Holy Land 2023 (Penny)

World’s Smallest Hotel under Shoback Castle*

People of the Book

Yesterday we traveled south-to-north, from Petra towards our hotel on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. The trip was broken up with stops at Shoback (a crusader castle), Madaba with its exquisite mosaic map, the Tree of Life Handicraft Center, and Mt. Nebo where Moses saw the Promised Land before he died.

En route, Zaid answered our questions, the ones he had shored up for this road trip…

…about how the four names on his i.d. line up (his first name, given by his parents; his father’s given name; his grandfather’s given name; and finally, his tribe name of Bedouin heritage),

…about his arranged marriage, and

…about the meaning of the word jihad. One translation is “hard work.” It can be useful in Arabic. For instance, after a long, hard day’s work, a person might come home and respond when asked how their day was, “Jihad, ha Bibi,” meaning, as I understand it, “It was a long, hard day, honey.”

I know of another translation, “Holy War.” Remembering the history of the Christian Crusaders today as well as extremists/fundamentalists the world over, I agree with Zaid that religion can be used as an excuse for gaining money and power.

I am sad through and through. Will we ever learn? It is time to close my eyes, put in my ear buds, shuffle my music and cry .

*Photo taken by Zaid Mohammed Abdel Rahman Al Abadi

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