Post 19: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

We’re a group of friends and family in various parts of the world, and we’re sharing our experiences and thoughts while on lockdown, in quarantine, or self-isolation. Join us!

Hi…keefak…ça va?

RJD, Beirut, Lebanon

This is how the Lebanese greet one another, in a multi-language mode. English, Arabic, and French. The Lebanese are an amazing, adaptable, intelligent, and resilient lot.

This resilience is something I have the utmost respect for. Not much respect for much else that is happening in this country, but resilience – lots of respect. 

#Lebanon has always and will always be, a geo-political epicenter. A very open and supposedly democratic country in the otherwise closed up Middle East. Survival is a gene, not a modus operandi. From the days of Alexander the Great to the civil war to the current political turmoil the Lebanese have a fatalistic approach to life. Come what may…anything is better than what we have now…to me, the Lebanese gods must be crazy. 

Towards the end of each month, direct debit salaries are deposited into our accounts and since the total fiasco of our banking system, we can only withdraw at the ATM. This week, everyone went to collect their salaries and social distancing became a thing of the past. I totally agree that people need their money specially during this lockdown. But to see #COVID-19 spreading at every ATM and in busy streets is beyond acceptable. 

Part of the problem in this country is that no one in power ever had any logic. So many of our problems can and should be resolved with simple implementation of logic and follow up (which we don’t do well due to corruption). 

An example of this is double parking. The police are required to give tickets for double parking, but the places that people double park at, bribe the police with food, drinks, and cigarettes. No accountability. I will not discuss the no-smoking in public places and how that fell down like a house of cards.

Our current curfew states that Corona travels only between 7 pm and 5 am, it sleeps during the day when most people are out and about. 

What I do not respect, though, is the defiant attitude of some. Those who feel they are immune to the #Coronavirus. Those who are too poor and need to work (I totally respect them) but are willing to risk their lives and the lives of their close ones (that’s my problem with them). Those who feel that politics supersede Corona. We are not infallible. 

But solutions are available during this lockdown if we use our greatest asset: the resilient Lebanese brain:

  1. Curfew all day with different regions allowed a 3-hour window to run errands on different days. 
  2. Police or municipality officials standing at ATMs and shops to maintain social distancing. Oversight is required by responsible citizens or police officers (with no bribes!)
  3. Police or our army surrounding non-curfew regions so no flow of traffic happens between areas.
  4. Official passes that can be obtained online for essential workers to travel between regions. No special favors or bribes again! 
  5. Official passes that can be obtained by taxi drivers allowing them to work in certain areas on certain days. This can be organized by license plate numbers.
  6. Penalties and fines for those who break the law.

I know many fellow responsible citizens have other ideas and I would love to hear them so that we can present a plan to some of the  illogical people running the show. 

I can’t hear anymore so-called experts on daily shows saying absolutely nothing that we don’t already know. Action is required and is a must and only we, the responsible citizens, can implement this “general mobilization” into a real solution. 

My plan for the future, once we go back to normalcy, is for another day. But since we are known for our resilience, I am hoping that I will be resilient enough to do it one day. Baby steps.

Yalla…good night cheri.

This is what Beirut looks like under lockdown.
Photo retrieved from

Food for thought

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

Today I’m feeling guilty. Here I am in the Western world, upset that I have had to stay home in my warm, comfortable house. Listening to the news coverage on tv about our insufficient hospital supplies and frustrated by the lack of a home delivery time slot from Whole Foods. 

How shallow am I?

What about the others in less developed countries? I think of them daily, but I never stopped to really comprehend the gravity of their destitution. 

There are refugees all over the world living in makeshift housing. Many live in tents because they fled their war-torn countries and are living in such close quarters with no access to electricity, soap, or clean water. Do they even have access to physicians? 

I wonder who looks out for them. 

Who is caring for the people of Africa who are always hit hard by most epidemics? I’ve read that some countries that have one ventilator per every 200,000 people if they are lucky.

What about the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who live under occupation? Gaza is 20 miles long and 5-7 miles wide and inhabited by almost 2 million people. The inhabitants of Gaza have been under Israeli military blockade and “lockdown” for decades. They have limited access to the outside world. And now the coronavirus has made its way into Gaza. 

This #Coronavirus does not discriminate based on ethnicity nor religion. But it still hits the poor and underprivileged the hardest and with a lack of basic recourses, it can be devastating. 

The UN and the WHO and the IMF are all predicting that the outcome of the pandemic will be catastrophic in developing countries and areas where healthcare is non-existent. They are asking the Western world to step up and help financially. 

Meanwhile, a news headline flashes on my phone. There are now 6.6 million people who have filed for unemployment in the USA. 

I saw this today and thought, how true! 

RafifJ is taking a little break tonight…but says,

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