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Arabeyes: Driving in Ramadhan

Staying up all night, sleep deprivation and lack of water, food and cigarettes from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, the month of fasting, is having its toll on drivers – especially those stuck in traffic jams.

Aside from bad planning, short tempers are put to test across the Middle East as people sleep drive to work in the morning and race back home after work to catch up with sleep for a few hours before they break their fast. The scene repeats itself across the region and here are some of the rants from exasperated bloggers.

Bahrain:

Traffic Jam in Bahrain during Ramadhan by Bahraini blogger Ammaro

Ammaro sums up the sentiments in this post:

It's ridiculous, don't you think? Considering EVERY SINGLE MINISTRY, SCHOOL AND COMPANY IN BAHRAIN STARTS AROUND THE SAME TIME IN RAMADHAN! Which idiot planned it this way?

To make the most of his time in the car, Ammaro is at a loss.

Anybody have any ideas to occupy the time usefully in the car? I'm downloading audio foreign language guides, at least i'll get to do something while i'm in the car. I'm also considering putting a TV in there, but i'm pretty sure i'll end up in an accident sooner or later if I do.

Kuwait:

The same scene repeats itself in Kuwait, where Fonzy describes the traffic as “crazed.”

I actually forgot how insane people get with driving during Ramadan. And I was actually thinking that with less working hours, work would be a picnic. It was crazy getting to work today!!

All the people are just sitting behind their steering wheels and letting the car roll and forgetting that they are not the only ones on the road. Hungry, thirsty, and dehydrated from the heat.. everyone is driving Miss Daisy style and causing so much slow moving traffic. Seriously, its not enough that people not even qualified to ride a donkey are given driving licenses, fasting makes them dumber and even more useless drivers. The traffic was insane today.

Still in Kuwait, Swair posts a note to all those fasting in Ramadhan.

Sure, you’re tired and back from work in the middle of traffic, but you’re IN YOUR CAR and u have that goregous COLD AC IN YOUR FACE and it’s not like you’re late for lunch of anything, so take your effing time!
Relax! Everybody knows traffic is horrible after work, so just call your wife/mom/flat-mate and tell them the traffic situation, turn on some quiet music or some Holy Quran and RELAX!

Z District from Kuwait is also complaining about traffic and has taken a large number of pictures to put his point across in the hope that something will be done. He writes:

There is something about these guys just parking and on the side of the road and causing traffic. I really don’t understand why they do this, and how come its a Ramadan ritual. The police used to do checks to see if some of the kids who are standing there don’t have licenses other then that they can’t do anything. The sad part is even when the police are on the road the quads and off-road motorcycles are riding past them with their machines pointing to the sky.


Libya:

From Libya, Khadija Teri paints another picture – still of traffic and madness. She describes the scene from the night before Ramadhan started here:

Last night the traffic in Tripoli was horrendous and the supermarkets were packed with entire families. It was crazy. I've had all my shopping done except for the vegetables and meat for about two weeks. I took the kids out for a drive last night just to watch the madness. Just getting into a parking area of a shop we often go to was almost impossible. Inside they had added an extra cash register to try to handle the crowds (but it didn't really make that much of a difference). Why on earth people had waited so late to do their shopping is a mystery to me. But the kids and I enjoyed watching them all. We drove around town at a snail's pace. The kids chose oldies from the 70s to listen to and we stopped and got shawarma on the way home.

3 comments

  • Libyan Expat

    Well Well, finally some honest people giving some honest portrail of life in a Muslim country. Now it maybe Ramadan, but this type of traffic and bad driving is an everyday thing here, face it they just don’t get it. in the last few nights I have seen things in Tripoli traffic that scares me as well as amazes me how ignorant some of these people can be. Ramadan is an excuse to be out all night, come to work tired and say it is tough, come on, they fast for only 12 hours or so, the sun comes up here shortly after 6am they break the fast at around 7:20pm, but they only work from either 9-3pm or 9-2pm some government offices actually close at 1pm, they will go home to sleep so they don’t have to coup with fasting, then they eat and sleep for a few more hours and head out the door to drive around with actually no place to really go. The police are yelled at and disrespected here is so sad to see.

    So to use Ramadan as an excuse is simply that an excuse. So wake up Libya it is time to look at the big picture

  • blurry

    i go thru dis nitemare every day…. coz i live in riyadh n belive me its million times worse over here thn in kuwait…drivers all over da world go crazy in ramadan i hav seen it in pakistan,saudiarabia n egypt im sure its da same in other countries 2…da worse part iz dat u cant smoke or drink whn u r stuck in dis traffic or else ppl around u will kill u.

  • Saibal

    I lived in the Middle East for twelve years. I have seen it all. Some fast because they want to and rest do it due to family or social pressure. Work- rest of the year they do very little, and this time of the year,they have valid excuse not to do at all.
    They always say’that is why we hire the expats’.
    If you don’t want to face this mad crowd don’t go out at night, and since you are a guest in their country, respect the culture, don’t eat or drink in public during the Ramadan.

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