I thought long and hard about an appropriate way to remember November 9th 2005 and to honor the fallen, the martyrs, the victims of a crime. Last year I was in a daze and couldn’t articulate any of my thoughts, even rage needed a visual depiction. At first I wanted to do something creative but a year later I think the best thing is to simply talk.
I truly believe that the worst thing for me about this day one year ago, was that I was not in Jordan at the time. While everything was unfolding I was at an airport coffee shop staring at CNN on the TV screen, waiting for my parents to arrive from a much delayed flight; they of course having no idea of what was happening. It’s not the easiest thing to tell one’s parents. But that is a story I’ve already told.
Amman is a small town. Six degrees of separation is a tangible concept. So when images of destruction in three hotels flash before your eyes you automatically pray no one you know was a victim. And when you’re told one of the scenes was a wedding, well that makes it all the more worse. Terrorist attacks happen everywhere these days but even the western media was taken aback that Amman, with all its security, would ever experience one. So for me, the sadness of that day is immeasurable.
However I don’t believe I have ever felt prouder of my country than on November the 10th 2005, as the next day saw simply thousands upon thousands of people protesting, marching in solidarity, and just cussing out Zarqawi and AlQueda like there was no tomorrow. And thank God for my fellow Jordanian bloggers and the Internet or a lot of these visuals may have passed me by. It was a beautiful sight to see. Young, old, Muslim, Christian, Palestinian, Circassian: Jordanian. And although I still wish I was there to feel that unity I think being outside the box made me appreciate it just as much, if not more.
November saw us laying 60 martyrs in the soil. Then the anger slowly subsiding. Then a change in government. Then a year filled with everything unrepresentative of the unity displayed on November 10th and those days that followed the 9th.
Jordanian politics seemed to center around terrorism and security related issues, enacting pieces of legislation like the anti-terrorism law that some view as an attempt to stifle civil liberties, while others, as a necessity in this current environment. Political reform took a back seat.
Parts of our society have become increasingly polarized. Where before, the voice supporting terrorist acts was quite apparent, it has either died down or crawled beneath the surface, afraid of retribution from the country’s security forces. This voice has made an appearance every now and then. On the other hand the anti-terrorism voice has been strengthened and there is a realization that they were once the silent majority; now perhaps, less inclined to be silent.
Lately, a clash about identities and loyalties: is one originally Jordanian or originally Palestinian, and more importantly, does it make a bloody difference?
I feel that in the past year both the government and the people have moved in a direction that is disrespectful to the memory of those that died on November 9th 2005. It is not a pleasant direction and if we consider the lives of those taken a sacrifice for a greater good to emerge, a sense of unity and pride and commitment to improve our social fabric, then I find it sad to say that we have let them down: as a people, as a government, as a country.
Maybe terrorism simply has that affect on a people: uniting them briefly and then making them paranoid enough to polarize them in to their separate camps. The left become more leftist and the right become more, well, righteous. What ensues is a game of tug of war and we concede the middle ground.
The government and the people need to find a better way to communicate and work together for the same goals. Blame needs to be set aside for a higher purpose, otherwise we’re all floating bodies in the water after a ship wreck pointing fingers at whose fault it is and ignoring the fact that we might all be drowning soon. The masses need to realize they can make a difference, that they can play a role and that their voice is still as powerful as it was on November 10th when they marched in the streets.
Everyone needs to find their way back to the middle ground and show a bit of unity and sincerity. That is how one honors their country. That is how one honors the fallen.
We Are All Jordan
– Manal Yusuf: In Remembrance Of
– Ammar’s Observations: One Year Ago (a diary entry)
– Lulwa’s Logic: The Anniversary
– Salam’s Reflections: Amman (a poem)
– Khalidah’s Mind: Lest We Forget
– Soul Blossom: In Memory
– Jordan First: Remembering 9/11/2005
– Lubna Taimeh: Can I have another title, but Nov, 9th?
– Oula Farawati: Jordan’s 9/11. Clear and Present Danger
– Dave: Amman Bombings: One Year Later
– Batir Wardam: One Year After: Changing to the Better