‘La Mamela’ is a restaurant (currently closed) situated on Catalán Bay, Little Genoa, Gibraltar. It takes its name allegedly from a very large boulder that fell down from the top of the Rock of Gibraltar in the early 18th Century, crushing a number of houses before coming to rest in the bay, where it sits today. It was thus named by recently-arrived Catalán settlers as it resembles a woman’s breast when viewed from the shore.
This huge boulder miraculously did not kill anyone on its descent even though it crushed a number of buildings, and it has sat there on the beach shoreline, alongside The Caleta Hotel, since that moment. A testament to the power of nature, and the fragility of mankind.
As I stared at this ‘extraordinary’ rocky feature the other day, I could not help but contemplate and compare the extraordinary circumstances we are facing today as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic, thinking that this virus is just like this huge boulder that has descended on us from ‘on high’. Crashing down into our lives unexpectedly and changing the landscape forever.
Things are changing dramatically on an almost daily basis as a result of this ‘viral boulder’. Vaccinations, booster jabs, face masks, new variants, travel restrictions, PCR tests, quarantine and isolation rules – that is all we hear currently in the news. Human rights are supposedly being threatened, businesses are on the verge of bankruptcy, families have been kept apart (including my own), politicians are becoming mired in a sea of difficulties, travel has become seriously compromised and businesses are being forced to find solutions to very difficult staffing and cash flow scenarios. Where does this all leave us, and where are we heading to? What is to be the final outcome?
Perhaps the answers were staring right back at me, in the form of ‘La Mamela’? Could this giant breast-shaped boulder, resting peacefully in the shallows, be indicating an approach that pointed towards the way ahead…
When I look back in time at the global pandemics that have assailed the human race, the stories are shocking, some of them of such cataclysmic proportions that they doomed entire civilizations and brought once powerful nation states to their knees. The great plague of Cyprian (AD 250-271), The Black Death (1346-1353), The Cocoliztli Epidemic of Mexico & Central America (1545-1548), The Great Plague of London (1665-1666), The Yellow Fever Epidemic of Philadelphia (1793), The Spanish Flu (1918-1920), The Asían Flu (1957-1958), The AIDS Pandemic (1981-Present), The H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic (2009-2010) and the West African Ebola Epidemic (2014-2016). And this is just the short list.
What is particularly shocking is the total of deaths linked to some of these events, and the repercussions. For example, the Cocoliztli Epdimec of 1545 that started in Mexico and killed over 15 million inhabitants. Recent studies of the DNA of victims’ skeletons found that they had been infected with a subspecies of Salmonella known as S. paratiphi C, which caused a severe enteric fever, producing high fever, dehydration and gastrointestinal problems. With a population already weakened by extreme drought conditions, the pandemic proved catastrophic for the population. An entire civilization wiped out by a bug.
And then there is the Black Death of the Middle Ages. A monumental plague that travelled from Asia to Europe in the form of a strain of bacterium Yersinia Pestis, spread by fleas on infected rodents. Informed commentators estimate that the plague wiped out over half of the entire population of Europe. They also believe that the pandemic changed the course of human history, bringing about better working conditions for labourers and the end of Europe’s system of serfdom.
And finally, there is the ‘Spanish Flu’ that broke out in the late 19th Century. An astonishing 500 million people are believed to have succumbed to this global pandemic, with one fifth estimated to have died. Yes, one hundred million people. The spread of this virulent influenza was enhanced by the poor conditions of soldiers and the very poor wartime nutrition that many people experienced during World War 1.
In the context of the above, where does Covid-19 and its variants sit? Clearly it is a serious viral attack on the human race, and has already had a global impact that is affecting all of us in our daily lives, at both personal and professional levels. Related deaths are allegedly high, although the actual Covid-induced deaths are difficult to quantify. Is it at the level of the Black Plague or the Spanish Flu? In my humble opinion, I think not.
And more importantly, what is the solution? The end game. Is it the series of vaccinations being advocated by our Governments ? Or the booster? And more ongoing vaccinations? And more boosters?
These are the questions I wondered about as I stared at the boulder of ‘La Mamela’ the other day, whilst on the beach at Catalán Bay, as I heard yet more depressing news from the UK of the spread of the Omicron variant and the likely self-imposed lockdown over Christmas.
The answer could be a simple one. “Let things just be. Shit happens, so let the shit settle and then slowly vanish away, washed away by the waves and the tides”. Was this the message coming across from the boulder?
There is a view out there that medical science, in its laudable mission to save lives and defend us all from deadly viruses and disease, is creating a scenario in which the human species ultimately has no natural defences or strategies left to fight attacks. By trying to protect us, ironically we may actually find ourselves becoming weaker and more vulnerable. Are we being scared and panicked into doing the “right medical thing” through raising the fear of mortality? Are these vaccinations and boosters really saving lives, or are we being injected with untested substances that will weaken the natural immune system ultimately and possibly even bring unimaginable side effects? Stories are already coming out of blood clots, haemorrhages, impaired vision, problematic pregnancies and long term illness.
In other words, nature could be left to run more of its own course. More a case of “Physician, go heal thyself”. Perhaps there could be a high price to pay (although there is little verifiable data to support this), but in the end, the human body could be encouraged and allowed on its own to resolve the situation. Until the virus, and the fear of the virus, is conquered. The boulder fell down and crashed into the sea, causing destruction and damage. And the sea was agitated. But the waters finally calmed. And then nature took its course, and with time it became assimilated into the landscape. Back to normal.
Similarly, we could be allowed to naturally recover and settle down again into normal life…until, of course, the next virus, and the next viral boulder. But at least our bodies (and minds) will be more prepared for the next attack.
This article will be published as part of the forthcoming collection of JLR Notes, entitled: ‘Notes from Abroad, Home & The Road’, due to be published in May 2022.
To reserve a signed and dedicated copy @ £9.95, contact:
Jose Luis Romanillos, Agent & Promoter. MD of the UK-based Sports, Media & Entertainment Agency, JLR, as well as Founder of the international private members club, JLR PRIVÉE, José is currently in Gibraltar for an extended visit with his wife, Jane, enjoying the weather, swimming and the restaurants. http://www.jlromanillos.com