Diary from Amman, where life goes on despite drones and missiles overhead

An old saying goes “you can have breakfast in Jerusalem, lunch in Amman and dinner in Beirut”. Today things have changed, but everyone's dream is that this saying becomes current again. Life in Amman continues as normal even after the Iranian attack on Israel on April 13, when the skies filled with drones or rockets and people prayed that the moving, fiery balls wouldn't fall right on their homes. Everyone continues to live their usual lives.

To the east the city is more modest, the houses are close together and the streets are narrower. This is where Mohamed, a 29-year-old man, lives. He admits he's worried, but he's not afraid. “On April 13th we strongly smelled the smell of war. But, we are not afraid because, if you are afraid, you cannot live in Jordan. Amman, among other things, has Arabic roots and means “protected”. We know we are protected not only by the name Amman and by God, but also by an internal policy that helps us remain neutral and move forward.”

To the west, the city is rich and modern. The private residence of the royals and the most luxurious hotels are located in this area. In one of the hotel corridors, two children are playing war. Dressed in camouflage shorts and equipped with bows and arrows, they imitate two guerrillas, while continuing to kick the door of a room, where their parents are probably staying. Between east and west, lies the heart of Amman, where you can perceive the quiet of the Citadel and the chaos of Downtown.

“We are in the Citadel, on one of the 25 hills of Amman, the most panoramic one. In short, we are in the heart of Amman, where tourists are fewer, but they continue to arrive. This is the high season period and tourism is the first sector to be affected by this crisis situation. We are surrounded by families with children, but also by elderly tourists. From here, we can look at the Roman amphitheater built by Domitian in the 2nd century AD with 6000 seats. It was a very visited site, today it is much less so. But, we must be positive and look to the future with hope.” These are the words of Khaled Al Homsi, an expert tour guide who, together with his group, continues to show off the most beautiful sites of the Jordanian capital.

We move to Paris Square, in one of the residential neighborhoods of the city, where the small square hosts cafes and small shops. “We are here in my coffee room and I admit that on April 13th we were afraid, but now that fear has totally disappeared. We only want one thing: we want the war in Gaza to end soon.” Next to the coffee room, there is a small ceramics shop, where Omar, a 63 year old man is worried about the war in Palestine and says that Jordan has always been a safe territory even in times of war in the Middle East “There is no 'It's a real danger that comes from Iran, but from Israel. Iran is a secondary issue for me. Business is not going well because the war in Gaza prevents foreigners from arriving in Jordan. For this reason, they cancel reservations. But here it is not dangerous, the situation is calm. We have been experiencing this situation since 1948, but it is a problem that concerns Israel and does not concern us. Jordan is a safe place, where you feel good and nothing is missing.”

Shahied, a young 19-year-old woman who owns a typical products shop in France Square, also says she is worried about the war in Palestine: “We are in high season and my shop is going on, but it's not as good as before. For example, last year we sold 30 jars of honey a day, this year we can barely sell 10. I'm not afraid of war. There have always been conflicts here, but I hope that soon the war in Palestine will end and return to our usual economic life. Our economic activities are no longer going so well. We need to take back our normality, we must all do it together to guarantee ourselves a future. Let's work together”. The hope that the conflict between Israel and Palestine will be resolved soon represents for everyone the dream of recovery also in the sign of the revival of that old saying about being able to have breakfast in Jerusalem, lunch in Amman and dinner in Beirut.