21 April 2011

Going home

The old city of Amman
Photo: just because my photos are mainly from the old part of town doesn't mean there isn't a new one, only that I wasn't there much. Just so you know.

I’ve just finished packing my bags and there’s some more time before the ride to the airport so I thought I’d write a bit about what I’ve been up to this week. I was asked to attend a music related forum in Amman as a part of my work and the purpose of the event was to build bridges between Europe and Arab countries amongst the youth in the form of music. Music and culture in general are a great way to bridge media amplified cultural gaps because in the words of my wife ‘no one hates music’. The whole idea of bringing people together in harmony sounds like a massive cliché, and it is, but there’s a lot of truth to it also. Except that it’s a bit more complicated than that. I have written before how I don’t see tolerance as something that will solve all the problems regardless of the fact that it’s promoted as if that was the case. I see cultural understanding to be the key, not just simply tolerating what we cannot understand. And this is what this has been about.

There’s been some great lecturers here, especially I enjoyed Mr. Issa Boulos who comes from Palestine even if lives now in the United States. His insight to the region was engaging and honest. While perhaps some speakers preferred avoiding the difficult political topics – which I also can understand in the context of what they were here to talk about – he highlighted that without the sense of justice there isn’t much to build on and this is something the European side should also acknowledge. I agree and it has been my goal ever since I started my job in which I coordinate some musical and cultural exchanges that they need to be morally sound in every way. These exchanges of culture, I believe, are enriching all sides and they shouldn’t be anti-anything, but pro-improvement, pro-empowerment and pro-common-sense.

Jordan is an intriguing country. I haven’t had too much spare time and I had posted some photos earlier, but the little I have seen has been unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The city of Amman is a curious mixture of old and new. And old means old like we know very little about in Europe. Besides some great vegetarian dishes, one of the things that has been left in my mind mostly, is the amount of images of the King around the town and in the offices. The posters, paintings and banners of the current, previous and next King; there are plenty to go around. And they are many more, and generally a lot bigger, than pictures of Mugabe in Zimbabwe or actually of any leader of any country where I have ever been. It’s a delicate matter and I haven’t felt it to be appropriate to ask, but I can only imagine two options; either they love him or fear him. Or both. Or maybe there are some other options that are beyond my imagination.

In the end, before the car leaves to the airport, perhaps for the first time ever, since I am writing about work trip, I must emphasise that this is, and has always been my personal blog and my opinions. I have been hired into my job as me, but my opinions are not necessarily shared by everyone in the office. Or maybe they are, I don’t know, but the point is I represent a private person – an individual – here.

No comments: