … Anne is a bully she is horrid person, she orders David around and belittles and attacks him verbally … she is one of the most selfish people on this planet … David and his father were upper middle class entitled ponces, yeah he pretends to be a communist socialist lefty, but the fact is he comes from a very well of family that afforded him the time to waste his youth … David NEEDS to see a psychiatrist .”
Maria didn’t like me or Anne from the start. Indeed Jonny told me that he had told her not to destroy his family. There then followed my expulsion as Rhys’ grandad because I had ‘taken Jonny into a war zone’. After my visit to Jonny and Maria in New Orleans she claimed I had chased hookers there.
After Maria 'sacked' me as grandfather I never heard from Jonny again, not even when I was in hospital close to death.
When I am not here to defend myself, when I am no longer able to have even the possibility of contact with my grandson, when I am dead, I hope Jonny will be told that I never stopped loving him.
NOTE: I lived as long as I did with the love and support of my wife Anne, my son Ben and sisters, Liz and Joanna, my Mostar ‘son’ Oha, Masa and family, Teo and close friends, Eileen, Anthea, Jane, Trish and Alaistair, Maureen, Sebastian and Grainne, and Deicola. Andrea Rice, Ben's carer, has been supportive, not just of Ben, but of me as well. There are others who left before me – Alice, Gerry, Robin, Ken.
The Love that’s deep within me
Shall reach you from the stars
You’ll feel it from the heavens
And it will heal the scars