Thursday, 22 October 2009


About a month ago, I visited an acquaintance who was staying in a London hospital for a medical procedure, and as I was leaving, I decided to check out the children's ward, out of sheer curiosity.

I was able to go as far as the playroom, which had a large window looking into the hall, where I stood to watch kids at play, despite the curious looks from the nurse across from me. A little girl with thinning blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes was combing the hair of a doll, an amazing irony of sorts. The little girl looked at me, smiled and waved before hiding behind her doll, I smiled and waved back at her, she came out of the playroom, grabbed my hand and pulled me inside, where her mother sat in the corner smiling and telling me that Emilia seems to have liked me, despite my puzzlement of the reason!

I visited Emilia every few days, I had imaginary tea with her using her little tea set, her eyes would shine every time I reached into my pocket and brought out candy or lollipops, and when I promised her to get her a nice present if she behaves and takes her medicine like she's supposed to, her smile filled the room as she nodded in a sincere manner reassuring me of her commitment to our little agreement, sometimes I would stay late at work and she'd already be asleep by the time I got there; she always slept hugging a brown teddy bear with a pink bow tie.

Emilia had been in remission from cancer for the past few months. Last Sunday, she suddenly fell into a coma, I saw her last Tuesday, and she looked as if she was taking a nap, with her brown teddy bear smiling at her side.

Emilia left this earth yesterday aged 5, and for the short time I knew her, I knew an angel who passed my way; smiled, waved, and grabbed my hand into heaven.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Underneath The Lemon Tree..

One of the wonders of the human mind, is its capability to explore the behavioural discourse of emotions, an attempt to understand one's own self, and in doing so, removing the proverbial blindfold over one's mind, and pursuing greater understanding of our place in this infinite universe.

There are two seemingly independent emotions: Sadness, and Anger, yet both are probably created from the same seed, but their path of growth takes them in separate directions. You see, Sadness; is a reaction of the soul to an exterior action; from someone or something that is perceived to be superior; a loved one who's been granted that superior status in our emotions to other people who have less influence over our emotional structure, like passers by outside our door, or; something that holds high regard in our hearts and minds: a job, a material possession, in which case it is transformed as it matures into a 3rd emotion; disappointment, and makes its own path of emotional discourse.

Anger on the other hand, is a reaction to something that's perceived to be inferior. The behavioural discourse of anger is a physical or verbal show of force, an attempt to assert our own superior status against another in an argument, or to shield our feeling of inferiority through a Don Quixote fashioned exercise of force, a subconscious attempt to substitute our genuine feeling of defeat; both collective, and individual, An attempt to convince ourselves and our surroundings of the virtue of this choice of reactionist emotion, in acheiving a mini satisfaction which gives us the illusion of victory in this man eat man world.

Although, and since one is exploring human behaviour, and trying to reach one's own peace, Sadness is a more positive emotion, despite its negative discourse, as it's directed within, unlike anger which is an outward emotion directed towards others, and seeks satisfaction in vengeance. Sadness lends delicacy to emotions, as it cleanses the soul from its perceived wrongs as it involves a feeling of guilt, a correction mechanism of the soul, an instinctive attempt to make it more susceptible to good, more accepting and forgiving, and ultimately, more patient, and in doing so, reaching an inner satisfaction that's felt but not desplayed, as it results in getting closer to the soul's original nature of rejecting injustice, abuse and offence; against one's self and others, which is, at the end; the ultimite wisdom of all.

"الحكمة ضالة المؤمن فحيث وجدها فهو أحق بها"
حديث شريف

Friday, 28 August 2009

Ya Msa7arni

There's a msa7arati who passes by our neighbourhood every night, I've noticed him a few years ago as he began this annual tradition of reminder of the immanent dawn; his subtle call for the dormant to seek God in those moments of temporal obscurity, before the thin thread of light crosses paths with darkness as it sweeps it away like spilled milk on dark marble.

He passes by every single night, almost at the same time, as if his choreographed appearance was part of a play that's been showing for decades; he's grown aware of the art of timing, and the importance of being in the right place at the right time, a philosophical exercise of movement and intellect, a predestined commitment of sorts.

Sometimes, it takes a passing drummer to wake up our numb conscience, the one that became comfortable with its idle existence and stationary presence; That passing drummer who's set out on a journey of awakening, wakes up more that bodies and minds. Sometimes; he wakes up souls that have been lying in slumber for millennia, unaware of their potential, not in the material world of gain and loss, but in the world of the unearthly pleasures of contentment; giving, and forgiving.

The msa7arati still passes by every night, but this year; I'm already awake and seeking God's guidence, as he makes his way to tomorrow.

Ramadan Kareem.

Friday, 24 July 2009

On Greater Israel, Politics, and Ideology

"Jabotinksy was not wrong, Mr. President. He is relevant today more than any other time in our nation's history." source.

The above statement, was made by the speaker of the Israeli Parliament, Likud party member Reuven Rivlin, on Tuesday, in response to Peres' remark about Ze'ev Jabotinsky's dream of establishing a Jewish state on both banks of the river Jordan being "too big".

Revisionsit Zionism is more alive today, than it's ever been, and the current Israeli leadership, is ideologically influenced by Jabotinsky's doctrine of the inevitability of the creation of a Jewish state on both banks of the Jordan. Netanyahu's Father, Benzion Netanyahu, was Jabotinsky's secretary, he's still his son's top "unofficial" adviser, and the source of his right wing ideology, while the ideology of the Likud -of which the prime minister of Israel is the leader- is an extension of the ideology of Herut, despite their later divorce in the aftermath of the Wye River agreements of 1998.

The current Knesset includes more right wing zionist zealots than ever before, with the distribution of seats among Likud: 27, Yisrael Beitenu, which is led by currant Foreign Minister, and former nightclub bouncer Avigdor Lieberman and holds 15 seats, Shas: 11, United Torah Judaism aka Yehudut HaTora: 5, and The National Union, which is a coalition of smaller right wing parties and movements including Moledet, Hatikva which is headed by non other than Aryeh Eldad the guy who brought forward the proposal for considering Jordan as the Palestinian state, which passed with the support of 53 members, including Labour Party ministers Ehud Barak, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, and Yitzhak Herzog in its preliminary reading. The bill is set to go before the Knesset's foreign affairs and defense committee. The other 2 factions are Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, and Tkuma, and between them they hold 4 seats. source. So to sum it up, 62 seats out of the 120 seat legislature and representative of the will of the Israeli people, are held by parties openly or covertly advocating either a forced transfer of Palestinians to Jordan, or to a more extremest degree, the including of the land east of the river Jordan in the Jewish state, according to ideological/religious beliefs.

We'd be stupid, if we ever believe that the peace treaty we have with Israel is our guarantee of peace, and that it forever sealed Israel's ambitions of expansionism to the east, we'd also be stupid if we believe for one second that the sudden recurrence -inside Jordan and outside- of the idea of transfer/substitute homeland/extension to the land of Israel is a coincidence or a mere seasonal flu like symptom. We've been celebrating national occasions and holding hollow consumerist cultural festivals for the past couple of months while statements regarding our very existence have been flying off the scale, what's weird though, is that Shimon Peres himself expressed what should've been a Jordanian response, made by the highest possible Jordanian official, in public, rather than the shallow textbook replies we've heard from the government, when we had the 9th president of Israel, say that: "The Palestinian problem is to be solved with the Palestinians on Palestinian land and not at the expense of any other party" source, and I suggest you read through the comments made on the Ha'aretz website in response to this statement, to get an idea of the average Israeli stance on the matter.

Furthermore, we've suddenly discovered that there are Arab citizens of Israel, who'd like to visit their relatives in Jordan, and 15 years after the peace treaty, we've decided to make it easier for them to do so by waiving the visa requirement from All Israeli passport holders, Arabs and Jews, those who don't mind an Independent Jordan, and those who want it to be part of Greater Israel. The recent "rumors" about the planned purchase of lands in Jordan by organizations and people active in the Jewish settlement movement, not to mention the barring of entry to an Israeli who planned to hold a Jewish prayer somewhere in Jordan add an interesting twist to the whole relations with Israel matter.

Israel's political map is constantly evolving, and is constantly taking a right turn with its political ideology while looking East for its next move; Right wing Israeli political parties are having a field day with the average Israeli electorate, despite the traditionally leftest domination of the Israeli political scene for decades, fiercely marketing among them the zionist patriotic package of the existential necessity for the realization of the dreams and plans of the founding fathers who brought the ancient dream of a Jewish homeland into reality, by telling them that if the Israel of the future is to survive, Jabotinsky has to be revived beyond his grave, and his "vision" has to find believers, and executors. This power hungry marketing is particularly successful amongst the community of former Soviet Union immigrants, who are seeking assertion of their Jewish identity through right wing zionist ideology. What's important for us though, is to be mindful of the fact that like any cancer cell in the body, it becomes more aggressive if it found little or no resistance from the body's immune system. Common sense tells us that if the immune system is weak and oblivious to the planned and immanent spread, while the body is feeding its narcissism in exterior by posing in a Hercules-like posture in front of a mirror, it will find itself fighting a losing battle within its corners; one which would end sooner than one could imagine, or indeed expects.

The statement made by the speaker of the Knesset, about Jabotinsky being more relevant today than any time before in Israel's history, is worthy of a collective Jordanian pause, ponder and parry, away from the Hercules-like posture we make, and enjoy looking at in the mirror.

Monday, 20 July 2009

On Collective Free Will, or Lack Thereof

Nas of the Black Iris of Jordan has posed a question on his blog about whether we ‎Jordanians decide our fates, and I'm glad to answer that question with a simple No. ‎

We've gotten used to the idea of passive participation in society, out of fear of ‎‎"Authority" or mere indifference to what goes around us, and the former can and in ‎many cases did lead to the latter. But why are we passive? We've grown accustomed to ‎the tribal idea of the collective father figure who decides what's best for us, and we oblige ‎out of "loyalty". The father figure was reincarnated in the government, which ‎decides what the tribe/people's best interest is and acts accordingly. ‎

Society is a living organism, this is what French sociologist Emile ‎Durkheim suggests, and he explains that the relationship between the elements of ‎any society; Family, Law..etc, are examined as they interact with each other as well as ‎other elements to achieve social needs, which eventually function into the stability and ‎survival of the society, much like any living organism, including humans.‎

The problem with our society is that despite it being a living organism in the ‎anthropological meaning of the argument, it actually lacks the tools of free interaction ‎with other elements; And if we want to call things by their names, I'd explain that our ‎freedoms are deficient; people have the right to protest, but their protest has to be ‎licensed, or else their exercise of their right to protest would be deemed illegal, and the most recent example of this was the protest which took place outside ‎the ministry of Agriculture a few weeks ago. On the other side of the coin, The ‎Parliament; the supposed representative of the will of the people isn't representing the ‎people anymore, I'm not even sure it ever did, at least in the past 10 years or so, besides ‎the way it's elected in the first place, and we've all seen the latest episodes of the war of ‎attrition between the parliament and the press, two of the most important pillars of any ‎country's social conscience. ‎

Now the buck should stop at the members of the civil society, NGOs and other ‎institutions in the broader social scene, but those, as the black iris observed, are based on ‎a select group of people, who end up patronising the rest of the society with their elitist ‎approach to social activism. And in many cases, the members of those NGOs and civil ‎society institutions are in one way or another connected to non civil society institutions, ‎which voids their attempt to balance the scale of social interaction between the ‎government and the rest of the society from its point.‎

Whether we accept it or not, ours is a pastoral society, The Pastor -in his many forms- ‎directs us towards our best interest and we gladly follow, we've had attempts to grow up, ‎but we haven't figured out a way to do it yet, out of frustration from our failure or our tribal ‎loyalty to the pastor, and until both the pastor and the flock understand that they both ‎belong to the very same farm; bearing in mind George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”; Until we ‎establish that All are equal, and that some aren’t more equal than others, our control of our ‎fates will be deficient, as will our control of our country’s fate.‎

On a different note, today marks the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing, and to celebrate the ‎occasion, here's a song for you.

Monday, 6 July 2009

On The Culture, in Agriculture!

I've written before, that some among us have the characteristics of schizophrenic behaviour, and then, I was referring to the media.

Today, I'm actually wondering if this schizophrenic behaviour, is more common than I had already believed. I'm aware of the state's responsibility to keep "civil peace", with all the authoritarian toned rhetoric this statement entails, but facing unarmed protesters with wooden sticks reflects the very much alive martial law mentality, a patronizing and condescending belief in the ultimate virtue of the state against a "hidden ill willed enemy" among us, with a predetermined intention of confronting peaceful protests with force.

There has to be an enlightened approach to dealing with people's protests, the constant use of batons and tear gas here and there is a sign of weakness. People have the right to protest, and almost all the time theirs are peaceful protests until the police interferes. Bashing people's heads and faces is a childish defence, people have rights, they're not sheep, even if some believe and behave like they are. An enlightened approach to "security" has to be taken, away from the rusty old culture of rooting fear in people's hearts, and making an example of some, so that the rest wouldn't do the same.

We all care about Jordan; and I dare to say that those protesters outside the ministry of Agriculture care about Jordan more than many of us do, as their motives aren't driven by a government salary, a high ranking order or a promise of promotion, they are citizens who have decided to make their voice heard, and face the proverbial music on behalf of 5 million other Jordanians, who refuse to chip in and fund the Israeli economy, and in more ways than one, finance the killing of Palestinians, as they finance the killing of our own Agriculture.

The official nonchalant conduct regarding this matter though, makes me think that there's more to this than meets the eye, and if we dig out the names of the "importers", I'm pretty sure we'd be very much disappointed but not at all surprised.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Jordan: A Continuous Learning Experience

In Arabic grammar, there are certain types of grammatical idioms which explain the nature of that idiom in terms of its position within the sentence. One interesting idiom is "الإسم المنقوص" which roughly means the Imperfect/Deficient/Defective noun.

In Jordan, we love to provide first hand educational experiences; and in this case, we have many examples of the above mentioned idiom. These include, but are not limited to the following words and their practical uses: Parliament, Press, Privileges, Political Parties, Professionalism, and Public interest.

In political theory, there are Three estates in a modern nation, the 4th of course is the Press, which is independent, and plays the role of watchdog over the other three. In Jordan, however, we've managed to create an interconnected and interdependent system that guarantees success and failure at the same time, an ingenious evolution from conventional political thought.

The 4th estate is at the throat of the 2nd, the 2nd is at the throat of the 4th but none the less enjoying the privileges bestowed upon it by the 1st to facilitate the smooth passage of favourable legislation and the prevention of the "evil eye of envy". Some among the 4th are enjoying the "privileges" bestowed upon them by either some among the 1st, or some among the 2nd, or if they're lucky both, and the wheel keeps turning and providing valuable lessons to citizens and tourists alike, The 3rd of course is independent, so let's leave it at that.

Jordan: Think Big.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Jordan's Electronic Media: Free Speech or Tool for National Schism

I've been reading the ongoing duels between those who call for a "Jordan for Jordanians", and those who oppose that theory based on their understanding of the Jordanian national identity, and it all seems normal considering these conversations were always made, albeit behind closed doors or in lowered voices.

My problem isn't with the arguments themselves, as it's a healthy phenomenon, when made in good faith, which is also relative, depending on who's judging, but I tend to see a pattern of facilitation and ease of access, from Jordan's electronic media, for these quarrels to be hosted on their platforms, followed by another facilitation of commenting, to a degree we're not used to, considering the relatively low freedom of speech threshold on those same websites, where the word "نعتذر" is the most popular "substitute" comment.

I'm wondering why these quarrels are allowed to be published on what are considered Jordan's mainstream electronic media, namely ammoun and rum, both have published Nahid Hattar's latest intellectual excursion, as well as his earlier mental trips, and both allowed all sorts of colorful comments to be published, including those which carry explicit or implicit ethnic slurs. One has so far published a reply to Hattar's latest article, and again the comments were allowed, and took the shape of attacking the writer -regardless of whether one agrees with him or not- by attacking his background, taking him -and us all- back to September 1970's events, and preparing us -subconsciously- to a similar classification, that might lead to worse, if it's not stopped, what's interesting though, is that Hattar's reply to the comments made on his article on ammoun, was disallowed from comments itself; A schizophrenic exercise of the freedom to "reply".

I'm baffled by these websites and I'm questioning their innocence and that of their editors -or those behind them- in their fully aware intent of feeding tensions between Jordanians, I'm also baffled by the total paralysis of the onetime strong grip of official censorship. I know we're well into the 21st century, and that censorship is a trace of the distant past -or so we're told-, but being selective in what to censor, and what to allow, whether by accident or by choice, is something that needs to be addressed by those who are in charge, in the government, in the -so called- parliament, and in the media, online and off, certainly when it comes to the publication and/or circulation of material that abuses the right of expression and enervates national unity.

Jordan has always been targeted in its national unity through doomsday scenarios of transfer and a substitute homeland, we all know it has, and we're contributing in that direction by facilitating the dismantling of the backbone of Jordan -its society- by allowing these quarrels to go on and grow to become more hostile and lethal. We're all Jordanians, it makes no difference who was where when, we're all Jordanians now, no Jordanian is a number or a statistic, no Jordanian has more -or less- rights than another, and no Jordanian is Temporary.

Any reform has to begin with addressing national identity first, once and for all, those who oppose the diversity of the Jordanian national identity, have to accept it; or choose another one that feeds their chauvinistic ambitions, and those who don't accept the Jordanian national identity to be their primary, also have to accept it; or choose another one, and that choice is available and possible, courtesy of the PNA. We're a people that has become one family, in the literal meaning of the word, even if some among us try to exercise their "ethnic purity" in the Nazi fashion, we're not "ethnically pure", none of us is, and our purity lies in our diversity, that's how Jordan was created, and that's how it should stay, for the sake of our children; All of them.

Update: it seems that I spoke too soon, as both articles in ammoun were removed, the one in rum is still there though, the quarrels remain, and the aim behind publishing the articles in the first place, was achieved.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

On The Wisdom of Pain

It's strange how when one is sick, you can literally feel yourself out of your body, it becomes a foreign entity even to you, you have no control over what aches when, and with every breath you take, your physical pain compliments an ancient pain you feel every once in a while.

You look in the mirror and see a stranger who carries traits of familiarity, not someone you are, but someone you know, and the mirror becomes your window on that world within your own eyes; you try to interpret that gaze but your attempts fail as the physical pain distracts you into giving it all your attention, a self-made conspiracy against yourself.

They say sickness is a blessing as it washes away sins, a reward for patience over malady, a predetermined gift for being ungrateful, and God's mercy is so great it even rewards you with a soft punishment within you, one that makes you pause and think, lest you forget that your worst enemy is within yourself. Don't let your enemy free.

Friday, 15 May 2009

On The Palestine in Mind (BAPD)

This is my first Blog about Palestine Day post, and as I honor it, I honor the memory of past generations of my family: those who lived and died in Palestine, and those who despite leaving it forever physically; never really did, nor did she leave them.

My Palestine is a promised land; to me, not to those who claim it by divine intervention or historic precedence proven with systemic ethnic cleansing, it's a promise I bear in my blood cells, in my genes, despite the time and space between us, the borders and soldiers that separate us, and despite her forced estrangement from her offspring. But like all mothers, she instinctively recognizes her children; from their gaze, their smile, and their ancient pride, even if they never saw her face; the one made to wear a hundred and one masks of foreign identities, to hide her angelic beauty.

I've always felt, even believed in a romantic mythological way, that my father's family, like all families upon their forced mass exodus from Palestine, had their collective baptism in the Jordan as they crossed East, an accidental but none the less willed blessing from a God whose compassion and wisdom surpasses our own comprehension and understanding, He blessed them in their time of misery, and in their patient hope of eventual return, promising them inner peace; a peace I saw in the eyes of my grandparents, as they grew older, wiser, and more patient.

My Palestine never was a political game of affinity, but rather a loyalty of blood, like mine to Jordan, as the blood that runs through me is like the River Jordan, running through one land. I never saw myself as one or the other, I'm both, and they unite in me, like they do in millions, and any chauvinistic attempt to separate me from myself, from one side or the other, is an attempt to kill me, as I'll never split in two, even if some among us have split personalities, making foes of family, and warriors of windmills, chasing shadows of imaginary enemies that only exist within them, neither side belongs to them, nor they to either.

As I mark this day of displacement, I honor people who died in their fight to prevent the replacement of peace with peril, and right with might; young and old: Palestinians, Jordanians, Arabs, Muslims and Christians, who believed that this Holy Land is where the heart should lay, where the head should rest; Forever. And where their lives began as they ended, surrounded by angels in flight and prophets in worship, confirming that Palestine is not a relic of a distant past; but a Future as certain as sunrise after darkness and sunshine after rain, and declaring with heavenly praise, that the noun "Palestinian"; will never refer to an extinct existence, but one as constant and enduring as time itself.

And as I mark this day of displacement, I remember those who witnessed it, and lived it until they passed: the little girl who was old enough to be my grandmother, and her rock; my grandfather. And for them both, and with them, their Palestine and mine; I recite a prayer.

Friday, 27 March 2009

On The Hidden Laws of Probable Outcome

Sometimes, I tend to see life as a train ride, you travel across valleys and plains, stopping at stations along the way, meeting new people, strangers who might become friends, and friends who might have become strangers.

What amazes me most, is how strangers become acquaintances, and how acquaintances become strangers; a philosophical loop, that explores the edges of human behaviour, and defies even the simplest rational discourse of reason, but that's one of the wonders of humanity, to say the least.

When you're somewhere you've never been before, it's like people living there were imaginary until you got there, they didn't exist to you until you really felt their existence, until you saw them with your own eyes, heard them with your own ears, even smelled and touched their surroundings with your own nose and hands, even if you knew of their actual existence through other -non imaginary- people to you. But until that moment of time, when the imaginary crosses paths with the actual, and through it, the stranger crosses the thin line to becoming familiar, until that rendez-vous of realities, the two independent worlds of existence are nothing but possible interpretations of actual being, with the influence of imagination, which shapes them the way we please, rather than the way they really are.

London, to me was an imaginary place, until I went there, Paris was as well, until I stood on top of the Eiffel tower, and strolled along the river Seine, and listened to that beautiful French music coming out of those small cafés. Even Amman has an imaginary side, as it's full of strangers, who despite their apparent familiarity are nothing but imaginary passers by, alongside my train ride, as they go in the opposite direction, to their own "somewhere yet unknown".

The interesting twist is that, even if this rendez-vous of realities turns out to be just a short stop at a foreign station along the train ride to somewhere yet unknown; life goes on, and that process of transformation: from stranger to acquaintance to stranger again, that round trip, would in turn become closer to an act of imagination, as time passes, even if it was very real -according to all the laws of physics- due to its short lifespan, and the striking example of this, is the life of a butterfly, which has a lasting effect on everything and everyone in its surrounding, but not a long enough life to prove its one-time existence, it's a corollary relationship of the purest form.

The train ride of life marches on though, taking you somewhere else, to make other strangers who still don't exist to you, possibly the most familiar people in your coming life; the one still unknown to you, to the point of it being as imaginary as that passing butterfly. Those, my friends; are the hidden laws of probable outcome; and we all, live by them.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

My -that- Jordan

My way of celebrating Jordan hasn't changed much since I posted about it on the first Blog about Jordan Day last year, but this year, I'm wondering why Jordan seems to age much faster than it should, as signs of early dementia are creeping into the collective psyche.

See Jordan, isn't a cabinet position, and loyalty to Jordan, shouldn't be measured by how many government positions are held by a clan, a city, or a cardinal direction. Jordan isn't a farm, not a principality, it's not a bank or an ATM machine, not a supermarket, not a postcard, it's not a hotel, and it certainly isn't a never ending chain of intellectual experiments, I'll leave the corresponding examples to each category to your board game leisurely pleasure.

I'm still seeing those children celebrating the opening of new shiny schools on the edge of the desert with state of the art internet connections and brand new computers, but with no running water in their own homes; and yet, their minds and hearts only belong to that desert, and her secrets. I still see the little girl in a small village combing her hair into pigtails and walking to school every day, and in her sleep dreams of living in the distant utopia called Amman; and in the morning, lilies bloom in her path as it's blessed with her daily pilgrimage, and her eyes brighten up at the sight of the flag waving over her school. I still see people in transit, their belonging is subject to the fashionable -yet failed- rules of the market, and despite their apparent -elaborate- physical existence, those are invisible to Jordan, as it is to them, despite their same elaborate physical existence on its soil.

My Jordan isn't that of hesitance or denial, it's not the hollow skeleton of modernity or pragmatism, it's one that knows the value of belonging: to its past, to its present, and to its future. And those -contrary to the modern interpretations of old theories- aren't subject to special prices or two for one offers, as nature teaches us that the highest of all trees, is that with the deepest roots, and roots; go in every direction, without looking in a compass.

As it's a celebration of Jordan, I bring you a rare recording of a musical play made in 1977 about the Jordan I know, it's called Birjas; the play and lyrics are by Haider Mahmoud, and the music is by the Lebanese composer Zaki Nasif, with the incorporation of Jordanian folkloric songs and tunes, some of you might recognize a piece among them, or maybe more, Enjoy.

Friday, 20 February 2009

On The Arrogance in Ignorance

"Turning from the attributes of God to the actions of God, where he delineates his view of creation, Ibn Rushd in his Tahafut al-Tahafut clearly deals with the charge against the philosophers' doctrine on the eternity of the physical universe in his polemic against al-Ghazzali.

Ghazzali perceived that the philosophers had misunderstood the relationship between God and the world, especially since the Qur’an is clear on divine creation. Ghazzali, sustaining the Asharite emphasis on divine power, questioned why God, being the ultimate agent, could not simply create the world ex nihilo and then destroy it in some future point in time? Why did there need to be some obstacle to explain a delay in God’s creative action? In response to this, Ghazzali offered a number of lengthy proofs to challenge the philosopher’s assertions.

Ibn Rushd, merely replied that the "Eternal" works differently than the "Temporal". As humans, we can willfully decide to perform some action and then wait a period of time before completing it. For God, on the other hand, there can be no gap between decision and action; for what differentiates one time from another in God’s mind?

Also, what physical limits can restrict God from acting? Ibn Rushd, in the first discussion, writes about how Ghazzali confused the definition of eternal and human will, making them univocal. For humans, the will is the faculty to choose between two options, and it is desire that compels the will to choose. For God, however, this definition of will is meaningless. God cannot have desire because that would entail change within the eternal when the object of desire was fulfilled. Furthermore, the creation of the world is not simply the choice between two equal alternatives, but a choice of existence or non-existence.

Finally, if all the conditions for action were fulfilled, there would not be any reason for God not to act. God, therefore, being omniscient and omnipotent would have known from the eternal past what he had planned to create, and without limit to his power, there would be no condition to stop the creation from occurring."

This discussion, took place a thousand years ago, in Cordoba, in Arabic, and under the rule of Islam; not the one of negative stereotypes of the 21st century, but that of the virtue of seeking knowledge and enlightenment, even about the nature of God.

The title is not directed at Them Then, but at Us Now.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Jordan and Palestine in The Early 1900s

I've had some photographs taken in Jordan and Palestine in the early 1900s sitting in a file on my pc for a while, and I've thought of printing them and framing them to hang them at home in Amman, which I will, but I also wanted to hang them on my blog's wall.

The photos were taken in the period between 1900 and 1912 and include photographs of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Haifa, Nablus, Amman, Jarash, Petra and probably Hebron. You can see the Dome of the Rock, with its dome still made of wood, before it was covered with lead, and later with gold.


p.s: Try watching it in full screen and in high quality, it's a much nicer mental trip.

Friday, 23 January 2009

On Hope in Change

The ripple effect of Obama's rise to power is still taking its effect on people around the world, certainly in parts of the world where as one blogger put it, the legacy of the administration of he whose name we shall not mention caused much destitution and pain in the past 8 years.

There's a flare of light within us all, that seeks betterment, to ourselves -in its basic selfish form- and to those in our immediate sphere of existence, and beyond, since their betterment; or its reactions, would reach us in its eventuality, as the idea of 6 degrees of separation suggests.

There's a mysterious power that charges our souls into looking forward to change, even if that change is someone else's; it neither belongs to us nor do we affect it, but the mere feeling of hope in the possibilities of change transcends time and place, and is passed on around the world to be picked up by people whose need for change might even be more acute than that of those causing it.

The hope in change is an underpinning sentiment in human behaviour; people's lives and their fates are often driven by the hope in change, as Hope and Change go hand in hand when the disappointment in the monotony of the present suffocates our free will, even if our free will is tamed willingly under the rules of each and every one's own social contract with the rest of society. And often, Change is what we fear, as the Arab proverb suggests: What -or who- you know is better than what you don't know, a damning thought for repression and surrender to the present tense however frustrating, while Time in turn, in its basic physical state, never seizes to change.

This conclusion is reached as a result of the taming of Hope, the shrinking of the collective outlook of the future due to continuous disappointments in the perceived Hope with every dawning Change in our history, for the better part of the last Millennium. What remains in the end though, is the raw feeling of Hope in Change, anywhere and to anyone; as it sets an example to those among us who are either suspicious, pessimistic, or unwilling to believe in its inevitability, bearing in mind that Change; in its collective form, is only possible when Change in its individual form is achieved.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Um Hasan

When I was young, there was a lady who used to visit us often, she sometimes baby-sat me and a cousin, she told us stories about her days in a distant place called Gaza, she used to have tears in her eyes every time she mentioned Gaza, as the only good memories of her whole life were between the G and the A of Gaza.

I always wondered why Um Hasan's son; Hasan never showed up, but as I grew older I understood that there was no Hasan, as Um Hasan didn't have any family, the only family she had was my extended family, she felt safe among us, she played the role of the mother to the adults, and grandmother to the children.

Um Hasan was illiterate, but she never told me she were, she helped me with my homework, making me recite poems I had to memorize while she looked in the book as if she was making sure I didn't make mistakes, she couldn't dial the phone as she couldn't read the numbers, but she could tell you the phone numbers of all my aunts and uncles by heart.

Um Hasan never lived to see Gaza "liberated", she never saw it occupied again, and again, She never saw Gaza abandoned again, and again, and probably would've died again and again if she did.

I haven't thought of Um Hasan for more than 10 years, as she passed away in the early 1990s, but today, and without permission, she passed by with her cigarette smoke filling the air, and her stories of beautiful Gaza came to mind. Sometimes, our minds pinch us into remembering people who have had a role in our lives, I recited a prayer for Um Hasan, it was probably the first time anyone thought of her since her passing, how ungrateful we are sometimes.

Um Hasan's name was Jameeleh, and as I remember the smiling face of that Gazan angel, I remember a bruised beauty of sorts, time bruises us like nothing else. But tonight, Um Hasan's face looks like a full moon, to me; the little boy who used to run away every time she tried to kiss me, lighting the cloudy London night, and jumpstarting my numb conscious as my sanity hangs by a thread.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Mi Gaza Es Su Gaza

I've been pondering the recent events for a while, and as the plane crossed the Palestinian coast as it left Amman on her way to London today, I looked out the window to the far distance, trying to defy my eyesight into reaching the far southern tip of the coast, where people's souls are taking a special stairway to heaven, not the Led Zeppelin song, but one with no closed border crossings or besieged neighbourhoods.

I'm not a fan of pointless blogging, that's probably why I don't blog alot, as I know that when I don't have anything to say, I don't say anything, but I had to think about that stairway to heaven in the distant horizon today, I could swear I saw a band of angels on a cloud, they probably were there to carry the souls of the fallen children onto their homes beneath the walls of the Throne of God, that's where they belong, safe like they never were, or any human will ever be. I saw a little girl with brown hair combed in a pigtail lying in her blood on TV today, she's probably looking at the face of God now, no higher honour can make up for her murder.

They're the living, and we're the dead, Gaza in Arabic means a needle stick, a name synonymous with pain, and pain is the only constant found in Gaza today, but bodily pain can heal, the pain of conscious on the other hand is terminal.

Gaza has a stairway to heaven, I saw it today.