When Two Tribes Go to War

FIRST….This an old song that was thumping through my mind whilst jotting this down.  You can find the video and music HERE. Turn it up loud. That’s what I did.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.
Now then….Does anyone recall what the Kentucky Hatfields and McCoys were fighting over?  What about the Montagues and the Capulets?
I’m sure the answer is lost to time, but I’ll bet a dinar to a donut that it was a woman. Here’s a sketch of a Jordanian drama that culminated this week in the shutting down of a city of 86,000 people. It was told to me by some of my Jordanian co-workers. Likely embellished, as is the way with oral tradition
It seems a mother of three, a Christian woman wrote a letter and petitioned the King last year for some sort of assistance.  Let’s call her Mrs. Helen Christos. She’s married, but her husband works in the south and can’t often come home. The King wants to explore this request and passed her letter on to a staff member. His name is Izzy Al McCoy.
Izzy phones her up and asks for a meeting.  He has the most professional of intents. He’s working for his boss, the King. He is smitten, though instantly. He calls her several times under the pretense of helping her. They talk. She finds the attention refreshing. It’s a distraction.
Mrs. Christos and Izzy go out for a coffee.  They enjoy themselves.  Izzy snaps a few selfies. He calls the next day. At which time, Helen has started to worry.  She’s married. He’s nice, but he’s Muslim.  There could be a scandal. She has misgivings about going out with him again.
But Izzy has photos and he hints that they could find their way out. So, Mrs. Christos sees him reluctantly. Izzy is inflamed. He wants to be with her. He thinks about her all the time. As he’s handy with phones, he starts tracking her. One probably would call it “stalking”. He randomly appears in her life. He gets more urgent in his requests. More demanding. Until at one point he grabs her arm and tries to drag her away.
Mrs. Christos gets fearful and distraught. She breaks free and runs to her best friend’s house.
Amiga and Amigo Al Hatfield live down the way. Amiga is her best friend. Mrs. Christos runs into the home and begs for help.  Izzy chases her and is out front now. Rather enraged.
Now, in bedouin culture, if someone comes to you and asks for help, you are obligated to provide it.  Even if they are an enemy.
So, Amigo Al Hatfield gets up from his couch and shisha pipe and goes to the door. He lets Izzy know, that she’s going stay here and he’ll look after her. But the situation escalates.  There was a scuffle. Amigo got the best of Izzy and sent him off.  Not only that, but the Al Hatfields and Mrs. Christos let the King know what happens and Izzy is dismissed.
That was all months ago.
Things had been quiet until a week or so ago, when Amigo Al Hatfield finds himself alone against Izzy and 14 of his friends. They beat him so badly that Amigo ended up in the ICU.  Also, again, because Izzy is good with his phone, he filmed it and threw it up online.
Another thing about Bedouins, is they stick together. Tribes are a big deal. If someone harms you, the tribe will back you.  If you do something embarrassing, you embarrass the tribe. Izzy was shamed and so he got some clansmen and had at it.
Amigo’s tribe though, thought the response was a bit excessive. And his tribe descended upon the city with some 4000 of their own men in cars, with weapons firing into the air, circling around the town demanding the men in the video be arrested or turned over to them. The rioting went on for a day and into the night.
You can find video HERE. Nothing too graphic. Just angry chaos, really.
A coworker was headed there and was stopped by police, who had sealed off the town.  They told her to go a different way. She said, “I don’t know any other way to get there. I’ll get lost!”
Police replied, “It is too dangerous. It is better to get lost than to die. Now, go!”
They eventually took the men into custody, but haven’t charged anyone.  The police often hold people for their own protection.
We all sat at lunch discussing this. I wondered how it was going to end.
“It’s not gonna end!” said one. “It’s just gonna go on and on. OMG!”
I asked if maybe money could solve it.
“No. They don’t want money. The only way it will get solved is when the tribal elders get together and discuss it. It may not end until the Al Hatfields get to have 15 of their guys take on Izzy”
And that’s what’s been going on in Jordan this week.  I’m sure there is a musical or play in there. Jets vs. Sharks?  Romeo and Juliet?   At the very least a country song.  It’s tribalism at its finest.

Stop by next week for more on honor and shame. And why Liam Neeson could be the defender of virginity.

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