Hello PSCI students!
Much history has taken place in these past two weeks here in Amman and else where in the Middle East. I got to experience quite a bit of archaeological history in Ajloun and Jerash as well as witness history taking place as Ghadafi’s regime fell and Syrians and Jordanians took to the streets to celebrate.
Alright, on Friday morning we headed out to a 12th century castle located in North Amman called Ajloun.The Castle is located on the site of an old monastery. It controlled trade routes between Damascus and Egypt. It is also the furthest point the Crusaders made it to. What remains of the castle is fairly small but was beautifully structured. When we reached the roof of the castle the view was breathtaking; from the roof we could see the borders of Syria, Israel, and Iraq. It was only a quick, 30 minute tour an incredible experience to take in the history, amazing sites and beautiful scenery surrounding the castle.
Following Ajloun we headed out to Jerash. Jerash is a large ancient city also located in North Amman and borders Syria. It was filled with temples and other remains from the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa. We walked down long aisles lined with pillars, sat on sculptures that were designed for slaughtering animals and even saw the coffin of a former colonel of the city. The best part was heading back and viewing an auditorium that holds about 5,000 people. We climbed all the way to the top up very narrow and small walk ways. At the center of the auditorium on the ground floor there were “whisper spots” built into the walls. Holes about a foot wide and six inches deep were carved into
the walls and if you whispered or spoke into one of these, anyone standing by another hole would be able to hear you. We ended the trip with a little souvenir shopping; I bought quite a few items and got a 5 JD (about USN $7!) discount because I was an Arab-American, so I was content with my purchases. It was a long day and we managed to tour then entire place in two and half hours but I would definitely recommend taking a full day to discover and explore the archaeological site.
The first week was filled with learning and viewing past history but the following week I got to witness history happen… Ghadafi was captured and killed on Thursday and as soon as news was received here in Amman I saw people take to the streets. The people gathered in a very organized manner and many of them were waving both Syrian and Jordanian flags. I could not make out what they were saying since unfortunately I was driving past them but I could make out the name Ghadafi followed by “down with Assad,” or something along those lines. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a camera on me at the time thus I was unable to take awesome photos. Footage of Ghadafi’s death was completely uncensored and everything was aired on Arab television. I wonder if these graphic videos were aired or reported on in US media?
Not only did Libya receive liberating news but Jordan experienced it’s own small revolution due to peaceful protests that take place in downtown Amman. The government was dissolved last week due to lack of reform actually taking place. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet members were forced to resign, many due to a new constitutional amendment which states that people with dual-citizenship cannot hold office. Many of the Cabinet members had dual citizenship and were therefore removed from office. 7 new Ministers were brought in to replace them. What do you all know about politics in Jordan? Has any of this made it to U.S. news? And, how does this compare to the U.S.? Can a person with dual-citizenship hold a government job?
Till next time…