This is my first Ramadan away from my family. I can imagine them sitting at the table at sun-down as they eat, bread and soup and whatever else my mom cooked up. She probably has a headache, she always does on the first day of fasting. They’ll make tea and sit in the living room, watching the Ramadan programs on the Libyan television channels. Then they’ll go to the mosque for taraweeh prayers. Since it’s the first day they’ll probably meet up with the rest of my extended family at one of their houses, spending the rest of the night talking and laughing and eating.
It’s an important Ramadan this year, because it’s the first without Gadhafi, the first in which our entire country is free from his rule. Last year Tripoli was under his control and people were fighting on the front lines. Since then there have been local and national elections, life has gone back to normal and the country is stabilizing.
Ramadan here feels weird. There’s no call to prayer, no empty streets at sun down, no aroma of Middle Eastern food wafting through the neighbourhood. It’s just another day for American citizens. Ramadan back home is a special time, a holy time. I never realized how important that was to me.