If you want a portal into the person I am, one immutable finding is my love for family. A tremendous amount of my identity comes from the lifelong interpersonal relationships I possess.
I do not believe this makes me unique or singular; I would like to tell of a recent occurrence that has me fuming.
My cousin ‘Alberto’ is in the film production business. In the late 2000s, he left office life to pursue a dream he always had but lacked the courage to chase.
He was single with no children; the perfect opportunity to actualize lifelong goals was then.
The initial year was daunting; business depends on referrals and the people you know.
Starting with no connections stacked the deck for Alberto. Being an immigrant who fled war, resilience is something that is part of his genetic make-up.
Within five years, Alberto built his production company from the ground up, true rags to riches tale.
He has a sterling reputation in greater Toronto and has landed accounts with some of the world’s biggest companies.
So, where’s the rub? We’ll get to that, just you wait.
Like most small businesses, Covid brought on immense challenges for Al.
The first four months were the most difficult. He was no longer the carefree bachelor I had gone bar-hopping with countless times in our 20’s.
Al has a supportive wife and two beautiful children, both elementary students.
When the world stops spinning, when economies teeter and an invisible virus envelopes day-to-day existence, it becomes infinitely harder with a family that relies on you to provide.
Like most things in his life, Al weathered the storm and found a way to make the arithmetic work.
By the end of the first year of the pandemic, his numbers had even improved from the previous year.
Al is a survivor. He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t waste time bitching about the numerous problems we humans face throughout our lives.
The man is solution-based, self-reliant and lights up any room he enters.
He is also innately skeptical of government and elected officials.
He grew up in the Middle East and has seen his fair share of corruption when it comes to those in power.
We met up for coffee in the summer of 2020, four months after Toronto initially locked down.
Al quickly warned that this was only the beginning; that if we didn’t toe the line and stand our ground, more of our daily freedoms would evaporate like steam from a kettle.
At the time, I gave his words fair warning. Nonetheless, I never dreamed we would reach the reality we currently find ourselves in.
Fast forward to six weeks from Christmas 2021. I received a text message from Al; he wasn’t his usual upbeat self.
Al received a letter the night previous from the landlord of the studio he rents.
The letter stated that as of January 1st, 2022, any person wishing to enter the studio would have to show proof of double vaccination.
A tenant who has never missed rent, even amid a pandemic, was given an ultimatum by a blood-sucking leech hiding behind government ‘mandates’.
The only advice I had for Al was to do what felt right in his heart.
I am not a lawyer. Business is not my forte. I am a filmmaker who chases a semblance of truth through the stories I tell.
What I do know is that in the Western world, the best way to protect oneself is to be as versed as possible in the law.
A week passed and there was no follow-up by Al.
As with most things in life, bad news lingers for the parties involved. The rest of us wade through it and eventually carry on with the mundane aspects of our lives.
This is not done out of apathy or a lack of heart; it is more self-preservation than anything else.
The stressors and anxieties of existence are omnipresent.
Usually, the best way to combat such pitfalls is to wear blinders so to speak, otherwise, most of us would not bother to get out of bed.
A few days ago, my cell phone vibrated. I do not usually get phone prompts after 10 pm, so I knew whoever it was had a pressing matter.
When I picked up my phone, I realized it was a text from my cousin:
“I have spoken to an attorney and he has advised me to stand pat. He is confident the landlord has no right to control entry into their building based on vaccination status. He does not see how I pose a threat to the safety of other tenants since I mostly use my own space within the property. They can choose to not renew the lease but my lawyer says in no way should I feel obligated to disclose my vaccination status; that as long as I keep paying rent, I am fine to go about my business.”
The moral of the story – in the Western world, it is best to use the law when faced with a situation that infringes on your civic rights.
Do not resort to physical matters; this will only compound the problem and leave you in deeper waters.
Remain calm, contact a lawyer, and do not budge.
The way the world is right now, too many people are conceding God-given rights simply because they are afraid.
Fear leads to a lack of judgment.
Before you know it, you could find yourself living in a fascist state where freedom once reigned but died while you were asleep at the wheel.
Sign up for K-Var’s weekly newsletter and discounts here.