Fragments from March 24 2011

(It was a Thursday)

A young man is sweeping the floor

A family is standing on the other side, watching, bewildered

Several men have set up food camp, grilling meat sandwiches for the hungry

A group of women are watching, excited, holding flags

It's cold

People are huddled together, under the bridge

The cars are still moving above and I can hear them through the cracks 

The MC's voice is already scarred

There's a sense of excitement

A sense of hope

A sense that yes, anyone and everyone could and should be here

It was innocent

(or that's how it seemed, for there might not be such a thing)

This didn't last

There were moments of panic

There were moments of spreading rumor

But they went away

And came back

 By nighttime, the crowd burst into song and dance, under the bridge

I was nervous and alert but drunken with excitement and insistence 

I couldn't believe this was happening here, in our hometown

It was the first and last time I felt that we were part of the cyclone of collective dissent in the Arab world

As I write this nearly one year later, I remember these images:

photos by Lina Ejeilat, with the exception of the first (anonymous) and last (myself)


This is what I had tweeted that day:

At 1:44 PM
off to the streets #amman #jo #reformjo #mar24
At 6:11 PM
thousands from all over #jordan joining #mar24 protest things calm so far come and join
At 6:13 PM
tents already up young men are cleaning and people are sharing food and coffee #mar24 #jo #reformjo
At 7:15 PM
قلبت حفلة ‎#mar24‏ ‎#reformjo
At 2:06 AM (Mar 24 Night)
 got back in dakhliyeh square, some stone throwing but its calm in the back #mar24 #reformjo

*On a more informational note, the March 24 gathering was the culmination of 2 months of weekly protests in downtown Amman, and a
clear escalation in form and demands  since it was called for as an indefinite sit-in and not a demonstration. This created momentum among the people but grave security concerns for the authorities because of the central location of the Duwwar.