Archive for May, 2011

JESSICA: Let’s Talk Politics

04 May

Let’s Talk Politics!
I don’t know how many of you have been watching the news, or keeping up whats going on in this region, but there’s a a new Middle East forming! What a time to be here with all the recent events that started with Tunisia and Egypt overthrowing there leaders and are now facing the challenge of regime building. Libya is trying to get rid of their leader Qaddafi, who is mass murdering his people like crazy. Similar events are talking place in Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain. There are people dying and protests everywhere- including Jordan. Jordan has normally been a place of stability and peace in the midst of a violent region, but lately there has been tons of protests here- I’ve seen like 2 a week. Most of them are peaceful and organized, but there were two that got out of control this month.

In the first big protest here, someone died and 200 people were injured. It happened while I was away on a trip to Wadi Rum( a gorgeous desert here in which the movie Lawrence of Arabia was filmed), and right when I came back I had Midterms all week and I then I went on spring break which I spent in a village with no internet, so I haven’t had a chance to write in my blog. The death that happened here occurred when 2 different protests groups got into some sort of clash and things got out of control, and the guy was murdered. The King and government then tried to blame this guy’s death on a “heart attack.” hmmm ok, that’s believable. There have been many protests by people who support the king. They drive around the the city honking, screaming, and singing how great the king is and chants like “long live our king.” These protests are usually by the native Jordanians who are seen as very supportive to the King. The other protests have been by people who demand change, as they believe the King has too much power, and are upset about the corruption and economic hardships in the region. These protests have traditionally been led by the larger Palestinian population here which make up about 60-70 % of the country, and are often accused by the native Jordanians as being “unloyal” to the country. It’s really stupid if you asked me, but these to groups don’t seem to like each other. Anyway, this protest was different because there were many native Jordanians protesting against the government. But it guess when it comes down to supporting the government or having enough money to feed your children, even those who are normally considered “loyal” can switch sides in a split second.

There was also a second big riot this week in Zarqa, a town about 20 minutes outside of the city. I’m really not quite sure what happened here, but some sort of crazy Islamic protest in which dozens were injured. The jihadi salfest group took to the streets carrying sharp weapons and declaring their support for Al-Qaeda, and calling other protesters who want reform Atheists. Kinda insane. Zarqa is mostly lower income citizens and Palestinians who have been marginalized in the society here which has made them much more easily influenced by Islamic parties and groups. Here’s an interesting article on the Muslim Brotherhood movement in al- Zaqa. Anyway, who knows what will come of all the political changes here, but it sure is interesting to witness all of this!

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