Professor of Public Philosophy Marli Huijer criticised the corona policy, and was subsequently inundated with both positive and negative reactions. We asked her how she experienced this year, and whether her message is still the same.
Have you had many reactions to your media appearance?
"Extremely so. After the interview in NRC Handelsblad, I received more than 200 reactions. I think this shows that people have an enormous need to talk about this. But apparently many people have no channels for it. I've been approached by people from all over the Netherlands, by paediatricians, virologists, people in education."
"I've been approached by people from all over the Netherlands"
Your plea is also about this, that the debate should be broader?
"In my opinion, the OMT should also consist of social scientists, economists, people from education - not only virologists. We always hear only one, medical voice."
Did your call for a broad debate feel like crying out in the wilderness?
"From the beginning I received a lot of support, also from the medical world. A lot of people agree with me, they just don't have the channels. You don't want to know how many organisations, committees and action groups I have been asked by. And lectures, podcasts, television appearances - you can't keep up. I say 'no' to 90 per cent of them. I am a philosopher, someone who thinks. The action has to come from other people anyway."
"What will the cabinet do when everyone is vaccinated?"
Does your message remain the same?
"What concerns me now is the question: what will the cabinet do when everyone is vaccinated? Will there be reflection, preferably with many disciplines around the table, on how we can better tackle the next epidemic? What does it mean that there will be even more people over 65? What factors influence infections? I read, for example, that as biodiversity decreases, viruses need more human hosts. And what is the role of air pollution and particulates in a virus that strikes the airways? How will the government tackle obesity? Will there now be long-term plans that can offer solutions for the bigger picture, or will the next virus again lead to panic-induced lockdowns? Public health is much bigger than the question of whether or not you have a virus in your body.”