The Highroad Shrine

Ruth Valentine

Culture Matters | June 19, 2021

Permit me, this morning, the luxury of despair.
The ice has vanished:
no skidding cars screeching to take the corner,
child in the back crying. No old woman
losing her footing beside the pavement rowan,
brushing snow and shame from her coat. The sky is mottled.
Crocuses, yellow and mauve, where the snow’s melted.

Still, I insist.
Snowdrops and crocuses are not enough,
nor the men in hi-viz emptying grey bins
into the back of a lorry to absolve us,
not even this girl with a scooter and long bright hair.

I thought there was hope.
I thought that men and women could lean together
and speak whatever was hidden so deep inside them
they themselves hadn’t seen it till that moment,
like a farmer ploughing up his stony field
turning up brooches, muddy gold and garnet.
But still there are women queuing for a bag
of tinned food and nappies. Still someone makes this happen.

And I am old, and tired of shouting change,
tired of passing yet another shrine
of supermarket carnations, already wilted,
though their plastic wrappings will last for centuries.

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Abdala, with three doses, demonstrates 92.28% efficacy

Communist Party First Secretary and President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, on behalf of Cuba, congratulates researchers who in 13 months achieved a global milestone

A three-dose regimen of the Abdala candidate vaccine has demonstrated an efficacy of 92.28 percent, placing it well above the World Health Organization (WHO) requirement of at least 50 percent, to be recognized as an anti-COVID-19 vaccine.
Over the course of 48 hours, from Saturday to Monday, Cuba, a small, poor country, has shaken the world, noted Party First Secretary and President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, in a meeting, yesterday afternoon, with researchers at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), where Abdala was developed.

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Soberana is a go!

Clinical trials of Soberana 02, administered in two doses, indicate effectiveness of 62%, thus surpassing the World Health Organization’s requirement of 50% for an anti-COVID candidate to be recognized as a vaccine

There is a small island country, bathed in the waters of the Caribbean. A country as small as David, with the same courage when the time comes to face a giant. A small country that has struggled and struggles. A small country dressed in olive green.

A country with sons and daughters who wage their battle looking into a microscope, wearing a white lab coat.

A country that has achieved an epic feat, an incalculable, healing feat. What vision to have bet on our own vaccines!

There is a country which, like the world, is confronting an invisible enemy, but our country, our island, must also face a siege, break blockades, invent marvels with our hands practically tied.

A country that rises to the occasion, despite the obstacles. A country working nights in laboratories, in search of the miraculous elixir.

There is a country that, against all odds, now has a vaccine: Soberana.

Today, the flag waves more beautifully than ever and our chests can barely hold the pride,

There is a country within a vial. With every dose sporting a beard and smelling of the Sierra Maestra.

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