This is Jordan My Dear
Trip Start Jan 18, 2008
44Trip End Ongoing
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That is Jordan. What Jordan is not, is America. Being here I have grown to love America even more.....and by America I mean the America that is based on freedom, liberty, justice, equality, choice, etc. I still am absolutely disgusted and utterly embarrassed by US foreign policy. But I love and miss America.....well, maybe not South Dakota/conservative America but DC/liberal America. Where everyone is equal no matter what GENDER, color, creed you are; where you can wear whatever you want, say whatever you want, act however you want and it won't be a big deal; where everybody lives together and people are not blatantly separated into rich and poor; where you can have sex with somebody you love before marriage and not get killed by your father for it; where you can be comfortable with who you are and where you live.
I'm over-exaggerating right now....Jordan is an amazing place and I am loving my time here....and the Middle East is definitely nothing like what most Americans think it is.....but there is a difference and it can't be ignored.
My love for America grew even more as I was watching Al Jazeera, which as you should know by now if you read my blogs that I'm obsessed with Al Jazeera....they have a show called "witness" and yesterday their show was about the owner of Bus Boys and Poets that is in DC! I love the place and have gone there many times to eat, hang out, or go to a political gathering. He's Iraqi and moved here with his family when he was a little kid. Later on in life, as the Iraq-Iran war was going on he met an Iranian lady and ended up marrying her! As the situation in the Middle East got sour he started to speak up and attend rallies and made a section of his restaurant into a peace café where groups book space. The whole show was just so moving my eyes were teary at the end!!!
Onto a different topic, today CIEE, the program I'm here with had a talk on GLBT issues in Jordan. It was really interesting! The guy who spoke grew up in Kuwait, then his family moved to the UK during the gulf war, then moved to the US. He ended up in San Francisco living the life and then was gay bashed! In San Francisco! So he had to change his name and all and moved to Jordan. Here he started up "Books at Café," which is pretty much the most tolerant place in Jordan. While here he has had to flee 3 times but has always been urged to come back....the government wants to prove that they are tolerant here. Now Books at Café is pretty safe because foreigners, diplomats, and some in the royal family go there, so they have "wasta" or connections.
Basically, the older generation in Jordan/Middle East is fine with homosexuality because it used to be considered normal. However, his generation, or my parents generation, were educated in the US and acquired the labels that we have here, such as "fag" "queer" "homo" etc and all of a sudden it became abnormal and perverted. The youngest generation though is starting to become more accepting again.....except for those young kids who are brainwashed by radical militant Islamists.