The Ramadhan Diaries

Fasting in London and beyond

Archive for the day “July 27, 2012”

Ramadhan ER on the Libyan border in Latitude News

Portrait of Libyan doctor during the revolution.


This is a portrait of Dr Emad Abosrewel – the senior doctor and clinical lead who cared for the wounded being evacuated out of Libya last Ramadhan. He arrived after he heard that the border hospital of Tataouine was dangerously under-staffed and that a mass influx of evacuated war wounded were arriving. The work he did was highly commendable but sadly that has yet to be recognised by those in charge today. I witnessed a dedicated, quiet doctor working with very few resources, fighting for better facilities for his patient – whichever side of the battle they were on. He, together with Nader Elhamessi of World for Libya co-ordinated evacuations and arranged ambulances, drivers and volunteers. It was all done during Ramadhan 2011 with a mass surge on Aug 20, when the revolution fighters broke through into Tripoli.


Ramadhan 2011 – Libyan medics caring for the wounded in Tataouine on Latitude News

Ramadhan 2011 – The Libyan Wounded in Tataouine

I wrote this last year when I was on the border between Libya and Tunisia, Tataouine. It was a unique experience. I am finding myself remembering and comparing how different last Ramadhan was out there last year. For one it was almost 50 degrees during the day. It was so hot it was painful. But the main thing was being with some really dedicated, hard working doctors who had turned up to look after the evacuating wounded from Tripoli – with very little support coming from the higher authorities.

I can say that without them, more lives would have been lost.

Saudi Female Athletes At London 2012 Olympics

Saudi Female Athletes At The Olympics

I know this is not new information but I want to mark it and mention it on the blog. I am really pleased to see this – its progress. I am sad however that the judoka will not be permitted to wear a headscarf if she competes. That’s an awful choice to have to make for a woman who covers. It’s going to be important to support the women arriving in London to the Games but I think the IOC thoughts on this ruling could have been wiser if they really did want to open the door for full female participation from conservative Arab States. By this one statement and ruling, there are already probably a number of young women and girls in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere who will be prevented from participating in sport in the future-especially at higher levels, where the argument of how it will interfere with their faith will be used.

It goes against every bit of campaigning that was done to get these women here in the first place. I cannot see how wearing a headscarf is going to be unsafe, as decided by the IOC committee. FIFA said that about football and now with persistence and dedication demonstrated by passionate Muslim female football players, and by example, this notion has been kicked into touch. Pun intended.

Will the same happen for all other sports – where we can get rid of this rather daft notion that covering the hair and being modestly dressed is dangerous? I think the only time I would really think wearing a headscarf would be dangerous would be in  an event like competitive flame throwing or something. But I can hardly ever see that being an Olympic sport. Everything else really should be fine. The only actual harm being done is through this decision is to the athlete in terms of the pressure it will put on her to choose, and subsequently face potential criticism or worse on return home and to other future female athletes from conservative Muslim states.

Hello Jordan!

Er…I don’t mean to say Jordan aka Katie Price has stopped by for a read-although she is most welcome – I mean Jordan the Hashemite Kingdom sitting on the eastern edge of the River Jordan. So we have a new country to arrive on the scene – it’s Jordan! Not sure what happened today but I had a mass of readers from Jordan all in one day today. Ahlan Wa Sahlan. Ramadhan Kareem.

Above All Else I’m A Filmmaker…

…And that is why I have to share this link to production company Aconite Films, run by a friend from my time in Scotland Aimara Reques. Her energy and passion for film was so inspiring from the first time I ever saw her pitch a dynamic, colourful trailer at the Edinburgh Film festival’s pitching workshop. It was her demonstration of how a pitch should be that has guided me in all my attempts to make it into the pitching platforms.

Aimara has just produced a one hour documentary for BBC 2 called My Lives and Times – about a recovering drug addict, Garry Fraser, who has chosen to clean up and has become a filmmaker. It’s totally inspiring and has Aimara’s stamp all over it.

Aconite Productions Rock!

BBC 2 Documentary – My Lives and Times about a life of drugs and crime and it’s impact on the use

BBC Documentary about a filmmaker and recovering drug user, Garry Fraser from Glasgow talking about his life of drugs and crime. An honest insight into his reality.

Theory lesson – the low down on what Ramadhan’s core is all about.


Ok so I found this today and thought it was really helpful in terms of informing those who want to know about what Ramadhan is all about and why Muslims starve themselves for 30 days.

It’s not ‘preachy’ but it is directed to a Muslim audience – but the way this guy explains things – well even I got it – so that means anyone can understand it. My own attention span is rather short and so they have got to be good to keep me for the entire film-this film kept me for the 8 mins.

Some faces you might know who might be fasting this month

Warning on two fronts-it’s long at just over 17 min and there is an Arabic version of Alleluia playing in the background.

The Youtube title of ‘converts’ is also not entirely accurate as some of the people were born into the faith. But I think what it’s trying to achieve is letting people know that Islam is broad and not limited to a specific kind of person or culture or mindset. I have put this up on my blog primarily to help bring about a greater understanding of why Muslims fast during the month of Ramadhan and also to show to those keen to understand that it’s not just people from within closed, foreign or immigrant communities that do it-but lots of people from all walks of life. I am not saying everyone on this video follows the faith in the same way or those that were born into it are adherent at all-but they belong to families who do and what they have in their hearts and minds between themselves and God – well that’s for them to keep and not for me to pry.

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