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.