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Covid-19, Civil War And Western Privileges

Day 13 of self-isolating and the atmosphere in my bedroom is tiresome. In an attempt to dismantle my negativity, I head to the kitchen to make myself some chai. As soon as I open the door, I'm met with the gentlest eyes and matching smile. “Good morning sunshine, did you sleep well?” says my mother wrapped in her apron while kneading dough.

Today she’s attempting to make two different sets of biscuits. She’s a chef and her job leaves no room for pleasure baking, so she’s taking full advantage of her time during the quarantine. Sipping my tea slowly, I watch her in admiration. Just a few days ago, my mum was in full panic mode about the effects of Covid-19. It was distressing to see and if I’m being honest, a tad dramatic – or so I thought. Without realising, I was carrying privilege high on my shoulders and being the child of a second-generation immigrant, I was bearing entitlement as if it were a crown.

Initially during the outbreak and uncertainty I adopted a surprisingly positive attitude about what was transpiring – courtesy of freelancing. In hindsight, the attitude was in fact naivety. I refused to let retweeted posts cause fear, but one afternoon I found my mum crying, as if the fear had sidestepped me and went straight for her gut. Hoping to offer comfort, I asked what was wrong and what she displayed was a cold case of collective trauma with a side dish of anxiety. My mum was born in Angola a year after the civil war had begun. She was raised amid a war zone and, given her history, I assumed she would remain unfazed by the pandemic, but I was wrong.