Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Eid through the eyes of my granddaughter

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In a remote video call with my 10-year-old granddaughter, I asked her, “What are you going to do during Eid?” She answered innocently, “I will call and see my friends on the screen, but I will be unable to hug them, to eat with them, or to run and play with them, I am extremely depressed!”

I told my granddaughter that coronavirus is only a passing summer cloud and it will go away, but today’s children demonstrate a deep awareness of the things around them. They are familiar with a broad range of information from many sources, and this makes persuading them somewhat difficult. My granddaughter said, “No one knows for sure how long this dark cloud will last? I am bored, my feeling of isolation from the world is increasing day by day, and I feel deep sadness from time to time.”

This evil corona, which snatched joy even from children’s eyes, deprived us of seeing their smiles and hearing their laughs. Deprived children from attending school, from practising their lives and childhood in a natural way, even taking their Eid cash gifts, and even if they did obtain it in one way or another, there is no place to spend it.

We must provide everyone – children and adults – with hope. There is a memorable quote by playwright Saadullah Wanous that says, “We are inevitably doomed to hope”. The worst that can happen to us in these challenging circumstances is exhausting our patience and strength. If we give in to feelings of frustration and despair, only then we are defeated by this dreaded virus, as sadness and despair slay us before we die of the disease.

I once heard about a lion that gathered animals in the den at the forest, and the mouse told him: “I can kill you within one month!” Naturally the lion mocked the mouse and so did the rest of the animals in the assembly, but the lion woke up the next morning thinking a little about the words of the mouse, and then continued his day normally. On the third day the words of the mouse began to resonate more in the lion’s mind: “What if the mouse is arranging a scheme to kill me already?” A week later, the idea completely dominated the lion’s mind, and eventually the lion died within the month with no reason but his fears and concerns.

My mother, may God have mercy on her, used to tell me “Power comes from within”. Every day of my life I realise more and more the meaning of this. How it’s significant for a person to be determined, wise, patient, flexible and well-behaved. To be as solid as a tree that lives through the different seasons and strong winds, birds and rodents feed on it but it remains firmly rooted in the ground.

At the level of the state and society, everyone is unanimous the world post-coronavirus will not be the same as it was before the virus. Notably the devastating effects of this virus have touched the entire world, but I believe that humanity is strong enough not to be defeated by this virus; that life will return to its natural course and vitality, faster than we imagine, and quite soon coronavirus will be only a passing lesson and memory.

Coronavirus has given us what can be properly called a “warrior’s rest”, and this is what I say to those working with me and the people around me. Because the world is currently in a state of hibernation, not death, and life will soon return to markets, squares, schools and stadiums, and maybe our planet needs this rest more than us, as it breathes a sigh of relief after we burdened it with noise and pollution.

I tried telling this to my granddaughter in simple language that she can understand. She laughed at the end of the call, and said, “I love you, my grandfather. We can retain our trust in God, who will soon open the doors of Eid for us along with new gates of happiness.”

akram@fp7.com