Monday, April 30, 2007

Time for a National Heritage Trust

Disi at dusk

That's it! I'm leaving this beautiful country in search of pastures green untouched by human hand ... hmmm difficult task, ok scrap that! But I despair for the land, every square pristine inch of it and mourn its passing under tons of cement ... no-where is safe anymore as 'they' have succeeded in demolishing the image that Jordan once had of a special place in this country - pristine, pure, peaceful and beautiful – the developers are moving in to one of the world's most stunning desert landscapes – Wadi Rum – albeit it outside the nature reserve – ok probably Disi with its wonderful salt flats and stunning environment.

It was only a matter of time I suppose, simply because the national government in its infinite wisdom rescinded its rights and therefore mine, over southern Jordan (including Aqaba, Wadi Rum/Disi and beyond) and handed these national icons over to an entity (ASEZA) whose remit is purely economic development – ie investment,
so that big business who hold such compassion for the locals, can create jobs, apparently; how 'big' of them.

'They' are going to build a tourism resort with hotels et al in the heart of the desert - how can that be ecofriendly? It's still development for the benefit of the investor, big business should leave the desert alone. This is a place where people can escape the mad hussle and bustle of twenty first century consumerist living – to a world that is pure and simple.

…So pray, what is so wrong with camping? If I want to stay in a hotel, I will go to Aqaba or Petra or the Dead Sea - I go to the desert for camping and to look at the lay of the land, the undulating sand dunes, and listen to the silence of large open spaces and watch the phosphate train meander slowly through the mountain range. Full stop.

That is why people come to the desert in the first place … to escape all that development, because at the end of the day … the desert is one of the few remaining places on earth where we can escape notions of development … ooooppppps silly me, I forgot this is a tourism project, so it's not designed for me anyway, rather all those foreigners who come to the desert to camp and to emerse themselves in local culture - ie tents, climbing, camel rides and tea with the locals!

Do the people of Wadi Rum or Disi have a say in this, or even the National Minister of the Environment for that matter? – and what of all the little projects that the locals wanted to do … or are they not good enough for the likes of ASEZA?

Time for a National Heritage Trust - one that has clout.

PS this ranting post is in response to an article in today's Jordan Times … you had better check it within seven days … otherwise it will disappear … despite all the profits the Al Rai newspaper group is making these days, they can't seem to get their act together to create an online archive … so much for development.


Blogger nasimjo© said...

its the Phosphate Train, not the Potash!

Other than that ... I totally agree!

"Camping in the desert" is the title for tourism in such areas,,, not "5 stars in 4 AC-ed walls

Monday, April 30, 2007  
Blogger joladies said...

Thanks Nasimjo - I knew it was one of the two ... my rant got the better of me!

Wonder if anyone is going to take our thoughts into consideration?? J

Tuesday, May 01, 2007  

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