Skam or being shamed for going outside

Blijf in uw kot” is Belgium‘s powerful short message to its inhabitants. Kot is colloquial Flemish Dutch for ‘home’.

It was coined by minister for Public Health dr. Maggie De Block, MD (Open Vld) in the early days of the fight against coronavirus COVID-19.

So yes: #stayhome, #stayinside, #flattenthecurve etcetera.

Past weekend, Easter weekend many people did go outside. We are allowed to

  • for groceries and medication;
  • for individual sports such as cycling, jogging, running, hiking and walking;
  • respecting social distancing of 1.5 meter;
  • with maximum people you share a roof with or with maximum one – yes one – friend.

Many people didn’t respect that. Mostly in private with garden parties, barbecues and hanging in parks.


People speak out. People shame people for not following the rules. It’s skam.

Skam is Swedish and Norwegian for ‘shame’. It’s a very popular television series with iterations in France, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany (‘Druck‘), Italy and Belgium (‘wtFOCK‘).

But skam is also famous for the word flygskam or ‘shame of lying’. A thing started in Sweden, the home country of Greta Thurnberg.

And now people shame people on Twitter mostly for going outside and not following the rules. To a certain level it’s good there’s social pressure to follow the rules.

But it also feels wrong and causes a lot of collateral damage. Maybe the shamed person did not do anything wrong. And are the shamers angels. Do they follow the rules strictly? Or only their own interpretation of the rules…

Meanwhile I do go outside. I started running. I go for long walks. Alone or with one friend. I don’t have so-called lockdown parties, I don’t invite friends over for happy times.

And I don’t shame people on social media.

Where’s the balance?

As I am writing this post on Monday evening, I hear Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) say most people follow the rules. We don’t see those. We only see the trespassers on news bulletins.

Let’s not forget many people are responsible. And social pressure can be a good dynamic.

Can we keep that after the corona crisis? Can we perhaps be a bit less tolerant for bad behaviour. I’m thinking of drunk and stoned / high behaviour, vandalism, illegal trash dumping etcetera. 

And perhaps now claim a bit less the moral highground?

Let’s find a balance…

13 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s