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 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).

Retrieved from
No copyright violation intended.

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.