With social unrest sweeping the Middle East, the media around the world is focused on the uprisings of disgruntled masses taking to the streets. Regimes have been overthrown and innocents have been executed while the world watches in horror. Most of us in the West are convinced that the Middle East has fallen into total despotism. Break away from the mainstream media for just a moment and you will find the John F. Kennedy of Jordan.
Ali Dahmash is not a popular name known to most Americans and we should be ashamed of that. Dahmash takes up private fundraising for orphans and families troubled with economic conditions with the spirit of a man that believes in the basic goodness of humanity. “Ask not what Jordan can do for you, but what you can do for Jordan” is a phrase Ali Dahmash often says and also lives by through his actions.
Ali Dahmash runs the website Under My Olive Tree and he has received the support of Queen Rania. Browse through his website and you see the humble pleas to help various Jordanians who have fallen on hard times. He clearly states their problem, shows you their receipts and their shortcomings; then he asks you to help.
The most moving of Damash’s stories is that of little Eyad. The young boy lost the battle with cancer recently. In order to pay for treatment Eyad’s father sold his taxi. Through the whole ordeal Ali Dahmash was actively asking for help and making the world aware of this terrible situation. The family of Eyad had to move into a single family house with no electricity. Dahmash takes up the cause immediately and asks for donations so that Eyad’s father can buy a new taxi in order to work his way out of this situation and better provide for Eyad’s 2 brothers and 1 sister.
Covering Tuition of Three Refugees
Most refugees only have the goal of relieving themselves of their current situation in hopes of moving on towards a more normal life. But when Ali Dahmash takes up their cause they have the chance of attending college and having their tuition paid for by generous donors in Jordan.
What’s more Dahmash doesn’t brag about this at all. His response to his own success is incredibly humble. A short blog post announces the success. He shows the receipts and moves on before anyone can applaud his efforts. “Humble” may be an understatement.
Publications in the U.S. have found Ali Dahmash. Recently he was featured in Time Magazine expressing his opinion regarding the unrest in the region. Ali leaves politics aside and focuses on the core issues. “This is not just about politics and having a kind of freedom of speech or religion. This came out of despair. It was because of the economy.” While the rest of the world focuses on religion and politics in the region Dahmash echoes the sentiment of all rational and caring persons involved. The sense of a much broader issue prevails.
After all, the man who has fought for the unfortunate people knows this all too well. When Abu Jamal was burdened with hospital bills for special chemotherapy it was Dahmash that took up the cause. While he asks for help he offers to provide receipts, as he has always done before.
The Future for Ali Dahmash
What lies in the future for Ali Dahmash? I don’t know. We can only hope that he continues to change the world and keep us involved in his efforts. Dahmash is a sensible man who believes peace can be achieved through a one-state solution in Israel/Palestine and embraces the human struggle that surrounds him in his daily life. The shade provided by Ali Dahmash’s Olive Tree is comforting and seems to cover us all. I just hope I can shake his hand and meet the man before I die.