Monday, March 1, 2021
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I’m from Poland, and I’m taking the pandemic as seriously as you do

I have not visited my home country since the summer of 2019. I have missed weddings and funerals. And I’m scared, just like you.

Justyna Kotowiecka fears that Norwegians will start shadowing away immigrants from countries that are now hard hit by covid-19. Photo: Eirik Brekke (archive)

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This is a debate post. The post is written by an external contributor, and quality assured by BT’s debate department. Opinions and analyzes are the writer’s own.

I’m furious, tired and helpless like you.

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I’m afraid. I try not to think about it. I’m afraid that at some point I will not stand it and cry in front of the children. Then they will discover that I am not so strong, and lose security.

I am afraid of financial collapse and problems with work.

Loss of stability is the beginning of many family conflicts. I’m afraid there’s a time when we’ll get enough of each other. We have nothing to talk about anymore. Nothing happens, we see no one. Children live too much in the virtual world and are too little with their peers. The same goes for adults.

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I’m afraid I’m going crazy reading the news. I do not know what to think about the vaccine. But let me tell you one thing: I’m really happy that I live and appreciate my life. I’m afraid I’m going to get sick and no one wants to help me. I’m afraid of loneliness. Anonymity.

I’m afraid I’ll not see my parents anymore.

Occasionally I hear that someone in the family is ill. Some of them have a severe covid-19 course and are hospitalized.

I’m not allowed to attend funerals. My heart is broken because some very close people have died. I’m not been to a wedding. I am not with relatives, family and friends in important events in their lives.

I am from Poland. The last time I visited my country was in the summer of 2019. I follow all recommendations and guidelines from the authorities.


Because I know it’s the only way we can stop the pandemic and get back to normal. To the world as it looked a year ago. I know you want to too. We are all tired. Annoyed.

‘Do not look at me with resentment. I’m not all foreigners “, writes the submitter. Photo: Eirik Brekke (archive)

This is a strange and difficult time for all of us, but it was not me who brought you covid-19. It is not my fault that this is a pandemic. Please do not look at me with resentment, disgust and without understanding. I’m me – and I’m not all foreigners.

None of my friends are currently traveling. No one puts themselves or others in danger.

Nevertheless, I also understand those who decided to visit the family in Poland for Christmas. They have no one here. They made their decisions, and they bear the consequences. Quarantine in Poland. A few brief moments with loved ones and then back.

To cross the border you must have a negative test result. Then in quarantine again. Then a new test. Yes, some people may not complete all the procedures, but this is rare. Often at the request of employers who do not fully comply with or understand the regulations. I myself was asked to come to work when I had a fever. Each of us is different.

Now we all need understanding, empathy and warmth. Looking for culprits will not do any better.

I understand that you are scared and furious. Believe me, I too am a human being and I have feelings. We are here and now together in Norway. And together we will defeat the virus. I also hope that it will end soon, but when I see what is happening, I know that it still takes time and requires discipline and understanding.

Let us therefore respect each other and be nice, because we need warmth and compassion.



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