We demand the truth!
Assalamu Alaykum wr wb
I’m not doing too bad, considering I’ve only had 2 hours of sleep, although I’m sure the fatigue will kick in later. We’re not doing anything strenuous at the moment, we’re just sitting down and waiting in no-man’s land between Syria and Jordan for our passports to be stamped. Its like a cattle market at the border, which makes me think how can people have such a lack of organisation and logic. It’s quite comical how they do things here, after stamping out of Syria we were then requested to hand over a form that they were meant to have given, but as we never had it the guards just let us go. After that we proceeded to a large warehouse building where they scanned our machines and then ushered us on into a large car park area. A policeman on a bike who looked like he was filming the latest series of ‘Chips’ wearing these ridiculously tight trousers and a 1980’s helmet came and took a whole load of passports in a plastic carrier bag to get them stamped.
At the moment we can’t proceed until they enter all our passports into their system and scan all vehicles which will take a long time. It looks like we will be here for a while, and there is absolutely nothing here to eat, I might have to get out the camping stove and start warming up some beans. It’s the same scenario, the ‘unknown’ we don’t know how long we will be here, shall I get out the cooker or not? More than likely as soon as we get the cooker out we’ll start moving. Also cooking in camping conditions is a lot more of a daunting task than cooking at home. Once we cross the border we will make our way to Amman where we’re meant to check into a hotel and spend the night. It looks like this crossing is going to be a long one and it does take a lot out of you. It seems like a cattle market, there is no organisation and loads of different people shouting. Since we are now out of Europe and have entered the Arab lands it’s a whole new ball game.
Lengthy waits, chaperoning, secret service’s trying to blend in with the crowds, but just can’t seem to get it right, ridiculous questions from men in ‘black suits’ pretending they met you before at hotels. Well the last one isn’t too bad but it’s quite different from Europe where we camped out in the cold, my kind of thing. The men in black is really irritating, yesterday I was approached – in the hotel where we stayed – by a man asking me “Have I met you in Bosnia?” What a clown. What does he expect me to say? The other difference is the climate which is much warmer but once dusk kicks in it suddenly becomes freezing. It’s unfortunate that these countries are so backward, these countries empires like Persia, Rome and the khilafah used to boast about. I often think how amazing it is that these lands were places that great campanions like Khalid ibn Walid, Sa’ad ibn abi Waqas, Abu Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah and those of their likes once marched through in their glorious conquests that brought down the tyranical empires such as Rome and Persia, bringing people into the light of Islam.
Aarrgghh what a nightmare. We just spent hours at the border trying to overcome a major dispute of whether we should succumb to the Jordanian demands of handing over a passport of the driver of each vehicle. This is something I opposed as travelling through a country without a passport is placing oneself in a vulnerable position. Something fishy going on in my opinion, or is that me being a sceptic? I find it very hard to trust any of these authorities after what happened on the last convoy particularly in Tunisia and Egypt. To me it was apparent that the officer in charge was lying through his teeth when initially, according to him, he needed the passports to count the vehicles, then after a while, he said he needed the passports for the safety of the convoy, dont ask me the logic behind it. He was then told, why does he not just use the information he gathered at the border which we waited for hours ‘to keep us safe’. His response to this was “These orders come from above” He obviously didn’t know what he was talking about. The convoy was mainly split into two opinions, some were ready to protest and wait at the border until they let us pass without handing in any passports, whilst the others were on the opinion of just handing them in. The argument for simply handing over the passports was that we didn’t want to use our efforts and energy at such an early stage, but others argued that if we give in now then it shows that we are ready to compromise and the Egyptians would take full advantage of this. Suggestions were made that at least the Officer should sign a document articulating which passports he has taken in and the number in total taken. When this was presented to him he refused and said that he was not in the position to do so, but surely when you hand in documents to any office you should receive a receipt. After arguing for a long time he swore by Allah and guaranteed these passports will be looked after and that the people without passports will not be taken into custody. Eventually he agreed to provide a receipt which we have yet to see. Allowing the authorities to take the passports was what the majority of the convoy decided to do. In my opinion the majority of people just went along with the others. The time we spent at the border ate into most part of the day, and not long after entering Jordan we noticed the Jordanian authorities trying to lead the convoy away from the capital Amman. To me it was more than evident by now that the Jordanian authorities were using dirty tactics, which is why I oposed handing in the passports without putting up a fight (not a physical one). It wouldn’t surprise me if they had plans to sabotage the convoy or at least make it hard for us. Let’s not isolate the reality of these governments, it’s them who are at the forefront of suppressing any type of progression from the ummah. Unfortunately, these people are masters of deception and have sold their pride and honour for a miserly price. I do apologise for entering into discussions about politics, but I am sure it is clear to most that there is much politics involved due to the instabilitiy of the regions that we are crossing. It’s crucial to keep the intention as pure and not forget the purpose of the journey is to deliver aid and send a message to the world and the people of Gaza. I do not doubt that various agendas may exist, but personally there is a 7.5 tonne truck and other vehicles that are full of your donations that needs to reach the people of Gaza. On route the police decided to divert the convoy from its course so we responded by causing a blockade on the main road to Amman. This lasted for about 45 minutes, and at times it was a complete standstill and at times it moved at a couple of miles per hour. Eventually we were allowed to proceed to our intended destination, but by the time we arrived we were so tired, and it didn’t end there. There was more waiting. We had to wait at least an hour and a half before boarding busses to our hotel. The vehicles will stay in a car park for the night, so I pray they’ll be safe.
Wa Asalamu alaykum wr wb