We are at the beginning of the Muslim observance of Ramadan, which takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The most prominent event during the month is the practice of daytime fasting or sawm. Practitioners rise before dawn eat and perform their first prayer of the day. The fast is broken after the fourth pray at sunset is due.
Baghdad is silent, absent helicopters, police sirens, and horns. It’s eerie, I suppose in the same way that Christmas day must be. All of the shops closed, very little traffic, and people remain indoors with family. Adding to the effect is that it’s Friday, and the government imposes the normal curfew against movement.
We’ve been asked by our local staff to refrain from smoking, eating and drinking openly. Life in the Bureau goes on, albeit slightly muted.