A few weeks ago, Aussie folk singer-songwriter Ziggy Alberts drew ire on the internet after a new song of his contained lyrics that appeared to condemn vaccinations, along with alluding to the cost of “faster connections”.
Yesterday, Alberts took to Instagram to go a step further, giving his thoughts on the Victorian Government’s recent announcement that residents of Melbourne would be required to wear a face mask when leaving the house so as to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“I’m in complete opposition of the government’s decision to introduce mandatory face masks in Melbourne when all it does is strips Australians of their basic rights in what is supposed to be a free society,” Alberts wrote on Instgram Stories yesterday (July 19). The singer also questioned the need for lockdowns at all.
Alberts went on to discuss his family’s history – his mother and her family fleeing Hungary as a child to come to Australia, along with his great grandfather being killed for hiding a Jewish family and American pilot in Holland during Nazi rule.
“There is no way I’m going to support, endorse or encourage mandatory face masks or lockdowns in a free country,” Alberts added. “Because our country is no longer free when you can’t leave the house or face fines for not wearing something over your mouth when you try to leave.”
After Alberts’ comments circulated online, a number of artists released statements. Melbourne songwriter Alex Lahey took to Twitter last night, saying, “There is no space for the spread of misguided and misinformed rhetoric suggesting that wearing a mask is a breach of your freedoms as a human being. That messaging is dangerous, has no basis in science or medicine and will not solve anything.”
It shouldn’t need to be said, but don’t listen to this clown. Having to stay at home for a while or wearing a face mask during a fucking global pandemic isn’t the government clamping down on your human rights or limiting your freedoms. They’re both literally just very basic steps to help protect yourself and others from a hugely infectious, potentially lethal disease.
There may be valid criticisms to be made of the government’s mandate. If you’re going to require face masks, they should be readily accessible and financially viable, and the disproportionate fining of marginalised communities is an issue. But the idea that being required to cover your face is part of a totalitarian regime to quash free society is disingenuous and ill-informed.
If you’re going to take advice about health and safety from any Aussie muso, perhaps take it from someone who is a literal doctor. In this case, that’s Sophie Payten – aka Gordi –who also took to social media to discuss wearing a mask last night. Her advice is below.
Dear people who think having to wear a mask is robbing you of your “basic rights”.
You have clearly never experienced an actual infringement of your basic rights.
Just wear a mask. Don’t worry, you can still whisper your free-speech from beneath it.
— Gordi (@GordiMusic) July 19, 2020