The Ration Challenge: Preamble

It’s official. Tomorrow morning, we take a journey, dear reader, through the daily eating routines of refugees as instigated by Act for Peace! For more context, have a look at the preceding post here.

But to share a few thoughts…

i. I hadn’t realised The Ration Challenge would fall under Ramadan… or that it would be this early, after the termination of my exams and university semester! But I’m infinitely grateful for both, because it gives me another avenue to direct this… post-exam nervousness. To elaborate: the kind of nervousness that begins with a “what do I do with my life now?,” despite the fact you spent the past four months waiting for this moment. And the answer? Do things that give you purpose; do things that make you, and others, happy.

ii. It’s difficult to express why our current refugee crisis is important. I admit, it’s difficult to see comments on Facebook that dismiss the crisis as –and I quote– “WE SHOULD HELP OUR OWN FIRST!!!111!” 

Personally, I find this attitude problematic because:

(a) Empathy is nebulous and non-discriminating. If you completely disregard empathy for a class of people, you are essentially restricting yourself. And I must also question whether this selective empathy is a genuine patriotic passion, or simply discrimination against a class of unknown people. I also admit to feeling horrified, when some insinuated you can only care about one class of people at a time.

(b) Usually, the people who discriminate between causes are those who do nothing to help either cause. Perhaps the most beautiful thing we possess as humans is our hope –no matter how idealistic– of making a difference to the world, of some sort. When you are discriminating between causes in this black-and-white manner, you are essentially extending your skepticism to other factors, including your fundamental ability to make a difference.

(c) Just because it doesn’t concern you… doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. You can live underground since birth and deny the existence of the sun. But somewhere, the sun continues to burn through tree branches. Glare. Blaze. For those branches, the sun is a non-negotiable reality… though it may not be yours.

iii. Perhaps my biggest fear in this challenge is: how will eating rations while fasting go? And also, will trying to cook these dishes lead to my inevitable demise? Both are incredibly legitimate worries and I hope to address them when the challenge begins.  Since I am also fasting for Ramadan, I will not be able to drink water or eat during the times between sunrise and sunset. And yet, I’m even more grateful this challenge is occurring during Ramadan; it simply means I can fully appreciate the experience of Muslim refugees, who are also fasting during this time period. I feel connected with a group of people I have never met.

In conclusion…

LET THE CHALLENGE BEGIN.

If you’re feeling kind, donate here for a worthy cause:

https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraisers/ramisaraya

And a short video by John Green to explain the refugee crisis beautifully:

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