The Jordanian way

As my internship, and the summer, winds down many of the foreigners (ijanib) that I have met this summer have left, as well as Jordanian students who study outside Jordan. This has led me to spend my weekends with the rest of my friends how many Jordanian youth spend their time. Just hanging out at cafes playing cards or chilling on the street not really doing anything, instead of going to clubs, bars, or events. It is much more boring but also feels more authentic and more characteristic of the youth here. I have got to talking with my Jordanian friends and acquaintances about things such as life and the future. Many youth in Jordan, like in the United States, do not have a lot of hopes for the future. Youth unemployment is extremely high and Amman is the most expensive city in the Arab world, with respect to the level of salaries. Austerity measures forced on the country by the IMF and World Bank have only made the situation worse in the past years. Many youth that can leave are leaving, and those that cannot leave want to leave. Many of them want to go to the United States, Turkey, or the Gulf. One of the few things Jordanians have to be optimistic about is the relative security and stability the country enjoys compared to the rest of the region.

This relates to my research of the situation in the Arab world post-Arab ‘Spring’. The Arab Spring was first and foremost a reaction against these austerity measures forced upon the region by the international organizations and the United States, who support(ed) many of these repressive regimes in the region. The ironic thing is that many youth want to go to the United States, which bears responsibility for the economic and political situation in the region. However, many youth in the United States also have immense fears and anxiety about their own futures, only exacerbated under the current administration. Change in the region will be brought by the youth fighting against these powerful  institutions backed by the United States, and not by the US itself, as is so often claimed.

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