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.