Thursday, September 11, 2008
Today is the tenth day of the holy Ramadan month in which Muslims around the world observe fasting from the dawn to the sunset. We Afghans too, conforming with the religion , observe strict fasting which only means hunger and thirst most of the time during this month. For the past ten days while coming home, i have been questioning the notion of the fast in our context in a way that i guess we all need to understand why do we fast and what is the rational. I am sure that Allah doesnt need us be hungry and thirsty for a month, but there is much more into it, which starts from feeling the pain that a poor goes through when he/she doesnt have food and their children sleep with empty stomaches. Another rational is that once we recognize the poverty, then we should be able to do something within our own abilities. Besides, fasting in its original terms, have a social behavioral condition as well which means getting away from all the harms and preventing any harm against another human, its a fast of preventing hands, eyes, legs, brain, tongue from creating any sort of harm towards another human being.
We live in a newly built township which is almost a better off neighborhood as the cost of the apartments are very high and everyone owns their residing apartments in the township so i am sure they are all able to attribute their contributions to complete their fasting requirements. In all these ten days i have noticed a very monsterous silence in the neighborhood but at the same i see the servants, guards, gate keepers, cleaners, labor workers of the buildings scattered around the neighborhood without having enough to eat to break their fast. While i see niehbors in their glamourous apartments with colored lights and beautiful curtains breaking their fast with varities of dishes that takes the women start preparing from the morning. Is it really just for one person to have a variety of dishes on the dastarkhwan ( Afghans sit around and eat on the ground with a table cloth with food on) while at the same time another person desperate for food just outside the house? Are we really sure that we are fasting because we have to do or we believe in it as well.
Yesterday i was trying to make our community representative about this issue that we need to care about those who are around us at least during the Ramadan, and he started cursing the government for its ineffeciency and started praising the previous governments because they provided food rations to poors in the communities. But then what is our individual responsibility as nation mates but also as a Muslim towards others around us. We can make weeks demonstrations for the television channels to stop Indian Dramas because they are against our culture and religion but we are silent when our neighbors sleep empty stomache and dont have food to break their fast with.
Since the start of the fasting month, at least i see three fighting incidents on the street in a day, and when want to know the reason, the driver tells me that actually its Ramadan so people dont have Hosela ( patience) and i giggle with myself that have Afghans been always fasting because they have always been in war and fighting with each other ...it wasnt an orientalistic perspective though.