Amman, which often finds itself a haven for those seeking a break from violence in Iraqi or, lately, Lebanon, has been shocked by terrorist violence twice in the past year. On November 9th, a set of coordinated bomb attacks killed 60 and injured 115 in three hotels in the Jordanian capital. The victims of the attacks were primarily Jordanians attending weddings or other events at the hotels, not the foreign military contractors and tourists the bombers may have been targetting.
Roman ampitheatre in central Amman.
Yesterday, a Jordanian man opened fire on a group of foreign tourists visiting the ruins of a Roman ampitheatre in central Jordan, a popular attraction for visitors to Amman. He killed a British man and wounded several others, including a Jordanian policeman, who was able to subdue the shooter.
Jordanian bloggers are beginning to post reactions to the tragedy. Roba at And Far Away finds it hard to remember what life was like before terrorism was a threat within Jordan:
It seems unreal that the world was ever safe. A distant memory of my pre 2002-life; me walking into a mall without having to be frisked, of going into the compound without having my ID claimed temporarily, of not having to look nervously when a bearded man walks by, of parking right outside the hotel’s entrance rather than before barracks of stones, of not considering terrorism as a part of the reason to not go to certain places and certain cities.
Nas at Black Iris is interested in the difference in meaning between “terrorism” and “murder”, and wonders how the line is drawn between the two? Intent? Spectacle? Target? The post includes an interesting comment thread as other Jordanian bloggers wrestle with the questions. Also at Black Iris is a cartoon reprinted from Mahjoob.com, which summarizes the reactions I’ve seen from many Jordanian bloggers – outrage that the man who targetted visitors to Jordan makes it harder for Jordan to be a crossroads where people from around the world can start to understand Arab culture, Islam and the best of the Middle East.
I love Jordan, too.