I was in Syria in 2009, and celebrated my first Middle Eastern Ramadan there, and my last, most probably, in the Damascus that I knew. My next Middle Eastern Ramadan was in Palestine, where we were working in refugee camps across the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. I saw people dressed in their smartest clothes herded together and watched over by soldiers bearing guns. I then went on to my third Middle East Ramadan, in Jordan, where we were working with Syrian refugees living inside and outside of the refugee Camps. People hospitable as we entered their Camp with our special security passes; sharing their food, their tea, their water. Whether they were eating or not.
For the refugees we work with Ramadan is many times a time of violence, heightened tensions, increased security measures. A time of desperate sadness for the brother, father, sister, mother, friend, who has been killed by war. A time of urgent frustration at the lack of choice, and sense of emasculation at living in a world where one’s status is ‘refugee’.
For this Ramadan it is humanity that I hope for; compassion for all of our fellow souls.
Ramadan Kareem to my brothers and sisters everywhere.