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Arabisc: Ramadan, War, Freedom and Other Issues

With all Muslim countries marking the Holy Month of Ramadan, UAE blogger Bin Kerishan, wonders why people fast.

كل العبادات تسبب للانسان الاما و معاناه كالحج و الصلاه و الصيام و الاخير من اقساها و اكثرها ضررا على صحته.. لماذا لا يكون الطقس الديني مسليا؟ كالذهاب لملاقاة الاصدقاء في المقهى او البار او حضور حفله راقصه او مسرحيه كوميديه او الاستماع الي الموسيقي..لماذا يجب ان تكون هناك معاناه اصلا؟
إن السبب الرئيس في اعتقادي يكمن في الاحتقار الشديد الذي تحمله جميع الاديان لجسد الانسان . يمثل الجسد بالنسبة للاديان العدو الاول

Although he admits he doesn't observe the fast, he goes on to include other religious rituals in his “NO GO” list because of their danger to his well-being.

All religions cause some pain and suffering for people, like Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), praying and fasting. The latter in particular is the most cruel and dangerous on people's health. Why can't religious rituals be entertaining like meeting friends at a coffee shop or bar, or attending a dance, or a comedy, or listening to music? Why should there be any suffering the first place? I believe that the main reason for this is because all religions despise the human body, which is their number one enemy.

Away from religion and to the heart of politics, Syrian Pages, brings together the articles of Syrian writers under one roof in a blog, which sadly doesn't give its readers the option of commenting!

Writer Nabeel Shabeeb tells us:

أخيرا صرح الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد بأنه يتوقع عدوانا عسكريا إسرائيليا على دمشق في أي لحظة، وسيان ما هو الهدف من هذا التصريح وتوقيته، يبقى أنه يصف الواقع الفعلي، وإن لم يترتب على التصريح ما ينبغي أن يُصنع فعلا لمواجهة العدوان.
فقد ظهر أن الحرب العدوانية الإسرائيلية ضد لبنان، كانت مدبرة بتخطيط إسرائيلي-أميركي، وبهدف ولادة “شرق أوسط جديد”، أي أنها كانت ضمن مخططات تشمل سوريا على وجه التخصيص، من بين حلقات ما بات يوصف بمحور يضمها مع إيران ومنظمات المقاومة بلبنان وفلسطين
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad finally declared that he expects an Israeli offensive aganist Damascus at any time. The timing and purpose of this announcement doesn't matter. What matters is that it tells us about reality on the ground, without informing us what should be done to confront this offensive. It has now become obvious that Israel's war against Lebanon has been planned in advance by both Israel and the US, with the aim of creating a “New Middle East”. It was part of a plan which included Syria in particular and what is now described as the “axis”, which includes Iran and the resistance movements in Lebanon and Syria.

With a lack of an organised resistance movement, like in Lebanon, the writer envisions that the Syrian authorities would be their worst enemies – unless they immediately initiated political and democratic reforms.

From Kuwait, Kuwait Unplugged, narrates to us the details of another war – this time against education in his country.

لدي زميل عمل أجنبي روى هذه الحادثة التي لم استطع تصديقها

يقال أن إحدى الجامعات الخاصة التي فتحت في الكويت مؤخراً تعقد جلسات للمدرسين الوافدين الجدد في بداية كل عام دراسي جديد لتعرفهم على الكويت وشعبها وقوانينها وعاداتها وتقاليدها وغير ذلك من معلومات قد تساعدهم على التأقلم مع البيئة المحلية بعيداً عن وطنهم… ويخيل لي أن هناك جلسة خاصة عن خطورة قيادة السيارات على طرق الكويت

إلى هنا والموضوع عادي جداً وليس عليه غبار… لكن يبدو أن العقلية التجارية قد غلبت على الرسالة التعليمية، فنجد أن المرشد الأجنبي الذي يدير هذه الجلسات يحذر الأساتذة من الطلبة الكويتيين وبطش أهاليهم وينصحهم بأن الطلبة ليسوا سوى عملاء أو زبائن وهم دائماً على حق ما دام أنهم يدفعون قيمة تعليمهم الجامعي، لذلك يجب أن لا يجادلونهم في إجاباتهم الخاطئة ولا يخالفونهم الرأي ويجب أن ينجحوا جميعاً حتى لو كانوا كسالى أو في منتهى الغباء وإلا سوف يحتج الأهالي ويسببون لهم مشاكل هم بغنى عنها

ذهلت لهذا الكلام ولم أصدق ما سمعته… هل وصل بنا الحال إلى هذا المستوى؟ وهذه الجامعات التي اعتقدنا – خاطئين على ما يبدو – أنها سترفع من المستوى التعليمي للأجيال القادمة، اتضح أنها مؤسسات تجارية بحتة لا هم لها سوى الربح المادي وليذهب التعليم إلى الجحيم

A foreign colleague of mine told me the following story, which I found hard to believe. A newly opened private university in Kuwait holds meetings for new teachers at the beginning of each year to introduce them to Kuwait, its people, rules and traditions. They are also given information which helps them adapt to their surroundings since they are away from their homes. I even think there should be a special session on how dangerous driving is in Kuwait. Until now and the subject is normal..but it seems that the commercial mentality has overrun the noble mission of education. The foreign supervisor who runs those sessions warns the teachers from Kuwaiti students and the aggression of their parents. He tells them to consider the students as customers or clients, who are always right since they are paying university fees. The teachers should therefore not argue with them when they give wrong answers and should not fail them even if they are lazy or stupid to ensure that they parents dont protest and create problems for the university. I was surprised to hear this and couldnt believe my ears. Have we really sunk to this level? It seems that those universities which we wrongly thought would raise the level of education in our country are merely commercial ventures and let education go to hell!

Meanwhile in Jordan, blogger Batir Wardam, decides to take a break from blogging during Ramadan.

نظرا للدمار الهائل الذي يحدث في إدارة الوقت اثناء شهر رمضان المبارك، والضغط الشديد في متطلبات العمل وعدم وجود الوقت الكافي ولا التنظيم الكافي ونقصان الكافيين والمنبهات من الجهاز العصبي فقد واجهت حالة من التأخير في إنجاز العمل وهذا ما يترتب عليه تراكم كبير للواجبات. ولهذا فقد قررت تجميد ثلاثة نشاطات أثناء الفترة المتبقية من شهر رمضان الكريم وهي الزيارات الاجتماعية ومشاهدة التلفاز والتدوين
Due to the great disruption to time management which happens in Ramadan, pressures of work and the lack of Caffine (from fasting), my work is accumulating and I don't seem to be able to manege my time properly. Therefore, I have decided to stop three activitives until the end of the month: social visits, watching television and blogging.

But before he retreats, he posts a report on the decline of freedom of expression in Jordan.

The Eyewitness, from Egypt, ponders on the real meaning of freedom and tells us about the type of freedom he yearns for.

هل سيأتي ذلك اليوم الذي سوف أنعم فيه بحريتي؟ هل سيأتي اليوم الذي سوف أتحرك مثل الريح، لا يقيدني شيء، ولا يجزيني شيء، لا ينفرني شيء…

هل سيأتي ذلك اليوم الذي سوف يصير فيه البشر جميعاً سواسية، فلا يصير الغني أفصل من الفقير ولا الفقير أفضل من الغني، ولا تصير المرأة أفضل من الرجل ولا الرجل أفضل من المرأة، لا يصير الطفل أفضل من العجوز ولا العجوز أفضل من الطفل، لا يصير العريان أفضل من المستور ولا المستور أفض من العريان، لا يصير المجرم أفضل من النبي ولا النبي أفضل من المجرم، ولا يصير الصديق أفضل من العدو ولا العدو أفضل من الصديق.

هل سيأتي ذلك اليوم الذي لا يصير فيه الشبع أفضل من الجوع ولا الجوع أفضل من الشبع، لا يصير فيه الغنى أفضل من الفقر ولا الفقر أفضل من الغنى، لا يصير فيه العمل أفضل من الراحة ولا الراحة أفضل من العمل، لا يصير فيه العتيق أفضل من الجديد ولا الجديد أفضل من العتيق، لا يصير فيه القوة أفضل من الضعف ولا الضعف أفضل من القوة.

أنا لا أتحدث هنا عن حالة من اليأس، أنا أتكلم عن حلم للحياة، حلم للانطلاق، أتحدث عن حلم الحرية، الحرية كما فهمتها وعرفتها وحلمت بها دوماً.

Will the day ever come when I will enjoy my full freedom? Will the day ever come when I can move like the wind? When nothing will tie me down, or reward me or annoy me. Will the day ever come when all people become equal, when the rich is not better than the poor and the poor is not better than the rich; when women are not better than men and men better than women; when a child is not better than an elderly person and an elderly person is not better than a child; when those dressed up are not better than the naked and those naked are not better than those dressed; when the criminal is not better than the prophet and the prophet is not better than the criminal; when the friend is not better than the enemy and the enemy is not better than the friend? Will the day ever come when being full is not better than being hungry and vice versa; when being rich is not better than being poor and vice versa; when relaxing is not better than working and vice versa; when the old is not better than the new and vice versa and when being strong is not better than being weak and vice versa. I am not speaking about a state of desperation but about the dream for life – for being set free. I am speaking about the dream of freedom – freedom as I understood it, knew it and dreamt of it always.

2 comments

  • I think stating that all religions cause some pain and suffering does not only offend every religious person in the world but also miss the point of what practicing a religion is all about.

    What the Bolgger sees as pain and suffering, others see it as pleasure and peace. The same way in sports, playing football, rugby, boxing, etc. and most sport are too risky, but people find joy in playing them.

    As for the way religions look at the human body, this isn’t true. In Islam for instance, it is forbidden for a person to harm himself or herself, even in the rituals; you shouldn’t fast if you are sick, and you shouldn’t go for the Hajj journey if you aren’t able.

    I have seen people take pleasure in waking up early in the morning and going to the mosque, as do other when they go jogging, swimming, or playing football. All these physical activities give a gratification that only the practicing person can feel.

  • Idoloclast

    The writer obviously has no idea what fasting is about. It is not about suffering. Quite to the contrary, it is a literal cleansing process. Fasting makes you healthy. Purification is the religious theme at work here, not masochism.

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