There are many people who died in the bombings in Jordan whose names you or I may not recognize. Of course their loss is significant as members of their families and society, but one particular death stands out for me, Moustapha Akkad. He is someone who created films like the Lion in the Desert and the Message. These films were a part of his effort to create Hollywood epics that would not demonize Arabs or Muslims. It saddens me that someone like Akkad, whose vision and spirit we need in Hollywood so desperately died. He was a rare one indeed.
I suppose things are back to normal, or as close to normal as possible, now that the weekend is officially over. Although today was the late King Hussein’s birthday so it was another sort of a holiday. I heard there was a silent march today, but the last two days took too much out of me so I chose to stay in bed and work from home. Tomorrow university campuses are coordinating rallies on each campus. But the hotels are now open again, each equipped with metal detectors as parliament passed a new law sometime over the past few days requiring every hotel, bank, government building to have one at its entrances. I went into a restaurant yesterday afternoon to drink a coffee and they had a security guard at its front door checking everyone’s purses and bags before entering. Is this the new normal? It reminds me of walking around in West Jerusalem.
Through all of this I really can’t help but see the irony in it. The effect of the crime here that everyone focuses on is the innocent civilians who died, especially in the wedding. Certainly one should think about these lives, but what of the phrase “innocent civilians”? I’m struck by the international cries of solidarity and support for all of the innocent lives lost. But why is it when Israel kills innocent civilians, which they do every single day, is there no international outrage? Why is it when states participate in terrorist acts there is no questioning of their motives or acts nor any sympathy for the lives lost? Does anyone recall, for instance. , the wedding in Afghanistan that U.S. forces attacked in 2002? This particular memory of this horrific event seems to me to be quite similar to what happened at the Radisson Hotel in Amman.
These questions about who the U.S. kills in Iraq and Afghanistan and who Israel kills in Palestine leaves me to my final point for the day: I know what happened here is horrific, but these are events that take place on a daily basis in the lives of Iraqis and Palestinians. The occupation in both of these countries is what precipitated the events in Amman. Our focus as writers, thinkers, intellectuals is to end these occupations. Period.