Sunday, September 30, 2007

Moab Musings

"Now stop with the stupid wars already will you …?" Some American kid wrote on a website recently, exhausted by American politicians who send his peers off to remote parts of the world to kill, maim and destroy and come home in body bags draped in the flag for the honour.

These are the young people who may eventually bring peace to this world … kids with brains who don't buy into the lies being fed them by Bush and his cohorts … the cyberspace type that the US military now refers to as an 'Alien Life Force', and why? Because recruiting is down a massive 50% and they blame the kids for their lack of patriotism in wanting to sign up as cannon fodder for American/Israeli imperialistic designs. Funny that human intelligence should invoke such fear in the ruling classes. It wasn't just the oil they were after in Iraq … it was precisely that element of human intelligence amongst Iraq's civilians that caused the cowards in the White House to wipe Iraq off the map and create yet another holocaust of human suffering.

What fun … I detect a mood swing after all the depravations of the 20th century … humans are loosing the desire for blood, preferring instead a college education and making friends across the globe via the internet … do I see a light at the end of the tunnel of war … a little glimmer of hope against war mongering murderers of the most despicable kind aka Israeli/American neocon fascists?

We may yet redeem ourselves and put into practice the words of the forgotten sons … all three of them … thousands of years and counting. Better late than never I suppose for the sake of the generations yet to come. J

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One Misguided Opinion

I read with interest the article in yesterday’s Jordan Times, ‘Men on Board’ project, which educates men on women’s rights in Islam. I was particularly amused by the reference to the man who held the misguided opinion that women are no different than animals! A curious thought. Who or what does he think he is? He was born of woman.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

tips for baggage handlers at QAIA

How much should one tip a porter at QAIA? Leaving the other day I gave the man JD 2 and he was upset and asked for JD 5. Was I being mean? What should one tip? Any suggestions? T

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Definition of Adultery, Please

The article in yesterday’s Jordan Times about the new born baby girl who was found in the trash was shocking. The good news is that the child is alive and hopefully will be well cared for. According to the report, the baby’s grandmother is guilty of attempted murder and should be the person in jail. Instead, the parents of the infant are in custody charged by the prosecutor general of Amman with adultery. I went to my dictionary to verify the definition, and I’m correct. Adultery can only be charged to a married person. Neither one of the parents of this child is married. What’s more they are both consenting adults of legal age to marry – so there is no question of seduction of a minor, incest, or rape. However, they may face up to a minimum sentence of five years in prison for a crime that isn’t a crime to my knowledge.

Does Jordan have a unique definition of adultery? Who did this couple hurt? Certainly five years in prison is a punishment far exceeding the importance of this ‘crime’ especially when a man will only get six months for murdering a female relative in a crime of honor.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Calling a spade a spade:

About time!

Time for justice for all ... time to expose this so called 'peace conference' ... yet another waste of tax payers money and a monumental fallacy for peace ....,,2171420,00.html


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where are the other towers of human endeavour?

Someone in Dubai is building the world's tallest tower deemed " truly an inspirational human achievement that celebrates the can-do mind-set of Dubai".

And we are supposed to be inspired by this human endeavour. Well, it has done the exact opposite:

A horizon of peace and tranquility - Mount Nebo, Jordan

A piece of prose by J

I look at the horizon and what do I see
… nothing but suffering surrounding me.

Of wars and civil strife, and refugees et al
That tell tales of indifference;
That's truly inspirational.

But where does it go this human endeavour?
Not searching for peace that ever elusive goal,
But for illusion and gold whatever its colour.

And while the likes of the child stand silhouetted in pain
amongst the rubble of life's inane 'can-do' brain
I stop seeing the horizon of men's endeavours;
Meaningless bits of cement and stone towers.

For hope is dying beneath the shadow cast long and wide,
saturated with suffering and devouring the soul.

And as I strain to look beyond
To a different time;
Were that peace and compassion
and some cultural altruism
the only criteria
on the horizon
of man's existence

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And now for something completely different

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Suspending the School Nutrition Program

An article in today’s paper, School Nutrition Programme to be suspended during Ramadan, really shocked me. If over 300,000 children in the first to sixth grades benefit from this great mid-morning snack, why will it be discontinued during Ramadan? To my knowledge young children are not obliged to fast, in fact, they shouldn’t fast. Possibly the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Planning, and the Armed Forces who provide this service, will not find the time during the short days of Ramadan to supply the schools. A pity that small children will be forced to postpone some basic health needs at a time when the entire country is concentrating on their faith. Seems rather upside down to me, but then maybe I’m missing something.


Prince Hamzeh Hospital - again!

There is an interesting and sad article about foreign domestic workers in Jordan in this month's JO magazine. It is tragic to read how many of them are fatally or badly injured and what happens to them.

The treatment of Hussein's (who-sane) father in the Prince Hamzeh Hospital has rightly caused a big splash here and the JO article underlines the conditions in this hospital - just to quote a couple of paragraphs -

'Her friend, Irangani, had not come to see her yet, she explained, as she lay prone on a dirty bed in Prince Hamza hospital........ Her other arm was propped up on gauze cushions looking swollen and distorted, caked with dried blood. The cap from a used hypodermic lay next to her face. Large, visible pieces of dirt and flakes of dead skin covered the sheets....' 'All four patients confirmed that the nurses at Prince Hamza didn't provide even basic care - something that was visibly corroborated during interviews.'

I do hope the Ministry of Health employees will understand that when complaining about a problem in their sector it is usually because we want to see Jordan improve. A positive response to complaints will always disarm the complainer and make people feel that somebody cares and that something positive will be done. Let us hope that the conditions in this hospital will soon improve. T

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I thought that after a few weeks I might forget the silly behavior of the many Jordanian men who gawked stupidly at my granddaughters during their visit here this summer. Time hasn’t helped me much because I am still angry about the way they were ogled. In fact, I began to feel uncomfortable and dishonored as if somehow we all deserved to be insulted in this way just because we dared to go out in public! This is the feeling that has stayed with me and annoyed me.

I remember walking down King Faisal Street, the main street in downtown Amman, when I first came to Jordan in the late fifties. Sometimes young men would walk into me and brush my body with their shoulders and once in awhile one would actually pinch me. They moved slyly next to me and slithered away in a moment. I had to keep my anger at this invasion of my space, this uninvited intrusion, to myself. If I told my husband, who was often with me, he would be obliged to ‘defend’ me. What a ridiculous, uncomfortable situation it was. Attitudes have changed little from what I’ve seen. Many men leer unabashedly at any female in their line of vision. I am ashamed of the men; I’m embarrassed for the women, for Jordan, for the innocent hapless tourists (my granddaughters included) who would rather remember the ancient sites and beauty of the country than the insulting, uninvited stares from men.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Of Words and then some ...

Why is it that mankind never learns? Will we ever heed these words and those of Einstein without becoming religious fanatics … but then again they are only words; what are words when we can make wars ... J

Bahá'í Faith: "And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself." Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

Brahmanism: "This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you." Mahabharata 5:1517

Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana Varga 5:18

Christianity: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Matthew 7:12

Confucianism: "Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you." Analects 15:23
"Tse-kung asked, 'Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'shu' -- reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'" Doctrine of the Mean 13.3

Hinduism: "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you." Mahabharata 5:1517

Islam: "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself." Sunnah

Judaism: "...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18
"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. That is the entire Torah; all the rest is commentary..." Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Sikhism: "Don't create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone." Guru Arjan Devji 259

Sufism: "The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven't the will to gladden someone's heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone's heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this." Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.

Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." T'ai Shag Kan Ying P'ien

Zoroastrianism: "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself." Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security." : Albert Einstein - (1879-1955) Physicist and Professor, Nobel Prize 1921

And finally … Plato: "May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me." (Greece; 4th century

Friday, September 07, 2007

Speeding Busses

Traffic jams and reckless driving are the topic of nearly any encounter with friends these days. New phenomena are messages on the back of some vehicles listing their phone number with the question “how am I driving?” I wonder how many times they actually get calls?

I wish this would be applied to public vehicles, particularly mini busses! Yesterday I had one of these nearly push me off the road. It was weaving in and out of traffic at a terrific speed before it pulled over to collect more passengers. I took down its license plate number but wish that I had a phone number to call instead, boy would they get an earful! The number was 562445, now what do I do?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Last of the summer grapes

"I'm jilting you this morning habibti" says hubby as he placed a bowl of freshly cut grapes on the kitchen table and left me alone with my breakfast and a head full of unsavoury thoughts. "Those Israelis are going to cut off water and electricity to the Palestinian people of Gaza …. how did it come to this?" says me forlornly.

"Stupidity International Incorporated" …. replies hubby … "on all levels" as he grabbed a tray and left for the front garden to pick the last fruits of the summer vine, before the rot attacked the lot.

Rot … that insidious side of nature that snakes its way around the vine, unseen; until the end result lands with a splash on my clean stone pathway and makes a nasty little mess.

It never ceases to amaze me how life replicates nature in this part of the world… and just as the sun rises to beat back the darkness … so too does human nature of the simplest kind.

"Good morning Mama" said son as he bounded in and joyfully planted a kiss on my cheek; a timely reminder of that which is good in this life ... J

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Went to a lovely art gallery/shop called Jacaranda Images in Mango Street, Jebel Amman near books@cafe. They have this wonderful Australian Aboriginal art for sale - silk screen prints, canvases etc. The art is part of aboriginal culture which explains the origins and culture of the land and its people.

Well worth a visit!

Hopefully the changes and renovations along Rainbow Street will soon be finished so we can enjoy all the different facilities that are available. T

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Prince Hamzeh Hospital

I was shocked and upset to read about conditions at the Prince Hamzeh Hospital and how a family suffered such a terrible ordeal

There is such a rush to build new public facilities and it seems that there is no forethought about how to run these places. What about the personnel who run these places? Does that come into the planning? And what about maintenance and keeping these buildings in good order? I have already written about the Sharia Court in Jebel Hussein which is filthy and so depressing and that is just a small example. Are government employees incompetent with their planning or are they pushed into planning projects which they know are not feasible or there are not enough funds to keep them going? It is all very well to say build a hospital in this or that district but some responsibility should be taken with the decision makers when they do not think about the feasibility of the project. T

Attention enviromentalists!

Came across this interesting and challenging enviromental prize from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland .... note the 2000 and 2003 winners!

Of particular note was the winner for 2000 in view of Jordan's burgeoning problem with waste material from the olive oil industry:

"Professor Hikmat Hilal and Dr Amer El-Hamouz of the An-Najah National University at Nablus on the West Bank won the award in 2000 for their proposal to turn the waste from olive oil production into valuable by-products by means of environmentally sensitive processes. This waste is a significant problem in Palestine and in Mediterranean areas. Since winning the award they have attracted additional funds and are taking steps to start up a pilot plant. "

This prize is a great way to promote and highlight the importance of sustainable development to the public and is something worth thinking about for Jordan.

Is anyone interested in pursuing this possibility? J

Sunday, September 02, 2007

licence to sell alcohol

A nice family hotel in a residential area in Jebal Amman was recently sold and renovated and a licence to sell alcohol in a pub on the premises was obtained. Then hell started for the neighbours. Drunken people shouting and screaming late at night with cars hooting their horns and even couples making out at a next door's premises under their bedroom window!!Complaints, calls to the police and threats to take it to the governor has got apologies but no answers.

Who is in charge of giving licences to sell alcohol and do they ever take into account the premises and where they are situated? Judging by this particular example they obviously don't. T

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Smoking Poem

Here's a poem written by my son when he was 16 - our on-going contribution to the anti-smoking campaign: J

Smoking by Karim

To the class of 2010: the adults to be.
Do you want to live long? Do you want to live free?
Enjoy every sunrise, every sunset, every fresh breeze.
Do you want to live without addictions destroying your day?
Without cancer, no hardened veins.
No blackened lungs or chest pains.

If you do my friends, simply say no.
Refuse that first and never ending puff
That first and never ending cough
That with time will never be enough.