Friday, March 30, 2007


The following Letter to the Editor of the Jordan Times, by HRH Prince Hassan, highlights the greater human tragedy that is Palestine. It also highlights all those unanswered questions that tear at the very soul of people who live in this part of the world in a perpetual state of mourning and anger at decades of human suffering from Palestine, to Iraq ....

All we want to know is: when will this misery ever end?

I suppose, only when it is politically convenient? ... J

HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal, Amman

We woke up yesterday morning to the depressing media reports of sewage flooding a village of 3,000 people in northern Gaza, leading to the death of at least five people with many more unaccounted for.
I am aware that despite our best efforts, we continue to live in a world where a general feeling of apathy towards the Palestinians’ suffering has become the norm. But this time, it is different. To allow Palestinian infants to drown in their own excrement under UN and international watch is morally indefensible.
Without wishing to enter the blame game of who is responsible and whether the international boycott has played a role in this disaster, I am writing in the hope that swift action can be taken.
The international community should mobilise whatever assistance is required to help the affected families, keeping in mind that they lost all their belongings and are unlikely to have a system of compensation (insurance or otherwise).
An investigation should be launched to establish what went wrong, in order to help ensure that this kind of disaster can never happen again. This is, of course, without forgetting for one moment that the fundamental cause of Palestinian vulnerability continues to be the illegal occupation of their land that has led to the devastating concentration of large numbers of refugees and displaced people in confined areas with overstretched infrastructure.

The Jordan Times
Friday-Saturday, March 30-31, 2007

Lest we forget

Truth, like war, is always one man's interpretation when it comes to writing history. But when that truth is for universal human good, as the following article highlights, it will always emerge; hope, it seems, never dies:


Thursday, March 29, 2007

parking in Sweifieh

I suppose the Municipality is trying to organise parking, let's give them a bit of faint praise!!! BUT it annoys me so much when I park my car, get the ticket, do my shopping and then return to find someone has parked behind me.

Until the Municipality and the police get themselves together and ENFORCE the laws there is not much point in having any. Cars are parked under no waiting signs, one way streets are a laugh and as for the seat belt law and mobile phone use, it is just a joke. More than 800 people a year die and thousands are injured on our roads, surely the government should actually pass some punitive laws and see that they are enforced. T

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Leap Forward

Last night I went to the Al-Balad Theater to attend a discussion by Rana Husseini on honor killings. Rana is the Jordan Times journalist who has led the fight against these crimes and persevered for over a decade to keep the issue in the public eye. Her talk was in Arabic but there was a translator and individual listening devices for all who needed the English version. The discussion was sponsored by the Jordanian-Danish Youth Dialogue Center who had attracted an audience of about 150 interested and concerned young people. I left after two hours and before the discussion finished, so I don’t know how long it went on. But I left with a great feeling of progress. Publicly recognizing a problem is the first step and a major leap toward finding a solution.

Not only did I leave holding such a positive feeling about the topic, I left with an exciting feeling about the theater itself and what it hosts. A few weeks ago I attended a free showing there of a Canadian movie during the Canadian film week, and although I liked the movie, I was cold and couldn’t see the screen very well. But last night I changed my opinion about the place, although it was still cold, at least I sat in the front row. Al-Balad theater is in the old part of Jebel Amman on a narrow one-way street with limited parking. There is no marquee, there are no lights or visible signs (at least I didn’t see any) advertising that this square building houses a theater. The building is old, without heat, no permanent seats, but of a size to accommodate a couple hundred people. I don’t know what the owners plan for it in the future, if anything, but at the moment it is like a town-hall meeting place. A place where meaningful discussions take place, where grass roots democracy lives. Bravo!


Monday, March 26, 2007

selling in Jordan

I have been into ebay for a look but thought it would be difficult to sell or buy from there, then by chance I found which is for buying and selling here in Jordan. So, have taken the plunge and put something up for sale.

Has anyone had any experiences of buying and selling online? T

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wadi Sha’ib

My spelling is a phonetic endeavor and doesn’t even match one of the several road signs posted along the Wadi Sha’ib road. This is the road that leaves the town of Salt and twists down into the Jordan Valley. In springtime it has to be one of the most beautiful places in the country – the steep hills and narrow valleys covered in green make a magical scene. Along this road figs, grapes, pomegranates, and lettuce glut farmers’ stalls - each in their season.

We went to the Dead Sea a few days ago and chose this route. For the first time it occurred to me that I didn’t know the meaning of the name Sha’ib. (I know Wadi means valley.) No one in the car was really sure of the answer and the speculation has left me quite curious. Apparently, the name is associated with a prophet; Jewish, Christian, or Moslem no one was sure. Or the area was used by prophets as a place of retreat. If anyone has some knowledge about Wadi Sha'ib, I would like to hear it. This ancient land has many surprises, and I have stumbled on yet another one.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

we waste so much

Attending a very nice lunch for charity the other day I was watching the waiters clearing away the plates which were still full of food and thought what must they think, they probably go home to a family who can hardly afford any kind of food, yet at their place of work they see huge amounts of food just thrown away.

I remember my mother telling me many, many years ago 'eat everything on your plate, just think of all the children starving in China', and here we are now, a generation who throws away so much. I find it really upsetting. T

Thursday, March 15, 2007

appreciating our armed forces

I visited one of our air bases yesterday and was talking to some of the front line pilots and afterwards it got me to thinking that none of us really appreciate what efforts are being made to keep our country safe.

Of course it is not just pilots but our airmen, soldiers, police officers, intelligence etc work every day on our behalf.

I had an interesting and enjoyable day. T
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Sunday, March 11, 2007

bringing religion into commerce

I don't like to get into debates on religion but driving in
Singapore recently I passed this sign and wondered what was behind the thinking of putting FULLY SOLD, THANKS BE TO GOD. What has God got to do with the selling of luxury apartments which the owners have most likely made a huge profit out of? T
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Friday, March 09, 2007

An Observation

I find extended families curious, and the way they function will always be novel to me since I didn’t grow up in one. I have observed over the years that my Jordanian family feels obliged to live much of their lives publicly or secretively because there has been little space or opportunity for privacy in the past. Or maybe it’s just all part of the culture.

Regardless, several times someone closely related to my husband has been diagnosed with a life threatening or debilitating disease. Since I’m a nurse, I often suspect that something serious may be going on, and I am concerned. However, when I finally hear what the diagnosis is, it is usually indirectly, months later, and then I’m told in the strictest confidence. I find this unfair because I feel that my sympathy and support aren’t wanted, even though I know better. I sense that the immediate family feels threatened somehow and that possibly they are attaching a certain amount of guilt to the diagnosis. How sad that is. Illness and death are part of life. I feel that postponing the news from other family members is shutting out a strong base of support for the patient, his care-givers, and his loved ones. Caring support shouldn’t be ignored or squandered.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

experiences in Bali

These photos were taken on the Indonesian 'paradise' island of Bali. It is a truly beautiful island but the modern age has descended on it! And not for the better.

These two photos show how difficult it is to walk on the sidewalks (and we grumble here in Jordan!) and how the people travel around. There are so many motorbikes with whole families perched on them. This photo is typical, with the parent wearing a crash helmet and the child completely unprotected. They all wind in and out at speed, undertaking and overtaking, but the amazing thing is everyone is so laid back, no road rage here. The Balinese people are very gentle and kind and don't seem to get angry about anything. T
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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A US Federal Witch-hunt

Why are we not surprised…? Maybe it's because anyone with a voice that dares to speak out against zionist injustice dished out to the Palestinian people, has met the same ignorance and persecution from that great nation of freedom and dem...agogy... for decades.

Will Israel ever reach the point of satiation ... how much more depravity can they handle? J

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Of Cats and Men

Just returned from a trip to Beirut, the jewel in the crown of Lebanon and the Middle East. I simply had to go. There was no other way I could take a decision concerning my sons' future. Regardless of the political ramifications of the current stalemate, where protesters of the Nasrallah camp are squatting in and around the Solidaire area of downtown Beirut, that human spirit to have fun never wanes. With argileeh and coffee, music and tents, its festival time of a different kind once again in Beirut. Although the tragedy of the recent confrontation and the callous Israeli war crimes of the summer of 2006, can never be forgotten, there appears to be a ground swell of human determination to live a 'normal life', to put politicians on notice that enough is enough, and a reawakening of the citizens' right to call the shots. It's now become a 'board' game, with political slogans appearing on billboards all over Beirut from the traditional camps and counter arguments by the new movement for civic action, appearing in response. The silent majority appears to be silent no more.

As an adult living in the Arab World one has learnt to face fear square between the eyes, to confront it, to challenge it, to search into the inner core of its being and to come out fighting. It has been an enlightening lesson in political realities nurtured by decades of western hegemony, arrogance and the ease of man's inhumanity to man

Though when it comes to the wellbeing of one's children, it's a completely different ball game ….. and the thought of sending my sons to university in Beirut was a confusing one, but one that found resolve in a most surprising way. Enter stage right, one over protective mother strolling around the campuses of Beirut's foremost educational institutions; enter stage left, a band of cats, hundreds of them, well fed and cared for, sitting and strolling around the AUB campus, mingling with smiling and studious young people with heads held high. Just glancing around at the incredible landscape and trees whose branches seemed to embrace you with grace wherever you walked, seemed to be saying, "it's ok". There was a vibrancy of positive energy all around and I left, comforted by the experience. But I was the foreigner with a different criteria; and I am sure for the Lebanese it must be quite a different experience as the 'brain-drain' continues unabated. This is the current tragedy of Lebanon and one cannot help but feel sad.

So with mixed emotions of joy and sadness I can now proceed to plan for my sons future wellbeing – I have found peace of mind under the strangest of circumstances in one of the most volatile regions of the world at the present. That can only mean one thing … hope is still alive.


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Thursday, March 01, 2007

For Shame

That Jordan continues to treat crimes of honor with impunity is unfortunate for the victims past, present, and future. In today’s Jordan Times I discovered another dimension regarding these crimes that has bothered me in the past, and now I know why. I refer to the statement that, “the report indicated that the victim was a virgin according to the source.” Whether or not the victim is a virgin can only refer to the guilt of the victim. If the woman was not a virgin, she deserved to be killed, or if she is a virgin, then ‘Oops, sorry made a mistake’ might bother the killer. It certainly should not affect the ruling of the judge.

An autopsy to determine cause of death is official and the results are a matter of public record. The condition of a hymen does not affect or determine the cause of death, so I do not understand why this information is needed at all. Pathologists are medical doctors and are under a strict code of ethics to keep medical information about their patients confidential. Dead or alive, the body of a human being deserves respect. No doctor should violate his professional ethics to divulge such useless information as this under any circumstances. To do so is disgraceful and the final indignity for the victim. For shame.