Which side are you on?

Moral issues in role-playing video games are nothing but strategic issues. Games like Sacred, Dragon Age, Fable, The Witcher or Mass Effect force you to think each time before pressing a button – this or that? Everything you do will affect the whole game and, in the end, you as a character. Hero or villain, it’s up to you which side you’re on.

I’ve been living in Jordan for two months now and never before, I’ve felt such a strong urge among people to choose sides. It seems ridiculous and preposterous.

The first time I realized that decisions here are really considered to be “straight” was in the second week of September. I had a class with small children and while the others were having break one girl was talking to me. She wanted to know where I’m from so I told her “nus, nus”. Half, half. Half German, half Jordanian. She got kind of angry and explained me impatiently that this isn’t possible at all and that I have to choose with which side I am, which I like more. Both? La! Mish mumkin.

The same girl asked me just one week later which side am I on: I brought some pencils to draw but she rather collected all of the wax crayons for herself and refused to share. It ended as it was expected to end – a drama was born. Another girl took only one blue crayon but immediately they started asking me: Am I with the girl who was a victim of theft but still not willing to share any pencils or with the thief who just wanted to fulfill her task?

I just couldn’t explain that sometimes in life, it isn’t all about that plumb black-and-white-contrast but rather about grey.

Actually my classroom is a microcosm of what’s going on in society.

Jordan is one of those countries paying especially attention to the conflict about Palestine and Israel. Due to its origin and past, a lot of Jordanians call themselves proudly “min asel felesteen/i” – of Palestinian origin. The youth born in Jordan as well as the previous generation. People who were raised in Jordan growing up with the ideas of their parents and grandparents who had to flee because they suffered in Palestine. And among the vast majority, there does only one country exist and its name is Palestine. They’ve already chosen their side; there is no questioning about the “Holy Land”, there is no questioning about whose fault it is if people get shot next to al-Aqsa and there is no questioning about who are the villains in this game: the Israelis.

But I refuse to take a side.

I’m proudly Palestinian as well. Of course I’m absolutely not accord with the idea of humiliating humans in a way which will finally lead them to leave their country. But there is no way for me as well to be associated with people who think that we should start killing Jews again and whose hero is Hitler.

This particular “which-side-are-you-on?”- question nowadays is not a question which will lead to a solution as long as there is that much hate at the streets, it will only offer complaints.

It’s not a fair question considering that this conflict has his roots in geopolitical interests and that religion just came in handy.

It’s not a question which will create dialogue because its only purpose is to separate people and as long as people are separated in their minds how could we even think about uniting them in their actions?

I understand both sides. I understand that there are Palestinians who are angry because settlers stole their land and took everything from them. I understand that there are people to whom land was promised decades ago and who had to suffer during the Third Reich and just want to rest.

There are Israelis out who are supporting Palestinians.

There are Palestinians who wish Israelis all the best in the world.

It’s not possible to choose only one side, white or black. I decided to choose the middle, the grey. That doesn’t mean that I’m a flip flopper, I just like to pay attention to details in life.

I implemented that in my class, so that sharing wax crayons wasn’t an issue. I used it in video games to raise my character.

And I really do hope that I’m not the only person in Jordan that’s crazy enough to think that the Israel-Palestine-conflict here should not be questioned like “Which side are you one?”.

By Amani

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