Post 72: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

READER CHALLENGE: If you were to direct a #Covid-19 movie, who would be in it?

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 72.

Hollywood Takes on Covid-19

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Disclaimer: I really don’t know anything about the movie industry except that they make way too much money.

But what if I could direct and produce a movie about Covid-19? Would it be serious or funny?

My first instinct would be to make a funny movie, since we could all use a little humor right now. Just imagine it! We could focus on the the shit show we are living here in the US. The screenplay has already been written. All we do is emulate real life, just like Saturday Night Live has done for the past 5 years.

I would recruit Jack Black as the President (I know Alec Baldwin plays an amazing President, but I’m going for a new funny face) and maybe Ben Stiller could be the Vice President.

The comedic version would be the easiest, but what if we make the movie serious? Then I would ensure that all the characters are played by actors that are soothing to the eye. For example, Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ryan Gosling for a start. I would add two others just for me… my all-time bad-boy heartthrobs Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.

Actually, throw in a few leading actresses and that version would be a sexy, serious movie worthy of all the Hollywood melodrama. However, it would be way too expensive to produce because the audience would expect amazing effects and Hollywood glamor, but the good thing is we can set it up for a sequel.

No, I don’t think I want that version either. The really serious movie would be played by a cast of women. I would focus on the strong female leaders who have successfully guided their countries through this pandemic. I would pick seasoned actresses such as Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren, Frances McDormand, and Glenn Close. Their characters would be believable and accomplished. And since this is my movie, I may pretend that one of those leaders was the president of the US. We would create a scenario of how our strong female President united the country. She spoke eloquently as she took charge of the situation and nipped the outbreak in the bud within the first month.

Yes! I like that version of my movie!

Created on Typorama

Darth Cuomo

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

 If I were making a movie about Covid-19, Anthony Hopkins would play New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo. You might say Hopkins is a bit old to be playing Cuomo. But he certainly can project the nasty image I’m looking for. The focus: Who is the real Gov. Cuomo? Is it the man who gives concise, reasoned press conferences each day to update the good folks of the nation about New York’s Covid-19 status? Is he the governor who successfully skates with hot blades on thin ice when dealing with President Donald Trump? Or is the real Gov. Andrew Cuomo the governor who doesn’t want to include the deaths by coronavirus of the elderly in nursing homes in his state’s Covid-19 death count? In his world, the elderly shouldn’t exist in this tragedy. They’re just old people his state has housed in ill-run facilities where underpaid staff were left with virtually no government support to help these poor souls die a terrible death with him and the state not giving a damn.

I believe a nation should be judged by how it treats its children and its elderly. That’s why I would call my movie Darth Cuomo, his state abandoned the elderly in their nursing homes and considered them so unimportant their deaths ranked no higher than raccoon roadkill.

Total Recall 2020

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Ahnold will walk into the ER of a Los Angeles hospital carrying 5 people on his shoulders and will say with all his might that these people need to be treated for Covid-19. Then he walks out to rescue more people. He doesn’t wear a mask or gloves, of course.

The lighting is red and everything is somber and he is the only one on the dark, silent streets.

My vision of a Covid-19 movie will start with this scene, but will slowly change with the light of a new dawn where people are out on beaches sunbathing and swimming until…they start falling…and who will come to rescue them? Ahnold!

Not really…that’s what Hollywood will probably produce for the Covidiots who like this kind of mindless entertainment. But what should Hollywood focus on?

Going back to the ER, Hollywood should spotlight the doctors, nurses, and first responders (George Clooney, Ellen Pompeo, Luis Guzmán as part of the cast) who spend endless days and nights managing their patients, their sanity, not being with their families, seeing constant fatal cases, unable to stop the outbreak with little or no support from Washington.

Hollywood should show us how they survived this current ordeal and have the stories be about them: their dedication, fears, trials and tribulations, and about how they have been honored by an actual President with higher pay scales than football players, movie stars, and politicians.

The actual real-life movies and series should give us a glimpse into what actually happened so we learn from our current BIG HUGE mistakes. We need to have a stronger healthcare system with medical care for all, be they citizens, residents, or immigrants. People are people and whomever they are, they should be the ones benefitting from the system and portrayed in big-budget movies and television series.

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Ending the Clusterfuck

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

My movie is a basic dramatic re-enactment of the pandemic and how it was bungled by the United States government. The finale, though, involves bringing criminals to justice.

The plot, developed in collaboration with Shonda Rhimes, is simple. Viola Davis, tireless justice-seeker and investigator extraordinaire, uncovers the truth about the real numbers of Coronavirus victims in America. Working with women scientists (Susan Sarandon and Eva Longoria) in a secret lab, she discovers that the 100,000 (and counting) deaths in America could have been avoided had those in power taken quick and decisive action back when like 2 people had it. In the course of her work, Viola helps other nations uncover their own truths. Her team of researchers, including those played by Robert De Niro and George Takei, exposes the senators and other public officials who made shit-tons of money through insider trading and illegal small business loans.

What thriller is complete without a kidnapping or two? Enter Liam Neeson, who with colleagues Matt Damon and Kerry Washington, frequently saves the day AND those who were kidnapped. Best of all, they find the damning evidence that the president of the United States knew what the virus could do and how many it could kill, and did nothing to stop it.

At the end of the movie, Donald Trump – played by Danny DeVito – is prosecuted for negligent homicide. The jury includes some of the president’s “favorite” people: Hillary Clinton, Ashley Judd, Shakira, Alyssa Milano, Mickey Rourke, and Matt Damon.

The judge: Barack Obama.

Life in prison. Public humiliation. Trounced by Obama. Justice served.

If SNL Was a Movie

Wayne Wallace, McLean, Virginia

If I were to direct a Covid-19 movie, I would most likely focus on the comical bungling of the current administration. Which pretty much limits the actors to Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon. Baldwin’s parodies of Trump are spot-on. Though now the reality has been even more ridiculous than the spoofed version. And Kate McKinnon’s impersonations of so many in the White House have been not only hilarious, but enlightening.

Retrieved from

Assuming this movie is made after the Coronavirus crisis has passed and we’ve had time to reflect on the enormity of the tragedy, it might be time for a more lighthearted look at the events of the last few months. It will be a challenge for Alec Baldwin to outdo the insanity of “perhaps we can inject disinfectant.” And perhaps he can consult with Jon Lovitz to perfect the unique way of lying so obviously with a straight face.

Kate McKinnon has shown such versatility in recreating members of the administration. Perhaps she can play Dr. Birx as she tries to not show her disgust and discomfort with the things her boss is saying. Or any of a host of characters from who have invaded our TV screens the last few months.

And of course, Brad Pitt will play Dr. Fauci.

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Post 68: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on staycation versus quarantine.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 68.

Staycation, quarentincation! What’s the difference.

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

In the late 1970s, early 1980s, my parents lived in England. My youngest brother was still living at home and my older brother and I were teenagers attending separate boarding schools a few hours away. We only went home on school breaks. I looked forward to the Christmas holiday, when my brothers and I would reunite and spend a few weeks at home. We literally stayed home for 2 of those weeks. All the shops and restaurants were closed and there was nowhere to go, so we made the most of our time at home.

My mom would help us stock up on all our snacks and goodies. We took time going through the special 2-week edition of the TV Guide, circling every program, show, or movie we wanted to watch during the holiday break. The broadcasting companies made an effort to bring home new and exciting programs for Christmas, and with four channels on TV to choose from, we didn’t want to miss anything. We spent several of those days in our PJs well into the afternoon, watching TV, snacking, and playing board games.

I know it sounds very similar to the current situation we all find ourselves in due to the #coronavirus. But back in those days, the shutdown was self-inflicted. It was Christmas and the tradition in England was that everything would close for at least 10 days to 2 weeks. Also the dates of the closures were defined. From December 23-January 3, the country was pretty much closed for Christmas holiday. Then by the time everything reopened, we were ecstatic about going out again and shopping. Those are some of the fondest memories of my youth.

Fast-forward to March 2020, and I find myself in a similar situation with my family. Everything is closed. I’m in my PJs till the afternoon, I have stocked up on everyone’s favorite snacks, and we all watch a lot of TV.

I secretly had a romanticized view about being shut off at home, but now 2 months later, we are still here at home trying to wrap our heads around our changing world. Is this a quarantine or a staycation? Who cares? Some days it feels like a fun vacation from the real world, but most days it is very painful because it is endless. The end is not designated on a specific date so we cannot prepare for it to be over and move on.

With that being said, I would love to go back to the days when holidays were sacred and everyone took time off. In this country, we set the standards for opening late or even 24/7, and the UK has slowly been following in the US’s greedy consumeristic footsteps. They even have a Black Friday sale! And they do not celebrate Thanksgiving, for heavens sake!

Unfortunately, our society has become so used to working ridiculous hours and receiving instant gratification for all our needs. When we were asked to stop and slow down, we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off. I agree this is too long, but from now on, let’s all fight to get more time off in our lives and take time to stop and relax – not just from pure exhaustion, but because we want to.

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The difference is choice

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

I have always looked forward to a Staycation as an opportunity.  It was an opportunity to do those things in an area that I lived in that usually only tourists do. So many times, we would get bogged down with work, housework, and schoolwork, and not enjoy where we lived. Right now I live where outdoor activities are boundless, there are usually plenty of outdoor concerts in the summer featuring both local and more famous people. There are spectator sports, as well as many sports to participate in.  Actually, I have been fortunate and have lived in 10 states around the country. All of them have most of these activities in different forms. It was always nice to take a day or week, and just enjoy and not do any work at home. 

The difference between a stay-at-home order, lockdown, or quarantine and a staycation is that the first is mandatory.  Just the fact that I am required to stay in makes it difficult. The expression, “we are all in this together” isn’t true. During this time, I could go out for a walk while others could not.   Whatever individual restrictions were—they were restrictions. Who wouldn’t have enjoyed a day by the fire with nothing to do as a rest from the rat race, before the shut down? In quarantine that day inside is mandatory and all that can be thought of, especially at first, was what we needed to be doing. Now all that can be thought of is, “what’s next?”

Is it possible to try and trick our minds into enjoying our time in quarantine? Can we treat it as a staycation? Probably not all the time, but try some of the time. I have seen lots of videos in which people are doing inventive, fun activities. I have seen lots of family time enjoyed. 

Let’s try to remember the good times of being together (forget the annoyances of being too close 24/7 or learn from them).

Good day, sunshine

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

I think back to the “early days,” when we thought lockdowns and states of emergency and panic and crippling anxiety would only last a couple of weeks. But today, Day 68, I can say, with certainty, two things:

  1. I can’t believe it’s been 68 days.
  2. Quarantine is no staycation.

Remember when we would stay up half the night to watch news, and sleep most of the day? Remember when we panicked because the rapid spread of Covid-19 surely meant the end of the world? Remember when it was cold and rainy and the weather was lousy and everything was miserable?

Yeah, all that anxiety seemed to evaporate as soon as the restrictions were eased here. It’s finally a staycation! The sun is out! The sky is blue! The remaining days of lockdown are hopefully few, and will seem like a distant memory soon.

Now that everyone can go outdoors [almost] at will, the smiles have returned to the faces of passersby. The pigeons aren’t so hungry, and I swear the bugs are acting all friendly. We’re in that honeymoon phase, reacquainting ourselves with charming neighborhoods, reliving nice memories, hanging out at the beach. The street musicians are slowly making their way back to the plazas and the pier. Outdoor restaurants are starting to fill up. Living in a place as happy as Malaga definitely makes for an awesome staycation. Life is good again.

Photo by Matt Hardy on

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Post 61: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

Tonight is the night to rant.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 61. 

Too many choices

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

There are so many things I could rant about.

I bet you’re thinking I will launch into a tirade about #Syria, where for NINE YEARS the Assad regime has maintained its grip on power by systematically and deliberately destroying the country and committing some of the worst atrocities in modern history. And the world just watches. But no, I can’t go there just now because there aren’t enough words to adequately express my rage at the utter lack of justice.

Retrieved from Art for a Change.
No copyright infringement intended.

OK, you might think I’ll go nuts over my realization that the American Dream is little more than a fantasy that plays out quite nicely for the super-rich White crowd. We’ve been spoon-fed a fairy tale about equal opportunity and the rule of law, but People of Color – any color but white – know better. As America heads down this slippery slope, and fast, I think I see authoritarianism peeking from around the corner. So no, I won’t go there just yet, because I already know that dictators and their puppet regimes will kill anyone and anything that gets in their way. And the rest of the world will watch.

I could rant about global greed and corruption, but it’s become a too-sad, too-often repeated refrain. How about the 800 MILLION or so people in the world who suffer from hunger? Child trafficking? Institutionalized slavery? Animal cruelty? Pick an issue, and you’ll find injustice. And the world watches.

Now that I’ve used up my allotted space, which rant should I choose?

Normal and civilized?

Wayne Wallace, McLean, #Virginia

I’m not sure when it started or why, but I’ve made a bit of a transition in life. Or at least my outlook and attitudes have changed.

It wasn’t all that long ago that my sympathies were far more aligned with John Galt than John Lewis. I don’t think most would describe me as heartless (though some certainly have), but I will admit my focus has been more inward.

That has changed, in part because of my own brief but very real flirtation with death; in part because of losses in my life (my father most of all). But also, I think my attitude has shifted so dramatically because of what I see going on in the world around me. For instance, I’ve watched the Syrian disaster from a closer seat than most casual observers. The way the Assad regime treated its people was an anomaly, I believe, and not how “normal” and “civilized” people treat each other. But I was wrong.

While what’s going on in the US is not barrel bombs, starvation, and genocide, it is abuse of power by the elite to maintain their status at the expense their subjects’ lives and livelihood. Two examples fuel my rant:

First, #TheRealDonaldTrump bought 6 weeks of Coronavirus protection by partially blocking travel. Then he squandered that protection by neglecting to act, or, more importantly, by failing to alert the public and the governors who would need to take the lead in responding.

Why? Because news of a pending pandemic might spook the markets and hurt his reelection campaign. To be clear, the president of the United States was willing to kill tens of thousands of Americans to ensure his reelection. Normal? Civilized? Well, Bashar Al-Assad must be pleased to have a kindred spirit in the White House.

Second, millions of Americans were infected, and tens of millions of us stayed home to save the country from the pandemic. In a rare case of bipartisanship that actually addressed Americans’ needs, Congress passed the CARES Act. It provided unprecedented relief to workers and small business owners who were sacrificing all for the common good. What actually happened? Banks lent money – not to the small businesses most impacted by the Coronavirus – but to large multinational corporations. The American people watched impotently as Harvard University and Barron Trump’s elite prep school received small business loans that don’t have to be paid back (grants).

Is this a “normal” or “civilized” country? For me, it is not.

Rant I shan’t

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I feel all I have done in the past few months, is rant. So I decided today I will not rant about the Idiot-in-Chief, nor the Lebanese government, the lollar, the Covidiots, the social irresponsibility, racism, the selfishness and greed, pollution, the Bisri Dam, inequality, women’s rights (specially the Kafala system). I shan’t.

The reason is simply because, as we say here in Lebanon, “leysh we2feh 3aleyeh” (is it all hinging on my actions – as in my actions will not make a change, so what?)

Yes, I am resigning from yelling about the big to the small issues. I am finally  adopting the Lebanese attitude.

I am resigning because I live in a country and a world that will just not stop being corrupt. I am resigning because I will not be part of the big corporate reign on the world.

Retrieved from
No copyright infringement intended.

I am resigning from trying to educate the many idiots who feel it’s their natural right to litter the street. I am resigning from explaining to the ignorants about why we need to save Mother Earth.

I am resigning from analyzing the cobwebs of news and their implications on our lives.

Most importantly, I am resigning my civic duties as a Lebanese and world citizen.

It is with great regret that we have allowed ourselves to be led like sheeple and still bow to Big Brother and think he is actually a bro. I cannot allow myself to be one of those sheeple, I never was, and I shall never be. To that end, I thank #Covid-19 for locking me up at home with a device on which I can write out my thoughts. Fortunately, the device doesn’t disagree!

But rant, I shan’t!

Limbo land

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I have never belonged to any group/organization like a sorority or anything else. I believe that I have a mind of my own. I am a balanced person, able to see both sides of a situation and remain on neutral ground. Actually, after re-reading the last sentence I wrote, I must admit it is not really true anymore. These days I am a flip-flopper. Maybe I’m just a doubter. Wait, maybe I’m a believer…

These days I have time to read the news and pontificate on our world and our future. I make judgements on our leadership. I decide to laugh at some tweets. I cry at other sad reports. But one thing is for sure, I am fed up of the double-sided views.

The US has devolved into the recurring rhetoric of doubters vs optimists. Of the strong vs the weak and a test of good vs evil. No wonder everyone is confused. The news you get also depends on which papers you read. Is it real news or fake news? Is it fact or conspiracy?

Don’t pay attention to the news, some say. Just turn it off and listen to music. But I can’t. I’m obsessed with trying to make a judgment. Sometimes I try to pretend that there isn’t a pandemic and just read the tweets for a humorous pastime. But it’s not long before I’m jolted into reality.

Retrieved from
No copyright infringement intended.

This has become the new me. Sometimes I’m the grey-haired photographer, a radical, a pacifist who does not believe anyone. No, the truth is nonexistent. Other times, I’m a conservative and a denier. Maybe I’m a rebel. Or is my current condition just limbo land?

Don’t worry, I will not crawl into a dark hole and live off the grid (although I want to). No, I need my friends and family to exist, so I’ll just sit here and wait for the current brawl to end so I can get back to …..

I can’t even remember what I used to do before….

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Post 58: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on…

lessons learned.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 58. 

Tonight’s blog

Mother Nature may be forgiving this year, or next year, but eventually she’s going to come around and whack you. You’ve got to be prepared.
~ Geraldo Rivera

I can’t believe I quoted Geraldo! I also can’t believe I agreed with him on something! But he’s right – Mother Nature eventually gave us a whack, big time. And so tonight our blog is about lessons learned in the context of #Covid-19.

Don’t you love the thought of lessons learned? The concept that when (not if) we screw up, we can learn from our mistakes and avoid making them again in the future. “Lessons learned” implies that we pinpoint our errors, learn what caused us to make them in the first place, and stop making them going forward. Now that would signify progress. Can we do it?

I hope people around the world take stock of the lessons they’ve learned over the past several weeks. Has it been so bad to attend meetings online? You’ve saved on the commute. Has it been such a struggle to avoid traffic and pollution and frustration and noise? You’ve been healthier and more productive with your time. Can you make do with what you have? You learned you don’t need to constantly consume. We don’t need to always want more, more, more – just about everything we have is really just “stuff.”

If I’ve learned anything at all over these past 58 days, it’s to have a healthy respect for Mother Nature. To keep my hands and space and thoughts clean. To appreciate the blueness of the sea and the sky, now that they are so much less polluted. But also, to make do with less. To feel with others as we mourn the loss of people, jobs, and security; as we celebrate births, fresh starts, and do-overs; and best of all, as we survive long enough to see the next day, and hopefully make it better.

#Malaga, #Spain

The good, the bad, and the ugly

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

The new normal is being hyped by all sectors and industries, from education to work to shopping. But will we manage to embrace and implement some of the changes to which we had to adapt during the lockdowns, or will human nature revert back to its comfort zone?

Let’s start by establishing that as humans, throughout history we have been endowed with an adaptability gene. With #COVID-19, we had to adjust our lives to being at home all the time. We adapted by shopping, working, learning, cooking, exercising, and visiting with friends remotely, all from a desk chair or a mat in front of a screen.

What this did was it reduced pollution due to fewer cars on the roads, people traveling for a “meeting” or a “conference,” and fumes from factories and machinery.

I read somewhere that we should close down everything on Earth once a year for a month. To me, that makes a lot of sense. The Europeans have been closing down Europe for a month every summer in a staggered manner. Why not call it Earth Month instead of dedicating 1/365 days a year to this planet? Implementing this can be done on a global basis and can be organized by the United Nations.

I also came across an article that highlighted that many people were traveling to meetings unnecessarily and can do the same job with teleconferencing. Big corporations need to realize that their contribution to the overinflated airline industry has hurt not only the environment but also made travel less desirable for many others.

Yes, this will affect the hospitality and airline sectors, but when travel becomes a good experience (once) again, more leisure and tourism will bridge the gap.

Finally, and on a more positive good note, individual responsibility is a must here for change and implementation to work. Just like we were able to teach our children not to drink and drive, we can teach them to be more minimalist and more aware of the world they live in. Now that’s easy to implement, no?!

Retrieved via Internet search. No copyright infringement intended.

Save the world

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

During this coronavirus lockdown, we’ve all had time to recharge and re-assess our lives. Many of us have developed new techniques to ensure our personal fulfillment during the crisis. However, the environmental side effects that have come to light after only a few weeks and now almost 8 weeks into our lockdown demonstrate that the earth needed a break from us.

Whenever I go for a walk, I am amazed at the beauty of Spring. The greenery, the floral smells, the blue skies, and the birds chirping in the background. Gone are the fumes and traffic and all the other forms of physical and noise pollution.

We have seen many photos from around the world showing clearer horizons, now that the smog has dissipated. Representing to me that of all the lessons we have learned since the lockdown, #environmental protection should emerge as the most essential. What can we do to ensure that this important lesson is implemented in the future? 

First, I think employers should encourage telecommuting. They can save on rent if 50% of employees work remotely. Business meetings that require flying from country to country could be replaced by Zoom meetings, thus cutting expenses and unnecessary travel. Steps should be taken to improve and facilitate the availability of electric cars – that would take care of a small part of emissions pollution.

We hope that the UN Climate Summit can provide global guidelines and place the responsibility on governments to find ways to reduce emissions from their industrial activity. The Clean Air Act issued in the US in 1970 and revised in 1977 and 1990 was a step in the right direction, and proved that we need to protect our environment and the public’s health. However, it has not been revised for almost 30 years. In fact, the current administration has worked at reversing some of these environmental regulations. 

We cannot emerge from this pandemic without understanding the urgency of protecting our environment, which in turn, means protecting our own health and well-being. We must not wait for the governments to make change; rather, change can be made by each individual.  In the words of a very young environmental activist, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference [Greta Thunberg].

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Post 57: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

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. 

And now…#AUB

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.

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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).

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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.

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