A collective sigh goes up with sunset: the last day of fasting has finished, life can resume to normal. For many, the month has been trying, difficult to fast during the absurd heat, with added stresses that Muslims around the world may not face to such a degree (near 50% unemployment and 90% extreme poverty, the wreckage of the Israel massacre of Gaza still achingly visible, the Israeli attacks from sea, border regions and air, the closed borders and closed opportunities).
For many, not being able to have that calming cigarette, let alone water to re-hydrate, has led to greater nervousness and irritability, fatigue, depression.
But that aside, I saw much love and generosity in Ramadan, despite the expected low-blood-sugar irritability.
And there are those for whom the end of Ramadan fasting is sad.
My Ezbet Abed Rabbo family (they are like a family now and tell me so) are pained by the end of Ramadan. As F. and H. said, “we feel the closest to Allah during this month. It’s a special time and we don’t want it to end.”
They will fast again following ‘Eid celebrations.
But for those who found the fasting difficult and long to sip coffee and relax during the day, life as usual can resume.
It is worth bearing in mind, though, that ‘life as usual’ in Gaza is full of compromised expectations. Don’t these people deserve some justice, finally? Will the UN resolutions over the decades and the latest Richard Goldstone report on Israel’s criminal acts on a civilian population ever bear the significance that they should? [see also and this too].
I’m thankful for the changing tide of sentiments I read about in North America, Europe… While our politicians may remain despicably shallow, people around the world are taking things into their own hands. Palestinians’ call for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) is gaining more ground, the latest impressive announcement being that of the UK Trade Unions endorsement of the BDS call, representing 6.5 million workers in the UK. And the US conference of at least 300 Palestine solidarity groups agreeing to join the boycott [see also]. And filmmakers like Ken Loach supporting BDS, or the Toronto Declaration of protest against the Toronto International Film Festival becoming a venue for Israeli propaganda by its decision to host a spotlight on Tel Aviv, particularly in the wake of Israel’s massacre of Gaza.
So as ‘Eid comes, and a sense of a ‘new year’ starts, I hope that this BDS solidarity continues to grow, reaching compassionate people around the world who realize that BDS is one of the only means of truly holding Israel accountable for its occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza (militarily) and Israel’s massacre of Gaza, which the Goldstone report said “punished and terrorized” civilians in Gaza.
Desmond Tutu said: “The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure– in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s. Over the past six months, a similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation”.