Dana Shalash: Ramadan Ended! Now What?

By Dana Shalash

So today is the third day of Eid Al Fitr that all Muslims worldwide celebrate right after the culmination of the month of Ramadan. Not sure if it’s only me, but Ramadan seems to have lost its glory. Years ago when I was a child, people’s attitudes towards both Ramadan and Eid (festival) were way different than now. Maybe I have grown up to the extent that I see in them nothing but the mere fact that few arrogant relatives come for a visit for a couple of minutes, and everyone just sucks them up.

It has been a gloomy day in deed. Being self-centered often times, I thought that my own family never enjoyed the Ramadan that other people celebrate. But the night prior to the Eid, I went for a drive to Ramallah with my uncle and three sisters, we toured around Al Manara and the mall a bit, and felt the legendary atmosphere. People were happy. That hit me; I am not accustomed to seeing them vividly preoccupied with the preparation for the big “day.”

So I came back home and wrote to all my contacts wishing them a Happy Eid and expressed my astonishment and satisfaction to see promising smiles in the crowded streets of Ramallah. But the sad part was that I knew it was merely fleeting moments and that those smiles would be wiped off soon. Not only have my fears become true, but I was blind. Yes, blind. Or may be I just chose not to see it. May be I wanted to believe that we are actually happy.

Would I miss Ramadan? NO. Not really. It has been made hell this year.

While Ramadan is believed to be the holy month during which people get closer to Allah by fasting from food and drink all day long and focus on their faith instead, I am not pretty sure this was the case with us Palestinians. It was only a drug. Ramadan numbed our pain. We could handle both the Israeli and Palestinian political, economic, and security pressure knowing that the day of salvation was approaching; the Eid. But after the three days elapsed, then what?

Now thousands of Palestinians are waiting for the next phase. It has been seven months now. Seven months, and thousands of the PA employees have not received their salaries. And two months elapsed with millions of students deprived form their right of education. I have three sisters and two brothers who do nothing but stay at home. They have not attended school from the very beginning of this term. It is both sad and frustrating that they have to “do the time” and pay a high price.

Reading the news headlines on the first days of Eid is not healthy at all. It lessens the effect of the drug, and one starts to get sober. Sounds funny in deed, but that was the case.

Few minutes ago, I surfed some of the blogs and came across few Iraqi bloggers writing on both Ramadan and Eid. If the titles did not mention “in Iraq,” I swear I could never tell the difference between Iraq and Palestine. The hunger, misery, constant killing, and lack of security are all Palestinian symptoms.

I am speechless now; I can hardly verbalize the so many conflicting thoughts. Heaven knows how things would be like next Ramadan, but I would not speculate it already. It is not time to worry about it now, other issues are on stake; food, money, and education. Until then, there are a lot of things to sort out.
© MIFTAH, Oct 27, 2006 (www.miftah.org)  

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