When staying safe meant staying in: Memories of sheltering in place before covid-19
More than half of the world is under orders to stay home. For some people, that means adjusting to a new way of living. For others, it recalls previous periods spent sheltering in place — not during an outbreak, but in times of turmoil and political upheaval. Here are some of their stories.
Ghaith Alhallak, 34, is settling into his second month of lockdown in Padua, Italy, a 15-minute drive west of Venice. He spends hours online in university classes and barely ventures out.
“You can feel the sadness in the street,” he said. “Every day, there is a lot of death.”
He knows that feeling well.
Seven years ago, Alhallak found himself under a very different kind of lockdown. As a conscripted soldier in the Syrian army, he was besieged by rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta and forced to fight for the Assad government, which he opposed.
He spent some 60 days that spring hunkered down, low on water and at times with nothing to eat but grass boiled in a weak soup.