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Reflections at the End of the Season
Be strong – like the pyramids. (Illustrative photo)

Reflections at the End of the Season

Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt, September 11

The end of the summer is typically a special time. The weather changes from hot to pleasant; the streets once again fill with people returning to the city from vacation; birds begin their great migration; and students prepare to start a new school year. But this year, the season feels different. This was not a traditional summer, be it because of the fear of travel, the closure of public beaches or the tough economic situation. Those who were initially happy to work remotely and rejoiced at the ability to spend more time with their family are now feeling an urge to get out of the house and return to the office, where they can resume human interaction with colleagues. Students who looked forward to returning to schools and universities are struck by uncertainty and ambiguity about what the academic year might look like. The only sign of encouragement is that the health situation appears to be relatively stable, providing people with the confidence they need to maintain a degree of normalcy. But we must remain vigilant to the danger associated with complacency and reckless behavior, as well as the possibility that the dreaded virus will once again rear its head. The most alarming issue on our agenda is the economy. Despite the government’s success in restoring economic activity to all vital sectors following several weeks of closure, the global effects of the pandemic and its repercussions are still unknown, and the risk of an economic collapse is still real. This begs the question: Is there any reason for optimism this year? My belief is that pessimism and optimism are two psychological states that express our personality and are not necessarily based on objective circumstances. The best thing we can do at this point in time is think about what we have learned during the past few months and remind ourselves of the ways in which we benefited from these strange times. From this practical perspective, I think it becomes clear that we’ve learned a lot: We have learned how to live with an inevitable amount of uncertainty, appreciate the safety of our homes, value quality time with loved ones and conduct everyday tasks more efficiently with technology. We have adopted new, more sustainable, patterns of consumption. We have made sure to care for others and not just for ourselves. Therefore, we should all embark on this new academic year with open minds and open hearts. Yes, there will be difficulties, but if the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that we can constructively deal with challenges and hope for a better future. – Ziad Bahaa El-Din (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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