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LETTER- Self-proclaimed anti-vaxxer takes issue with Henderson column

Dear editor,

Dear editor,

I have been involved in human rights organizations directly and indirectly for 55 years. I am 75 years old.

As a human rights advocate, I have monitored suffering that tears the heart and I have been compelled to respond. Clearly, the deadly, heart-stopping pain of the COVID virus touched us all and brought forward many issues involving human rights and freedoms. Very few have remained untouched over these last many years as the COVID virus destroyed families and communities and threw entire nations into overwhelming despair. However, along with death, the COVID virus also delivered conditions for some of the most deadly human behaviours to ripen: fear, ostracism, anger, bullying and coercion. The COVID virus demonstrated to many how quickly humanity can slip into divisive blame; blame that seeks to punish those with different world views.

It is human to form beliefs, opinions and personal truths and it is human to cling to our truths with unwavering conviction. We can all find “facts” that validate our beliefs. However, history proves “truths” change over time. History teaches us to hold our “truths” with humility and to hold our truths with uncertainty because uncertainty is perhaps the only truth. While none can change the tremendous losses the COVID virus brought to us we can nonetheless change the psychological misery that continues to fill our hearts with fear and blame; the scourge that accompanied the covid virus and remains with us still.

I remain unvaccinated because my “truth” is that the COVID response protocols too closely paralleled the erosion of human rights and freedoms I often witnessed at other times and in other places over the many decades I have worked within human rights organizations. I walk my truth even while I have been afraid and uncertain. I walk my truth because it is the only honourable “right course of action” for me.

I humbly respect that for many people I am placing human rights and freedoms over the life, safety, and health of others.

I accept that responsibility because for me there is no life without human rights and freedom and for me, there is no choice but to walk the path that I am on.

Patri Janyk,