It doesn’t take much to notice how the month of Ramadan is nowhere near as peaceful and serene as it used to be in the past.
In fact, during just one pre-iftar drive around Cairo last week, I saw an unbelievable surge in the number of people driving recklessly -naturally resulting in a wonderful combination of horrific car accidents, brutal street fights and heartbreaking roadkill.
That, combined with the alarming trend of some people actually taking offense in how others aren’t fasting, has shown me that certain Egyptians need a refresher course on what fasting actually is.
We need to understand one very simple fact: People fast WILLINGLY. It is their CHOICE.
No one has a gun to their heads. The Ramadan fairy does not hide their favorite foods until sundown. These are people who woke up in the morning, walked past their kitchens and chose not to go inside for their morning coffee.
So why do these same people use the fact that they’re fasting as an excuse to be jerks? Why do they cite caffeine cravings as the culprits behind their horrible driving? Why do they act rude and scream at their coworkers and family members and then blame it on nicotine withdrawal?
And, more importantly, why do these people have such a big problem with others (whether Muslim or Christian) eating, drinking or smoking in public?
Some of you might say that refraining from such activities in front of someone who’s fasting is a reflection of politeness and common decency, but I adamantly refuse.
If this were indeed the case, then those same people should limit themselves to vegan options when their Christian friends are fasting. Maybe they should also stop talking in front of Buddhists who have taken on a vow of silence.
I think this is an ideal (and completely unrealistic) scenario.
Instead, I think everyone should be free to do as they please, and that those who are fasting should come to the realization that they are consenting adults and that they need to grow up and act like it.
Here’s the ugly truth: Fasting is not just about what you ingest. If you can’t stand to be a civilized person when you’re fasting, then you’ve probably broken your fast more times than you can count –so you might as well drink your morning coffee and call it quits.