Bike for Gaza

…or, How Jordanian Youth Respond To Crisis

Amman, Jordan

From Bike For Gaza

I was only a very minor participant in the amazing recent campaign wonderfully described by Black Iris here and here. I dropped off just one bag of non-perishable foodstuffs, having been unemployed for a number of weeks and unable to contribute more. I knew from some of my friends in Tareef Cycling Club when and where they were loading on New Years, and it was just across the Airport Road from my apartment, but I grossly underestimated the Jordanian people and didn’t think they would need my help. I regret this, despite lingering shreds of my Peace Corps training telling me to avoid politically sensitive gatherings, because I think Black Iris makes a great argument in support of what I’ve been telling a half-Jewish friend here in Jordan: for all the anger that there is here about what is happening in Gaza, it’s not being directed at individuals, but at the Israeli leadership.

I also did my part today, and a little bit more, when I went on the Save Gaza bike trip with the Tareef Cycling Club this morning. I mean, let’s be honest, I was going to go anyway, because Tareef goes cycling every Friday, and I’m fulfilling a promise to myself from several years ago to become a competent cyclist post-Peace Corps. But when I found out that Tareef would be donating all the usual 5 dinar fees to the Red Cross for the relief effort in Gaza, I was especially determined to go, and even to contribute more than the usual fee.

I went because, while Tareef’s members are passionate about the Palestinian cause and they were eager, as I am, to make some contribution, that was not the sole purpose of today’s ride. These guys and gals get together to go cycling. Some of them are members of the Jordanian national team, others are even less athletic than I am, and there is absolutely no censure. These are some of the easiest people to spend time with that I know in Jordan, because they are all very ambitious, successful people, but they don’t take themselves very seriously. The girls are very stylish, even at the end of a long bike ride, because there’s absolutely no avoiding it here, but they’re not the Barbie dolls you usually see around town. I suspect that most of them are of above average wealth, but you’d never know it by looking at them. And they didn’t disappoint today. There was some talk about Palestine, but there was no diatribe, no vitriol, no censure of other viewpoints. More than angry, the people on this trip were disappointed.

But mostly, we were just biking!

From Bike For Gaza

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