In late March and early April 2019 our board member Alice Rothchild, MD, a retired OB/GYN physician, traveled to Jordan and the West Bank (Palestine) with her colleagues Sonia Dettman and S. Komarovsky. Their early goals in Jordan were to attend the Tenth Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance conference in Amman, and to explore and better understand the lives of refugees in Jordan and the workings of UNRWA, with a focus on the status of refugee health.
Dr. Rothchild combines her commitment to justice for all with the close observational skills of a gifted physician and a super-engaging writing style. Her 2016 book Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine was an engrossing compilation of blog posts she wrote during successive fact-finding and solidarity trips she made to Israel/Palestine between June 2013 and April 2015.
Now, we’re delighted that she has been producing some new observational blog posts from her latest trip. So far, there have been four:
- In this one, Cultural confusion/cultural imperialism, she shared some quick impressions of the cultural confusion at Dubai International Airport, then provided a charming description of her little group’s visit to Petra. (Yes, there were camels…)
- In Falling off the edge: Iraqi and Syrian refugees, she described a visit their group made to The Evangelical Philadelphia Nazarene Church of Marka, located in Amman (the historic Philadelphia– City of Brotherly Love.) The church has what look like impressive outreach programs to some of the millions of Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have found temporary refuge in Jordan. This blog post painfully reminds us that Jordan has hosted many successive waves of refugees from neighboring countries wracked by the violence of imperialist wars and civil conflict, as well as by Zionism’s expulsionist brand of settler colonialism.
- In From God to art to politics, in Amman, Rothchild delved deeper into the complex geographic, political, and administrative paths that the Palestinian refugees who make up a majority of Jordan’s population have traveled over the past 71 years. She illustrates this exploration with some observations from Tamara Nassar, the Amman-based Associate Editor at Electronic Intifada. Rothchild also recounts a visit she made to an exhibition space at Darat al-Funun.
- In A pipeline protest in Amman, she describes two small protests she and her colleagues encountered during their early days in Amman. One was part of a lengthy cost-of-living protest they saw at the Ministry of Education. (“We see a crowd of men, chanting, holding signs and flags, flanked by rows of police who appear armed with billy clubs. When a van of riot police pulls up and starts emptying into the street we decide it is time to leave… “) The other is a small-ish protest at the parliament, against an agreement the government concluded to buy $15 billion-worth of natural gas from Israel over the next 15 years.
We’ve been fascinated to read Dr. Rothchild’s blog posts and are much looking forward to the upcoming installments!