Coronavirus — How can I not think of Gaza?


A worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, in Gaza City [Adel Hana/The Associated Press]
A worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, in Gaza City. (photo: Adel Hana / The Associated Press)
Who could have imagined just a few days ago that Europeans would be confined to their homes and become persona non grata all over the world?

By Ahmed Abbes | Mondoweiss | Mar 18, 2020

How can I not think of the residents of Gaza who are prisoners of an inhuman blockade that has lasted for more than 13 years when I find myself confined to my home, forbidden to leave my house except for 5 reasons set by the government and provided that I have a certificate?

I should have been in Tunis Saturday March 14 to participate in the closing ceremony of Israeli Apartheid Week. I had invited the Palestinian researcher and documentalist Tarek Barki to give a lecture entitled “We Were and Still Are.. Here” which tells the past and the present of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages refuting the Zionist formula “a land without people… ” But by the end of the previous week, disturbing news about the spread of the Coronavirus in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa was starting to accumulate. Death in my soul, I resolved, Monday, March 9, with my friends, to postpone this long-awaited lecture to a later date. Since then, bad news has continued to pour in at an infernal rate.

Two days later, one of my colleagues sent me an article explaining that the coronavirus is coming at an exponential speed: gradually, then suddenly. The author presented and analyzed the curves of the evolution of the epidemic in the world, which left no doubt. Up to a few days delay, these exponential curves seem almost identical for at least three regions: Wuhan in China, Italy and France. Martin Hirsch, Director General of Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP), declared in Le Monde on Saturday March 14 that “in the memory of professionals, the AP-HP was not confronted with a phenomenon of such a scale with such speed and such high complexity. I would even say such violence.”

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