A 3rd in series of reports from Dr. Alice Rothchild in Amman, Jordan after attending the Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance Annual conference.
By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | May 2, 2019
Demonstrators hold red signs translated as: ‘The gas of our enemy [Israel] is occupation.’
I find traveling in a foreign country is a strange mix of exhilaration and confusion, a humbling struggle to understand and decode what I am seeing, along with a regular dose of bewildering frustration. Like the nightly ritual of searching for an adequate number of electrical outlets to recharge our assortment of computers, phones, and cameras. We managed to break two adapters in the sockets last night, leaving an exposed arm of the adapter sticking out ready to electrocute me when I get up in the middle of the night, disoriented, and try to remember, where am I now and where did they put the bathroom?
Today we learn that for the past few weeks, once a week people from distant municipalities have been marching to Amman’s city hall to demand better employment opportunities, increased wages, and better working conditions in the field of education. We come upon a demonstration outside of the Ministry of Education. We see a crowd of men, chanting, holding signs and flags, flanked by rows of police who appear armed with billy clubs. When a van of riot police pulls up and starts emptying into the street we decide it is time to leave.
As we head towards another demonstration against the gas pipeline, we pass by the Department of Justice where rows of mostly older men sit at folding tables under umbrellas with old fashioned manual typewriters, pecking with one finger. It seems that they write official letters of complaint and official documents. One elderly gentleman offers us tea and another insists we take a brochure about mosquito control. (You get the part about decoding and confusion.)