Middle East Melting Pot.

I’ve found it hard to write about amusing or everyday moments that are happening at the moment when my mind is occupied with thinking about the situation in neighbouring countries.

Even though Jordan is surrounded by countries that are caught up in uprisings, civil war and conflicts I’ve always felt removed from what is happening……………until the last couple of weeks.  I’ve felt removed even though no more than a few hours in all directions from where I live are countries/and or areas of countries where I would not travel at the present time. I’ve felt removed from what is happening because, like any of my family or friends back in Australia, in order to find out what’s happening I have to turn on the news or read reports online and this makes it feel like I’m watching what is happening from afar rather that it happening across the border.

Jordan is often described as the Switzerland of the Middle East. I often describe it as a island of peace surrounded by countries of chaos. The country has so far escaped the actions of the Arab Spring that has affected our neighbours. Faced with rising petrol and food prices there has been discontentment expressed by the people, but so far it has not escalated beyond protests which have been controlled and organised.

For the first time since the Arab Spring started I am starting to feel less removed. The number of Syrian refugees has reached over half a million. This is putting pressure on Jordan’s economy in an already tough time. Jordanians are feeling the pressure and with this increased pressure dissatisfaction rises. The gap between the rich and poor is growing and as always there are a lot more who are in a less fortunate position than those who are.

The use of chemical weapons in Syria has brought about the real possibility of intervention from the West. Earlier in the week there was a meeting of the world military leaders in Jordan. Meeting such as this puts the spotlight on Jordan as being an ally of  the West and there is the real fear that this collaboration could lead to Jordan facing terrorist attacks or worse from Syria if the West intervenes. Amman is well within missile striking range from Syria.

Conversations among people here now are very much centered around Jordan’s role and what will happen next and what will happen to Jordan if………

I sense the tension and nervousness of the people here. This is new and brings it home that I’m not that far removed from what is happening only a few hours away.

What does all this mean for me. At the moment it’s still just a wait and see game. If I lived in the North of the country I would certainly be more on eggshells and I think that I probably would have made more definite plans of what I was going to do. I’m also not planning on taking any trips to Amman in the next few weeks until I know more about if, when and how the West is going to intervene. For once living in the south of the country has it’s advantages.

For now whilst I’m feeling less removed than I have before I still don’t feel unsafe and have no intentions of leaving Jordan. My thoughts and prayers are with those who aren’t in such a fortunate position as myself and my family and who aren’t safe and don’t have the luxury of being able to choose or have no control over where they will go and what they will do.

Disclaimer: I don’t want or intend for my blog to be a political platform, but I did want to share my feelings and observations of what is happening and how it relates to me. I’m not writing from a position of being an expert on what is happening in the region – there are certainly far more experienced and credible sources that you should consult for an informed position.

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16 responses to “Middle East Melting Pot.

  1. I’m glad you’re feeling connected Smiles, so often back home we’re so far away that it feels like it’s happening to other people. The more people we know living in foreign lands the more relevant it becomes and hopefully from that more action by the right people. I bet as a 10 year old country girl you would never have imagined to be living the life you do now!
    Stay safe my friend. xx

    • Never could have imagined that this is where my life would end up – although not quite the Middle East I was incredibly passionate about Africa as a child and I still have a feeling that I’ll call Morocco home at some stage. Staying safe and very much thinking of those who aren’t. xx

  2. Hi I have to admit to feeling the same way up here in Amman. There is a growing feeling of tension in the air, of uncertainty and nervousness. I know that I have taken for granted, as you describe, our little ‘island’ of calm among the regional turmoil and never imagined we could be so affected by these events. Hopefully we will ride the storm…..Jordan is my home and my country now, it wouldn’t be easy to leave. It’s nice to read another great blog of yours, Andrea, and hope you all stay safe xx

    • The whole country seems subdued doesn’t it. Even the Eid celebrations this year were more subdued than the previous years that I had experienced. Everyone is just waiting to see what happens. More tense times ahead and inshallah we come through it relatively unaffected. x

  3. Andrea, no one would take the simple heartfelt way in which you are feeling and possibly fearing the current position as a ‘political platform’. It is your true story and we thank you for sharing how it feels to be in your situation at the moment. Some things like rising food and petrol prices and the increasing divide between rich and poor we actually share with you: fear for ourselves, thank God, we do not . . .

    • Thanks Eha for your kind words and support. Having followers like yourself keeps me writing to share my experiences and stories. I know what you mean about rising food prices in Australia – I was shocked last time I was back just how expensive everything was.

  4. Sharing what has been said by Eha, rest assured, your blog and posts should and hopefully will be treated with due respect to be your personal place to vent whatever you want to share in face of all the tension! Today we are lucky to have these media even if we have to be careful not to misunderstood! In thoughts with you and thanks for letting us know, how life is for you right now, this makes all the development something beyond “only the media”

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts and support. The whole country is holding it’s breath at the moment just waiting to see what happens. People are very tense and on edge – there is certainly a different feel to the usually very laid back nature of the country.

  5. “Jordan is often described as the Switzerland of the Middle East. I often describe it as a island of peace surrounded by countries of chaos.”– You hit the nail on the head. We are completely saddened by what is happening in the Middle East. We have ties to Syria and we loved Jordan so much, what is happening is killing us inside. We wish you and your family the best.

    • Thank you Jackie. I do hope that the people you know in Syria are remaining safe during these terrible times. It’s heartbreaking what is happening to such such a beautiful country and it’s people. We will just have to continue to hope and prayer for the best solution.

  6. I hate to think that the reality of war is so real, so looming and raw for those in the Middle East. It’s such an unfamiliar concept for me, living in my safe little shoebox apartment in Australia. The biggest media issue in the news for us at the moment is the election tomorrow (and those clowns Abbott, Palmer, Rudd and Katter). Pales in comparison to the conflict in Syria (which is making my heart bleed at the moment) and the everyday occurrences you’re experiencing in and around the ‘island’ of Jordan. Take care beautiful. Please stay safe. Oh, and for entertainment value, watch the news on the Federal election tomorrow… we’re having a gathering at my friends’ house tomorrow night to watch the ridiculous result. Ah, democracy. Love it and hate it. Hugs xoxox

    • For once I was glad that I didn’t have to vote in the Australian elections. I loved your summary of the main players in the election in your chocolate and saffron pear tart post. We do have some scallywags representing (or embarrassing) us as a country!
      There’s an uneasy feeling that has settled over Jordan and everyone is just waiting to see what happens. So many agendas from too many people. xx

  7. I read your post while vacationning in Turkey and didn’t get a chance to leave you a message. I was very touched by your comments and I agree that we often push aside things that surround us but don’t touch us personally. The crisis in Syria has been on my mind often but with the possibilities of US & French air strikes, it made it very real. I remember thinking that Turkey would probably be one of the launching pads for the attacks and was briefly concerned for our safety and for the Turk people. I do hope that they will soon find a solution to stop the civil war in Syria…it is so heartbreaking! (Suzanne)

    • Thanks Suzanne. I’m sure that it would have been an interesting time to be in Turkey. I can say that I’m very relieved that the potential for air strikes seems to have quietened off for the time being, but the ongoing Syrian crisis is still very much at the front of my mind. Unfortunately I can’t see an end in sight anytime soon and it is as you describe completely heartbreaking.

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