Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Why hearing applause erupt around my Dubai Marina balcony was a moment of pure joy

It was a moment in which we celebrated the world's true heroes, and it reminded me that there is always positivity in humanity

At times over the past few weeks, it’s been hard to see the wood for the trees.

With so much fear and uncertainty in the world right now, trying to find the positives has not been easy, even for the most optimistic among us. But, last night, a little positive found its way to me.

The world is no longer looking to celebrities as a source of inspiration: it’s the everyday people we are now celebrating. That's the way, perhaps, it should have always been

It started faintly, carried on the wind outside. But upon opening my balcony door, the noise erupted into my living room.

It was the unmistakable sound of a city cheering.

Five minutes before, I had been talking to two of my close friends who are facing the reality that their jobs might not be safe through all of this. And before that, I was chatting to my mum, who is at home in England, facing self-isolation alone.

I was feeling helpless, worried, and sadness for them – a feeling, I’m sure, that is shared by everyone right now. And not just for loved ones, but for the whole world.

But as I stood on the balcony, listening to the growing cheers from the city below me, it was impossible not to feel positivity.

Thousands of Dubai residents cheered from their balconies on Wednesday night. Sophie Prideaux / The National
Thousands of Dubai residents cheered from their balconies on Wednesday night. Sophie Prideaux / The National

The UAE came together, through newspapers, through social media, through WhatsApp messages, to proudly support the front line workers who are battling this all-encompassing pandemic, showing their appreciation through cheers, through applause, through song. It might sound small, in the grand scheme of things, but in that moment, it felt huge.

It was a very real reminder that even though it might sound cliche, we really are all in this together. Everyone, in spite of background or nationality, is going through the same emotions.

The world is no longer looking to celebrities or public figures as a source of inspiration or fascination; it’s the everyday people, the ones risking their lives day in, day out to ensure the safety of others, who we are now celebrating. That's the way it should be. The way, perhaps, it should have always been.

No one knows when, or how, this is going to end, and there are undoubtedly going to be many tough moments ahead, for all of us. But when it feels like there is nothing but bad news, remember, there is always positivity in humanity, and that has a way of finding you, just when you need it the most.

Updated: March 26, 2020 11:56 AM

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