Friday, August 31, 2007

The Refugees Gala


When one ushers a refugees center he/she expects to see older men and women dressed in shabby clothes, looking despair, ambivalent and regretful, while the children inside might be clinging to grown-ups and seem quite bored and confused yet cleverly understanding of their parents ordeal, right? Wrong. Welcome to the Refugees Center for Iraqis in Amman Jordan, the place that defied the total meaning of the concept ‘refugees’.

Due to the persistence of the Jordanian government to treat the Iraqis in Jordan like subhuman – perhaps to reward the Iraqis for the best treatment and economic incentives that Saddam offered Jordan like no other country in the entire world!, Iraqis are finding ways to maintain their existence (residence visas and avoiding overstay penalties, housing, schools and universities – the Jordanian government hurdles all of the those in every step of the way) by finally agreeing to turn refugees in order to gain relative freedom, but they sure know how to do it with own style.

As you park the car and walk up closer to the center you notice that most Iraqis drove there in their latest models of German and Japanese made cars. Some other Iraqis are being dropped off by their chauffeurs right at the gate. When you enter you immediately come across the Iraqi upper middle class tier who is dressed in vogue fashion – young boys, girls and mothers look as if they had just stepped out of an international brands week - Zara, Mango, MEXX, Elle etc.; the older women are gilded with jewelry and gold but are more in line with Versaci attire. Men, however, are dressed smart casual and looked a bit aloof so did the grandmothers.

After a while you get to over-hear the conversations there and it’s all about the latest shopping sales at Mecca Mall in Abdoun, or that great get-together that lasted until 3 am, or you may even hear the latest critique about that wonderful Iraqi art show at some famous Iraqi lady-owned Gallery. Also, women hairs do are far from that of the under-occupation-veiled-style and women seemed as if they went to the coiffures just for the occasion.

When one leaves the place he/she might feel as if life were normal again, and one thinks that it is not that bad after all being amongst the Iraqi bourgeois while for tiny bit of time one gets to forget the on-going misery of the Iraqis back home; after all, it is the same social class who did not mind and even supported free health care and schooling for everyone and for many years. I mean even Karl Marx recognized such a class, but later one realizes that it was all happening inside a Refugees Center!! And as I got farther away I began to feel that conscience-pinch: How did I ever become a refugee?! And I started to analyze and for some reason, at least to me; it was obvious, as it has always been, that the different Iraqi social tiers have always been in a state of refuge– whether home or abroad – while their neighbors have always been in a state of schadenfreude.

Free Counters
Free Counters