How long ago it was. It was in 2006 that I found myself welcoming guests to an Eid al Fitr event in the ballroom of a grand hotel in Mina al Salaam in Dubai. This year my greetings to friends in the Sandlands comes from far away.
By a coincidence of timing, here in Munich wishes for a showering of 'the joys of life' are appropriate for the young people of Bavaria. Finally it's the start of the annual summer school break... six weeks of freedom!
At the same time, when I think of school holidays I can't help reflecting on the less joyous context in which the word now frequently is to be found.
For thousands of children (for example from Syria) who are refugees or internally displaced persons, for example, schooling is almost unavailable... they are being deprived of years of education.
Then there are schools (for example in Gaza) which appear to offer safety to Palestinians seeking shelter from Israeli military action. And recently in these schools children and adults have died.
Far too often... tragically... there is not much link between schools and the 'joys of life'.