Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Theatre of the absurd

"Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity."
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) German Dramatist

Well, you could say that this was providence to have read the above the day hubby received the post … a tiny bit of hope wafting in the ether!

“Here, have a shuftee at this!” he said giggling to himself.

And so I proceeded to read the envelope … and read something no one in their right mind (in Jordan at least) would ever think of writing …. Well, let’s get it into its frivolous perspective; nothing quite as ‘breakfast regurgitating’ as this when it comes to 'selective' human rights and democratic principles that espouse accountability .... can you blame us for being quote "not with them" unquote?

But considering the said envelope emanated from that great temple on the mount in Jebel Abdoun, one would not be wrong in thinking that they know ‘swot’ ‘swat’ ‘dick’ or ‘harry’ about who is who and what is what in our beleaguered part of the world!

So for all of you out there who know us and where we live, here is your daily dose of laughter, for this is the envelope we received which shall be duly framed and hung on the bathroom wall:

PS ... any suggestions for the name of the said Theatre Company???


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The Prime Minister and several ministers have recently been caught for speeding, according to Ammon News and the GAM website.

Wow, that is good news, not that they were speeding but that they were caught and fined. And I am presuming that they paid their fines, although they were probably being driven by a chauffeur. If our PM and Ministers cannot obey the law how can they expect anyone else to? Hope this has given them a good lesson. Wonder if they were using their seat belts???? T

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Citadel - again

I went up to the Citadel again and found that the original wall has been changed but this is the view as one drives up the hill, which I think is such a shame as it is so unwelcoming. Part of the wall further along has been lowered so that one can see the view over it. T

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bureacracy gone mad!

The bureacracy in this country is a COMPLETE NIGHTMARE! What a morning.

My mother-in-law died recently and the bit I am involved in is the transfer of her part of my husband's pension to me. So my sister-in-law's son accompanied me to Abdali to the Ministry of Finance. Of course all the detours make it a nightmare to get there with ensuing gridlock of traffic. We get there and go from one counter to another and finally arrive at a point where a gentleman in front of a computer looked up the number and told us to go to the next desk. They said ok you have to wait for ten minutes so that the file can be brought up. The computer seems to be redundant! We wait for awhile, the file arrives. Then the guy looks at me and says we have to have a paper to prove you are alive!!! What????? I said here is my id and here I am, what more do you want? No, that would not do so we had to traipse over to Jabel Hussein, again facing huge traffic jams. We get there and battle to the front of the queue to find the computers down. That is when I bailed out and left cousin-in-law to do the rest.

Two taxis refused to take me because they did not want to go to where I wanted to go! The third one (after waiting ten minutes in the boiling sun) finally said ok. He was an old man (probably the same age as me!!!) who spent the whole time pressing his horn through the nightmare of the traffic. But at least I arrived safe and sound though so hot I could hardly think straight.

So hopefully my presence will not be needed again though it seemed unfair to leave the cousin to finish it all off. Heaven help all those who have to go through all this in various departments belonging to the Government. T

Monday, June 15, 2009

parking in Amman

I had an argument the other evening on Jebel Amman about parking my car outside a restaurant. The valets said I could not park there but I just said call the police and left my car. Of course they could not do anything about it. But just to make sure I was in the right I asked the police what is the law on this. Do shops, restaurants, offices etc have the right to put notices on the streets and stop people from parking? He said THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT. T

harsher prison sentences even for 'honour' murders

We are at last moving in the right direction in the sentencing of those who commit murder for whatever reason. The minimum sentence will be five years even if families etc drop charges. And that includes juveniles.

These new laws and amendments to the Penal Code are going through the Parliament at the moment. And there are certainly some other interesting ones on paper. Seems the age of consent for sexual relations is being highered from 15 to 18 years. So any man having sex with a girl under the age of 18 (even if it is with consent) will be charged with rape and receive a minimum sentence of 15 years. T

Friday, June 12, 2009

1,200 tests a year in Jordan

I have just finished reading Rana Husseini's new book 'Murder in the name of Honour' which is an excellent read but, of course, profoundly disturbing. The relating of real stories from Jordan and all round the world show how much this terrible crime is a world wide problem. Rana has done a brilliant job with her investigative reporting here in Jordan over the years and this book is the culmination of her work.

Today I read that, here in Jordan, 1,200 women per year have vaginal examinations to see if they are virgins. This is the most horribly embarrassing medical examination and for young women to have to go through this is just appalling.

I am hoping that the new laws will help to address the problems of murder committed in the name of 'honour' and that severe penalties will be handed down by our judges. But they have to get through the Parliament first and as the vast majority of members are men what chance is there? T

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our ambulance services

By chance I got involved in the aftermath of an accident in Madaba where a young woman was injured by a car. An ambulance was called from the Civil Defence and when it arrived at the scene the paramedics did not follow their protocols. They picked up the victim without a stretcher and neck brace and failed to do what they should have. She was taken to Madaba hospital and then transferred by a Ministry of Health ambulance to a private hospital in Amman. This ambulance was not equipped with the necessary kit nor did a doctor from the hospital accompany her. Thank heavens she survived the ordeal and is now home.

Luckily I know the officer in the Civil Defence in charge of ambulance service and training and I called him. He was totally mortified and told me that the CD ambulances are equipped to a very high standard and the paramedics are all well trained. He has done a marvellous job of follow up and the team has been punished and he has apologised to the family for the shortcomings that evening. As for the MOH ambulances (who transfer patients from hospital to hospital) I understand their equipment is extremely poor and their standards low.

Has anyone else had experiences with the ambulance services that they can relate? The officer in the Civil Defence is ready to listen to any complaints, praise and suggestions. T

Monday, June 08, 2009

A whopping OOOps

Ever since this accident happened a few weeks ago, in the vicinity of the 6th circle, Amman, I have been wondering about the mental health of the crane driver who was treated in hospital for shock.... I wonder if he will ever work again?

When you study the photos, you realise it was a miracle no-one was killed.

The task of recovering that crane is going to be a huge feat of engineering ....and a dangerous one at that considering it's on the 44th floor, the highest building in Jordan that can even be viewed from Jerusalem on a clear day I have been told ....

I would not like to live under nor around this project; a project that seems to have been doomed with failure ever since the previous Municipal council sold off the land that used to be a public park!

Why oh why do we not see the value of public space, or cultural/urban heritage for that matter when 'investment' rears its ugly head?

... doh don't get me started .... think I need a good dose of yoga to caste out those demonic thoughts!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

oops in Aqaba

Aqaba is getting ready for the celebrations on Tuesday. Unfortunately one of the driver's of a float forgot what he (I am assuming it was a he!) had on top and went sailing through a steel arch way and brought the whole lot down. T
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Monday, June 01, 2009

Rest in peace Tahseen

Yesterday another brave Jordanian soldier died.

Over the years Tahseen Shurdom was one of the backbones of the Jordanian Army. He was a big, bluff and hearty soldier and one of the bravest of the brave. You could hear him from a mile away with his loud voice and hearty laugh and his presence would fill a room. He fought in wars and was involved in peace negotiations. His last posting was as Director of the Public Security, though I could never see him as a police officer. He was a soldier through and through and served his country with distinction. My condolences to his family. He will be missed. T