Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Solstice at Aquba

This morning we did our last walk to say good- bye to Azraq wetlands. The four watch geese at the Bedouin home by the reserve have come closer every morning as we walk by. This morning their confidence had built to a peak and they were ready for an ass kickin. The middle white goose rushed out at us, and they all honked wildly. It's lucky we are leaving, because tomorrow we'd have goose beaks firmly gripping our butts. One great outcome of our visit is building the goose self  esteem - they'll be talking about their prowess for a long time to come.

We said goodbye to our friends this morning, and Sharrif gave us a ride to Al Zarqa to catch the bus to Aquaba. It was a long cramped loud ride. We were so glad to get to our wonderful hotel.

I have had many interesting discussions about how Jordanians perceive the refugees and the Arab Spring. They liked the Iraqi refugees; they were upper class, knew they would only be there for a short while, and felt grateful to Jordan for taking them in. I have heard several Jordanians who feel Saddam Hussein was a great leader, not understanding how much suffering his regime caused to the people in the south and north of Iraq - 2/3 of the population. Destabilization of the Iraqi government has certainly created a whole new level of suffering, economic and security downturns, and heavy losses. I am concerned it is getting too dangerous to go back in October, and I feel so sad at the violence that is erupting every day. A bombing occurred in a popular restaurant in Baghdad recently.
I have heard Jordanians say there is no Arab Spring, and that America is behind the unrest. Even in Tunisia and Egypt. It's disturbing to realize how deeply disliked Americans are throughout the Middle East, not us as individuals but the government as a whole.  The perception is vey damaging to us as a nation, to our credibility, and to bringing peace into the world. For Jordan, being a friend of America hurts them with other Arabic countries.

Another thing iI learned is that Jrdanians are very apprehensive about the Syrians coming into the refugee camps. There is concern that the uprooted are middle clas, that they feel entitled to certain treatment, and there may be unrest in the camps creating dangerous conditions for people working there. Many Jordanians will only work in the headquarters of the NGO's, not the open camps.

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