Should Tripoli Reopen its Souks in Ramadan?

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Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic lunar calendar that is celebrated by 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, most of which fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days.

It is a religious practice meant to heighten one’s sense of patience, gratitude, mindfulness, and compassion.

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In the north, Tripoli has a large population who observe the month of Ramadan. Its old souks thrive the most during this time of the year. All types of people, the rich and the poor, can be seen strolling in the old souks at least once during Ramadan.

They may gather to play card games and drink tea. They may pass by to pick up some freshly baked traditional Tripolitan kaak or homemade cheese, and purchases increase during the season.

But this year is different for everyone because of the lockdown and confinement.

For instance, Easter celebrations took place from home amid the crisis. The churches were empty but the prayers were still performed, and Christians across Lebanon respected social distancing and the lockdown.

But as the world delves into another month of isolation, some countries have begun thinking of safe ways to slowly reopen.

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Similar to the owner of Eddésands, who wants the government to end quarantine with precautionary measures and deems de-confinement inevitable and vital to the economy, former Prime Minister and businessman Najib Mikati has been discussing reopening Tripoli’s souks.

According to the National News Agency, Mikati contacted the Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Brigadier General Mohamed Fahmi, to discuss the need to allow markets in Tripoli to open at the beginning of Ramadan.

That is in order to “confront the stifling economic crisis that people are suffering from.” The souks, like most if not all businesses in Lebanon, thrive significantly during Ramadan and its celebrations.

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Ramadan begins at the end of this week and the Lebanese of the Islamic faith are preparing to start observing their religious and spiritual traditions like every year.

Whether the souks will be allowed to open or not, Ramadan will take place in Tripoli as in all Lebanon, with the adjustments needed to avoid risks of infection and spread.

Lebanon has been doing well so far in flattening the curve and even better so than most countries, but the fight is not over.

Sacrifices have been many and in most aspects of life in the country. The outbreak has undeniably worsened the already crippled economy but Lebanon will prevail, like always.

Get the latest news and updates about the outbreak in Lebanon along with a live monitor of cases in Lebanon as well as resources and information to help you guide the outbreak on our dedicated coronavirus page.