Students Rising AboveBy Michelle Griego

by Michelle Griego and Jennifer Mistrot

CONCORD (KPIX 5) — As a young child Musadiq Bidar lived through a war in his home country, and he has some words of wisdom and comfort for those struggling with the current coronavirus pandemic, and shelter-in-place order.

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Just last fall, Bidar was working as a reporter, following presidential hopefuls like Montana Govenor Steve Bullock and Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, criss-crossing the state of Iowa on the campaign trail as a special correspondent for CBSN, the streaming video channel from CBS News.

Now he’s working from his home in the East Bay, and sheltering in place, just like the rest of us.

“Part of me is a little worried that this could last through November,” said Bidar. “So I’ve set up a small little area here {at home} and I am taking over my brother’s desk.”

Bidar is surprisingly upbeat because he says he has lived though uncertainty before, not a global pandemic but a reality just as frightening. Bidar was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, where his family lived in constant fear of the Taliban. A teenaged Bidar recalled for KPIX 5 several years ago how his mother protected the family sheltered inside their home.

“My mom had blankets against the windows,” recalled Bidar. “So just in case a bullet was fired the glass wouldn’t come through the window and hurt us.”

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Sheltering in place was a family mandate. “In Afghanistan, sheltering in place was literally sheltering in place. In the mornings we were in the basement from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” said Bidar. “And then you would come back out and even then you are not leaving the house. We were working from home all day long.”

Even with such extreme precautions, Bidar’s family suffered. Their home was bombed, and Bidar’s grandfather was killed while his father was injured. Eventually the surviving family members made it out of the Middle East, then to the United States where Bidar’s resilient spirit emerged.

“So having gone through this as a child in the past and having relying on those experiences and remembering that it is not the end of the world. You are here at home and there are plenty of silver linings to all this,” advised Bidar.

For Bidar, that silver lining is being at home with his family.

“Being with family again, being stuck at home and sheltering in place is such a thing of privilege,” said Bidar.”Not a lot of people can do this. To be able to sit at home and be comfortable and still have resources to survive.”

Now Bidar is keeping up to date on election coverage remotely as he looks ahead to the fall, with an upbeat attitude some might say should be impossible for someone who has been through so much. But for Bidar, this uncertain time is an opportunity to give thanks and stay positive.

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“Just remembering where you are, remembering the positive, and remembering this is going to pass,” advised Bidar.” It’s not just folks in California. It’s not just New York. It’s the entire world being affected by this.”