February 28th: Exams period at the Lebanese University’s 5th branch in Saida prior to the lockdown due to Coronavirus back on March 2nd.
AUTHOR: Rana Bachir
BIO: Rana Bachir is a Palestinian architect and sociology student based in Saida, Lebanon. She recently received her Masters of Human Settlements from KU Leuven in Belgium, and currently works with the Palestinian Program of an international organization in Lebanon.
"يرجى عدم المصافحة. والاكتفاء بإلقاء التحية فقط عن بعض"
"Please do not shake hands. Just salute to each other"
""Veuillez ne pas serrer la main. Saluez-vous les uns les autres"
"Per favore, non stringere la mano. Limitatevi a salutarvi"
We decided to give some space to coronavirus shutdown.
For a difference, we narrate it from the Middle East, from a very intimate perspective of the everyday, it's disruption, it's adjustment.
Many of us living in non-welfare states like Palestine are now in the condition to resettle to elderly family members, so to make sure that they have proper assistance.
Only few hours notice before the curfew is enforced families have to decide who goes to who. Then pack things quickly, turn off the home, ready to be away for 2 weeks, they say... But maybe longer?
It is a micro displacement, maybe few blocks away, but we prepare the house just as if we are going away for a long trip. Empty and clean the fridge, shut down the router, push the laundry you didn't have the time to dry into your bag, cover with a blanket the bed dressed in freshly washed sheets that you just changed yesterday, hoping that they won't get too dusty while you're away.
Before closing the door behind us, just a moment has left for taking a couple of bad pictures that even best Instagram filters won't beautify.
By moving, we will give up a slice of our privacy, undergoing another domesticity fabricated by someone else who care for, and nevertheless is not ours. We will surely find out too late that we forgot that little useful note on the table, that shirt, a small object that is dear to us.
As we turn back to switch off the last light and lock the door, we give a last glance into our house. By the time the key has spin for the last time in the lock, we wonder how the world around our house will be when we will return.
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