An Explosive End for the Jerash2000 Festival
By Musallam Kanafani
A very large crowd gathered in the Forum late on Friday night to witness the closing ceremony of the nineteenth Jerash Festival. In a few brief moments, all traces of Jerash2000 were gone: the festival beacon that had flickered for seventeen event-packed days as a symbol of festival’s ancient heritage faded into darkness; and, the animated voices of the Jordan and foreign visitor who had thronged the amphitheaters and colonnades were stilled for another year.
The Minister of Culture Mahmud Al Kayed, the Mayor of the Jerash Municipality, the Governor of Jerash, the Director General of the festival Makram Massarweh, and the festival committee members gathered on the Forum stage. In a closing speech, the festival director thanked all those who had made the nineteenth Jerash festival such a success. He greeted the Jordanian and international press as well as the staff of the satellite television who had transmitted many of the festival events live. Massarweh also thanked the festival’s sponsors for their generous financial support. A special word of thanks went to Albawaba, and its staff, for their work in maintaining both an on-site and off-site press service.
The festival director ended his speech by saying that he looked forward to meeting everyone again for the twentieth Jerash festival next year. To the accompaniment of martial music played by the Armed Forces’ Band, Makram lowered the festival flag and asked permission to extinguish the festival beacon. An explosive display of fireworks marked the festival’s end. Star burst after star burst exploded like multi-colored flower heads over the ruins of Jerash. The loud pyrotechnic explosions made the quiet darkness that was to follow even more intense.
As they departed the darkened square, the organizers and audiences carried with them eager anticipation that Jerash2001 will rise, phoenix-like, from the happy memories of this year’s successful festival.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)