This week’s post was written by Armen Sultanian, who is from the Middle East. I met Armen while serving a LDS mission in Rochester, New York. She left her country for 18 months so that she could teach people about her Christian faith. She was always the life of the party. The atmosphere in a room would always be brighter with her in it. When I asked her to write this she was hesitant because she didn’t know if she could write it well enough. I haven’t changed anything because I thought she did a wonderful job!
Here is Her Unknown Story:
I noticed when I was in the USA when people would ask where I’m from, when I answered from the Middle East (Hashemite kingdom of Jordan) they would have a couple of thoughts in their mind; the first one is from the song Arabian nights of the famous movie Aladdin that says:
Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
where the caravan camels roam
where they cut off your ear
if they don’t like your face
it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home
When the wind’s from the east and the sun’s from the west
And the sand in the glass is right
come on down
Stop on by
Hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian night
Like Arabian days
More often than not
Are hotter than hot
The other thought would be pretty much related to the first one that is we all live in tents and cover our heads, no water or a modern life, riding camels, simply living Bedouins life
And third one is that our countries are always in war and there is no peace.
I don’t want to generalize but most of what I witnessed was related to these preconceived ideas.
For those who don’t know Jordan it is located on the East Bank of the Jordan River, and extending into the historic region of Palestine. Jordan is pretty much similar to USA not much difference it’s a melting pot of many cultures like Circassia’s, Armenians, and other Arab nationalities,we have people leading normal life having jobs family’s and schools, everyone is busy making a future for their lives in order to achieve the good life and Arab dream..
However there are some differences in this Arab dream compared to American dream for example our dream is manly focused on peace and maintaining good relations with other countries, one of the hardest moments in my life and my country was (2005 Amman bombings) were a series of coordinated bomb attacks on three hotels in Amman, Jordan, on 9 November 2005. The attacks killed 60 people and injured 115 others.
I remember this event like it was yesterday, typically our country is considered one of the most peaceful countries in the middle east from the time of biblical historical event until now so this bombing took a huge impact on us and especially me, I remember it happening the same day as my birthday party was supposed to happen, one of those hotels was 2 blocks away from my house when suddenly in the middle of the party we heard the big scary sound, at first we were very confused and upset as in why these horrible things happen only in our country’s ,even in the places where it supposed to be joyful like the hotels, I remember watching on TV one of the guys sharing his story he says: he leaned against a car and punched the keys of his cell phone with trembling fingers. His brother Aref, 50, had been in the wedding party, he said, along with dozens of other family members.
“My cousin called me and said, ‘Your brother is dead.’ But I want to know for sure, so I came here,” said Zerkia, wearing a pinstriped gray suit, his eyes welling with tears. “He’s my big brother. He’s like my father. I try and try but I cannot reach anyone in his family.”
Since then, thank God there have been no any other bombs in the country.
On other note I would like to talk a little bit about the history of Jordan included historical sites and human rights,
Yes in Jordan we don’t have Disneyland or Hollywood but we have a lot of historical places and tourist attraction like Petra, Jarash, Jordan River, Mount Nebo, dead sea etc.
These are Great places that combine religious and cultural history, not to mention the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth which is a major tourist destination.
QUEEN AND KING OF JORDAN with their children
Roman theater (Amman)
Regarding women’s right in Jordan in general it is mainly dominated by men and the street is effectively a man’s domain, however it has been improved over the last few years as in new laws has been implemented for example in the past we had a very sad and rather disturbing law that says:
This law allows rape charges to be dropped if the perpetrator agrees to marry his victim for a period of at least three years, despite no existence of clear procedures to ensure that the woman consented to the marriage. There are probably few experiences in life more terrifying than being raped, but being subsequently forced to marry the perpetrator of the rape probably ranks up there. Just ask the victims.
This law is under review from the parliament now thanks to people reactions and their protesting either personally or through social network.
In conclusion and generally speaking Jordan is a very beautiful country full of history and mysterious places it combines the modern culture with the history and has a very unique culture and its people are very hospitable and nice.
On opposite what people think we welcome outsiders to our country and treat them equal if not better than local.