QUARANTINE - DAY 20 - 25th March 2020
Today as the UK enters day two of lockdown, I am reminded of words of advice from a dear friend in Bethlehem a few weeks ago. She stopped working at the end of last year and has been working from home since then. As news of the quarantine in Bethlehem broke I asked her how she was. She told me:
"They say if you do not want to be affected by coronavirus avoid all people. My time has come....
I am professional at avoiding people!"
Today a young woman recounts her daily life and shares one of the poems she has written:
For me, life was not just an ordinary life. I always tried to run after my dreams, and to start with the hardest ones to make it easier. And life does not give me all the opportunities I want, so I decided to create an opportunity for myself. My name is Manar Qaraqe, and I am 19 years old...
Living under quarantine is like imprisonment, or death in some other way. You find that following the news of the coronavirus is a compulsive occupation, killing us with fear. And if you ask me whether my life is different now, this is how I will reply:
Before, I used to go about my regular activities - going to university, seeing friends and working in the literary salon forum. Now, I have moved from this life to a virtual life in quarantine.
It really hurts to wake up in the morning and find your beloved city void of people, and the streets, mosques and churches empty. As steps are taken to confront the virus, with the spread of policemen everywhere, it is like the spread of pain in our hearts.
I get up to complete my studies through the virtual classes established by my university, then immerse myself in research and reports until evening time. I read books and novels, and I write poetry to forget. I write about love, my homeland and my memories, and because the country needs us, I wrote, addressed to my country, some lines on the abundant sea ...
وتمطر ارضنا سحب
نعانق صلب مأوانا
وندع اليك يا رب
بلاداً من دما جسدي
وارض عطائك الخصب
وتبكي خشية الحرب
صليب في كنائسنا
يضج يعانق القلب
The triangle of our wings
Our land is raining clouds
We embrace our solid shelter
And we pray to you, O Lord.
To my country, my own body's blood,
And the land gives you it's fertility.
Our mosques call to us
And they weep for fear of war.
A cross in our churches
Surrounds and embraces the heart.
Perhaps I will complete my poems when the sun rises again, when our sky full of love returns, and our homelands conquer this disease.
So let's return, as if today is Eid, a day of celebration ...