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Ramadan is Kareem (generous) for some, but Stingy for Somalia
Inevitably during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, the Somali plight- the distress of a fellow Arab nation, majority Muslim population, has not been far from the conscience of the devout followers of the fast. These worshippers use the month to reflect and count their blessings for the food and health they have, and use the temporary hunger to feel with the less fortunate. So the irony of Somalia has not been lost on them.
How much does the Middle East region get through in fasts broken on generous servings and abundent choices and feasts, even before the official ‘Eid’ Feast to celebrate the end of the fasting month? And how much food is really wasted at this time of theoretical returning to basics or religious aesceticism and less, not more; all the while the Somalis are forsaken and denied the opportunity to break a relentless fast that they did not opt to keep this Ramadan.
This is the worst drought the Somalis have suffered in 60 years, significantly at a time when the world is accused of wasting more food and resources than ever before. (Studies in the region show a 30 per cent food wastage average per household, mostly by busy younger working people aged 16 to 34 and families with school-age children). Some however, are raising awareness and ramping up action to prevent wastage, and feed the hungry, at least the local hungry. Thanks to at least some responsible and concerned Ramadan followers, as well as environment or charity activists, trying to stem the tide of food wastage and create campaigns to highlight the cause at Ramadan, wastage concern has been on the agenda. Ramadan notably is a month that attracts more charity work in the Muslim nation, so it is quite common to find people already or customarily arranging food programs for the needy as part of their family habit or community culture.
But this effort needs to be implemented across the board and spectrum from family level through community to retailer and consumer, since ‘the enormous food waste generation can be witnessed at all levels from the wholesaler to retailer and to consumers.’
Somalia on our Minds
Back to Somalia: Tens of thousands have died in the last three months. Muslim member states have been recently meeting to take action. Some people go most of their lives without knowing hunger. That cannot be said for Muslims who practice the fast of Ramadan. Member states gathered in Istanbul last month to coordinate an emergency response to the devastating drought in Somalia.
One person in the world dies every three seconds because of hunger.