Would the global trade come to a standstill as supply chain crisis worsens?    EBRD vice president heads delegation to Egypt to discuss new country strategy    The unvaccinated prohibited from entry to Egypt state institutions starting December 1    Egypt, Cyprus sign deal for electricity grid link    Russia to lift COVID restrictions on flights to Egypt's Red Sea resorts on Nov. 9    Egypt, Greece ink deal for first subsea power link between Europe and Africa    Egypt hosts regional conference of EU refugee agency EASO    SCOHRE sparks discussion on harm reduction, tobacco control    Egypt to receive first of six high-trains from Spain's Talgo in mid-November    Egypt's iron and steel exports jump 197% in 8 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Over 100 officials resign from Tunisia's main Islamist party    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egyptian court bans use of mosques for political purposes    Brazil calls up 8 EPL players for World Cup qualifying    Refugees in fear as sentiment turns against them in Turkey    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    Huawei Technologies has invested $10 mln over 5 years in innovation centres in Egypt    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    

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Who robbed our summer?
Published in Ahram Online on 17 - 08 - 2021

They say "if you get 75 of them in a lifetime, you are a fortunate soul." Summer is what mattered, what measured your lifespan.
Summer is being young, no matter what age you are.
Summer is how you calculate your life's continuum as you toil, sweat and save all year for that season of bliss.
Blue skies smile at you, warm sun caresses you and soft breezes dance with the evening stars.
Summer is lounging in bed as long as you please, no fuss, no mess, no rush, no stress.
Summer is being young, carefree and happy. That was summer.
Except summer did not happen this year. We shake with fear as we wonder if it will ever happen again. Will June, July, and August spell rapture, ecstasy, and enchantment?
The hottest of seasons announced its presence by a searing heat wave, breaking records across the globe. Canada, Finland, and Moscow suffered extreme temperatures, which according to the World Meteorological Organisation posed a major threat to agriculture, environment, not to mention a danger to people's health.
Our heart goes out to the athletes who participated in the Tokyo Olympic Summer Games. A humidity-drenched Tokyo made the experience sterile and joyless. No spectators, no roars of the crowds, no fans, no cheers, only fear of the guards lest they break the precautionary measures of keeping their distance, removing their masks, chatting, drinking, or even smiling.
This was the Olympic Games, the biggest sports event in the world. Thanks Covid.
Britain has had an exceptionally bad time as thousands of summer holidays were cancelled for fear of Covid-19. As many as half a million Brits were told to stay at home, in other words, in isolation, instead of romping by the sea-side, because the rates of a second Covid-19 infection had soared. It was more than torment in this heat when 4.5 million Brits had to self-isolate until 16 August.
Gone are the dreams of summer, travelling to a romantic resort, letting your hair down, wearing as little as possible or dancing in the moonlight with swaying palms surrounding you. A carefree summer of travel seemed a long way off.
Restrictions in many countries and airlines have made it almost prohibitive. Most resort hotels and restaurants are closed for the summer, the only season when they prosper and cover expenses for the rest of the year.
This second wave of coronavirus has bolted our summer, lock, stock and barrel.
Why a second wave? Was the first wave not enough for all humanity to bear? How can we, today, with all our advanced scientific, technological, medical, pharmaceutical knowledge allow thin infinitesimal, imperceptible, insignificant little microscopic, organism, be allowed to ravage lives across the globe? No matter what we do, it still comes out on top, more monstrous than the behemothic, colossal creatures which devour whole towns on your Netflix. When it showed up in 2020, experts wondered if there would be waves of cases, a pattern seen in other pandemics. Why wonder? The increase of cases of Covid-19 in the summer is predicted to surge in the fall. We are waiting for a miracle to happen with the vaccine. Not likely.
Infectious disease specialists at Johns Hopkins are blaming the surge on us, because we dared to breathe a little, chat a little, laugh a little. Relax your precautions and you are done.
What possible heavenly meaning could there be, with the great suffering this pandemic has caused? Now Delta is posing an additional threat even more deadly.
Our dreams have deflated like a big balloon once flying merrily way above the clouds, now reduced to a pile of rubble.
What to do? Vaccinated or not, the fear remains for us and our loved ones. Are we to face reality, or embrace the magic theory of distraction?
How do we expand on our experiences? How do we meet new people who can enrich our lives? How do we shake hands again?
We can forget reality. We can sit in a café, miles away from the next guy, masked and silent, and just watch other people's goings and comings, imagining what their lives are like, hear the clatter of cups and saucers, watch the crowded streets and wonder how they're coping.
The elderly have engaged in that activity after retirement. In fact we all do, especially when we can travel, sit at leisure by a restaurant or a coffee-house on the pavement and watch all those strangers going about their business.
It is a legitimate means of escape, experts admit, and it does distract you, at least for a while, from your own realities, too harsh to bear.
Watching children at play is a priceless source of joy, or lovers wooing or birds cooing, it is good therapy, illusions, distractions, imagination, so we can survive until the next day.
However, "something was taken from us that should not have been taken," says Patrick Frazier, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota. Truer words have never been uttered.
This "something" is intangible, so hard to explain, because it is an amalgamation of many little things piled together. This is our new reality, and we just hope our children are not suffering from it, yet.
Let children be children, carefree and gay, let them enjoy what is left of their holidays.
As for the rest of us, we still have our memories of summer.
"In a summer season, when softie was the sonne."
William England (c 1330-1400)
*A version of this article appears in print in the 19 August, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly
*A version of this article appears in print in the 19 August, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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