What can the pandemic-stricken world learn from Palestinians’ resilience?

Palestinian chefs prepare meals for the needy in a commercial kitchen
Palestinian cooks prepare food at a restaurant kitchen to be delivered to a centre where people returning from Israel and Egypt are quarantined as a precaution against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Gaza City on May 5, 2020. (photo: Majdi Fathi / Nurphoto via Getty Images)
Palestinians have relied on mutual solidarity and support to overcome a long history of injustices and grief.

By Rana Nashashibi |  Truthout | May 10, 2020

With the spread of COVID-19, collective solidarity is on display across the occupied Palestinian territory.

As a Palestinian woman from Jerusalem and a mental health professional, I am both treating and experiencing the extensive impact and far-reaching ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the world, communities are dealing with the unbearable pain of death and serious illness, compounded by not being able to comfort or even mourn the victims. On a global scale, people are facing what for many are unprecedented restrictions on freedoms, insecurity and anxiety about the future.

In these testing times, I feel compelled to share our special, decades-long Palestinian caregivers’ experience with dispossession, displacement, denial of basic rights, uncertainty and visceral grief while still maintaining a sense of joy, beauty and finding collective responses that give us realistic hope.

While COVID-19 is forcing millions around the world to make impossible, unfair choices between maintaining their own safety and providing essential needs for their loved ones, this has also been a time of extraordinary courage, resilience and solidarity. Severely overstretched health care workers caring for increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients use ingenuity to overcome shortages of medical supplies, risking their own lives.

What has helped me and my colleagues most in facing multiple crises was mutual solidarity and support.

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