My Corona day and a lost freedom of movement
Our first interlocutor is Nuna Zvizdić (65), she holds a Master degree in Social work and has been retired since November 2019. We thank dear Nuna for sharing her day with us, but also for inspiring us to turn to books and re-examine the present based on the past, while being on the way to the future.
I am 65 years old and I have been a pensioner since November last year. I live with my son in an interesting and dynamic community. Ever since I retired, I have been enjoying the charms of parenthood again, family life and finally the time I have just for myself. I can organize the day as I want and enjoy my sixties, or rather seventies, as if they were my best "middle" age.
This "new" time of mine lasted a couple of months. At the beginning of March, the virus has been increasingly capturing the surrounding countries, and it was only a matter of days before it arrived in B&H. I did not plan to spend the spring in Sarajevo, but the epidemic caught me there and changed all my travel plans. My daily routine has also changed. Overnight, my life came to a halt and I had to adapt to the new conditions of safety and protection.
My day, or all my days during this crisis are the same. I am more present in the virtual than in the real world. In the morning I sit in front of the computer and write. I have mastered all these new smart techniques necessary to survive this emotional and physical separation. I talk to my grandchildren and daughter every day. With friends scattered around the world, messaging has become an everyday practice. We write mostly about the problems that affect women in these days of isolation, whether from our own experiences or the experiences of women in our environment. We also share information from different articles, research work and opinions. Along the way, I cook and tidy the house, and that helps me escape the anxiety and worry caused by all this new knowledge and awareness. In the afternoon, I dedicate some time to myself and my unity with myself. I read, exercise, and watch series and movies. I mostly read Persian Sufi philosophers. Especially Rumi and Ibn Arabia. Their messages of tolerance, peace, love and friendship, mixed with the deepest spiritual knowledge and insights help me feel at ease in accepting what is happening.
One of the main recommendations of the local crisis headquarters or crisis centers was and remains a ban on leaving the house for people over 65. Due to coronavirus, I became a part of that vulnerable group. My freedom of movement is controlled by measures of authority and the concern of my children. "Stay at home!" They said and I stayed in the house. I'm not going anywhere. My son does all the work related to purchase and shopping, payments and more. We divided the responsibilities so that I am in private and my son is in public space. I was isolated indefinitely, all for the purpose of my protection and safety. They protect me by restricting and controlling my movements. I feel grateful, but also a little confused. There was resistance in me, some strange stubbornness not to accept myself as old, even though others declared me as that. It is not a problem to be "old", but, as Slavenka Drakulić says, "the problem is that, especially in emergency situations, your identity is determined by others, and not by yourself, we learned that lesson in the war".
What I think about other measures of the Crisis center coincides with the opinion from the letter sent by the clubs of the People and Justice party, SDP, Our party, NLB and the Club of Independent Representatives of the Sarajevo Canton Assembly, the Prime Minister and the Sarajevo Canton Government. On this occasion, I quote from the letter: "Today is exactly one month since the state of natural disaster was declared due to the global coronavirus pandemic, but the inertia you have shown in the past month is a big problem, causing fear and insecurity, both in our parliament and among the citizens of CS. In all your public appearances, you repeated that you are waiting for measures and activities of the Federal Crisis Center or the FB&H Government. We remind you once again that the FB&H Constitution allows certain powers to the cantons and recognizes their differences and specifics. "
The mobilization of the "government" against the virus showed all its weaknesses and chaos in crisis management. We are witnessing that despite all the differences that exist between the coalition partners in power, they can act together, but also that people can change their behavior in a very short time. Let's use these insights. This crisis is not as catastrophic as the war, but it will have far-reaching consequences in all areas of life. This is an opportunity to show solidarity and empowerment, to demand changes that will drastically change the system and society.