13.4 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: The Mask of Freedom

Latest News

Byron Drag Racers World Record

The local AAA Racing motorcycle team have set a new world record in 100cc class, as well as a top national speed in 50cc class at the recent Australian Speed Week held at Salt Lake Gairdner, South Australia.

Other News

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon...

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration...

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Over population

Boyd Kellner, Newrybar ‘Over population’ is seen by some as the main destructive driver causing many crises besetting the planet today. From...

Suffolk Park Pump Track

We the ‘Engaged Neighbours’, on behalf of the Suffolk Park pump track’s affected neighbours and 300–400 petitioners and letter writers, request Council NOT to continue to bulldoze the large fenced in section of Linda Vidler Parkland adjacent to Baz and Shaz’s shop, close to the houses on three sides.

Sally Flannery discovers dark side of ‘Lovemore’

Since declaring her interest in running for Lismore Council, local woman Sally Flannery has been subjected to sustained attacks, both online and upon her property.

Today in Mullumbimby I witnessed a woman blowing bubbles on people.

Wearing a mask is not an imposition on my freedom. A year in and the ‘I won’t wear a mask’ attitude has the same schoolground contrariness of the kids who won’t wear a school hat. Or people who fought against seatbelts or bike helmets. Just wear it. There are so many bigger issues to push back against. Pick your battles. If you are protesting wearing a mask you need to get some perspective.

A mask isn’t government control. It’s disease control. Whether you ‘choose’ to believe it or not, it doesn’t matter. The world is in the grip of a global pandemic, and your belief system has little to do with fact. A great many people all over the world have died, or are at risk of dying. I witnessed a conversation between a woman who implied the whole pandemic was an elaborate hoax and a friend from New York who listed of all the people in her family who had died from COVID-19. The woman says ‘I’m just saying it’s not as bad as we’ve been told.’ My friend says ‘No it’s not. It’s worse.’

So we have been asked to wear a mask.

It is the simple act of covering one’s mouth and nose. Your respiratory area. It’s not a perfect solution to disease control, but it’s a good start.

It is a simple action that can be taken by all to protect against a disease that is transmitted through respiratory droplets. It is a first line of defence against this disease and the good news is, it’s chemical free, immediate and generalised throughout the community. Except for people who won’t wear masks.

Today in Mullumbimby I witnessed a woman blowing bubbles on people. She was walking with her dog and blowing bubbles over passers-by. What is usually the magical work of the fairy tribe, today it had a kind of aggression. The bubbles weren’t by accident. This was a ‘Fuck You’ to mask wearing. A fuck you to people wearing masks. A fuck you to the existence of this coronavirus. The woman was sending her water droplets, encased in soapy bubbles, down the street. You might have your own opinion – but how can anyone think that’s an okay thing to do at this time? For someone who’s clearly so entrenched with their own personal liberties, why would they impede on the liberty of others? Other people believe something she doesn’t. How does their choice to wear a mask impact on her?

This conversation around mask wearing is so banal. Every time I see a post about people’s right not to wear a mask I am appalled. Can’t we respect the wellbeing of others? There are vulnerable people in our community whom we show care for every time we wear a mask when we’re asked to. Whatever happened to the concept of the greater good?

When I travel into temples and I am asked to cover my shoulders and head, I do it. It’s respectful to the culture of others. The idea that wearing a mask somehow impacts on ‘our freedom’ makes me feel nauseous. This is rampant individualism. Is that really the most we privileged white first-worlders have to worry about? FFS.

Do you know what an imposition on freedom actually looks like?

Having a bunch of people turn up in a boat and steal your land and then tell you that you weren’t there and you weren’t ‘doing anything with it’. Then they create a history in which you basically aren’t included, but when you are – your culture is diminished and misrepresented. Consequently you live in a country where your people are incarcerated 12.5 times more than any other group. Oh, and they also die younger than everyone else. That’s an imposition on freedom worth fighting against.

You know another imposition on freedom? Being told, as a woman, you shouldn’t be on the streets at night because then it’s your fault if you get raped or murdered, when actually you’re more likely to be murdered at home. That’s an imposition on freedom worth fighting against.

You know another imposition on freedom? Living in a country where billionaires aren’t taxed fairly on their massive profits, and then the most vulnerable in our community are expected to get by on benefits way below the poverty line. That’s an imposition on freedom worth fighting against.

I don’t like wearing a mask. I agree that it’s uncomfortable, and breathing your own breath isn’t overly pleasant. But I do it, because I’m not that special. I don’t need to make a scene about the importance of my liberty over the health and wellbeing of others. I don’t have to know who you are to care about you. Be a decent human being. Wear a mask when it’s asked of you.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Well done Mandy nobody likes it yet mask wearing helps. A government focus on health and the importance of nourishing ourselves perhaps to strengthening immunity wouldn’t go astray and has been neglected. Much needed better ammenities in the Shire ( nice routinely cleaned places with designed natural ventilation ( Centennial Park’s public toilets example) and more staying at home if your unwell and hand washing we will keep our community well and happier in general which is proven to strengthen immune systems as is compassion and empathy. Not all of us are as strong as others.

  2. Totally agree, well mostly. Implying that anti-maskers are privileged white people is misleading at best. There are anti-maskers all over the world, a quick google tells us they are in Indonesia, India, and Africa. There’s absolutely no need to make everything about race.

  3. My Mother (born 1932) was fearful of the Government and Authorities for no good reason other than that they were in charge and could do you a mischief if they wanted to. As a result I grew up doing what the nice Policeman told me to do and that hasn’t done me any harm. Fast forward to today. I am not saying we should cower under the yolk of tyrants or Dictatorships but gee guys/gals how about just doing what you are fucking told for once. Suck up your self entitled ‘won’t never be told what to do’ attitude and do what’s obviously the right thing. As it was in my power to not do ‘everything that the nice Policeman told me to do’, similarly it is not right to question every single decision and conscientiously decide to go the other way every time.

  4. You tell them Mandy! I’m sick but not from Covid but the Covidiots who refuse to wear a mask. My comment in the last story about mask wearing had me topped and bottomed by them. Couldn’t believe people to be so selfish and ignorant in the “enlightened” Byron Shire.

  5. I’ve been waiting for someone with a large brain/compassion and intelligence to say this….Courageous statements Mandy. The list of outrageous & unjust issues you highlighted (like Colonisation re First Nations people’s land being stolen) those significant issues are WORTH fighting for. Direct your energy there I say. LOVE you Mandy…..

  6. Oh,how self righteous of all you mask wearing people,just show some respect towards people who don’t want to wear a mask! If your belief is that the mask protects you,then feel fee to do so,but let other people have the freedom to question the effectiveness of masks…who is intolerant there really,look at yourself…you demand that other people wear mask,not the other way round!Because of your fear of this virus you want to dictate the terms what all people need to do…not very nice or thoughtful of you…a dictatorship of the scared majority,who happily believe the medical experts blindly…let people be free and don’t allow your personal fear to dictate what others should have to do…i don’t stop you from wearing a mask or getting immunised, I respect it as your choice,so please respect that I don’t think it’s a good thing to do,thanks!

    • Herbie, you plead the case for anti-maskers to have the right to not mask up. Being infected with the Covid is not to be dismissed so lightly. The anti-maskers have no right to play free and easy with catching the Covid that then spreads the Covid infection to others who are doing the utmost to protect ourselves from being infected with Covid. What you advocate is akin to everyone doing their own thing, disregarding road rules, driving on roads. There is a thing called The Common Good and society has rules in place for this. Covid rules, Wear the Mask, it for The Common Good.

    • Mate, pot, kettle black. It’s the people abusing mask wearers in the street, people blowing bubbles at them, people accusing them of (unlike them) being blind deluded sheep or bribed with fame and fortune who are being self righteous. The rest of us are just conceding that we don’t have the years of study and practice to have an opinion of equal status with those on the frontline of research.

      The theory of masks (and yes it has evolved) is about protecting both the wearers but even more so the people sharing space with them. They’re not 100% effective but the more people wear them (when asked by those pesky CHOs) the more effective the strategy. It’s called a collective effort like putting out a bush fire or trying to reduce carbon emissions – or is climate change another hoax?

      Collective effort can mean just quietly getting on with it and putting aside, not a healthy scepticism, but the need to make a fanfare about how much more enlightened and special you are.

      Fear porn? I’d call fear porn the idea that there can be such a coordinated, universal plot to bring you down.

  7. Oh my god, people your are so much brain washed!
    I don’t recognise you Mandy? Did you get vaccinated? Did they threaten your family? Did they promise you fame and fortune???

  8. Oh dear Mandy I’m sorry to say you are caught up in the hoax. A doctor made a speech in the Texas sentate recently to convey the reason why many people who died ‘with’ covid was because early intervention of hydroxychloroquine etc drugs were forbidden or downplayed, but the patients he treated who were sent home with a covid positive reading and who did have symptoms, recovered within days on these oral medications. Death certificates had to say covid death and then financial rewards were given. Why – because the issue here is this gene altering vaccine they want us all to have. As for masks, it’s a muzzle, and totally over the top in Byron for ‘one case’. I’ve listened to hours and hours of different talks science backed information. Professor Delores Cahill and Dr Sherri Tenpenny who tell us the dangers of this vaccine, ignoring death threats. Brave doctors speaking up. It is a plandemic in my opinion, and many many other peoples opinion. Wake up. Baby Boomer.

    • Firstly,get your facts right before you speak and secondly but more importantly as Mandy said “I don’t have to know who you are to care about you …….. Be a decent human being and wear a mask when asked “ !!!

  9. Do your research on mask wearing from reputable medical journals. Jury is 50:50 on efficacy and lists long-term side effects if worn over prolonged periods.

  10. Wearing a mask is just a placebo, were a society consumed by fear porn and controlled by those that profit from it, buying millions of vacines and billions worth of bombs and military toys and now they are selling the cure but the reality is no matter whats afflicting you go into any cold hospital bed and its 50/50 you’ll make it out alive.

    • And those odds diminish incredibly if the virus spreads rampantly through society. Mask wearing is about keeping people out of hospitals so the medical system isn’t overwhelmed.

    • There is plenty of speculation as well on the psychology of attraction to conspiracy theories. The ones I’ve read centre on the idea that it is a natural response to uncertainty and a frightening situation. It is much more comforting, it goes, in believing that random frightening events – like the emergence of new pathogens – don’t occur and that there is are simple solution within the easy grasp of us humans. Someone is to blame, or in this case just made it up, and all we need do is eliminate the perpetrators or convince enough people of this truth.

      Psychology isn’t a very exact science and this theory doesn’t ring true to me, I’m much more cynical. Mine is unqualified and purely intuitive but goes like this. We humans, perhaps shaped by evolutionary forces, are competitive – some much more so than others. At the same time we are surrounded by teeming millions just like us in an infinite universe that can make us feel really unimportant. There have always been cohorts who are attracted to an idea that being part of a particular sex, race, religion, family or social milieu etc automatically puts them a cut above the rest – all with the added attraction of removing the need for effort or personal achievement.

      To me the attraction of believing something – anything as long as it’s seen as unconventional – is the attraction of belonging to some elite superior group who see the light. It’s easy to feed this belief if one uses confirmation bias as a research method. There are also plenty of these osteopath, chiropractor, celebrity chef, despotic leader gurus who will give the comforting reassurance that they are censored because the plebeian majority are so blind to the truth – unlike their adherents.

      To me it certainly offers some explanation for how the phenomenon has taken such a hold in parts of this shire. While there was plenty that was great about the Age of Aquarius its local vestiges have produced segments – predating the scamdemic- who delight in seeing themselves as purer, wiser, more enlightened than the general convention throng.

      Basically, while my more than twenty years in this beautiful shire has largely brought me in contact with wonderful people, I’ve also had the impression that is has an unfortunate rump of smug, sometimes aggressively self-righteous, pretentious wankers.

  11. Liz .. it appears you have either failed to read or failed to understand the article by Tim Foyle. Your tiresome views are now known to me so can you kindly offer your coming views without direct reply to my comment and I will reciprocate by ignoring your comments. I am already ignoring your comments but you did so inserted yourself.

  12. Again – a bit of decency can go a long way – ‘It’s alright Ma, I’m only bleeding’ (b.d.). Look at it
    this way, then. The person wearing the mask – as told to me by a Specialist – does not pass on
    any ‘bug’ even if the mask-wearer is carrying ‘a cold’. I am one of the many who’ll take on
    any dictator or government jerk because I personally believe quite a lot of these ‘drones’ are
    dangerous. Think, as well how we all know that ‘there are many fools in a forest.’

  13. I totally agree with mandy’s comments on masks wearing . A year down the track and the polarization in society has increased . Now we have self described alternative health self experts giving chats in the pub. Strange times indeed . Maybe these folk would recommend surgeons and nurses not bother wearing masks in surgery . To suggest that masks. Don’t minimise spread of disease …. We are back in the dark ages .

  14. Indigenous people worldwide have taken up mask wearing without banging on about their individual rights being walked all over . They have communal memory … They remember the hideous affects stupid white people inflicted on them with influenza not so long ago . Ask maori ,ask native hawaiians ,ask , Australian indigenous elders ,ask inuit folk . They remember near decimation not so long ago . Our new age folk are quick to discount past lessons

    • The reason people reject masks and experimental vaccine is because they do not believe the government, CMO, WHO, Big Pharma or in the existence of pandemic … it’s all noise about not much.

      Indigenous people succumbed to the flu because of isolation, the con-vid narrative dictates a return to isolation. Stopping the Germ Spread! Roll-up for perpetual vaccination, sickness guaranteed and all power to Lord Pharma.

      As children we were told to follow doctor’s orders, in medical hierarchy Doctors follow Orders.

  15. Richard, if you don’t want me to reply you really shouldn’t write such stuff. To decide against masks I would suggest you need a bit more to go on than the idea that people with some qualifications and skin in the game tell you they are a good idea. Btw I don’t think Big Pharma is making a lot out of them.

    The reason indigenous populations succumbed to to influenza, smallpox etc was, as you say, their isolation from and hence their lack of evolved immunity to them. The same thing occurs in modern populations when a pathogen new to humans takes off when, because it’s new, they have not had any chance to develop immunity to them: Spanish flu, swine flu, SARS, HIV. Or are these all inventions of Big Pharma too? Following the logic of your mate, Tim Foyle they’re all bound to be.

    Your point about isolation is somewhat damning to your cause. If the indigenous populations had stayed isolated rather than invaded they would have been OK . I don’t think isolation in itself is seen as a good thing but it has been used by countries like NZ and Australia to get on top of community transmission so that the populations can come out of isolation. I don’t feel particularly isolated right now.

    The beauty of masks is that they are about a measure designed to avoid isolation – they’re not useful if you are not with others.

    Believe what you want about drawing every conclusion on the assumption that megalomania and psychopathy are at the root of all our major institutions, but at least run a consistent line.

  16. UNDISTORTED EXPERIENCE [Stefanie Bennett]

    It’s growing up diagonally
    at 64 and remembering
    September 11
    (not specifically because
    cousin Ricki
    was there…)

    It’s the tick-tacking accuracy
    of whether anthrax spores
    are absorbed
    in our
    morning coffee –

    Pseudo market forces,
    PC hackers
    (Con amore)
    or trilingual brokers
    ensnared by
    a crust of
    bullion rising

    that collars the phrase
    we become
    what we deplete.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Your Local Club Academy Games

The North Coast Academy of Sport prepared its largest squad ever to compete at the 2021 Your Local Club Academy Games, held in the Hunter region last weekend.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 21 April, 2021

Check out entertainment listings for the week, with music, dance, cinema and all sorts events happening in and around the Byron Shire

Interview with Toni Childs

Internationally celebrated musician, Emmy winner and three times Grammy nominee Toni Childs is bringing her show to The Brunswick Picture House. With two acts, Childs is promising a special two hour performance as she celebrates her vast catalogue of music, which also saw her celebrate the 30th anniversary of her critically acclaimed album Union in 2019.

Jungle juice

There are times when water just doesn’t cut it. And luckily, for those times, there is Jungle Juice.