You're destroying my city

My name is Mathilde Grafström and I am a photo artist. I have taken hundreds of pictures of life in Copenhagen during the Corona crisis. What has interested me is everything that is different during this time. And there is a lot. But much of it is not really noticed until you look closer. I see the little things I try to capture with my camera. I see how people's eyes flicker, how people avoid looking at each other because you can not talk naturally when you stand two meters apart and shout at each other. Then it is easier to look each other in the eyes. People are also afraid of each other, you can see it in their faces. And many people are depressed and unhappy.

I visited Café La Glass, Copenhagen's fine old café. I was told that they only sold 10% of normal sales and that the café was bleeding. The staff looked very worried, very sad. They expect (optimistically) 20% of sales when they reopen, because the tourists are gone, the staff says. But what worries me most is what no longer exists. The whole pulse of life that does not exist in the city, all the togetherness that is no longer there, the masses of happy people have disappeared completely, young people in buses and subways, crowded trains, squares, streets, shops. Everything is empty. Everything is deserted. Even in the middle of the day, even when the sun is shining and the weather is good, in the middle of spring. It's awful what's happening to my city! Public toilets are closed, cafes and restaurants are closed. Empty vacancies and premises are everywhere because shops and companies have gone bankrupt. The playgrounds that are usually filled with the lives and play of running children are empty, yes not just empty, they are closed and abandoned. The children are no longer allowed to play together and their mothers are no longer allowed to pee. Parents have to dig holes for their children in the bushes when they are unable to hold on. It looks like madness. It's short and sweet madness.

And if there was a good reason for that, maybe you could understand. But is there one? I have always felt that there was something strange about the whole Corona crisis. I never really believed in it. And it turns out that there are no more people dying this year than last year in Denmark, not even among the old. Statistics in Denmark show that. The Corona danger looks like a hoax, a myth, an evil reputation. A big fat lie simply.

But if that's a lie, how can our politicians simply shut down the whole world and crush our society, because what experts say is just a cold? I know nothing about viruses. I know nothing about health. But I know something about Copenhagen. You have destroyed my city. Everyone has been scared. Everyone has fled the city. People see disease built out of fear. Fear and powerlessness are dominant.

To me, we look like we're just following politics and nobody knows very much about anything. And then it is common to judge those who dare to think for themselves and to question whether this whole situation is dangerous at all. It is not OK.

It seems to me that politicians have failed. And even failed miserably. Really big. If you have been injured, you must repair it. It would be appropriate for politicians to admit the mistake and resign.

And then there are many people who need compensation for the damage you have done. Both people and old functioning companies that have been able to cope with previous crisis times. But not the Corona crisis.

Arnold Busck was the only bookstore to sell my new female beauty book. Arnold Busck is now bankrupt. The city has become poorer. We have lost something nice and irreplaceable. What is important in a city is diversity. All small businesses, cafes, restaurants, kiosks, grocery stores. The small cozy shops. All the nice little places where you can get an antique book, a homemade cake, a flower, a cup of black coffee, maybe a glass of red wine with a friend. It is the small places that die during a crisis like this. It's not Mc Donald's, not Frederiksberg Center. It is not the Danish supermarket. It's not Dell and not Microsoft. You are destroying the greatness of Copenhagen. You destroy the diversity, magic and mystery of the city. You're destroying my city. Do not do it. And never do it again.


Mathilde Grafström

Instagram:@mathildegrafstrom_insta & @thildegrafstrom

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