Thursday, August 20, 2009

Afghan National Elections and Ramadan

I have been anticipating the arrival of this day since about mid April. That is when I figured out that I would be present in Afghanistan during this historic day. It is a day that the Afghan people and allies of ISAF(International Security Assistance Force) have been planning for a long time as well. A lot hangs on the results of this day. It remains to be seen how many Afghans will be brave enough to risk actually going to the polls and then voting. This is a land steeped in retribution, so lack of loyalty to one's family, tribe or region can have direct and dire consequences. Please remember the Afghan Security forces who are protecting the polling areas, roads and crowds today. Please also remember the US and Coalition forces who are working with or assisting the Afghans in their lofty goal of obtaining a nonbiased and democratic vote.

The 22nd of August heralds the start of Ramadan. In this country, which is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ramadan is a very important month. We had the ANA Corps Cultural Advisor- ie Mullah, come and give us a lecture on Ramadan last week. Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, sexual conduct, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is meant to teach patience, modesty and spirituality. Per our lecturer it makes people more understanding of the plight of the poor and motivates believers to give alms and perform good deeds. It certainly will make our mentoring mission interesting. While not directly forbidden, it is considered in very poor taste to eat or drink in the presence of a muslim who is fasting during Ramadan. Productive earthly work also tends to decrease as muslims are fasting and devoting more time to prayer.

1 comment:

  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/20/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.