"Legitimate Grievances"
Life in Jail for Beslan Terrorist

8.3% Goodness

I attended a Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia. There were so many students that the institution had to offer two shifts during the day. The first one was during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the next one was from 3:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Assuming my memory serves me correct, students in grades 1-5 and 9-12 attended the morning shift whereas those in grades 6-8 went to the evening shift.

This system presented a problem during the month of Ramadan. You see, the good Muslims didn't consume any food or drink during the day. They could only eat after the sunset and before the sunrise. The sun went down around 5:30 p.m. How could the students in the evening shift alleviate their hunger?

So, for Ramadan, the Pakistani school functioned on a different schedule. Those who were in the morning shift would attend school between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. The evening shifters would go to school during the same hours on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thus, a 5-day academic week would turn into a 3-day week for all the students.

I tried to fast but miserably failed every time. I could handle not eating during the day but zero water was beyond my capability. Still, I never had a drink in school for fear of retaliation--both rhetorical and physical. Oddly enough, we continued to have our "lunch" break during Ramadan, even though the junk food shacks in the school were closed.

Another noticeable change during Ramadan was the transformation of behavior. Out of my class of approximately forty students, we had about five jerks. These guys were always in trouble: made noise, started skirmishes, lied whenever their lips moved. However, their obnoxious conduct ceased during Ramadan. These guys behaved like angels for a month. During that time, it was amusing to watch them talk. They constantly stopped themselves from fully uttering cuss words as was their normal custom. They often said something like, "It's Ramadan, we have to behave well." This meant that they were fully aware of their stinking habits during the rest of the year. They were simply content with being good only 8.3% of the time.

Ramadan also brought some respite from the teachers. The combination of conserving energy from the perspective of the teachers and "wholesome goodness" from almost all students meant that the number of beatings went down to almost nil.

The Muslim calendar is lunar. If the first day of Ramadan last year was October 15, then this year, the first day will likely be October 5. I gathered that as soon as I saw the first graph in this post.

Some things never change.


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