Dramatic changes

The voices of ordinary people are finally being heard across the Middle East, while governments who for years have propped up authoritarian regimes, are now fearful about what new democracies in the region will look like.

Youthful protesters in Amman (Gallo/Getty photo on Al Jazeera website)

By some reports, up to more than a million Egyptians have taken to the streets today, calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Protesters represent a broad swath of Egyptian society — including youth and labor organizations. The question now is not if Mubarak will step down but how soon?

Things in Jordan remain relatively calm. For the past several weeks, demonstrators have called for the ouster of the Prime Minister Samir Rifai. Today, Jordan’s King Abdullah responded by naming a new prime minister. But it is unclear whether the appointment of Marouf Bakhit, who is not seen as a reformer, will be satisfactory to those who want economic changes.

Having lived in Washington, D.C. for 13 years, the large public protests seem pretty normal to us.  Day-to-day life in Amman seems pretty ordinary.  People are going to work, eating out, and going about their daily routines. We continue to walk to work — when it’s not raining — and enjoy interacting with our work colleagues and neighbors.

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