This morning I was woken up with this urge to clean, my version of cleaning constitutes of heavy bin liners; filled with clothes to give to charity or throwing away things that we no longer use or need. I’m a reverse-hoarder and my ‘cleaning’ moods seem to always send my husband in a state of panic, I have in the past thrown away (by accident of course…I think) some of his more ‘useful’ and ‘prized’ possessions (which he hasn’t used or worn in decades!).
I opened my cupboard and saw a memory box that I’ve kept since my college days. As I opened it, I was overcome with a rush of nostalgia and several memories flashed before my eyes. A different life, a different me and it had been a long time since I’d look through this box, no time like the present I thought. After rummaging through several cards and photographs, at the bottom of the box, neatly folded was a small cut out article, something I had written in 2008 for the University newspaper.
I have re-written this article and made it more relevant to today.
My Revised Article 2018
A Fast Realisation
As dusk draws upon a more familiar face of poverty
It’s fast approaching 12:30 pm, I take a quick glance at the time on my computer screen, it seems to be passing so slowly today. Whilst my colleagues indulge in their lunch, the aromas hit my nose at lightning speed. Overcome with a sudden pang of envy, the lucky so and so’s. I am fully aware that fasting today was an individual choice, though here I am ‘starving’ and ‘slaving’ away at work, running on what appears to be empty and they are nourishing their guts without giving mine a second thought. I let my mind wander and a few moments are spent pondering on what to eat when it is ‘iftaar’ (dusk).
The roasting but gorgeous weather doesn’t help matters either, I feel weary, parched and the low sound of my stomach rumbling is deafening to me. I imagine myself in the kitchen later today, cooking up a feast. I carefully construct the menu for what’ll be on offer for starters, main course and dessert. Perhaps I’ll take a diversion to the supermarket to guarantee all the ingredients required are available to make dinner extra special tonight.
Thousands of miles away from the cosiness and extravagances in Manchester, is Syria a true humanitarian tragedy. Where once stood, hospitals, schools, water and purification facilities, have now been condensed to rubble. The outbreak of war has left more than 13.1 million people in need of benevolent aid. There, is a more familiar face of poverty. Under canvas tents, refugee aid workers coax babies with thin limbs to take sips of milk. Where Syrians who fled the bombs and repression have been displaced with inadequate access to food, water and sanitary facilities. There is the sound of children wailing, folks desperate for their lost loved ones. This is the bizarre reality of a once thriving, fast-economically growing Syria, when healthcare facilities, education, food and water were readily available to all. The outbreak of the Syrian war, being exposed to chemical attacks has reduced these individuals to asking for help for their basic human rights. Where orphan children can be spotted, walking meaninglessly, hungry, misplaced and confused.
A feeling of anguish, distress and guilt empowers me. My fast is for a measly 19 hours, where I begin and end each with the equivalent of a feast and I complain of starving. These are the daily struggles faced by millions of people throughout the world. Each of my fasts are comparable to a drop in the ocean of the angst felt by my fellow brothers and sisters in need of our compassion.
As the day draws closer to dusk, I often refer to myself as “starving”, my mind is frequently consumed with selfish thoughts, I have forgotten the primary aim of fasting. My fast is water for my dehydrated soul. An awakening and gratitude for what I have, and many others pray for, a way to empathise with the less fortunate and compassion for those in need of our help. It isn’t about me at all, it is about creating an awareness of others, what I can do for them?
I open my fast with a date, immediately after taking a bite of the juicy, sweet flesh, I have a sudden burst of energy. My attention is quickly diverted to the Syrian people, where everyday is a battle waiting to be conquered.
I look for internal peace and work towards aims and goals in my life, then among many of those wouldn’t it be amazing to put a glistening smile on an orphan’s face? Or perhaps contribute to providing food and shelter to those who have been adversely affected by war and terror?
“We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.” – Martin Luther King.