Monday, June 29, 2015

Ramadan Diary ~ 2015 ~ Day Twelve

Ibn Warraq continues his Ramadan musings...

There is only one thing hotter than the weather in Morocco at the moment and that is the topic of a woman's right to wear a dress. Across the country, demonstrations were held in support of the two women arrested in mid-June in Inezgane, near Agadir and astonishingly, charged with "gross indecency". Their plight has galvanised Moroccan public opinion.

Hundreds of Moroccans, including politicians and political leaders, demonstrated on Sunday night in Casablanca and Rabat under the slogan "Putting on a dress is not a crime." in support of two women prosecuted for "indecency" after being arrested in outfits deemed too tight.

An internet petition to support the two women, launched just a week ago, has collected more than 18,000 signatures. Moroccan media outlets such as  have been surprisingly supportive of the campaign, running graphics with a slogan at the top of stories.

In the usually conservative Medina of Fez, a number of young women are wearing dresses and skirts in solidarity and others are taking photographs of themselves in short skirts and publishing them on the Internet.

As to the case against the two young women who were arrested, it is hoped that sanity will prevail and the ludicrous charges against them will be dropped. However, questions are being asked about why the police and a local prosecutor felt the need to bring charges in the first place.

Moroccan women wear bikinis at the beach or swimming pools. They bathe in mixed company and yet nobody arrests them. And, a final thought, why are Moroccan men not arrested for wearing shorts?

Ramadan News

While the news media are still concentrating on the atrocities in Kuwait City, Tunisia and France, the tragedy in Yemen continues unabated. Not just air strikes and shelling, but now there is an outbreak of dengue fever.

First night of Ramadan in Yemen - a car bombing and Saudi Air strikes hit 3 mosques

Thankfully, in other places, Ramadan is proceeding peacefully...
Serenity in the Grand Faisal mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan - Photo: Anjum Naveed
Resting before prayers in Jakarta, Indonesia - Photo: Tatan Syufiana

Reaching breaking point

Ramadan is a wonderful time for extended families to gather. The downside is the pressure people on low incomes are under in trying to provide food and drinks for large numbers of family and friends. Sometimes they crack under that pressure.

Today, in Fes Jdid, there came the sad news of a 36 year-old mother of five children who couldn't cope and, tragically, strangled three of her children. After her husband arrived home and discovered the bodies, he called the police. The woman told local police that she was desperate and couldn't feed her family. According to her relatives, the young woman was mentally ill and had been repeatedly held at the psychiatric hospital of Ibn Hassan.

Stupid? Ignorant? Or both?

Also in the news is the story of two men in their 30s who were not only eating in public, but drunk. The intoxicated pair were arrested by the Royal Gendarmerie on the highway in Skhirat, a seaside resort about 30 km from Rabat.

Security services say that the suspects were severely intoxicated and in possession of several bottles of wine.

The two men had already been the subject of complaints by local residents from the beginning of Ramadan, but it was only on Friday that the police caught them red-handed. They are accused not only of violating the sanctity of Ramadan, but also having consumed alcohol in public.

Last July, five young Moroccans were convicted, by the trial court in Souk El Arba Gharb, to six months imprisonment for drunkenness in public places and for eating during Ramadan.

A Moroccan gives "baraka" down under

Good news from Australia. "Baraka" is the term used to describe a blessing and it is also the name of another wonderful Moroccan.

Melbourne based Moroccan, Fatima Baraka, has been working to assist four year old Yahya El Jabaly who was born a severely deformed face.

Australian surgeons are gradually building Yahya a new face

A team of surgeons at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne have just completed a second round of reconstructive surgery, led by Professor Tony Holmes.  Holmes says, "We don't know what causes the condition. It is sporadic, it is not genetic and most children do not survive the pregnancy. But some, like Yahya, arrive here."

After the first operation 

Born without a true nose, with deformed eyes and also problems in the mouth, Yahya El Jabaly is gradually getting a normal face.

Dr. Andrew Rochford and Yahya

"Despite his deformity, Yahya is a beautiful, very sweet boy "says Dr. Andrew Rochford, another member of the team, "He deserves to have a face."

Yahya and Fatima Baraka - a Ramadan angel

For Fatima Baraka, this is the beginning of a commitment to child victims of certain diseases and who do not have the means to be cared for. "Inspired by the difference we can make, I will continue to work hard and establish a charity that provides medical care to children in countries where adequate health care is not available," she said.

Jam for Iftar?

An hour before the end of the day's fasting and with drivers wanting to get home, is probably the wrong moment to get stuck in a traffic jam. In a traffic jam, we are all equal. Even if you are royalty! On Sunday, HM King Mohammed VI and his wife, Princess Lalla Salma,  were out for a drive on the Corniche Ain Diab in Casa, an hour before Iftar and got stuck in traffic.

The much admired sovereign was assisted by Jaïdi Aziz, head of the royal security

Health Ministry issues hot weather warnings

The Moroccan Ministry of Health has urged citizens to take precautions especially as the rising temperatures coincide with the month of Ramadan. The Ministry has issued a special bulletin saying that children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic diseases, need to drink adequate amounts of water to avoid dehydration and also avoid physical activity during periods of peak temperatures, from 11am to 8pm.

The department also advises citizens to go to the nearest health facility if they develop the following symptoms: fever, thirst, weight loss, muscle cramps in the limbs and abdomen, migraine, vertigo - especially when this results in fainting.

Protect yourself against the hot weather

Another of Hamid's moderately funny jokes...

A distraught Jilali went to the police station to report that his wife was missing..."She went shopping yesterday and has not come home.
Sergeant: What is her height?
Jilali  Hmm, I’m not sure. A little over a metre and a half tall.
Sergeant: Weight?
Jilali : Don’t know. Not slim, not really fat.
Sergeant: Colour of eyes?
Jilali : Ooh…never really noticed.
Sergeant: Colour of hair?
Jilali : Changes a couple times a year. Maybe dark brown at the moment.
Sergeant: What was she wearing?
Jilali : Could have been a black kaftan - I don’t remember exactly.
Sergeant: What kind of car did she go in?
Jilali : She went in my sports car.
Sergeant: What kind of sports car was it?
Jilali : It's a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG 6.3 7G-Tronic Edition 125 Coupe finished in Magnetite Black Metallic with Black Leather AMG Sport Seats. Unmarked 19" AMG Multispoke Alloy Wheels; Tyre Pressure Monitoring; Panoramic Glass Electric Tilt/Slide Sunroof. Wide Screen Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth Telephone Connectivity, Multi-Media Interface. Superb Sound System With DAB and Harman-Kardon Sound  LED Daytime Running Lights; Cruise Control; Rear Privacy Glass..  (…at this point the Jilali started choking up, tears running down his cheeks.)

Sergeant: Don’t worry, sir…we’ll find your car.

Saha Ftourkoum!

See Ibn's Ramadan Dairy
DAY ONE          DAY FIVE             DAY NINE   
DAY TWO         DAY SIX                 DAY TEN
DAY FOUR      DAY EIGHT        

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