Majd is an architecture student from Jordan. She discusses the similarities yet vast differences pertaining to women’s rights, children’s rights, and discrimination between her home country and America. In her story, she shares her personal experience on the values of freedom and liberty, and how she envisions a peaceful and equitable world. This story was recorded in partnership with MALA, StoryCorps, and Benedictine University’s MEPI 2016 Program.
“I am from Jordan. I am a student in architecture department at Jordan University of Science and Technology. I like my city and my country, so I’d like to see it better and clean. So I can have the opportunity to change the mentality of the people so we are, as architects we can change the shape of cities and countries, but we can change the mentality. And we still, in Arab countries, we have a lot of problems in society like woman rights, children rights, education, and to let people speak their minds or live in peace. What I’ve noticed here, also like in whole world we have the same problems.
So I thought like only in Arab countries we have like the woman rights, inequality, religious problem, culture problem, but also I thought like in America you are free to do whatever you want. It’s a free country, but actually I discovered they have a lot of problem. I couldn’t believe that still these days there are racism between being black and being white, being from different culture. What is happening actually in these situations and it has really shocked me because I thought, like, it’s more modern country, but like in another way, it’s way much better thinking people here than my country. So, like, you’re free to do whatever you want, like, from, you’re not being judged for the way you’re dressed. So in my country if you’re like not wearing hijab or wearing like short dresses or stuff, you will be looked like a bad girl, not a good girl. So here I’m more comfort like from the way I’m dressed, the way I’m talking – to speak my mind and tell my opinion, to not be afraid of any other sequences of the things that I’m going to say.
I hope, like, also, people will be more respectful to other because, like, now in my country we have this problem. Like, Jordan is located between Iraq and Syria and Egypt and Saudi Arabia. So what’s happening with the Arabic Spring and the refugees. So we have refugees in Jordan from Palestine, from Syria, from Iraq so we have, like, diversity in cultures. What’s happening, like the Jordanian people do not respect other cultures now because they think the Syrians or the Palestinians came and took our places and job or housing or any other options. And we’re in Jordan we don’t have the good resources: we don’t have petrol or oil or anything so it’s the budget will be depending on the government. So what’s happening is Jordanians now are not welcoming other refugees. So they would say we are Jordanian, but we are not Arabs. So we’re like, they think they are discriminating themselves from other cultures.
So what I’m hope that we collaborate with each other to help, like world peace. Not only whatever I am, whatever my name, whatever my religion is, whatever the language is I’m talking, whatever the country I am. I hope, like, we can go and just respect each other and love each other to deal with as, like, a human being. If you have a dream, if you want to change something, it is not impossible. You can do whatever you want, so that’s why I am optimistic about the situation in my country. I know everything gonna be changed to the better because if the individual can change something, we can change everything, if we collaborate with each other.”