The year 2020 has been extremely tough for all people, especially when fighting an invisible enemy that has severely threatened our health and lives.
That urgent situation though did not stop the Middle East from becoming even more chaotic.
Iranians spent their Nowruz, or Persian New Year, which fell on March 20 last year, under masks and social distancing rules while seeing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country rise every day.
They were living under the dual pressure of the coronavirus and sanctions by the United States.
In Lebanon, the capital Beirut was hit by the devastation caused by powerful explosions on Aug 4. Two blasts at the Port of Beirut killed hundreds and wounded thousands, pulverizing buildings all over the capital and affecting millions of people.
Turning to News on Yemen, I was wondering who could be suffering more than the people there.
The Yemenis have to find food to eat and a place to live, while their destiny is at the mercy of other countries, and they are powerless to resist.
At the same time, they have to fight against an infectious disease with a limited number of medical facilities. Some of those facilities were donated by international aid agencies.
“How can we, if possible, unravel this mess in the Middle East?”
I proposed this question during a conversation with Shu Meng, a researcher at the Middle East Studies Institute at Shanghai International Studies University.
“Hard to say,” she said. “It seems this place has been trapped all year round by those (powers and the situation) can never be solved.”
“Unless the earth is destroyed by aliens?” I joked.
“Perhaps,” she said. “We may not see it (problems being solved) happen in our lifetime.”
Or at least, we can hope there will be some progress in 2021, especially after the US, a longtime player in Middle East affairs, sees US President-elect Joe Biden take over on Jan 20.