Sophia's Peace Work

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Simmering Along

Here in Amman things are simmering along. Sometimes they boil over, like when my boss hired a Jordanian girl to work with me who speaks no English. Actually this is her first job and she really doesn't know how to do anything at all. Before she came I don't think she had ever even turned on a computer. And yesturday I had her cutting up some paper and she needed to cut a straight line ... no matter what I said to her (in my broken Arabic) nothing was straight. On top of that, when my boss shows up (which isn't often because of other projects he's working on), this girl simpers and sucks up to him. It's become rather sickening to watch.

Why would my boss do something like this, you might ask? Simple, her uncle is somebodies cousin is somebodies brother who can help us out is some mysterious way that has not yet been made clear to me. I'm pretty disgusted with the whole affair but my boss just says, "Trust me. I'm planning for our future." Anyway, I'm the one who has to deal with her on a daily basis ... the only upside is that it does force me to use my arabic ... which is better but a long way from being "mia bil mia" (100%).

I'm also working on a big event here in Amman and, of course, it has the usual headaches. I just found out that we have to pay for a government official from Iraq, as well as two other people who work with the official, to stay in a 5 -star hotel here in Jordan for four days, have a car and driver and also pay for their plane tickets ... just so this official can speak for five minutes at the event. Give me a break!!! I would have said, "Ah, ... WE DON'T NEED YOU!" but then that wouldn't be good for us in the long run I suppose ... I guess I'm not really a political animal. Most of the time, these people just make me sick.

And of course on the political front here in Jordan ... everyone is pissed off at the U.S. because they know that it is well within the power of U.S. government to stop the onslaught of what is happening in Lebanon. You wouldn't believe the pictures we see on T.V. here ... stuff you will never see in the U.S. (but really should). There are so many terrible, hate-filled things happening on both sides of this conflict. Regardless of what is going on, a ceasefire demanded by the U.S. is the only way to stop the current violence. But the U.S. seems to think that Israeli can get rid of Hezbollah this way ... but from here in Jordan it looks like Hezbollah has only grown stronger.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Everything here in Jordan is fine, but if you scratch the surface ...

You will find that everyone is incensed over what is going on in Lebanon. My Iraqi friend was living in Beirut when the bombing started and it cost her $500 (5 or 6 times the usual rate) to drive back to Jordan ... fortunately the Jordanians let her in. She was living in the north of Beirut and said the bombing was incredible. I personally don't understand the U.S. response to this. Bush seems to think that this all started because of Hezbollah, as if they sprang up over night and there were not decades of unresolved problems that came before.

And where on earth does this idea come from that a negotiated settlement needs to occur before the bombing and conflict can stop. How bizarre. When you think of every school yard fight you've ever seen, have you ever witnessed one in which the teacher tries to settle the matter between two combatants while the fight is still going on?

The U.S. isn't impartial. It shouldn't pretend to be because it openly wants Israel to win ... but Israel never will win this way. Bombing villages like this and killing children is just making a whole new batch of people who hate them and want to fight against them.

Many people around here support Hezbollah, they don't think of it as a terrorist organization but as a resistance movement and I would dare say that a lot of people from surrounding countries are going to Lebanon to fight. I know of a host of peace activists that are planning activities in Lebanon as well.

It's also clear that the U.S. could stop this overnight if it wished. When Rice was in Israel, I heard a western news report say "Israel asks for another 10 to 14 days of bombing." So clearly they need permission to do this from the U.S. Which means, clearly, the U.S has the means to stop this on a dime if they wanted, but it refuses to. This only services to confirm to people in the Middle East that the U.S. is not the least impartial.

I've never been afraid in Jordan to say that I was American ... people are very welcoming here ... many even have friends or family in the U.S. But after this it does make me a bit nervous to tell people where I'm from. Perhaps its just my own shame as seeing my country behave this way, but maybe I will start telling people that ask that I'm from Canada! I used to do that in Iraq ... it's hard to believe that I have to start doing that here.