Being stuck at home with your parents as an Arab is not easy. With the massive outbreak of COVID-19 around the world, being quarantined has made it worse. Being quarantined with your family means spending more time with them, less time for you, and no more freedom if there was any.
I asked a few people what it’s like to be isolated with their parents, and if it was a good time to “bring the family together,” as the media wants us to believe. But it was no surprise that it was not. Here, we caught up with them to find out, asking to remain anonymous for their own safety.
Anonymous, 17, Kuwait
“It’s been absolute hell! I stood up to my dad for the first time in April, and he got so angry that he destroyed a lot of my belongings then avoided me completely during Ramadan. The rest of my family blamed me for the fact that he didn’t eat futoor with us, even though me standing up to him treating me horribly was very much the right thing to do. Now he stopped avoiding me & everyone is pretending as nothing happened. Generally, I’ve always been paranoid during quarantine because my dad gets mad over nothing, and it’s unpredictable. I can’t even relax in my room because I have a feeling that he is going to be mad at me for being in my room. I always make sure to spend at least two or three hours in the same room as him every day so that he doesn’t get angry. It’s been such a drag.”
Anonymous, 20, Kuwait
“I live with someone who once threatened to take my life away, and now that I’m stuck home with him, I have to tiptoe around him and make sure I don’t do something that might enrage him. The COVID 19 crisis is introducing a new crisis, the rise of domestic abuse victims.”
“It’s interesting, a lot. I feel for my underage siblings more than me, but I still feel “meh” about it all. I don’t talk to my dad much, thankfully, I barely see him. My mom’s a charm, but she’s been more aware of me being “queer” (I’m LGBTQ btw), and I feel like it upsets her — not that it bothers me at all, she’s an adult who makes her own decisions, but just an observation. Otherwise, I am living my authentic self like I always have and will continue to do.”
Anonymous, 22, KSA
“Quarantine has been absolutely awful. At least before, we had the option of escaping through going out with friends just to breathe a little. But ever since it started, I really only have my room to retreat to, and it doesn’t always work.”
Anonymous, 25, Kuwait
“Recently, my mom seemed like she was trying to fix all the things that she has done to me in the past. She’s trying to be nice, but I don’t know if it’s too late? Before graduating, the university was my escape. Surrounded by supportive professors and friends, visiting my counselor. I had my car, my freedom. I used to lie to my mom that I have work at uni just to see my friends. Back then, I was more powerful, my voice was heard, and I felt like I’m a real person who actually exists! It’s totally different now.”
Anonymous, 18, UAE
“I don’t know where to begin, but it’s been hectic, I study abroad and usually come here for holidays, but with quarantine, it’s been worse here in the house. It ended up with my brothers and me leaving the house and living alone, which is something unusual to happen in our society.”