Hafla al-Istliqali (Independence Party)
During my two month stay in Jordan, in a frustrating effort to learn Arabic, our group took a day off of studying and headed into Amman for the Jordanian Independence Day celebration. We walked all around the city, visiting the Roman ruins, savoring falafel, hummus and babaganoush on the sidewalk outside of a crowded restaurant, watching the noon prayers in front of one of the most important mosques in the country, while simultaneously observing the gathering protestors waiting for their chance to be heard. Near the end of our long hot day, we finally made it to the King Hussein National Park for the official Independence Day celebration. We arrived into the middle of a concert, all of the men under the age of 30 were dancing, tossing each other into the air and waving their red keiffahs or Jordanian flags around. The D.J.'s and moon bounces weren't especially impressive and there were more photos taken of our group of foreigners than the musicians, but what makes this day special, is that I finally found Jordanians who were proud of Jordan. In talking with other students around campus, I haven't found very many Jordanians who actually enjoy living in Jordan, most people just ask us why we would voluntarily chose to live here. Certainly those I speak with represent a minority, the highly educated youth looking in vain for new opportunities, but it was a refreshing change that there was no shortage of national pride during the Hafla Al-Istliqali.