Today we’re free-form writing!
We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 57.
RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon
“Saving AUB must be our only priority. And save it we will.” – Fadlo Khuri
I was heartbroken this week reading President Khuri’s email to The American University of Beirut’s (AUB) staff and faculty about the fragility of AUB during the #COVID-19 pandemic. This comes after many small businesses, including mine, closed recently. This also comes as the Beirut Marathon declared yesterday that it has halted operations.
Lebanon’s devastating Greek/Venezuela-like economic crisis has made this great institution raise its white flag after 6 months of turbulence from the October 17 Revolution to the collapse of the government, the instability of the greenback to #COVID-19.
AUB has been an integral part of my life since childhood, and I am certain many others feel the same way.
Most of my family members had something to do with AUB at one point or another in the past 100 years: my grandfather used to take care of the cows at the AUB farm, my grandmother used to sew for the wives of the faculty and was rewarded with her first sewing machine, my dad graduated from AUB in the early 60s, my uncle too and was an engineer in the hospital where my aunt was a graduate nurse, my father-in-law was the President of the Alumni Association, and my husband teaches to this day.
Most of my childhood memories revolve around the campus, playing in the playgrounds, spending time running with my dad on the green field, folk festivals, concerts, kissing boyfriends under the trees when playing hooky from school, and most importantly, my dream to graduate from AUB when I grew up.
That dream was shattered with the advent of the civil war, when my family left Lebanon. Upon returning to Beirut, in the 90s, AUB remained on my daily radar. Still living close by, still running on the green field, and still dreaming of having a second degree from this landmark institution. I also got the opportunity to give a talk at the University for Seniors a few years ago!
I love the campus, I love the spirit, the old chapel (now the Assembly Hall), the museum, the guest lectures, the Oval, the cats, the lighting of the Banyan tree at Christmas, and the old Observatory. There is so much more hidden on campus if you look deeply. How many of you know the number of stairs from upper campus to the tennis courts? What are the names of the dorms? Which small pathway takes you from one staircase to another?
As AUB struggles with coping during these uncertain times, I am now more determined than ever to go back to school there and make that dream come true, and in my little way, help save AUB. As gloom and doom loom, I am now more determined than to promote the great achievements of this iconic institution, the alumni, the campus, and the faculty to heed to Dr. Khuri’s word, in my own little way.
Save it, we will.
Happy Mother’s Day
Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon
Mother’s Day is celebrated today in the US and in seven other countries. In Spain, it is the first Sunday in May. In the Middle East it is March 21; in the UK it is March 22 and is called Mothering Day.
Whatever the date, one day is set aside for honoring Mothers. It’s wonderful to honor them (Mothers) with flowers, and often, a Mother’s Day brunch or breakfast in bed. I got a very special box of chocolate-covered strawberries that are my favorite. They are the biggest strawberries I have every seen and so delicious. My special thanks for being remembered today, Rafif, Wayne, and boys.
This year, I think, more than any other year, Mothers are doing so much more. Being a Mother has always been a 24/7 job. But it is not always a 24/7 with the children all day. It is not usually adding the job of teacher and making 3 meals and 100 snacks a day, especially if the kids are younger.
Don’t worry, some day the kids will go back to school and will be able to play in the playground or hang out at the mall. We will get through this pandemic. When I think of it, my job was so much easier, but I am not giving up my strawberries.
Happy Mother’s Day every day, 24/7.
How did it all start?
Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia
The million-dollar question today is, where did the COVID-19 virus really originate?
The majority of the world is in agreement that Wuhan, China is where it came from, but who was Patient Zero, and how did the virus manifest itself?
By December 2019, the Chinese government realized they had an epidemic, and they informed the world that this virus was a natural occurrence from infected bats sold at a Wuhan market. It’s ironic that there is a lab in Wuhan – not far from the market – where scientists conduct experiments on the coronavirus. Coincidence?
Let us remember that the lab was funded by the United States government, which now adamantly maintains that the virus leaked out of that lab, and which is accusing the Chinese government of a cover-up. China has lashed back at America, stating that this accusation is part of Trump’s re-election strategy. The US administration has decided to cut research funding and placed political pressure on the Chinese government to allow an independent investigation to determine the origin of the coronavirus.
So here we go again with the blame game and finger-pointing. Perhaps the Chinese government has not been forthcoming about the virus’s origin. (Notice I say the Chinese government and not the Chinese. We have seen a rise in xenophobic hatred and violence towards the Asian community in the US because of China’s association with with the coronavirus).
Honestly, I’m not sure I care who is to blame, but it’s the circulating conspiracy theories that have me aghast. There are so many undercover occurrences and theories to make us second-guess ourselves, let alone our governments.
The virus, whether man-made in a lab or accidentally transmitted from bats to humans, has become a pandemic. Yes, a PANDEMIC! As of current writing, the world has 4,000,000 confirmed cases and almost 280,000 deaths from COVID-19.
We, as citizens of the world, are owed transparency and truth. What we are getting is political rhetoric and threats. Maybe this battle of the words is a strategic act by governments to confuse their citizens so that we no longer seek the truth, thus allowing more underhanded collusion and deception.
The political games being played will not curtail the spread of the virus. I know I speak for many when I demand that world governments work together to find sustainable solutions to this pandemic. After all, it’s in everyone’s interest to recover our health and our economy.
Not a Rant
RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain
Today I’m not going to rant about how Mother’s Day is little more than a commercial construct…or that EVERY day should honor mothers – not just one – because they give us LIFE…no, today I’m #grateful that my boys, 18 and 16, are alive. I’m grateful that in their lifetimes, they have not known real adversity.
Today I also feel sorrow. Sorrow for the mothers who have lost their children to racism, gun violence, drug addiction, and the countless other horror stories that befall our societies. Sorrow that some mothers must fear for their children’s lives every single time their kids step outside the house. Fear that a stray – or intentional – bullet will catch them. Or that they will be caught Running While Black or Driving While Arab or Working While a Person of Any Color But White.
Hug your children every day, if they’ll let you. It could be their last one, especially if they’re a minority.
Thank you for reading our blog! We welcome all feedback.
If you’d like to contribute a post, please get in touch! Send me an email, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment here.