Dear Readers, click
Apologies for the â€˜radio-silenceâ€™ these past few days but there are several reasons for that. The first being that Orange, sales the worst telecommunication company I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with, here has left me stranded without Internet access or technical support. The second being that I have not been around a computer for the past three days of so, and this is because of reason number three: Gaza.
Our little campaign exploded in to something indescribable. You simply had to be there to see it and many of you reading this were in fact there, and I thank you for your presence, support and help.
Let me start by saying that this was meant to be a 48-hour, emergency clothes and food drive for Gaza in an attempt to get the goods across the border as quickly as possible. That was the idea. It was probably the first, or amongst the first campaigns to be launched in Jordan, and that affected the turnout immensely. With that in mind, it started as a 7iber-led campaign in partnership with the Action Committee, and via the 7iber website and the posting of a simple Facebook event, the campaign spread like wildfire. In less than 48 hours it had spread through email forwards, SMS forwards and on-air radio alerts, blogs and word-of-mouth.
On Tuesday night, the rain began to gently fall and as soon as members of our team arrived, a whole hour before the official start time, people had already begun to deliver their donation. Everything that happened after that is almost like a haze at this point. I remember people coming out no where; car after car after car. I remember the entire street outside the Cozmo area being pretty much shut down for over three hours. I remember young Jordanians of every background, people I didnâ€™t know, hanging around on this muddy street corner, in the scattered rain, just helping load the goods on to these large red Aramex trucks. I remember the riot police, fully armed and under the impression we were demonstrating. I remember how they ended up directing traffic for us with their batons.
By ten, we moved next door to Cozmo, where people had been delivering goods all day due to a miscommunication about the drop-off point. This didnâ€™t go over to well with the Cozmo people but luckily it was sorted out â€“ to a degree.
I remember everything being organized on-the-spot. None of us had any idea the volume of goods we would be receiving. Trucks were loaded one after the other, with young people volunteering to tag along to the Aramex warehouses to help unload the donations and send the trucks back to us empty. I remember the fog being so thick that you could hardly see the car in front of you on the way there.
I remember seeing the sheer volume of donations piled up in mountains, sprawled across the warehouse floor.
The next day was New Yearâ€™s Eve but we managed to get just enough people, arriving in different shifts throughout the day, to help sorting. This process has taken about four days as of now.
We are talking about roughly 40 tons of donations.
All collected in 48 hours, if not less.
In my opinion, this has been one of the largest and quickest mobilizations of young Jordanians working for a single cause under emergency circumstances that I have ever seen.
During those three days of sorting, I think there were hundreds of young people coming and going. They worked tirelessly and unapologetically. They didnâ€™t complain. They worked straight from the heart.
In the past ten years, I have personally participated in at least a dozen of such events and in all honesty, Iâ€™ve never seen something quite like this before. If the lights werenâ€™t turned off in the warehouse and people forced to go home, I think everyone was prepared to work through New Yearâ€™s Eve.
And I have to admit, this has been a pretty interesting learning experience for me. I discovered that Jordanians, whatever their backgrounds or beliefs, can be united in times like these. I discovered that there is a young, active population just waiting to participate; just waiting for an undertaking like this. I also discovered the pitfalls of launching such campaigns and the dangers of underestimating the power of peopleâ€™s willingness to be affected by what they see on TV, and immediately react to it.
Lastly, I learned that for something of this magnitude, a lot of people will come to your aid when called upon to do so and for those people I will need to dedicate a whole other post to thank them.
Happy New Years!