What to Do in Your Arab Household During the Coronavirus
By: Joyce Behrens/Arab America Contributing Writer
During the Coronavirus pandemic, the way we approach our routine of everyday life has changed. We cannot, temporarily, gather in large groups. Everyday social activities with others have changed. For example, going to school, enjoying a cup of qahua (coffee) with a friend, and even just casually walking down the street. Social distancing is in place until further notice. While we all have to be patient until the spread decreases, everyone has to come up with adjustments to daily life. In a household environment, it doesn’t matter if you are by yourself, with your spouse, or with your children. We need to think about not only our own safety, but the safety of others too. When it comes to adjustments, people within the Arab communities have been coming up with ideas.
Keeping in touch
In these times of COVID-19, social distancing is the primary method to decrease the spread. Especially, if you have family members that are not living under the same roof as you. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t check to see how they are doing. Since we live in an advanced, technological society, face-timing your loved ones is one way to see them in person. A way to check on them, and still enjoy their company in person. You can still enjoy their presence with that cup of qahua from the other side of the screen. If you have a loved one that doesn’t like the use of modern technology, a simple phone call is also a suitable method of communication while staying safe.
What’s important is not to be close to others during these times, but that doesn’t mean eliminating communications with your loved ones and friends. If you want to video chat with more than one person while social distancing, there are online applications to support this action and easy to access. For example, Zoom, a computer video chatting website, is the most recommended. This application allows you to connect with up to 100 people. It’s perfect to connect socially with friends, have meetings while working from home, and allows you host events. Daily life does not have to be put on hold. New adjustments are made to stay safe, but not to put a stop to everything.
Enjoy a Movie
Movies are the most popular way to pass the time. Whether they are Arab films on Netflix or classic movies that originate from the Arab world, there are a variety of films to choose from. Let’s first start with some cinematic favorites. The 2007 film Caramel, which is a romantic drama, entails the story of a group of women who all work at a beauty salon. There is no mention of politics and war in the plot of this film. Instead, the focus is on the dilemmas these women face, whether it’s relationship matters, family issues, or internal fears. If you want to watch a true classic of Arab films, West Beirut is one of them. West Beirut takes place in the year 1975, during the start of the Lebanese Civil War. A division between Christians and Muslims is drawn in the capital. The film revolves around a couple of teenagers as a coming of age tale.
In terms of Netflix, first choices have been Sand Storm and Very Big Shot. Sand Storm is an international drama film. Don’t let the title fool you. It views a woman’s struggles with traditional Arab customs. The two main struggles are: 1) women are not permitted the freedom to associate with men, and 2) women would be expected to accept arranged marriages. The term, sand storm, analogizes the tensions between the families. They know their kids are disobeying their orders. Very Big Shot, which is a crime/action genre film, takes place on the streets of Beirut. Three deceiving brothers smuggle drugs and send them out to other drug dealers in different areas of the Arab world. They conduct these operations within their pizzeria to avoid suspicions.
Expressing Arab Heritage
In every Arab household, the celebration of Arab culture is extremely important. Why does it have to be a couple of times a year? There is always an opportunity to teach your kids about your Arab roots. One way is to show them is how to dance the dabke. Dabke is an old folk dance that originated in the Levantine region. It represents the concept of life, love, and struggle. It’s a great way to bring people together. Usually, it’s performed for wedding celebrations, but why wait until a wedding to start teaching your little ones how to perform it when you can go about it now.
Another way to embrace Arab culture to your children is through music. Classical music from the Arab world has emphasized the heritage in the lyrics and rhythm. In other words, traditional music from the Arab world embodies a passion for the culture. For example, Fairuz is an icon in classical Arab music. What’s unique about her style is her ability to showcase the beauty of the Arab world from her lyrics and singing. Despite the harsh times of war and corruption during her prime. Another famous singer and composer is Mohamed Abdel Wahab. He is known for his ability to integrate other western styles of music, while still maintaining his Egyptian roots.
Check out our BLOG here!