COVID-19 Outbreak: A chance to remember how close we are to each other INVITE Blog

We share the impressions and thought of Aboubakr Mohamed Salama, an INVITE fellows who is currently in the USA for a training period.

A year ago, when I stepped into the Coliseum for the first time, I was thinking how many great emperors were there. I felt like I am going back in history to see all the great knights and leaders following the processions of emperors and going around me. A unique experience that I have never had, except in Luxor: the feeling that history was created in Ancient Egypt and matured in the Great Rome to be then held to humanity. 

That’s why it is really painful to see the photos of Rome, Milan and Venice with the curfew. It is difficult to imagine the empty streets in Naples and to think that no one is visiting the Juliet’s house in Verona anymore.

I cannot think that the friendly, easy-going Italian people – who are very close in their habits to Egyptians – are not spending the nights laughing loudly in the bars. But it seems this has become a reality, a painful reality.

The whole world now is on fire, the virus is spreading everywhere.

Aboubakr Salama at the Institute of Molecular Cardiology of the University of Louisville (Kentucky, US)

As I am currently in the States, I can describe the panic here, the empty stores, the germophobia and the fear of a coming economic crisis. All the conferences and scientific meetings were either cancelled or changed to online format with ongoing discussions to postpone any research activities that are not of high priority.

The same panic is shared through the Egyptian media, but there is something else other than fear: it is the sense of unity and condolence.  

You can follow the trend on media to know about the calls for all Egyptians living in Italy now to go out of the windows waving both the Egyptian and Italian flags, to show the unity during this crisis.

The Facebook group of Egyptians in Italy shows how they are indebted to Italy as a home asking for the maximum commitment and support to the actions taken by the Italian authorities. Doctors in Egypt are totally sympathetic with their colleagues in Italy, especially after Roberto Stella, the Italian medical chief, has passed away in the crisis.

We may be different, but this difference is what makes us human beings.

During crises we are one nation, no matter the color, race or religion: hearts are the same.

In Egypt, United States, everywhere, you can hear prayers for this crisis to get to an end, for all people to be safe, and for Rome to be open again for tourists as it always used to be.