Foreigners Self-Isolating in Slovenia: Do You Feel Safer? Rick Harsch, from America

By , 04 Apr 2020, 10:15 AM Lifestyle
Foreigners Self-Isolating in Slovenia: Do You Feel Safer? Rick Harsch, from America All images from Rick Harsch

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Do foreigners in Slovenia feel more or less safe sitting out covid-19 here than in their home country, and what are their experiences? All the stories in this series are here. If you' like to contribute, see here or at the end of the story

Rick Harsch is an American writer with a voice of his own who lives in Izola. You can learn more about his life and work, pre-coronavirus, in this previous interview.

Firstly, how are you? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

I’m lucky because I was already in relative isolation. Now I have the company of my children. They have phones to keep them in contact with the world. My wife does some editing across the apartment from me. Nobody gets on anybody’s nerves. I am a writer and editor, so the only thing that is affected is that with the suffering I am aware of, for so long in Italy, now in the US, and I fear the coming crisis in India, I can’t write as I would normally. I just understood this yesterday.

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When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

I came to know this was dangerous sometime in February, I suppose, following a sane doctor on YouTube. It might even have been in January. The decision-makers in the US were a week ahead of me at least, but as we know they did nothing. Now the country of my origin, where my parents live, both of them 88, and my brothers, 63, 63, and 62 live, and where all the brothers and sisters I picked up along the way live, will soon have three times the number of infections as China and twice the deaths. That won’t be the end of it, either.

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis?

What the hell can I say about Slovenia, with what's happening in America? Am I happy with the response to the virus? Surely they should be testing more aggressively, but otherwise people have seemed sane and intelligent. The government is doing what it is forced by circumstance to do. Maybe Janša will try his hand at Orbanism later; for now he’s sane enough to know he has to take care of his people. I feel safe and feel that though I would have closed the schools a week earlier, the government has been doing a good job of following most of the best international protocols.

I have no idea about the economic provisions here in Slovenia. It’s difficult to get social help in the best of cases. The process is absurd: they look at your bank accounts for the previous three months and decide—they don’t interview you to find out what your true circumstances are. I was rejected once because they day they decided I received a check for 2,700€. That was from four months of work that began six months previously. I had been out of work two months and would be for another six. They gave me nothing. Will I get something now? I doubt it. What will have changed? Would it be worse in the US? Absolutely. 70,000 homeless in New York at least. And that’s a cold city.

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How do you feel about the broader response in America?

I awoke too early this morning—which is relevant in that I had no control over my psychomental flux, which allowed thoughts of the prison known as Riker’s Island to stage a break into my mind. The place is a death trap and the virus is raging within. The US likes to put people in jail. The oligarchy quietly banned Foucault.

Riker’s, if you don’t know, is an island more or less in New York City. Let it be representative of all the prisons in the US, including the brains behind the bars of US propaganda, which has led prisoners of the US, from Trump to Harvey Weinstein, from yer average feller to your local hero, to believe they are a special breed of human—so in Wyoming a virus in wide open country of free men is raging against the moronism inherent in the live free and fire your rifle at anything that moves mentality.

Yes, this is the country in which just recently the ‘left’ came together in Oligarchic Panic to defeat Bernie Sanders, whose Medicare for All, would have made the US a nation of re-tooling insurance salesmen but paved the way for the wealthiest nation in the world to have the best health care system in the world.

There is nothing to say about Trump—for one thing, 40 years ago Reagan was equally buffoonish in context, paving the way for Trump, and a growing wealth gap. No, not Trump, but the array of cowards, from his fellow politicians to the media that sits dumbly as he insults them. ‘Fake News’ had falsely, insidiously, virally, insinuated itself into the global lexicon. We had a term for it already: propaganda. “Fake news” is fake news.

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What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation?

I don’t wish for anything I don’t have in isolation except for maybe a small monkey.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

I can’t be sure I have learned anything about myself, as I have had things relatively easy compared to too many others. Regarding others? I’m 60 years old, so it would take more than hoarders and heroes to surprise me.

You can read more of Rick Harsch by getting one or more of his book, available from River Boat Books, with this link taking you to Skulls of Istria, a tavern confession novel st in front on a bottle in Piran.

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If you’d like to contribute to this series please answer the following questions and include a paragraph about yourself and where you’re from, and a link to your website if you would like. Please also send 3-4 photos minimum (including at least one of yourself) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Subject: Corona Foreigner.

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business? (PLEASE IGNORE IF THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU)

When did you realise that coronavirus was going to be a big issue?

What is your impression of the way Slovenia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Slovenia doing better/worse?

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

What's the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis.

 

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