My friend Dan has been working to convert me into joining the Obama cult for the past month or so. Every morning he comes to the office and tells me about Obama. I keep telling Dan I’m not sure my citizenship papers will be completed in time for the elections, "so you might be preaching to the wrong crowd here." "But you can convince your husband," he tells me.
I tell him: "I like Obama, but Hillary is the one with the experience. She is the one who will be able to deal with the sharks."
He says "You are from Jordan, you like monarchies and you feel secure with having the same family in politics." "Maybe," I respond.
"But Obama strikes me as arrogant and overconfident for a junior senator," I say. "And Hillary is not?" he retorts.
Dan never stops. He sends me links and articles to show me how good and genuine Obama is. I have to admit, though, Obama is looking good these days. Even as a self-described Clinton supporter, the Obama charm is reaching me. I guess it is the message of hope that touches me most. We all need hope. Obama might sound naive and might be describing a fairytale political existence, but hearing him is inspiring although I do not quite buy it. I guess I’m too jaded to believe in radical changes, especially when it comes to politics.
Today is Super Tuesday and you can feel the excitement in the air, at least here in DC. I would be happy with either one of them winning, but then again my opinion doesn’t mean much. However, my husband is still undecided. Maybe Dan needs to go chat with him.
I’m fascinated by the amount of angry messages and "Wall posts" I’m getting on my Facebook page from my friends these days after I announced that I’m supporting Hillary for president (for reasons that I do not wish to delve into now). Most of the angry messages came from my Jordanian/Arab friends who made sure to tell me that they do not agree with me. Here are some examples:
Come on now, she flip flops, she is owned by the Jewish lobby and she has a one sided view of the Arab Israeli conflict. She is no Bill.
Why Hillary she is a devil wearing Prada…Because she is a woman ?!!
I am aware that Hillary is a pretty divisive choice but I never realized how much she is hated in the Arab World until now. I guess I have been away from the Middle East for a long time and now I’m no longer connected with the "Arab street." However, I’m not backing down. I’m someone who believes in the individual’s freedom of choice. By that I mean a choice that stands on its own that is not influenced by the preference of a community or society. I’m at a stage of my life where I no longer want to chant the same song with a familiar crowd. I want to chant my own song and make individual decisions. So for that I say, go Hillary.
Jordan has been facing a great deal of criticism over its treatment of Iraqis at Jordan’s Queen Alia airport, some of it deserved, some not so much. However, I have not seen many reactions or blog postings hailing Jordan’s decision to allow the entry of Iraqi children into the public schools.
AMMAN — Public schools in the Kingdom are witnessing a heavy turnout of Iraqis residing in the country, who want to enroll their children before classes start next week. Last Monday, the Ministry of Education finalized a decision to allow Iraqi students to study in public schools as of the beginning of this scholastic year, without the prerequisite residency permit.
The decision, which was taken in response to the humanitarian situation the Iraqis are going through, is intended to ensure that Iraqi children have access to education, according to an Education Ministry official. Previously, private schools were accepting Iraqi students, and only Iraqis holding residency permits were allowed to enroll in public schools. "Large numbers of Iraqis are registering their children in schools across the country," Managing Director of General Education and Students Affairs Mohammad Okour told The Jordan Times yesterday. Figures of how many Iraqi school age children have been registered so far are not yet available, he said. According to Okour, some 50,000 Iraqi students are expected to enter the country’s public schools, in addition to 14,000 who are already in the educational system. Source: [The Jordan Times]
In my humble opinion, I think this is a very courageous and noble step by Jordan. I wonder how the expected enrollment of 50,000 Iraqi children will change the makeup of Jordanian public education in the long-run. How will Jordanians react to this huge influx of Iraqis into their children’s schools when there is already a great deal of tension between Jordanians and Iraqis over the refugee issue and others. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, where is the applause?
Update: Here is a quick update from The Jordan Times.
HRW hails acceptance of Iraqis in schools
AMMAN — The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday welcomed Jordan’s decision to accept all Iraqi school-age children into public schools, but criticised country’s refusal to recognise Iraqis as refugees. In a press release, the group said: "For the first time, Jordan has officially pledged to allow Iraqi children to attend public schools regardless of their residency status." Responding to the statement, a senior official reiterated that Iraqis residing in Jordan do not meet the criteria of refugees as stated in the 1951 convention relating to the status of refugees. Read more.
I really do not understand why, in this day and time, there are some people that are still hung up on the issue of East Bankers vs. West Bankers. I’m talking about a comment I received yesterday by someone calling themselves "Fairfax Boy." Here is Fairfax Boy’s contribution to the discussion about Amman’s urban development.
Palestinians built Amman from the ground up. you East Bankers have a lot to learn.
Will we ever evolve beyond this endless and pointless argument? Geez!
Last week, The Guardian newspaper ran a profile of Jordanian-Palestinian
novelist/poet Ibrahim Nasrallah. Of course I was thrilled to see a fellow
countryman profiled in such a highly
acclaimed publication. However, it ailed to realize that the focus of the article
was on the constant harassment he was/is receiving from the notorious Jordanian censorship
department. It really is a shame what intellectuals have to go through in our part of
the world for simply speaking up. Here are some excerpts of the article:
Last June, a journalist phoned Ibrahim Nasrallah and asked
him how it felt to face a host of charges concerning national security. It was
the Jordanian-Palestinian writer’s first warning that he was facing prosecution … The charges related to his fourth collection of poetry,
Nu’man Yastariddu Lawnahu (Anemone Regains Its Colour). These highly figurative
poems, first published in 1984, were suddenly banned, while the poet himself
faced charges of insulting the state, inciting dissension and reporting
inaccurate information to future generations.
… The authorities raided the offices of his Lebanese
publisher in the Jordanian capital, Amman, confiscating copies of the banned collection. Protests from the Jordanian Writers’ Association and the Arab Writers’ Union were soon joined by support from the press in Jordan and the rest of the Arab world, while an internet campaign mobilised support from further afield. After almost four weeks which Nasrallah remembers being "haunted by these threats", the case was dropped on July 9 2006.
You can read the whole article here. I have to admit, I have never read anything by Nasrallah. Shame
on me I know. Anyone out there willing to loan one of his books (In Arabic
please)? Now after reading this article, I’m really intrigued. Here are two of his of poems translated
by Ibrahim Muhawi.
They’ll wake up in the morning
And they will fight
That which you saw last night was my dream
The other will answer: no, it was my dream
They will gently retrieve two pistols
From the sides of the same pillow
And at the same moment
They will fire
In the beginning
The horses said, we need plains
The eagles said, we need summits
The snakes said, we need lairs
But the humans remained bewildered
I haven’t had the time to jot down a word on two on this blog in a while; the reason being that I’m simply at a loss for words. What is happening in the already volatile region ails me to no end. From Gaza to Iraq and now to Lebanon, things are deteriorating from bad to worse. Israel’s actions in Lebanon are yet another form of collective punishment that the Jewish State has so skillfully mastered over the years, with the latest example being Gaza where dozens of civilians, including women and children, have perished. Someone, somehow, must put an end to the carnage. It really is beyond comprehension.
What Hizbullah did was provocative and stupid. I see it as Hizbullah’s way of flexing their muscles. They say their attack across the border was to show solidarity with the Palestinians. What I see is that they not only drug their whole country to the bring of war, and killed civilians from both sides of the conflict, but, ironically, they have managed to distract the world’s attention away from the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Lebanon occupies a special place in my heart. I have visited this beautiful country so many times and every time I go there I fall even more in love with this breathtaking place. I have a number of Lebanese friends who I admire greatly and have the utmost respect. My heart goes out to you in these very difficult times. My heart also goes out to the Gazans who are also being bombarded for the actions of one group who also chose the now trendy regional game of muscle flexing.
My heart also goes out to the Iraqis who are now immersed in a civil war. My heart also goes out to the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Somalis and eventually to humanity itself for what we are witnessing nowadays is a sheer insult to our state of being.