Soldiers and Wildflowers in the Decapolis
Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
351Trip End Ongoing
They were learning about Middle Eastern culture, so that if they were deployed or redeployed in Iraq, they would understand the people a little better and could engage them more meaningfully. In Jerash, they had a day of admiring the ruins amidst spring wildflowers.
Tom and I agreed that the troops needed to return as quickly as possible, without causing a huge power vacuum and civil war in Iraq. He was interested in what people had told me on my journey about Iraq. As he worked with generals back in the U.S
We also talked about how the U.S. cannot on one hand say that it wants to promote freedom and democracy on one hand while at the same time waterboarding and detaining people. "It's hypocritical," said Tom and I agreed, having just seen waterboarding footage on Al-Jezeera (is that really going to win hearts and minds?).
Aside from that, I enjoyed getting opinions from military personnel, as they are some of the people sacrificing the most.
Jerash, one of the Roman Decapolis cities during the time of Jesus, was at its finest, with cool spring winds blowing around the columns of Zeus and Artemis, across a huge Roman forum, beside an intricate water fountain or nyphaeum, and past Byzantine church ruins with mosaic patterns. For several hours, I walked around the well-preserved ruins before getting a ride in a pick-up truck with a gang of friendly Jordanian men to Amman--"you need a ride?"--an hour away.