The month of Ramadan has just started, and many across the Arab world have been looking forward to the special Ramadan television series that are always shown. Bloggers from Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia give us their opinion of the popularity of Ramadan TV in this post.
In Bahrain, Sami highlights the effort people make to keep up with the Ramadan TV schedules – and asks if anyone pays as much attention to the timetable of Ramadan sermons:
أعتقد أنه من حسنات التكنولوجيا أنها اخترعت لنا جهاز الدي في دي المزود بهارد دسك بحيث يستطيع الفرد أن يقوم بتسجيل البرنامج الذي يريده في الدي في دي بدون الحاجة لتخسير أقراص. كما بالإمكان أن يبرمج الشخص الجهاز ليقوم بالتسجيل في حال وجوده خارجا.
لا أدري كم واحدا منا قد بدأ إعداد جداول الخطباء في شهر رمضان و أماكنهم و مواضيعهم، كذلك لا أدري كم واحد منا قد أعد جداول أوقات قراءة الأدعية هنا و هناك
فقط لا أدري
I believe that among the benefits of technology is the invention of the the DVD with a hard disk which enables users to record the programmes they want without having to waste discs. People are also able to programme the device to record programmes while they are outside their homes.
I don't know how many among us have have set up a schedule for the Ramadan sermons, and where they will be held and the topics they will tackle. I also don't know how many have decided on the times they will be reading the Du'a [prayer of supplication]. I just don't know.
Bakkouz from Jordan has some advice:
Aaanyway, one thing that cannot be disputed is that TV channels air some good TV shows in Ramadan, which makes people become obsessed with watching their favorite show, much like a cult following, Me for example, I might watch Bab El-Hara [Syrian drama] since I’m not too much into historical and Bedouin shows (not that I have anything against Bedouin and/or historical shows, I really don’t, seriously) and what not. I guess you can watch whatever you want to, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT WATCH JORDANIAN TELEVISION COMEDY AND GAME SHOWS, especially the ones right after the “athan” [call to prayer], unless you suddenly felt the need to get a stroke. I am being 100% sincere here, don’t!
However, not all bloggers are looking forward to the TV series – or even Ramadan itself. In Bahrain, The Girl With No Face complains:
Ramadan Ramadan Ramadan Ramadan.. I hate Ramadan…and whenever I say that I hate Ramadan in front of anyone, everyone says “astaghfer Allah” [I ask God's forgiveness] as if I said something Blasphemous. I hate the hypocrisy of Ramadan. I hate how people totally miss the point of it. I hate that it’s not a choice. I hate how all people ever talk about in Ramadan is the Ramadan shows on TV.
In Saudi Arabia, Bassem Kurdi says:
(T)he list for this year’s TV shows are far more extensive than last year’s. However, Tash Ma Tash, the most famous Saudi TV show, will not be airing this Ramadan. It finally came to an end after 15 successful seasons. I personally wasn’t one of the show's enthusiasts but I have to acknowledge that it did touch on many important topics and shed some light on multiple issues that we suffer from in our country. … I personally hardly ever watch TV in Ramadan because I believe there is more to do in this month than be glued to a TV screen.
Another Saudi blogger, deja vu, has started a campaign against watching TV at all in Ramadan, so as not to be distracted from the real meaning of the month:
دعم الإعلام تعميم سلوكيات ومفاهيم غير صحيحة عن رمضان وجعله أهم موسماً “ترويجياً” مربِحاً من كثافة المشاهدين الذين وُجِهَت ثقافتهم إلى اعتبار رمضان “متعة” تلفزيونية كل عام
رمضان يحمل عروضاً مغرية بين صوم الجسد ، العقل ، الروح ، و السلوك والخُلُق ..
The media helps to spread inappropriate behaviour and concepts concerning Ramadan, and make it the most lucrative marketing season because of the large concentration of television viewers, who have been trained to view Ramadan as the month of television entertainment every year.
Ramadan does carry ‘attractive offers’ – fasting of the body, mind, spirit, behaviour and character.