Sorry, we are keeping fast come back after Eid [Archives:2007/1095/Viewpoint]

October 18 2007

Eid Al-Fitr is a special religious celebration observed throughout the Muslim world. It is considered a reward for Muslims for keeping fast for the whole of Ramadan month.

In concept, Ramdan means Muslims endure hunger and thirst for one whole month while they practice their daily lives and got the work done. Whereas in Yemeni reality it means a nice one month long holiday where night becomes day and day becomes night. Schools close down, so there isn't much education during Ramdan. Also government work is stalling. Ramadan is a part of a three-month judiciary vacation where the courts are closed. It is a month when the business is slow. And it is defiantly a month when a lot of social visiting and spending takes place.

Around the Arab world, this month has been used commercially by TV and Radio channels. Programs are designed especially for this month, so that the lazy people who have turned into batmen and women would enjoy watching programs until the early hours of morning. It also means a lot of cooking to compensate the fasting during the day. A fact that contradicts with the reason why fasting was initiated in the first place, i.e. to learn endurance and empathize with the poor.

As a newspaper, we have had many disappointments while trying to reach people in order to get our work done. People are either sleeping most of the day, or no body picks up the phone in the offices. A usual reply we get, if someone finally answers, is to call back after Eid, apparently they are keeping fast, so they can't work, or think for that matter.

And after one month of hibernation, there is an even bigger celebration. It is Eid Al-Fitr where people whether they have the money or don't, buy new clothes and make a large feast. People beg, borrow or steal in order to get the money for Eid expenses. With the deteriorating level of income this has become a difficult task today more than ever.

And once this whole period of about one and half months is over, most Yemenis are drowning in debts. And the country's economy overall has lost at least one and half months of valuable time which could have been used in production. But then again, who's to say? Happy Eid every one.