21. A Glass-Half-Full Eid

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It’s Eid! A very warm Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim and non-Muslim friends on this beautiful day. This is the time of year when millions of Muslims flock to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina and millions more celebrate with their brothers and sisters in Islam all over the world. It is the time of year we’re meant to be even more compassionate and charitable and distribute food and money to the poor and impoverished. We buy new clothes, give presents and pray with the community.

This Eid, I’m sitting looking out at a rainy suburban street, 99.2 miles away from my mum and dad and many thousands more away from my family and my sun scorched land. If you over-think it, it’s a pretty grim state of affairs. These ISIS loonies are reducing my home to a childhood memory, these Zionists are bulldozing and blockading land which is illegal any way you look at it, and these Western governments are aiding and abetting all manner of sins in my name. If I was a glass half empty kind of a girl I wouldn’t want to get out of bed, I’d put on a Hugh Grant movie and eat bread and Za’atar to wash and wish it all away.

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15. Reflections on Eid as Gaza Crumbles

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Yesterday, Eid Al-Fitr started. There are two Eids annually and this one is the smaller of the two, it comes at the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan where Muslims worldwide have fasted from sunrise to sunset every day for a month. It’s a beautiful time to meet friends, family and loved loves in mosques, parks, restaurants etc. Traditionally you buy new clothes, take a long bath the night before and exchange gifts – usually money – given from the elders to the youngers. It really is a great atmosphere. Of course the full infectious effects are somewhat lost in the West because the streets aren’t alive in the same way. I still haven’t experienced it the way it ought to be done but my mum tells me magical stories and Buzzfeed does good summations. Yesterday was the first Eid I’ve spent at home in a long time: me and my mum went to a meal with Iraqis in the community, I then swung by my father’s. My cousin offered me watermelon and Arabic sweets. My father wore a grey suit, hair cut and cleanly shaven. His eyes creased with laughter and his table laden with baklava. It was, all in all, a beautiful and peaceful day.