24 May 2019
During the Holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, UNIFIL's Muslim peacekeepers are continuing their daily activities and carrying out their duties as normal.
About 100 Indonesian peacekeepers are working from the vessel KRI Sultan Hasanuddin – 366, which is one of six UNIFIL ships operating at sea as part of UNIFIL's Maritime Task Force.
“Even though we are far away from home, we live here as one family, so we take care of each other,” said the vessel’s Captain Commander Cecep Hidayat
Duty always comes first, even during Ramadan especially when the vessel is at sea. Everyone must be available to carry out their duties under the mission's mandate even at Iftar time which is announced to all stations and rooms on board every evening.
“In Ramadan we just do our daily activities just like any other day,” said Commander Hidayat, noting that this includes patrolling the Lebanese territorial waters in close coordination with the Lebanese Navy.
But being away from their families and loved ones during the Holy month doesn't make things easier. Nonetheless, these peacekeepers are trying to make things as homely as possible.
Those who are bound to their posts during Iftar time are served food at their place of duty, while the others join the Ramadan table and share food as one family. After Iftar, the peacekeepers perform their prayers, with the crewmembers reciting the Quran.
During port visits in Beirut some peacekeepers go to a mosque in the city to pray with the Lebanese people.
Other peacekeepers, according to Hidayat, “visit the other Indonesian citizens living in Beirut and have dinner together.”
Ramadan onboard the UNIFIL ship is as close to Ramadan in Indonesia as possible. The Indonesian peacekeepers miss their families and loved ones and are trying to feel at home on their ship, thousands of miles away from Home.
“I think this Ramadan is very special for us,” concluded the ship’s captain.