Lebanese Journalist Goes Off On People Ignoring Coronavirus Risks

@CarmenJoukhadar

You don’t need to be an expert to understand that Coronavirus is a huge risk. It has been the most talked about topic of the century since January.

Most people, as it is assumed, should have fully understood that by now. If it wasn’t such a big deal, restaurants, nightclubs, schools, and gyms wouldn’t have been forced to close down and the nation wouldn’t have been asked to self-quarantine.

However, there are some and not a few people in Lebanon who are intentionally ignoring the high risk of the malicious coronavirus, although this worldwide pandemic has so far infected 275,111 people and killed 11,186 – as per worldometers on March 20th (17:30 GMT).

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People in Lebanon have been also urged by their religious leaders not to gather in their mosques and churches for prayers. These places have also shut their doors for that purpose.

However, pictures currently circulating around the internet are showing people gathering in the streets of Tripoli to pray by large groups, ignoring even the must of distancing themselves from each other.

People ignoring Coronavirus risk and praying in large groups
Via Lebanon24

Not only are people praying in groups at close proximity but life in Tripoli seems to be going almost as if there is nothing going on with cafes and markets reported as being open in Abou Samra, Qobbeh, and Tebbeneh.

This is, however, not just a problem in Tripoli. We have also previously seen other such virus-spreading behaviors in Beirut.

If you have been keeping with recent news in Lebanon, you have no doubt seen the viral video by LBC journalist Mario Abboud where he criticized the crowd in Beirut’s Corniche al-Manara.

He introduces the video by saying, “There are certain types of people who, it is an understatement to say, are without a brain and undermining their own health and that of their families.”

He goes on to call out the irresponsibility of their actions.

“Some of these people are mothers and fathers, is this the model of behavior that they want to present to their children?” He says.

It is fair to say that Abboud’s rant has become a viral meme that has resonated with many of the Lebanese who cannot believe what they are seeing.

In a video shared on Twitter by Journalist Carmen Joukhadar from Al-Jazeera, on March 15th, it can be clearly seen that many are not abiding by the government’s warnings to adhere by the self-quarantine rules.

Interestingly enough, some people in that crowd are there to keep up with their “healthy-lifestyle” routine: walking and jogging…

The harshness of Mario Abboud’s rant is a particularly glaring incident of a journalist breaking the usual mold of impartiality and taking a strong moral stance.

However, his words have seemed to fall on deaf ears as many people, including those in Tripoli today, continue to gather in large crowds and try to act as if life is normal, ignoring the risk of Coronavirus.

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It has been a Lebanese stance to believe that we prevail whatever the odds and challenges. We have a long history to confirm that we do.

Yet, that doesn’t make us unwise and irresponsible to even believe that we are invincible to a pandemic of such magnitude nor to natural disasters and the like.

The rant has, of course, become very viral. It even prompted a small remix by DJ Gaby Ghazal to the beat of Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer:

The World Health Organization has released a set of symptoms that you should watch out for. If you or anyone you know has these symptoms please contact the following health resources.