2020

Royal Mess

As the battle for the White House heats up and becomes down and dirty and quite dangerous I couldn’t help but conjure up an image to help me deal with all this crap, especially that The Virus seems to have unveiled a whole lot of rubbish that had been hidden for decades and centuries underneath the Glitz and Glamor of the whole Planet, and for which we have all been complicit in one way, or another.

When Virus flew at us it sent us scurrying for dear life! We are still scurrying and have not dealt with this Pandemic as we should have by creating a Universal and Unified System in order to beat it. To the contrary, it is a “go to it alone” approach during which each country, state and community has been trying to cope on its own and, even, vying as to who would be the first to develop a vaccine and, in that process, prostituting medicine for politics!  How utterly despicable!

As a Collective Humanity this Virus seems to have totally upended us, and, perhaps, now more than ever, we need to find ways in which we can Collaborate, Coordinate, Re-Prioritize, Re-Negotiate and Re-Think how we have been dealing with each other as human beings, as countries and with our Planet, otherwise, and sooner than we all anticipate, we might be really entering into the Dark Ages and annihilating each other. No exaggeration!

Imagine your closet where you have been too occupied with your life to do anything but grab stuff out and dump stuff back in, piling things on top of each other haphazardly. Months pass by until one day you open the closet and something flies out and zaps you. You freak out thinking that it was a moth and that your closet must be infested with them! So, you remove everything, air out or wash all items, disinfect and wipe the closet down, and then you proceed to sort everything out: hang washed clothes back up neatly; fold others tidily and place on shelves; sort a laundry pile; donation pile; trash pile etc. etc. All done!

Our Planet is that figurative closet. For centuries we have been using and abusing its resources so that our climate is suffering and hitting back at us with fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, extreme temperatures, disease plus all those across the world who are suffering due to these catastrophes! We have also been dumping rules, regulations, laws and systems one on top of the other randomly and with total disregard to anything but the “now.” One need only glance at our unfair tax code and see for themselves how lobbyists, corporations, special interests and corrupt lawmakers have skewed and messed them up so much and so often that they are ineligible and need a magician to decipher and try to make any sense of their mile-high codes. And, there is so much more rubbish in our governmental closets that it would take a book to enumerate all of them!

Also, we are, and at this point in time, undergoing upheavals, protests, and disenfranchisement in so many places across our World. Nowhere else, though, are citizens as armed-to-the-teeth as they are in these United States. This is precisely why, unless there is some sort of a Very Serious  Intervention to halt the madness gripping some in this nation, all of us will suffer the very serious and terrifying consequences. Hopefully, Political Leaders will wisen up and rise to the occasion, clean out their moth-ridden closets, update the laws and rules and see to it that they fulfill their primary duty of providing Equality and Justice to their citizens while reminding themselves that: “. . . personal prejudice and financial greed are the two great evils that threaten courts of law, and once they get the upper hand they immediately hamstring society by destroying all justice.” (Thomas More, Utopia) This is precisely where we sadly are!

Simply looking at these United States, we have a Dangerous President who is playing with fire and with all of our lives. He has totally exhausted us, as well as the world. Moreover, his “sayings and doings” have eroded what little public trust there was in our institutions. This, by itself, is a dangerous recipe for anarchy!

In the interests of full disclosure, and though I do agree with a few of Trump’s “sayings and doings,” I view these from a totally different perspective than he does, whether it is “Conspiracies,” or the “Deep State,” or our Alliances and Enmities. He is a transactional and ignorant bully who demands quid pro quo agreements since he only looks through one narrow prism: himself, his reelection and the fascist ideology that he has adopted – again, for purely transactional reasons. On the other hand, I look at things from my Palestinian, Arab, as well as Progressive American and World viewpoint, and I have a long list of grievances in this regard, because I have been the Victim of the most brutal Conspiracy of all which ceded my land, my culture, my history to Colonialist Conspiracies without even asking me and while portraying me as the culprit! Moreover, the entire Arab World, and, especially, my second homeland, Lebanon, have also been subjected to one assault after another throughout my lifetime infuriating me on a daily basis. However I do wonder if it is worse for our Arab World now that most countries involved have been “Jared-ified” (a term coined by my daughter) and are falling in line one after the other in order to sign a peace deal with Israel? I wouldn’t be surprised if transactional Trump had told them: either you line up, or I am withdrawing and leaving you, your riches and your oil resources to Iran. They succumbed, and he ensured that we will control that oil forever! Meanwhile, have the Palestinians been screwed? Royally! Tragically! I do not know what options they have at this point, but, sometimes, whether  we are humans, or countries, we have to swallow the sword, painful as it is, and opt for co-existence – and being “Jared-ified” – rather than incurring more bloodshed and more sacrificing of another generation of children and young adults. I’m sure my opinion will rile up a whole lot of Palestinians and Arabs. However, I have always maintained that it would be easy to demand sacrifice when it is not my children and I who are being called upon to do that, and I cannot anymore see bereaved Palestinian mothers! There have been occupations and apartheid throughout the long arc of history and, eventually, wrongs could be righted. It might take one year, five, or decades. It will happen, though! Meanwhile, our part of the world has seen enough bloodshed, enough tears, enough uprooting, enough refugees, enough loss that we can do with a reprieve, even at this steep price! Hence, accepting the reality might be our best option for the time being, extremely hard and painful as it is! Note: For those hoping that a President Biden would do better in this regard, I say: Don’t hold your breath. US Foreign Policy regarding Israel has been consistently the same – minus a few cosmetic changes – throughout my lifetime. Moreover, it seems that with every new President no matter which Party he belongs to, things seem to get worse for us Palestinians. Sad, disconcerting, infuriating and unjust!

As to the many offenses on my Progressive American and World viewpoint they are numerous too, not least of which is our panic-button pushing MSM on both sides, their noise, their sensationalism, their playing us as they have always been! Nevertheless, what we are being subjected to by this President is so egregious and dangerous that it leaves me sleepless on many a night. I don’t know what the tea leaves are predicting for America’s future. However, I have a real and deep sense of foreboding that does not promise any certainties, or peaceful endings if things continue along this perilous path. What I am certain of is that we need to air out and disinfect our World Closets, drive the Virus and all other corrupt infestations out, wash away the deceit, lies and hypocrisy that have been for long clouding our vision from seeing all the injustice, inequality and consumerism that have lulled our senses. And, unless we clean up our act faster than fast, we will be going from bad to worse!

Are we capable of changing our ways for the betterment of Ourselves, our Countries and our Planet? We certainly are when we get over Our Selfishness, Our Greed, Our Arrogance and all Our Entrenched Enmities. It is not Utopian to aspire and hope for that outcome, because this Royal Mess should be curtailed, or ended!

2020

Virus Lists

About three months ago I woke up with a slight toothache. Oh, oh, I thought! I had not been out of the house since the end of February. Do I even dare to make an appointment? I had to before I got a horrible infection! I did. Tooth entailed two visits and all was fine. However, before making the appointment and as I was looking through my agenda (I still have a paper appointment book, not the computer version) from one year ago and to date in order to find out when I had my last dental visit, I became somewhat depressed. My entries before February of this year were many! Lunch here, coffee there, mall expedition – sometimes just to walk and look around – book club meeting, haircut salon, BBQ party, going here and there and every day. After February? Dismal Emptiness! Nothingness! Virus Lockdown and Confinement! Empty pages!

Confinement, though, prompts some of us to invent tasks. One of those on my list was dusting a small closet in which I keep my winter coats, boots, and other stuff that I don’t use daily/seasonally. That’s when I saw my Travel Pouch with all my tiny bottles of shampoo, deodorant, moisturizer, toothpaste etc. etc. No, no traveling this year! None of the usual excited planning, coordinating visits with out-of-state relatives and friends, or enjoying the majesty of the ocean. I took out all the bottles and decided to use them. No sense keeping them until . . . Virus is no more life-threatening? I felt quite sad while doing this, actually!

That same afternoon, my cousin called and while we were chatting about how she’s going bananas due to being at home, she said: “Can you imagine that I now make To-Do Lists every day with Nonsense Tasks such as: Water the Plants just to remain relevant to myself!? I laughed, because I had been doing that too! I later found out that other friends – especially old ones like myself – were doing the same just to remain motivated and sane! It is sad and funny at the same time, since during our busy Non-Virus days these To-Do items would have had no need for written reminders! Hereunder, is a sampling of these entries some of which were on my list, others solicited from friends (names have been substituted). The parenthetical comments are mine.

Virus Lists

  1. Wash and Put Away Washing
  2. Change Sheets.
  3. Wipe down Fridge/Reorganize Freezer
  4. Reorganize Closet and Air out (Sad-looking nice clothes are moved to the back since I have no use for them these days (nor for bras!), house clothes and very casual stuff kept within reach)
  5. Make Salad (Seriously? That needs a written reminder?)
  6. Reorganize Pantry (Not that it needs it, really, but it’s something to do and a good exercise for stretching my arms in order to reach all the stuff. Household Cleaning has become my “gym exercise” to stretch, bend, squat, scrub! (No gym is killing me! That’s my friend Siham, who used to spend every morning swimming, exercising and indulging herself with a long shower and lots of gabbing at her facility)
  7. Dust Bookshelves (And remind myself of all those delightful books that I have read!)
  8. Check email and FB (Apparently FB is now for “Old People” since the younger set have moved on to more exciting platforms! Ah well!)
  9. Sauté Cilantro and freeze (Suggested by Janet who says: It always comes in handy for that dish, or soup that needs it)
  10. Remind my Granddaughter to take a picture of limping squirrel (Why is it limping, I wonder? A fight with another Alpha Male, or if it’s Female duking it out over a Male? Running away from the fox, the snake, or any of the other forest denizens? Who knows? Sad looking, though!)
  11. Tell my Daughter . . . Blah! Blah! Blah!
  12. Remind my Son of when he . . . Yada! Yada! Yada! (For the above two, I am always talking to my children in my head, so by the time I am actually talking to them I don’t “tell my daughter,” or “remind my son” because I really believe that I had already done so! Huh?)
  13. Shampoo dog (that’s my friend Annie)
  14. Order cat food (that’s my other friend Samar)
  15. Tweeze eyebrows (it seems that the older I get the more facial hair I grow, and the more men age, the more their ears grow! What’s up with that?)
  16. Call Randa and check on her (I feel the need to check on my friends more often than I used to pre-Virus, and they feel the same. (Loneliness? The sound of a friendly voice?)
  17. Prepare Menu/Shopping List for next week (that’s always a fun task and I found out that most of my friends think so too, especially since food has become more of a focal point, an “event” than it ever used to be. Even my daughter says the same thing as her husband and children, unlike pre-Virus, look forward with excitement and anticipation to their meals. For some of my younger friends with children, preparing the meal has become a fun joint venture where everyone has a task. For others, it is a ritual in which they relate what were their thoughts that day and how they were feeling)
  18. Take Auto for a drive (otherwise it might get mad at me for just being parked and idle and might conk out my batteries, or something, just to piss me off!)
  19. Order Prescriptions by mail (Olga says that we have to do this quite in advance these days since the mail is taking much longer to be delivered)
  20. Order Gift Certificates (that’s from Jill who always thinks ahead about special occasions)
  21. Clean bathroom (almost on everyone’s list!)
  22. Request Absentee Ballot!!!! (Vital!)
  23. Wash Masks!!!
  24. Another No Makeup Day! Yay! (that’s from Naila, who is usually very fastidious about her looks)
  25. Virtual Chat with granddaughter (that’s from Helen in Maryland who teaches her granddaughter in Nebraska Italian language by remote)

Nonsense stuff that otherwise gets automatically done, without Lists! How pathetic is this? What has happened to us? It makes us feel in control, since there is so much we cannot control? Perhaps it’s one of the things that have changed in our lives, and that help with our coping strategies and with keeping our heads above water until . . . who knows?

The Virtual Razzmatazz Conventions were quite interesting from a Virtual Production (mostly) point of view, and for all political junkies, myself included. I must say, that for a debut production they were both quite well done. However, it seems to be so easy for politicians to spew their usual gilded talk and profess an elusive universal morality that seems to exist only in speeches. If we had ever applied those Values that they all talk about so fervently then we wouldn’t be where we are, would we?! There would not be such glaring Inequality, Injustice and Absence of Peace! All in all, there were no Aha! moments in either Convention! Same old empty promises in a newer Virus-propelled format and with a backdrop of disease, raging fires, hurricanes, joblessness, poverty, homelessness, insecurity, and peaceful protests. Malevolent Vigilantes and Infiltrators are only there to sow chaos. Moreover, we all know that this upcoming election can go either way, same as all previous elections. The dangers in this election, though, are very obvious, terrifying and dangerous for the whole notion of Democracy! We are only one small step away from being totally engulfed in Dark Ages! I am just praying for people’s common sense and hoping that they won’t succumb to their base emotions, zealous instincts, or tribalism. Sadly, our World hasn’t changed fundamentally despite two catastrophic World Wars, as well as many other wars, and very little has changed in the human character that still suffers from all the ailments that our Prophets, Philosophers, Poets and all other Social Observers have been telling us about for centuries. Dare I hope now? Dare I even imagine that we will correct course, straighten up? I have to keep hoping, no? Add to Virus List:

  1. Hope! Hope! Hope!