Stay at Home!
Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt, March 29
Last week, I called an old friend and a great thinker and asked him: “How are you doing in the midst of this tumultuous coronavirus situation?” He remained silent for a moment and then asked me: “Have we ever lived at a time like this?” I said no. “So,” he responded, “this means that we were fortunate enough to spend most of our lives with a sense of safety and contentment, without facing real dangers or threats.” He continued: “Our problems were different and our crises were less severe. We used to complain about our fates, but now we’re suddenly realizing that everything we complained about in the past was a walk in the park compared to the threat posed upon us by the coronavirus.” I hung up the phone reflecting on my dear friend’s words. I tried to follow his example and follow in his footsteps, looking at the glass half full. During normal times, we take the stability and quiet in our lives for granted. It’s only at times of a crisis that we begin to understand how lucky we have been. It occurred to me that if the virus had appeared several centuries ago, life would have been so much more complicated and difficult. Today, science is advancing at an enormous speed and every hour we discover new interventions meant to curb the spread of the disease. Imposing a quarantine on the general public is far from a tragedy. It is a real necessity given the current circumstances. We can simply tolerate it and adjust our lives to the new situation until the storm is over. We can communicate with our families, friends and acquaintances through social media and multiple mobile platforms. Man, of course, hates isolation and needs to communicate with others but this is available today through online voice and video chats. We can buy discounted internet packages and stay at home. If we had counted what was spent on coffees, cafes, and hookahs, we would discover that staying at home saved us huge amounts of money! I urge all of us – old and young, men and women, sick and healthy – stick to your homes and leave them only when absolutely necessary until the storm above us passes and we can return to the normalcy for which we so desperately long. – Safya Mustafa Amin (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)