Saturday, May 30, 2009

Zahran Palace

Zaharan Palace sometime in the fifties. Amazing to look at this picture and see how isolated the building was at that time. In the sixties it was brave to build beyond the fourth circle and the King Hussein Medical Centre was in the middle of nowhere! T
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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Guest of the Governor

I found the Jordan Times article, May 27th, about administrative detention particularly disturbing. The inset about the longest serving guest of a Governor,  who has been in administrative detention since 1987 and is still there after 22 years, is absolutely mind-boggling. I know that a woman may be put in protective custody if she is likely to become an ‘honor crime’ victim – but when the governor says that, “Your family knows you are innocent, but the problem is that people talk.”  So this woman whose life has already been destroyed continues to stay in prison because people talk! I wonder about the power this governor may be able to exercise. Obviously, he has the power to keep her in Jweida Correctional Centre, but not the power to threaten the family with severe punishment if they harm her should she return home. I would be interested in knowing what laws in Jordan actually allow this gross injustice to take place. It seems that she has no recourse in the law and is a victim of the state instead of her family.  And all agree that she is innocent, but people talk.


Red Bull has its wings clipped!

This just made my day, finally someone somewhere is saying the simple truth 'mixing Red Bull with alcohol is dangerous'!   It doesn't just lead to addiction, but can seriously damage your health with toxic overload.  Another issue is the effect it has on young school children when they consume Red Bull as a 'soft' drink .... and spend the next few days unable to sleep or concentrate.  And parents are none the wiser!  Red Bull as a soft drink should be treated like any other adult drink such as 'alcohol' and not sold to minors.  It's about time the company that makes this toxic brew  shows some real corporate social responsibility and stops targeting young people in its advertising campaigns.  


'Orientalism' in its true context

In the spirit of artistic collaboration, I would like to bring the work of Naim Farhat of Lebanon to your attention - an historical collection of photography and artwork compiled over many years. 

'Orientalist photography', as the website indicates, "was created out of one individual's efforts to preserve valuable historical information about the effects of Imperialism and Colonialism on the Arab world and make it accessible to all peoples...   It is a resource for present and future generations to learn from, so as not to welcome nor encourage colonial imperialism.
Orientalist photography (and painting) was borne out of the westerners' desire for amusement and entertainment."

I post it so that the true meaning of 'orientalism' may be understood.    


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Red Arrows in Jordan

The fabulous, fantastic, spectacular Red Arrows!

The Red Arrows of the UK Royal Air Force displayed at the King Hussein Air College, Mafraq on Thursday and they were just unbelievable. What a show. Also fabulous were the Royal Falcons. The Red Arrows did their first show in Jordan in October 1966 and I was there to see them and have been lucky enough to see them many times since then and they always delight and impress. What a privilige it was to be able to meet the pilots and talk to them. T

pictures by my dear friend Jane Taylor
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Beating Retreat

For the first time in many years a Beating Retreat was held at Basman parade ground. What fun and what memories it brings back! Firstly the Desert Police came on and did a silent march, then the band of REME from UK and lastly, bursting on to the parade ground with a loud blast, the Jordanian Armed Forces massed bands. You could just see the Jordanians bursting with pride at being able to parade in front of their king. This was a British - Jordanian tribute to King Abdullah on his tenth anniversary.

The first Beating Retreat I attended was on November 14, 1966 the day after my husband was shot down and killed by the Israelis in air combat. His Majesty King Hussein insisted I attended the parade which was held in honour of President Ayub Khan of Pakistan who was visiting the country.

These parades are just wonderful and I wish we had more of them. T

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Soul city

And so it continues in occupied Palestine, an insidious war of attrition has been going on waged by Israel for the most part of the 20th century and all of the 21st century.

The epitome of all this can be seen in a city that effuses Palestinian statehood and a world view on religious tolerance; in a city where its children pay the highest price: “three in four Arab children live in poverty” … the city in question is Jerusalem. 

Ironic really, that this city represents the birthplace of the three monotheistic religions.  It is visited by Popes, politicians and people from all over, and yet there is no peace.  And next month it celebrates 42 years of a mythical “unification” – or shall we call a spade a spade: ‘occupation and annexation’ following Israel’s Six-Day War of 1967,  when the city was declared the “eternal, undivided” capital of Israel in a move deemed illegal by the international community. The reality is that it is so divided the stones scream ...

That was then, and this is now … "For Arab East Jerusalem, there is little to celebrate"


Indeed, “Would to God that all the Lord’s people were prophets” Numbers XI – 

William Blake, 1804 in the preface to Milton: A Poem -




Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Forgot my mobile!

When I went out this morning I forgot to bring my mobile phone which made me think, driving along, what would I do if I had an accident or needed to get in touch with someone. Nowhere in my brain is a telephone index, I would not know a single number to call as they were all in the memory of the mobile. We certainly do depend on our electronic gadgets now but am still going to keep my paper telephone book, just in case. T

Friday, May 15, 2009

Azraq Castle

I was looking through some old photos and found these two of Azraq Castle and the surrounding area taken in 1964. What a beautiful area it was and what a wasteland it is now compared to those days. I remember it took a compass and a land rover to get to the three desert castles! T
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

At the Citadel ...

At the Citadel ...

...and meanwhile away from this wonderful heritage of history, we have:

The "Wall" being built along one side of the bus parking lot, creating a 'main gate' into the site and the new visitor's centre

First phase of the construction - the Bus Terminal and toilet facilities
The visitor's centre is at the foundation stage and is located this side of the bus terminal.

Somewhere at the end of this piece of land is the site for the proposed Funicular ... that will cut deep into the residential area of the community below with plans to demolish some homes in the process, and disturb Amman's urban heritage. I wonder how this project is going to be maintained over the long run in view of maintenance problems of funiculars around the world??

"Don't it always seem to go,
You don't know what you've got till it's gone?

They paved Paradise …
and put up a parking lot..!"
Joni Mitchell song from the 1970s....

I cannot think of a more apt phrase to describe the work going on at the Citadel … so thanks UmmD for reminding us of this beautiful song …


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Pope's Visit

Whatever one’s religious affiliation may be, the visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Jordan was a remarkable event. This is the third such historic visit to Jordan by a Roman Catholic Pope that I know of. I remember the first visit by Pope Paul VI in January 1964. The weather was freezing and people lined the streets from Marka airport into Amman patiently waiting for a glimpse of one of the most influential men on earth. Then in the year 2000, Pope John Paul II visited, and this year Jordan was privileged to receive the present pontiff.

My eldest grandson went with a bus load of students, Moslem as well as Christian, from his school to attend the Mass on Sunday at the Sports’ City. They arrived at 6AM for the 10AM Mass. The logistics of managing about 16,000 people was an accomplishment in itself.  He was thrilled to be able to attend this special outdoor service on that beautiful spring morning. My youngest grandson, who attends a different school, was given Sunday off as a Christian, but no special program was planned for him so his parents took him to the Baptism Site Sunday afternoon. There were fewer people and the atmosphere was less formal but just as dignified.  Both boys will treasure the memory of this special day for the rest of their lives.

During the last few days, many journalists have asked members of my husband’s family what it is like to be a Christian living in a Moslem country. Their answer is always the same, “We are Arabs first, Jordanians second, and then Christians - in that order. There may be some who would disagree with their priorities, but I for one am proud to be a part of their family living in this country.



Monday, May 11, 2009

No Porking!!

I thought that you would like to see the new sign
that I found outside our garage entrance this morning!

What do you think, should we leave it the way it is
or draw a line on the right side of the "o?" At least
you know that we are safe from swine flu.....and
as you can tell, there is never a dull moment around here!

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Engineers Association pension cuts

The Engineers Association has suddenly cut the amount of pension payments without notice. A friend, whose husband paid into the fund for his pension all his working life, has had her pension cut from JD116 to JD 86 per month.

When she enquired as to the reason, she was told that they did not have enough money to keep up the payments so they had to cut the amount. Surely it is not beyond the capabilities of those in charge at the Association to make sure that all recipients receive notices explaining why this was happening? T

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Came across this anti-war song by Bruce Cockburn, created in 1983-4. It refers to Guatemala; just substitute this country for Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else on planet earth where you feel injustice reigns today .... J


If I Had A Rocket Launcher Lyrics


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Double Parked Cars

I am very frustrated about the increasing number of cars that double park on our streets. There seems to be a growing mentality of “my needs are more important than yours” and no consideration is given to others on the street. Of course I know that it is the job of the police to stop this but I also know that they are understaffed and overworked, so what can we, as citizens do to help them?

All of this led to a “light bulb” moment this morning as I passed 2 double parked cars on the street behind me. Why not help the police, and how best could this be done?

So, here is my “brain storm” solution, let’s photograph double parked cars, clearly showing their license plate numbers, and send these pictures to a site that the police specify. I then want each photographed, double parked car, to be given (at least) an immediate JD25 fine…..and then, let’s see how quickly this double parking phenomena ends.

I, for one, have my camera in my purse, or better yet, on the seat next to me….all prepared, so please join me in helping me help the police to solve this problem…..and I have an email address for you:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Of highways and khamseens - a poem

We’re all in a fluster
All dusty and depressed
And it’s all about the weather
And some of the rest …

Overcaste and dreary
A blanket of dust
Will somebody please help us
Clear up this mess …?

Cars don’t work,
hair is a tangle;
The heaven’s above
must be spring cleaning a bundle!

Roads closed down south
And up north too,
Hope hubby’s okay
Along the Desert Highway!

It certainly doesn’t help
With construction and its commotion;
Please keep the trees
For oxygen and protection!

Mother nature in her wisdom
Sent the khamseen along;
A message on the wind
Of an ominous storm?


Friday, May 01, 2009

And now for something completely different ...

The First of every month of May is known as Labour Day. But it is also known as something else ... the first day of spring and the fertility of nature. Amongst a growing bunch of my type of subversives, it is also known as International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day .... something that has even reached the shores of rural Jordan a few years ago, promoted by local women as part of their drive to provide a cleaner, healthier and productive environment for their children and by extension their communities .... (when I find a link I shall post it!) .... so in honour of all people who work whether in the fields, the construction site, the office and most importantly the home .... whether subversive or not .... Happy Labour Day!


Gaza on my mind ... again

After the 100 days of Obama's presidency has passed, the only thing that stuck in my mind was the comment Clinton made on the jailing of the Iranian/American reporter, Roxana Saberi, who was freelancing in Iran without a proper permit.

..." Clinton raised questions over Iran’s legal process and said it was a nation that appeared “impervious” to human rights concerns and “civilised standards”...  

'What a yoke', as hubby would say of this crazy world, without belittling the personal plight of Ms Saberi ... 

Is this all Clinton can come up with when 'human rights' issues are concerned? And what of the rights of Arabs of Palestine living in Gaza .....?   Ooops silly me, I forgot they are branded non- human, therefore does not apply!  

... and meanwhile on the distant shores of the Mediterranean, in the middle of the East,  Israel's imperviousness to genuine human rights concerns and 'civilised standards' in Gaza and beyond continue unabated for more than fifty years.  The fact that this situation does not seem to have any effect whatsoever on Clinton's sense of moral values - a situation that affects the traumatized lives of 1.5 million people, as opposed to '1' as mentioned above - has reached the point of a political farce. 

The words of Rami Khouri best sum up the status quo in this article, when he writes of the deceptive calm in Gaza:   

"It’s very simple, really. When Jews were dehumanised and brutalised in Christian Europe, they broke out of their siege and created their state of Israel. The Palestinians are now at a similar stage of national traumatisation, resistance and rebirth. Human beings do not take kindly to being miniaturised. "