QUARANTINE - DAY 34 - 8th April 2020
Today on 8th April 1936, Ghassan Kanafani was born, a Palestinian refugee, author and journalist:
"إن الحياة لا قيمة لها قط إن لم تكن، دائماً، واقفا قبالة الموت"
"Life is never worthless if you're not always standing firm in the face of death"
A twenty one year old girl, Rana, talks about quarantine since 5th March:
I am a girl, Rana Sarhan. I am from Beit Jala, where the first cases of the Corona disease were found in Palestine, while I was in the dental clinic on the morning of Thursday 5th March. We were surprised by the news of the arrival of this disease, as we did not expect it to reach our country - we were just hearing about it through the news and social media. In the beginning, I was shocked and frightened that the clinic was so close to the hotel where the affected cases had first appeared. Then I began to see more on social media pages; advice from the relevant authorities and from the Ministry of Health and government that we should not to be in the streets and in the vicinity of the hotel. So I could not complete my dental treatment.
From then on we started quarantining at home with my family because my cousins had been in contact with infected people. It was found that members of my family were not infected, but for precautionary measures we had to be in quarantine for 14 days at home and not be in contact with any other family members.
This prevented me from submitting the employment applications which I had been working on. I had newly graduated, specialising in Health Administration, and wanted to find work. All the places of employment I was applying to were health centres and hospitals, which had become a source of fear. The virus and quarantine were preventing us from meeting each other and leaving the house.
So I began to work on my drawing skills and developed it through YouTube, learning to draw faces. I started reading novels in the morning and helped my mother with food preparation and about the house. I would also sit with my family during the day. We would watch series on television and I would play cards with my father and brothers to pass the time. Day followed day until we reached the point where we didn't know what day it was because they all became so similar with the same daily routine.
And so our quarantine ended on day 14. However, quarantine for the whole of Bethlehem has lasted for a month. What has changed is that my father and my brother are now allowed to go to buy the house’s food needs and other necessities. Thus all the time has become boring due to the repetition of the same daily routine and increased daily fear due to hearing news and the increasing cases around the world and in Palestine. And it is from this point in time, with the continuous days like this, that I write about my experiences...
Separately, uplifting news comes to us today from Bethlehem, reported by Mohamed Abu Haniyeh:
The occupation forces have released prisoner Fires Abu Alia of Al-Dheisha camp after 16 years in captivity. Outpourings of joy seem so far from our mood since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Abu Alia said that the occupation prisons' administration had suffered from a shortage of cleaning and sterilization materials, and did not conduct examinations of the Palestinian prisoners until the first corona case appeared at Ofer Detention Center. No preventive measures had been taken to protect the quarantined prisoners from infection either. The governor of Bethlehem, Kamel Hamid, who was at the head of the recipients, said: "The freed prisoner, Abu Alia, who spent 16 years in prison, is a model in dealing with the situation in such a way that he does not become a victim of the epidemic." After receiving him, the captive, Abu Alia, was subjected to quarantine in the designated centre at Beit Jala Governmental Hospital.
Photos of the full moon over Dheisha (above) and Abu Alia (below) courtesy of Mohamed Abu Haniyeh
Drawing by Rana Sarhan