In An Amman Minute: Celebrating The New Year On Jabal Amman's First Circle

الجمعة 01 كانون الثاني 2010


Video by: 7iber
Music by: Sign of Thyme
Words by: Naseem Tarawnah

It began almost sporadically. Blogger Ahmad Humeid simply decided on the spur-of-the-moment that he didn’t want to celebrate the dawning of the new decade from his living room sofa, and instead, decided to do something a bit different. The idea? Getting together on the first circle of Jabal Amman. Simple enough. A blog post and a Facebook group later, word spread quickly through the local blogosphere, twittersphere, in what was labelled as an experiment. There was no preparation or big band playing. No cover charges or minimum orders. Just people coming together in one of Amman’s most popular public spaces, and celebrating the countdown to the new year – which was projected on to the Jordan Insurance building from the second floor window of an adjacent coffee shop, using Ahmad’s Macbook and a projector resting on four pillows and a chair! The idea, of course, was for people to think creatively. Some brought balloons. Others brought sparklers. Some held signs that read “The End if Near”, while others gathered on the sidewalk to play a tablaa.

While I would hesitate at estimating the number of people who showed up – a talent I’d best leave to foreign media who love to count in the thousands when it comes to political protests – I’d say at least 300 people crowded the first circle area during the countdown. Possibly more. But it was a rather impressive turnout for a (non) event that was (non) organized in just a single day or so.

The event was perhaps nothing short of symbolic. While Amman continues to thrive in to the new decade, the issue of public spaces and public events will become an increasingly important issue to consider. In a city where residents often feel boxed-in and immobile, this last-minute effort is living proof that people still have some control over the public spaces that, in essence, belong to them – the public.

For interesting photos check out:
Roba Assi’s blog
Naser’s blog

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