First thoughts on Gaza protests in Amman

It was a beautifult day in Amman today.  Sunny skies with just a few clouds.  Temperature hovering around 50 degrees F.  A good day for a protest.

A nice day in Amman, despite clouds of war over Gaza

A nice day in Amman, despite clouds of war over Gaza

Some were calling today a day of “Rage” and westerners were warned to stay home.  Protests were called for throughout the city to speak out against the situation in Gaza.  I tend to blend in very well, so went down to the ballad to see what I could see.  (Please note: I am not reccommending that others do this, just simply telling you what I did.)  The protest march lasted a little over an hour and made it’s way from Al-Husseini Mosque in the old city past the Amman municipality and ended near Ras-al-ain and the intersection going towards third circle and also Abdoun.

When I got downtown I stopped in a shop that I frequent and asked the workers about the situation and if I would have any troubles.  They assured me that I wouldn’t saying people don’t like the American government but love Americans.  Even so I was stuck in a riot in Jerusalem once back in the late 90s, so kept towards the edges of the crowd near definite “escape” routes and stood near some older men with children, thinking that they were less likely to take unnecessary risks.  I saw a few faces of locals I knew.  They flashed me smiles and mouthed greetings to me.  That set me a little more at ease as well.

I have more to say later, I just wanted to post an initial pic and give my first gut reaction.  I was sturck that people are genuinely upset and are looking for a way to vent their frustrations while showing solidarity with the people in Gaza.  As I snapped pics and looked at them on the way back I realized that a picture is worth a 1000 words, but that a picture with no explanation could speak 1000 wrong words.  The protest was very peaceful, but I could put 2 or 3 pics up here with no explanation and pundits of all stripes could spin the situation in several different directions.  Once again that I was reminded that sound bites and even visual bites cannot do complex situations justice.

Here’s one pic.  I promise more later.  I need to spend some time with my family and collect my thoughts for a more intensive writing session later.

Protestors peacefully march from Al-Husseini Mosque towards the Amman Municipality building on Fri Jan 09 2009

Protestors peacefully march from Al-Husseini Mosque towards the Amman Municipality building on Fri Jan 09 2009

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3 Responses

  1. Why am I not remotely surprised. 🙂

    Thanks for the firsthand report.

  2. Like I said, attending probably wouldn’t have been the smartest for everyone. But I had no trouble. A couple people even asked me off hand where we were heading. I answered, “shu ba3rifni!?”

  3. So glad you were able to head downtown and witness things firsthand. With our blond hair and blue eyes, we decided staying home would be better. I’m quite proud of my ‘adopted country’ and the way people are joining together for peaceful demonstrations. I hope the world takes notice!

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