Edna Yaghi’s Column
Today the Muslim world celebrates Eid Al Fitr. For those who have fasted the Holy month of Ramadan, this holiday marks an end to abstinence. It is a dual celebration then of ending the fast both physically and mentally and of the perceived spiritual reward to be derived from abstaining from food and other pleasures.
Eid is a time when relatives and friends visit one another. It is a time of gift giving and remembering the less fortunate. Across the spacious circle from where I live, there are swings where Eid children fly to the stars and there is also a miniature Ferris wheel that brings a moment of joy to infant hearts.
Eid is a time when angelic little girls don ribbons and bows and march around in shiny buckle shoes. It is a time when little boys stuff away their frogs and snails and puppy dog tails and do their best to play the part of mindful little gentlemen who just might yet have a firecracker or two hidden away somewhere.
Eid is a time of steaming hot coffee and chocolate and sweet almond candy. It is a time of good will and when those weary of denial feel the need to celebrate.
But at this time, just across the river from where I live, an entire people are being collectively punished. How can we Muslims be happy when we know that every minute of every day Palestinians are under siege, are being attacked, are surrounded by their occupiers? How can we feel joy when we know that F-16 Israeli warplanes bomb Palestinian towns and villages, that Apache helicopters bombard Palestinian people and that everywhere the eye can see in Occupied Palestine, Israeli tanks and armored vehicles point their guns at unarmed innocent civilians?
How can Arab and Muslim leaders face themselves and their subjects while they know that every Palestinian lives under the most brutal occupation and must endure the most insufferable hardships? How can one part of the Arab and Muslim body bleed in agony and the rest of the body not feel the pain?
How many Palestinian children must be shot down and killed or permanently maimed before the Arab leaders speak in unison and condemn what is going on and when that condemnation goes nowhere, react in ways that will bring about a lasting peace?
How many Palestinian children must watch their fathers massacred before their eyes? When will the rest of the world wake up and hear the cries of these children and who will dry the tears that permanently stain their young faces and scar their tiny hearts?
How can any of us really celebrate this Eid when we know that only a stone’s throw away, our Arab and Muslim brothers and sisters are being attacked constantly? What will it take before we all wake up and work for a positive peace and a world where people like Ariel Sharon no longer wage war against the innocent? How many bloodied coffins must be carried away in endless funeral processions before we all are moved enough to change the current intolerable situation in Palestine?