QUARANTINE - DAY 16 - 21st March 2020
Today is Mother's Day and mothers across Palestine are being celebrated and looked after by their children - with cards, chocolates and flowers. It is perhaps worth remembering those Palestinian prisoners whose mothers are petitioning for their release, particularly in these times of the added danger of Coronavirus in closed communities. One mother, Mayzouna, has campaigned tirelessly for the past 27 years for the release of her son, Nasser. He was 22 years old when he was arrested. When we spoke to her three years ago she described her prison visits: " I cannot touch him. I cannot bring him anything. No food, money or clothing." We couldn't have imagined a time 3 years later when there would be no travel or prison visits..
Today a mother in Beit Jala who has two boys gives advice on how to keep busy after two weeks of isolation in the house:
"We have just completed the second week of the quarantine in Beit Jala. All this time gave me the chance to reflect on our lives and I agreed with myself to stay patient. Patience is the motto for this period, patience when we hear bad news about infected neighbors, patience if we (God forbids) catch the virus, patience while dealing with grumpy family members, patience with the workload which has increased dramatically. However, don’t be surprised if I tell you that I like the situation of the lockdown now as two weeks have passed.
Lately, Bethlehem has been very chaotic; traffic jams, noises all day and night, high prices, bad quality of products and pollution. And above all, we are living in a lockdown anyway; no way of visiting Jerusalem and the areas in the occupied land so nothing much has changed.
There are definitely certain challenges due to the virus, we are taking precautions as much as possible. The first week was much more difficult. I have been following the news much more, but as time passes and the number of infected people in my area has stayed the same, I am starting to feel more secure, which has put me in a good mental state. Now I have become more positive about the future. As for how we spend our time during this period, I have limited social visits to the minimum (which is an additional reason for me liking the current situation), so we basically stay at home. I cook for the family and make hot drinks all day to boost our immune system. We do gardening. I do handcraft work with the kids to keep them busy. We do storytelling and homeschooling (although I am not the best at this, but at least I try).
I haven't been accumulating goods at home. I bought only the most necessary products, and my husband goes out on a daily basis to supply us with the groceries and food items we need. It is a challenge to keep guys at home; they become very grumpy (that’s why I make sure to prepare a daily list of stuff for him to get). Currently all the world is suffering from the virus, which is very sad and scary,' but we should remember to remain positive and calm in order to defeat it. And we should remember to take care of our planet earth because I am sure it is not the end and more horrible viruses will appear in the coming years if we stay at the same pace of pollution and global warming.
This virus must be the alarm bell for the decision makers to take more sensible decisions in the future.
Above: Blocked street by Mohamed Abu Haniyeh
Below :Mazyouna Abusrour by Majd Abusrour