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Iraqis in Quarantine Resort to Household Chores to Pass Time

Iraqis in Quarantine Resort to Household Chores to Pass Time

Tuesday, 24 March, 2020 - 11:30
Philosophy professor Sattar Awwad makes local bread at his household residence in Baghdad, Iraq | Asharq Al-Awsat
Baghdad- Fadhel al-Nashmi

Iraqis are distinguished among their Arab and Muslim peers when it comes to hospitality and their strong sense of upholding customs and social occasions. It could be said that they are “extremists” when it comes to showing affection, generosity, and caring for their neighbor, guest, or friend.

These traditions have not changed over time and circumstances.

Perhaps the most difficult thing that Iraqis face during the quarantine imposed by authorities to curb the spread of the coronavirus is their having to break their social habits, such as visiting family and friends, patients at hospitals, and attending social events.

Therefore, until this moment, quite a few Iraqis did not abide by the curfew despite the strictness of the authorities, and they remained loyal to their established customs, ignoring the direct and real risks that this might entail for their health and the health of others.

For some Iraqis, they would prefer to become infected with the virus rather than abandon their daily customs and rituals.

Ahmed Jamil, 22, had returned home from the Tahrir Square in central Baghdad after having been there for three months as part of the ongoing anti-government protests. Demonstrators had decided to break up the sit-ins until the coronavirus crisis is over.

“My mother always tells me: you’ve survived bullets and tear gas grenades, I don’t want to lose you to the coronavirus, stay home,” Jamil said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.

For a former revolutionary, staying home is not an easy thing. Jamil added that, now, he wakes up late every day only to eat and then go back to sleep. Cynically calling it a luxury, Jamil said that options are limited and that the coronavirus knows no “mercy.”

Philosophy professor Sattar Awwad, for his part, says that what makes it easier is that the whole world is suffering this quarantine, adding that he has lost track of days.

“Yes, I miss the company of friends and the hustle of classrooms, but I did not expect to spend my day this happily,” Awad said, adding that he has taken up household chores and learned to make local bread at home.

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