Mine began with my landlady knocking on my door at 8 in the morning to offer me a box of breakfast served at the local mosque. My judgemental-self-- overcome with guilt that I only fasted for a day the entire month and did not even attend the mosque-- left me thinking I do not deserve this breakfast.
My guilt did not surprise me as I was not raised in a religious family and was often warned against people who do not follow religious virtues and rituals but are first in line for any religious celebration which offers food (and yes, there is always free food in Muslim ceremonies and commemorations.)
I stared at the box of breakfast sitting on my kitchen counter as I finally found the courage to touch it, for lunch instead.
Humor was another Iranian's way of marking the end of the month:
The original Mehr News Agency photo shows the effort of Iranian experts to view the new moon in order to mark the end of Ramadan.
The clever Iranian has added a dialogue to it:
Man: Come see the moon.
Clergy: Come see what a body the girl who is hanging clothes on the dryer.
Even Basher Al-Assad attending the Eid-al-Fitr prayer did his part. It reminded me of an image of Iran’s supreme leader which appears to be eating the Eid-al-Fitr lunch while surrounded by Iranian political figures some of whom such as former president Mohammad Khatami were assumed to be in opposition with his political policies. Ironic, nah?
Iranians who criticize dictatorship government might feel offended by the photo of the head of state seated on the chair hovering above its followers while Islam stands for modesty and equality. Syrians who have lost loved ones and their homes might dismiss Assad’s claim as a Muslim when he stands to pray with blood of his own people on his hands. I might blame myself for eating a token from mosque without participating in the festival.
My point for taking the time to salute the end of Ramadan with these ironies is to ask if it's possible look back at our definitions of rituals, religion, foreign policy, war, politics, etc, and possibly redefine them? These images help me see the contradictions, and my own hypocrisies. Our politicians and policy makers (and people just like me) think of themselves as hypocrisy-free individuals who could blame the other but not the self.By Parisa Saranj, Aslan Media Columnist