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May 24, 2020

Eid in a pandemic

Editorial

 
May 24, 2020

From the scenes at bazaars and shopping malls in all our major cities, it seems people who had the means to do so have been well prepared to celebrate Eid in traditional fashion, with all the hype and display of wealth that goes with it. But this is a different year to those that have come before. This is a time when more people are jobless and hungry in our country than ever before. The World Bank has forecast that up to 60 million people would be pushed before the poverty line around the world as a result of the coronavirus. Some of these will be people who live in our own country. This is also a time when more than 90 passengers' families will be mourning their loved ones' untimely deaths.

Beyond the issue of simply showing some solidarity with the millions of people who will not be celebrating Eid, there is also the question of controlling Covid-19. Some Muslim countries, including the UAE, have already issued stern warnings to avoid Eid gatherings so that there is no danger of the virus that is stalking the world spreading further. Our government has issued no such advice. From posts on social media, it seems people are almost oblivious to the dangers presented by Covid-19 and plan the same large family gatherings as are traditionally held. We should remember that human life is more important than anything else.

Perhaps families can consider celebrating Eid in a different fashion, by encouraging a spirit of generosity rather than consumption. While they have every right to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramazan, they can do so with greater simplicity and demonstrate that as people we care about everyone in the country even while we celebrate with our immediate family members and perhaps, for those who find this possible, greet others over Skype and other such platforms. This is a message that should have gone out from the government. We owe it to ourselves to encourage people to help make at least some token of Eid joy available to children who are currently suffering stark poverty and may not have eaten a proper meal for weeks. And we owe it to our loved ones that we cherish their lives above any other consideration. May this Eid see us all safe and at home with those we love.