Meet Sarah Abu Saad

“In some sense I needed to run away from that society. I love Jordan and I am proud that I was born there but it is really stressful to live in that country. Of course, there are plenty of great things which I admire. For example, people are very generous and are ready to give a helping hand any time. There are lots of family gatherings and other beautiful traditions in Jordan. However, a lot of them cannot be applied to a new, young generation. For instance, being a girl, it would be very hard for me to build a career there, as girls are supposed to get married during college years and only raise kids. If someone has another opinion and does not want to choose that path, they would be perceived as a crazy person.

Since my childhood, I have felt different from people who live there. I did not consider the way in which Jordan society operates normally. People need to hide all the time, lead two lives with two different faces: one – dictated by traditions, and another as a free person – living as they want. This is the problem of Jordan people – they are constantly lying to themselves.

Moreover, there is basically no adulthood for girls, as they need to have an approval to do anything, no matter how old they are. Once I was traveling to Egypt with two male friends, and the police officer wanted to prevent me from crossing the border because the situation we were in did not seem normal to him. Although I was 21 at that time, he would not let me pass unless I had my parents’ approval.

It often happens in Jordan, and I am used to that but I did not want to live like that. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, dress the way I like, have freedom and just be myself. Unfortunately, it is impossible in the society that became depressed, sad and angry because of the wars, conflicts and big amounts of refugees flowing into the country. There are so many talented people in Jordan, people who want to change something, but they do not have chances. Jordan is the place where dreams die.

So, I am in Prague now and I feel comfortable. The part of my heart will always be in Jordan with my family and my friends, but I don’t want to come back. On the internet there is the meme about Jordanophobia – the fear of spending the rest of your life in Jordan. Funny or not, it really does exist.”