The New Normalcy

By Saima Rashid

In the beginning, it all looked strange, but now we are getting used to it. I believe, we had been living on the virtual space for a decade now, but somehow we were physically walking in the real world. And now, we are all inside our small physical bubbles but our mental space has widened, we are becoming more human in the absence of crowd. Health is the new priority and baking is the new engagement. The other day my mom called me and showed me her fresh baked cookies, dad looked happy too because Mom will no more push him to buy bakery, you should know, that hospitality in Kashmir is incomplete without Bakery items, from cookies to chocolate cakes to all kind of snacks you can imagine of. But that is not my concern; my only satisfaction is in the idea of self-sufficiency and hygiene. My mom always complained of bakery items from outside, being unhygienic, but I am happy that these times won’t let her complain in future, if any.

The Global World Order or call it American Order, has reduced to blame gaming. America, the mighty power (in war economy), inspite of saving its people from the deadly virus, is busy in blaming China, while as China, like every time is playing smart. China, apart from blaming American military for being the origin of virus, is also busy in sending aid to countries and trying smartly to fill the void of Global Order, wishing to make it Chinese Order. People in America are dying in huge numbers due to COVID-19, but the American economy, which is an accumulation of the destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq and Palestine and where not, is unfortunately not helping them contain the virus, I am not appropriating anything, just giving a gentle reminder to the Liberal and democratic America, whose pentagon is the deadliest pandemic ever.

Let’s move towards Kashmir and Palestine. I always like keeping them together, happens very naturally with me. They are like my two eyes, if I mention only one of them, I can only see half of the story, and both of them together complete the story. Kashmir, a beautiful place, curtained opaquely with occupation, so that the world doesn’t see through the brutalities happening inside. Palestine, a spiritual place transparently curtained by a deadly invader, who conspired to steal the homes of the Palestinians. America is a stakeholder in both, in two different ways, although in Palestine, it has a larger share. These two places on earth have witnessed decades of lock down, infact since the times they are occupied.

I usually face the backlash when I say that my heart doesn’t sometime allow me to pray for the people of occupiers, because I have expectations with them too, as being their fellow human being, to support me, when the virus of occupation kills my people. What happens to their conscience when in the middle of the night, someone’s house in Kashmir and Palestine is raided and the people are beaten up and killed for no reason. Where does their conscience die when the occupier rapes and molests and humiliates the women of Kashmir and Palestine? Who prays for them? Do only victims feel the pain of others? Is empathy dead in the world? I still pray for the humans of Italy and France and America and China and India and all other nations, but where does their solidarity go, when the houses in Kashmir and Palestine are reduced to ashes with bombs. The death is a death, whether it’s by an occupier or pandemic. I know it’s a global crisis, and people are dying globally, does that mean everyone should be under an occupation and only then they will feel what it means to be under an occupation.

Meanwhile, coming back to priorities, masks and sanitizers and protective gears is the new need. I wonder if countries are still into arms race and manufacturing arms and ammunition and supplying it to their allies, but apparently it looks only masks and medical aid is being exchanged. Doctor is the new hero for the rest of the world, with Kashmir and Palestine as an exemption, the occupier still takes pride in their armed forces, because the occupation is a pandemic itself and what will a pandemic do to another pandemic, they ally and the occupied suffers more. We call it a Pandemic inside a Pandemic, Lock down inside a lock down.

Kashmir is my homeland. I was born and raised there and since my childhood, crackdowns and curfews was a routine. The routine of stocking up ration, because our moms would always stay prepared for the uncertain times, Dads were too realistic to even think of the next moment. Children in Kashmir don’t have a phobia of going to school like the normal kids around the world, because they can hardly get to go to school. The lock down in occupation lasts for months altogether, you remain uncertain when the occupier will change his mood of uplifting your curfews.

Palestine is my second home. I have lived there in my dreams. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW journeyed to heaven through Jerusalem, where he prayed before heading for Mi’raj. Al Aqsa Mosque was the first qibla (direction to pray) for Muslims, how can I not be of this place. It is a home for every Muslim who believes in Allah and his Last Messenger SAW. Jerusalem lives in the prayers of every Muslim and Kashmir has its graffiti on its walls.

So do you pledge that while I extend my sympathies for you in this time of Pandemic, you will extend your support to all the occupied people around the world, who are living the pandemic of occupation for decades altogether?

While you entertain yourself with the 4G or 5G internet speeds, the people of Kashmir and Palestine don’t have the privilege. You still have the access to groceries, but in Kashmir and Palestine, there is no such thing. Your children are still able to access online education but the students in Kashmir haven’t had access to education since August 5.

Did I forget Syria? I surely did. Did you see their state of homelessness too? They have no homes, children are orphaned, wives are widowed and homes are brazened to ashes. To all those celebrities who keep glamorizing the stay home message, I want to tell them, not everyone has a home to stay home, and there are homeless people too. What will be your message for them, stay homeless I guess! Allah is watching everything; it is not a curse, but a lesson.

Just remember, tomorrow you might end up finding a vaccine to kill the virus, but who will make the vaccine for illegal occupations?

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