By Abdellatif Sharaa
The weekend has traditionally witnessed an almost “sacred tradition”, as people gather at their parents’ home for lunch and visits, known in the Kuwaiti dialect as “zwara”. But this tradition has been abruptly interrupted by an unwanted visitor – COVID-19 – which kept everyone captive in their homes. Thanks to social media applications that allow people to communicate safely and away from the possibility of being infected with this absolutely dangerous and unwanted ugly visitor.
Yet, we can find things that this coronavirus drew our attention to, and realize that there could be some positives out of the matter, bearing in mind that no epidemic of any type is welcome in any shape or form, as many will be harmed regardless of their backgrounds or affiliations.
We must be convinced that COVID-19 does not recognize any boundaries, nor does it worry about obtaining an entry visa to any country or place and crosses borders at free will. That is why governments are closing down their borders because the virus can take free rides when it infects a person or contaminates goods of all types being shipped from one country to another. Some countries are not even allowing their own citizens to return home until after arrangements are made to ensure they are free of the virus.
The current circumstances have created the opportunity for us to know our neighbors better, being around in the same quarters for a longer time. One important thing that is taking place now is altruism, proving that necessity brings out the good and bad in us. We can see individuals and groups caring for the less privileged expats by distributing foodstuff and meals. Neighbors are asking each other about what they need from the co-ops or markets and share things with each other.
Crises like the one we are in give us the opportunity to remember those who are almost always in need of help, such as the elderly and those with special needs and challenges. As scientific advances are being made, this pandemic, I sincerely hope, will make future epidemics less likely, as lessons are learned from the current calamity. We may become more realistic about the dangers of viruses crossing barriers between species. Furthermore, the pandemic may make us more realistic about medicine.
Medicine is not omnipotent. Recognizing this might make us more aware of our vulnerabilities. The consequences of this are difficult to predict, but living in the world as it really is, rather than in an illusory world, is probably a good thing. And recognizing our own vulnerability might make us more humble and less presumptuous.
Final word: Be thankful for hard times. They are heaven-sent to teach you lessons, make you stronger and ultimately lead you to a better destiny.