About Author

Eamonn Mallie

I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

1 Comment

  1. Eddie Finnegan on

    Sorry Eamonn – it’s not about YOU! Half the population of the planet live with fragility – physical, material, social, political, mental, emotional – every day of their lives. For most of them, 69 is a dream of wise and respected old age that they’ll never reach. And as for my 77, that would be Methusalemish senility for most. Epidemics and semi-pandemics are for them as common as wars and warlords, famine or at least perennially failed crops or swarms of locusts and rainy seasons that never come. Cholera, typhoid, malaria are their lot so if Ebola or Marburg haemorrhagic viruses hit them every decade or two, c’est la vie. We have been cocooned by vaccines and annual flu jabs for a century from killer influenza and we’ve forgotten that in 1904 Ireland’s TB epidemic snatched 12,000 adolescents and young married people – one of the first being my Aunt Maggie at about 22, quarantined in an outhouse in Shillan townland till Dr McBride moved her to the Infectious Diseases wing of Blayney Workhouse where she died on 13th January. She left her man, one of the ‘Hawk’ McCanns from Cashel near the Bridge, and two young sons, Pat and Terence/Teddy. She’s in an unmarked mass grave behind the Workhouse. Within that decade all her five sisters and one brother made it to the States and somehow managed to get through Ellis Island. Her youngest brother, Eddie, eventually stayed in Urker.
    But if you need something else to cheer you up and massage your precious emotional fragility, read up on the classical Athenian plagues, or the Justinian Plague of the 6th Cent., or the extended Black Death that robbed 14th cent Italy of one-third of its population and Petrarch of his son Giovanni; or why not Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year as seen from half a century later. And then we did have enough ‘famine fever’ and ‘faver’ hospitals in the 19th cent to leave the very word ‘fever’ unmentionable even in its clinical use for more than a century later.
    Sorry Eamonn, but I find some of your latest posts and podcasts far too preciously introverted for your own good or anyone else’s. Yes, as in China and North Italy, or West Africa and the DRC with Ebola, or our own extended tubercular history, quite a few of us ancients will be culled over the next 6-12 months; and no doubt Big Pharma will rake in a tidy sum for their vaccines when they eventually get them sorted, maybe a bit too late for some of us. Meanwhile I’m still managing a reasonably brisk walk around Finsbury Park every morning, with the aid of my trekking poles, until that bugger Boris decides he must close all parks to show he’s taking back control from COVID-19. Dum spiro, spero.

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