"From various conflict zones, and climate displacement zones, refugees have clearly expressed that they’re done waiting. In this part of the world, and for many in Europe, their decision—their agentic, desperate decision to wait a little less harshly, elsewhere—has set off a domino effect of polarization and fear-mongering like we’ve never seen. And we make them wait more. We cling to control by inventing new reasons to wait."
For Khalid, the beaches of Tartus are unrivaled. “The sand is white, no rocks to trip on, no urchins to sting you.” He told me this as he brushed off the pebbles that had stuck to his feet. “I don’t like it here.” Khalid, 16 years old, fled his native city of Homs just over … Continue reading The Hostess with the Mostest: Refugees and Host Communities in Jordan
So many backpacks bobbed by my building this morning. It is a sight I haven't seen since my first weeks here. Despite the noise and tremors to the North in Syria, to the West in Palestine, to the South in Egypt, for Jordan's children, school is still school. It's still drudgery. It's still that unwelcome … Continue reading Less Room in Homeroom
When I say "neighborhood," what do you think? Is it a real memory that pops into your mind? Is it a picture you've painted over the years, brushstrokes stolen from decades of primetime family shows? Who has defined it for you? When I think of neighborhood, I hear Ray Charles, soulful and sort of rusty, … Continue reading Ray Charles in Jordan
The thickening layer of brown on the horizon is a signal of summer. The unsettled dust from the endless desert east of Amman seems to float higher and higher, not content until reaching the sun itself. Today’s breezes don’t hold the same force as those of mid-May. The lungs of the atmosphere are slowly tiring, … Continue reading A Flower that Blooms by Night
“He is from Karak. Ask him about Mansaf.” “Have you had Mansaf? You know the best one is in Karak.” “Have you heard of Karak? It is like the capital of Mansaf.” Never have I been asked the same food-related question three times on a first day in any country. Since I arrived here almost … Continue reading Off with His Head!
Living on top of a hill provides a false sense of confidence. When you can see everything, it all makes sense. It seems manageable, understandable. In Amman, neighborhoods are defined by the hill on which they sit. Jabal Amman, Jabal Hussein, Jabal Weibdeh—each has its own character, its own style, its own landmarks and identity. … Continue reading Lost in the Layer Cake