PERSONAL STORY 3
Aaron is a 19-year-old man, living in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. He is currently on a gap year, after having finished high school. Before COVID-19, he was working 9 to 5 at an independent news outlet. He worked as a photographer and went out to the protests a lot. Next to this, he was a volunteer for two different NGO's.
When Corona hit, all this work got put on hold. Aaron lives with his mother and sister, who were suddenly also more at home. Aaron finds that due to corona, there have been some positive changes in his life. Of course, the financial situation is not good, but they already had financial problems due to the financial crisis. Corona has given him and his family more time together, which they fill with all kinds of activities like playing basketball, other exercises, watch movies and share books. He feels like he got the chance to get closer with his family which he really appreciates.
The Covid-19 crisis has also given Aaron more time to think for himself. While before he was too busy to think, now he has found time to think about the place he wants to take in this world, about the way he wants to contribute. He started to educate himself more on the world and its current problems, by reading books and watching documentaries.
He told us about a story about a conversation he had with a friend. The friend in question told Aaron that she thought the population of Bangladeshi migrants who lives a cramped apartment building in Beirut were so uneducated for not keeping distance from each other. This made him think about this group of people and other vulnerable people. These Bangladeshi people don't have the opportunity to keep distance, they are poor and therefore more vulnerable to Corona. He also tells us about migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. Some of these workers are stuck in abusive homes, while they don't have control over their own decisions. They are subjected to the will of their employers and the law is put together in such a way that the government would not be able to help them out.
Aaron says there has been a normalization of suffering for Lebanese since history has put them through so much. For change to come in Lebanon, Aaron thinks that the voices of the revolutionaries have to be heard by the government. A crisis like the Covid-19 crisis, and its ability to amplify the inequality which is already there, will not make Lebanon's government change. He hopes Lebanon will learn to be more independent on the global market and strengthen their social programs. He hopes Lebanon will be able to get help from the IMF and with this money, realize these ideas to get back up. The government has to listen to the voices of the people, only then can Lebanon change its ways for the better (Redacted, 2020).