Zarqawi or not, this is clear terrorism [Archives:2005/895/Viewpoint]

November 17 2005

What happened in Amman on the 10th of this month is certainly alarming. In spite of the strong intelligence forces, it seems terrorists have finally managed to get away with mass murder. For many years especially since the peace agreement with Israel, Jordan has been a direct target for fundamentalists, and terrorists who aim at disturbing the continuous economic and political progress of that country. While the national security and intelligence forces are aware of this fact, it never occurred for them to think that terrorists would target civilians and that too in such a happy social occasion such as a wedding. I was in Jordan when it happened, and I heard people comment that whatever minimal sympathy al-Qaida could have had among the local people it has lost it. Outraged individuals and groups expressed their dismay “Why not a government office or even a police station?” A person was wondering, “They could have had similar access to any of those and it would have conveyed a clearer message concerning the Jordanian politics and the government directions, but instead to target civilians and ordinary people is really low.”

Whether it was al-Zarqawi or not, this is not really the issue. The issue is that now normal life has been threatened. In addition, although desperate efforts are being made to revive the trust in the country's security, one wonders if investment and tourism would be the same. Hotels and government offices are now taking extra security measures at entrances while security forces at the boarders are being more alert and thorough in their daily work. Government media stressed that investment and tourism have not been harmed by the tragedy. In fact, it was reported that two of the hotels started operating again right from the day following explosions. If there is anything learnt from this experience is that you can never be sure enough that you are safe as long as terrorism exists. Moreover, it becomes scarier when it is blind terrorism. Slogans in the streets of Amman highlighted the survival's spirit in the Jordanian people and their trust in and support for their leadership. And this does help unite the people in one stand regardless of their originations and differences. Being a multinational and multiethnic country, Jordan has had its internal problems; however, in times like these the true solidarity of the Jordanian people rises to the challenge. After all, what does not kill you makes you stronger. Our hearts and prayers are sent to all the Jordanian people.