Post 56: #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 56. 


RANT ALERT


Rest in Peace

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

To Ahmaud Maubry, I hope you rest in peace. You are not the first, and sadly, you will not be the last. But you are the one who made me break down.

To the other countless #African-American men and boys who were killed out of hatred last year, and the year before that, and for generations upon generations before that, I hope you rest in peace. Let’s hope that one day, the efforts of many millions of people who protest injustice and defend human rights will bear fruit and #justice will be served.

For the million+ #Syrians who were killed by Assad’s barrel bombs and chemicals, Iran’s starvation sieges, and Russia’s Air Force, I hope you rest in peace. Please know there are millions of other Syrians who are still fighting the good fight to ensure #freedom, #dignity, #equality, and #democracy for future generations.

To the millions of #Palestinians whose occupiers wiped them off the face of the earth, I hope you rest in peace. As with Syrians, millions of Palestinians continue to seek #freedom and their rightful homeland. May #justice be served.

To all victims of #genocide, I hope you rest in peace. Maybe one day the world will replace hate with #love. Or at least acceptance.

Millions of people have spent their lifetimes defending democracy and human rights, seeking justice, and searching for freedom. To no avail.

Rest in peace.

For now, I have no other words.


De plane…de plane

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

In the opening scene of an old TV series, Fantasy Island, Tattoo rings the tower bell and yells “de plane, de plane” as an airplane begins its descent on the island.

Now that we are living on an island called #Lebanon (Syrian border is supposedly closed, southern border is not an option, that leaves us with the sea to the west, so we are essentially an island!), where the airport has been closed for over two months, seeing a plane makes me feel Tattoo’s excitement!

Planes arrive every other day – with repatriated Lebanese citizens from all over the world. With them, also, comes #COVID-19 cases. And with them, too, comes a lot of political favors. Nothing like the joy of Tattoo.

A week ago, a friend of mine and I saw a boat coming to dock full of containers and we got so excited! Did our imported food supplies finally arrive? Quaker Oats? Bob’s Red Mill?

Two days ago, a plane was descending on the old runway course and flew over our heads. It was a military plane. No questions asked, keep in mind that we don’t really have military planes or a real Air Force!

Yesterday, the notorious #London plane arrived. On it were passengers from London (who had to have had a PCR test done 3 days prior to boarding) and a contingent of students returning home from the US and Canada (who didn’t have PCR tests done). The plane was packed. The passengers went haywire not only because of the number of people on board, but also because they were made to pay exorbitant fares due to social distancing. There was no social distancing.

But pardon me for asking: how is that fair in the fight of COVID-19 in Lebanon (that has more or less contained the spread under very extenuating economic and political circumstances)?

And lastly but repetitively, who is responsible for this mess? Foreign ministry? Health ministry? The airline? As is the case in Lebanon, most likely it will be buried in the blaming game that everyone plays (government blaming banks and banks blaming politicians and politicians blaming one another…here we go ’round the Mulberry Bush).

Our Fantasy Island is sad but true.

Video taken anonymously on the London-Beirut flight yesterday

Ranting

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

I seem to be doing nothing but ranting these days. I can’t bear the lack of common sense or the unwillingness of people to do their jobs right. Especially at a time when there are lots of folks who do have more than two synapses in their brains together and are looking for work. Why do we have to endure the unbearable heaviness of people’s laziness?

First, I would like to see a new definition of the politically incorrect word “moron” in Oxford’s esteemed dictionary. It should read: MORON—someone God gave a hefty IQ to who refuses to use it, especially when it comes to acting with a modicum of common sense.

There are a lot of morons in charge of stuff during this pandemic, and their incompetence is furled in full display in the state where I live in Metro Washington, DC.

  1. Wearing of masks: A few goings on that seemed to have been missed by the morons in charge.
  2. In our esteemed state you must wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet from another person. Fair enough. Then explain to me why not a half a block from my home, construction workers are working a mere 3 inches apart and no one’s wearing a mask. And then, at the end of the workday, those folks run amongst the general population like potentially infected free-range chickens.
  3. Let’s move on to the state’s road construction crews. Same scenario as above. Can’t tell you how many of these state road workers, still in full construction regalia, are ambling through Costco after working all day with no mask on and snuggling up close and personal with their cohorts.
  4. Homemade, reusable masks: My state demanded ten cents to use a plastic bag for your groceries. They wanted everyone to use their soiled, never-washed reusable bags from home. I asked a local supermarket chain manager about the health risks involved with this. I believe my question went like this, “What are you guys gonna do when some pandemic rolls through our area and everyone’s trotting in their virus infected bags from home?” He, of course, accused me of rolling off my nut with that comment. Well, now my state’s banned these reusable bags from all stores. BUT HAVE THEY BANNED SOILED HOMEMADE RESUABLE MASKS? NO. So all those homemade masks and scarves people are sporting that they never likely wash are probably spreading more of the virus that preventing it.
  5. CARES/PUA: My state is flush with affluence., and we pay taxes out of every orifice in our bodies. As it happens, my little sole proprietor/LLC requires I meet with people face-to-face. No teleworking possible. So, I apply for the $600 CARES stipend I’m eligible for. My state has yet to able to figure out how to implement such payments to its eligible citizenry. Apparently, it has the worst record in the nation for getting these mandated payments to people. There are my tax dollars at work.

My first boss in television said to me on my first day, “If you make a mistake, don’t make me have to fire you. Gather up your things, leave the building, and I’ll have HR send you your final check.”

Guess what, I never screwed up. I think my old boss’s policy should be put into action in my state. The Secretary of Labor should gather up her things, leave the building, wait for her check (which she’d likely get before I ever get mine), and give her job someone who isn’t a moron.


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Post 38: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on the role(s) of #women

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 38. 


If it’s a war, then I am a soldier

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Lots of heads of state are calling the fight against the #Coronavirus a war, a silent enemy that must be defeated. While I agree that the deadly virus must be defeated, I do think there’s another enemy out there that continues to attack our societies: sexism.

This enemy has been with us for millennia. It’s one that knows no racial or ethnic boundaries. Striking rich and poor alike, this enemy does not really discriminate based on culture or religion; it’s everywhere. Sometimes sexism is discreet, almost hidden, rearing its ugly head only every so often – for example when one is threatened by a strong woman. If you’ve ever been in the presence of this enemy, you’ll remember that you knew it, instinctively. Over the years you’ve learned to recognize and heed the twinge-y, sinking feeling in your gut when you encounter it, no matter how stealthily it is hiding. You just know.

Today’s war on the #coronavirus is also a war on our current social contract. The world is reeling from massive changes: democracies in decline, collapsing social structures, and free-falling economies. Human desperation is everywhere, even as the Earth heals, quietly and patiently, after so many years of abuse.

As we redefine our values and our essentials, perhaps we’re ready for a new paradigm, one that adopts equality as a human right rather than simply paying lip service to a concept. Let’s do that in the new Normal.

In fact, as part of our Corona-inspired angst and the redefinition process, people are making all kinds of pledges: we’ll do more of this, less of that once we’re out of this war. If we agree that social norms will surely change, let’s go a step further. Let’s pledge to end discrimination against women. For real this time; I for one am tired of seeing well-meaning but ineffectual numbers and letters, like menu items – “I’ll have a 1325 with a side of SDG to go, please.” We are redefining our -isms – nationalism, patriotism, sexism, chauvinism, and yes, feminism – and the new definitions will surely struggle to fit in our new Normal.

So as part of the pledge, can we agree to this: an equal workplace. I mean, location-independence has become a reality, and today’s “digital nomad” is more than just a cool title. Can we pledge to hold workplace leaders accountable – can they judge us by the quality of our work product rather than the size of our breasts? Will they value our achievements, decisiveness, and leadership…instead of wanting us to shake our ass “just for a minute.” Let’s stop sexism and misogyny in their tracks.

Can we do this? I’ll borrow from a great leader and say, “Yes, we can!”

Like most pandemics, the CoronaCrisis is temporary. But if we’re going to war on sexism, let’s be in it for the long haul.


I am woman, hear me roar!

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

Today I am probably not writing anything new. Most of you already know about the role of women in society. However, I think it is important to keep discussions about women’s roles active to make an impact and a change. The title of my post are lyrics from a song by Helen Reddy from 1971. So this topic is not new and has been sung about, discussed in full-length features, and written about in books. I am going to keep my thoughts and frustrations short.

The role of women in the USA has been changing slowly. More women are taking on high-ranking jobs in corporations than ever before. However, despite the increase of women in the workforce and the great strides women have attained in the past decade, they still lag behind men. They fall short in numbers and salaries when it comes to positions of power, in both corporate and political offices. In addition, most women are still expected to fulfill their domestic duties on their own time.

On the other side of the spectrum, many women have jobs that make the world go round – some of which do not pay for overtime, time off, or sick leave. Yet during the Coronavirus crisis, women are expected to step up and report to work, both physically or remotely. While at home, the role of most women continues to be that of wife, mother, cook, nanny, cleaner, driver, etc., placing so much more stress on them.

What happens when both partners are working from home? Are the domestic duties being shared? Perhaps many households have some sort of shared responsibility, but I can guarantee that in most homes this is still the woman’s burden.

Is it the fact that women can bear children and discuss emotions that make them weak in a “man’s” world? Or is it the preconceived notion of their physical weakness that holds them back? I know of women, pre-corona, who were afraid of exposing their pregnancy to their bosses. Or afraid that if they showed any emotion they would be overlooked for the next promotion. Yes! This is 2020!

This is the perfect time to rise up and make noise. The whole world is experiencing the same dilemma. This is the time for women to show strength and demand change.

At the moment, in the USA the committees and task forces making decisions are male-dominated and do not make decisions from a woman’s perspective. I would like to see a shift in the respect for women in power, an equality for women in the workforce and a protection for women who still experience domestic violence. We should expect equality in the division of labor in the home and demand more assistance designated to single working mothers.

It’s really not too much to ask, but it is important to take every opportunity to make a positive change.


Revolution Mama

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

So when it comes to the role of women, I am a staunch supporter of all women; those on the frontlines, those on the assembly lines, those who are mothers, and those who are just housewives. Not just today; that has been one of my life’s missions.

I have total respect for the women who are carrying more weight on their shoulders today than they ever did. But, once upon a time, not centuries ago, women also were the backbone of society. During the First World War and the Spanish Flu, when women were still the underdog in many societies and yet had to cope with a pandemic without the resources we have today.

For one thing, there was no media like there is today. Each woman had to fend for herself and her family. More than 500 million people died (that’s one third of the world population at the time).

And the superwomen were the ones holding the world together. In Rebecca Onion’s 2019 article, she writes: “While male doctors flailed, women took charge of the day-to-day care for flu sufferers. Perhaps this is another reason why the flu epidemic faded in memory: It was the women who did most of the work, and that work was dangerous drudgery.”

During the Second World War, some of those same women were working in factories making B2 bombers and were still taking care of their families while the men were sent off to fight meaningless wars. They also didn’t have the resources that we have today, but they survived and their families are today’s grandmothers and grandfathers.

Which brings me to today’s Lebanese women.

You are upholding the lockdowns and multi-tasking, between working at home, supporting needy families, managing your long list of daily chores – from children’s online classes to finding the right groceries at the right prices, and taking care of and worrying about parents, and dealing with 24/7 temperaments. Just like women all over the world.

But you are also the mother of our revolution, with more responsibility today than ever. We have a revolution that we need to nourish with our hands and minds.

Will we go back to having coffees and forget the needy families that will still need our help? Will we go back to the gym and forget that we have to build bridges with other women two streets over and close the gap between us? Will we no longer head to the Ring because there are too many people not wearing masks and gloves?

I count on us, DC and AC, to continue our march forward and not to stop until we build a better place for our children to live in.

One day, when we are grandparents, we will tell the story of the October 17 Revolution, which was followed by the 2020 #corona pandemic, to our grandchildren. We will smile with pride. I know we will, because we have already achieved a lot.


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