Thursday, October 29, 2009

Would you choose these colours?


This is a house being built near Sweileh and I just wondered who could possibly be brave enough to paint their home in red and yellow. To me it looks absolutely hideous but I suppose to the owners it looks beautiful. T
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

traffic tickets

I have just been down to the Traffic Department to give in another two books of traffic tickets! Yesterday and today I have written over 60 traffic violation tickets. Lots of traffic jams so can use my tape recorder to take down the numbers and details. Why people do not put on their seat belts and stop using their mobiles whilst driving is beyond me.

A close friend was recently in a bad accident that wrote off her car at just 60 kph. She did not have on a seat belt but luckily the air bag saved her life. And she was in a Mercedes which is a strong and safe car. Seat belts are so important. Also using mobiles whilst driving is a deadly habit.

The head of the department told me that an average of 7,000 tickets are written up EACH DAY in the whole country. T

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Citadel

So this is what the Citadel (Jabel Al Qala) now looks like. A rich archaeological site covered with concrete and a visitor centre.

Always the battle between those who want to save their heritage and those who want to earn money from their heritage. T

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I went out to dinner tonight. Restaurant lovely, food excellent but atmosphere revolting. Everyone around us smoking cigarettes. My throat hurts and my clothes absolutely stink of cigarettes. It is about time that cigarette smoking is banned in restaurants. T

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brief Comment About Honor Crimes

The last posting by T highlighted progress in an otherwise depressing situation. Hopefully the judge who sentenced the man to 15 years hard labor for murder will set a precedent. In the meantime, the laws must change. It is easy for an outsider to criticize the legal system in Jordan because is too lenient on the perpetrators of honor crimes. I know it is for me. My brain cannot wrap itself around the emotional, psychological, or traditional duty-bound mindset that would tolerate such murders. However, I have heard from a number of people that foreigners’ involvement, particularly on this issue, can actually get in the way and slow the legal and educational changes needed to eradicate the practice. This is unfortunate but understandable because no one likes to admit things that reflect badly on one’s country especially to an outsider. So I was pleased to read the letter in Sunday’s (October 18th) Jordan Times written by an Arab man, possibly a Jordanian, condemning honor killings. As more Jordanians speak out against honor crimes they will put pressure on lawmakers and Parliament to make the necessary changes so that these murderers will be severely punished.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

At last, a proper sentencing for dis'honour' killing

Judges in Jordan have finally got serious about sentencing offenders in so called 'honour' crimes. It was good to read in the Jordan Times and on the BBC web site that the brother who murdered his 18 year old sister was found guilty of murder. He claimed reasons of 'honour' for what he did but the judges did not agree and sentenced him to 15 years with hard labour.

I think it should have been headlines on the front page instead of at the bottom of page 2 in the Jordan Times. But never mind, it is the verdict and sentence that counts. Also the pleas of his family to drop the charges was denied. This is another first. I hope that the appeal court endorses the sentence.

Let us hope that this will send a powerful message. T

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Exploiting People

I wonder how many families employ live-in domestic workers and how the figures compare to other countries. I think Jordan would surpass much of the world, which is amazing when you think that one third of the population lives below the poverty line and there is high unemployment. Yet Jordanians are able to ‘import’ workers from poorer nations. I shuddered when I looked at the photo in the Jordan Times the other day of the large number of Indonesian women crowded dismally in their embassy because of ‘irregularities’ and the probability that they entered the country with falsified health certificates. They looked pathetic and lost. Unfortunately most of us don’t think about this aspect of life in Jordan unless the newspapers expose a case of abuse or a worker commits suicide. I believe that their own countrymen and Jordan’s unique regulations affecting foreign laborers have exploited these women. Above all they are victims of unscrupulous people who are able to make money from women who are less valued members of their own societies. What a sad state of affairs.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Rainbow Street - Thursday night

I went to a friend's home at the bottom of Rainbow Street this evening.

We sat on the balcony and listened to the cars driving by or in a total traffic jam hooting their horns at great length and with their radios booming out loud music and girls shrieking out of the windows. This was still going on when I left at 11. The poor residents have to put up with absolute mayhem. Nowhere to park, cafes making a loud noise and people in cars behaving with total disregard to those who live in the area.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Following on from the previous post, I would like to draw your attention to this new and important site:

The stated mission is: "Removing “Honor” from Crimes of Honor: A project to change the Mindset of Jordanians"

It is a partnership between the Information and Research Center of the King Hussein Foundation under the directorship of Nermeen Murad, the Mafraq Center for Development, Economic Research and Analysis (MACDERA) / Dr. Yusuf Mansur, and the Jordan Centre for Social Research (JCSE) / Dr. Moussa Shteiwi, along with individuals and institutions supporting this nationally driven effort.

It is refreshing to see society take responsibility for social ills that affect us all. As they state:

"We have a collective responsibility. We are all here to share in this responsibility
Women are victims
Men are also the victims of this same environment
This is an issue that is Jordanian, an internal issue
We should study it based on our thorough understanding of society and not shy away from confronting our problems."

Hope lives!


Forbidden Truth

I left the outdoor theatre at 10.30 one beautiful summer evening in Amman … but my stomach was in knots and I felt a simmering feeling of anger swell up inside me. What was it about that documentary film I had just watched along with about three hundred people of different nationalities … Jordanians, French, Indian, British, American, Australian, German, Spanish and a few Italians? Maybe it was the ‘in your face’ obsession of the Director in the character of Norma Khoury, a Jordanian Christian expat of no fixed abode who wrote a story in 2002 about the so-called honour killing of her childhood friend Dalia who nobody can find. Or was it the fact that this film had been shown by my favourite film promoter? Or the fact that the Director had a nice little sum of 2 million dollars to make said film?

Regardless of the reasons, I had to contend with the fact that along comes a novice Australian director, Anna Broinowski, (who incidentally did not show up) and turns a discredited book into a documentary film and calls it “Forbidden Lies”. It is claimed in the film that the director attempted to give the audience a choice to decide for 'ourselves' and to “disentangle all the controversies” surrounding a woman whose claim to fame was to write a book of fiction about her birthplace – Jordan – and sell it to the publishing world as fact; something someone described as “one of the greatest literary cons of the 21st century”.

But instead of tackling the international social ills of ‘honour’ crimes, the director focused on the seriously delusional and discredited author herself, someone deemed persona non grata around the world. This is not just a story of one woman’s temerity and pathological lies; it is also about political expediency and the west’s most outrageous duplicity when it comes to women’s human rights in the Arab world. Dick Cheney’s daughter became involved in the publication of the said book at a time when Cheney was spinning his own web of lies; she probably ghost wrote it too – it must have been music to the neocons ears, wonderful words in the so-called ‘war on terror’ used as weapons of mass deception in the lead up to one of the most horrific wars of the 21st century, the invasion and destruction of Iraq by America and its allies.

In time all this deception would unravel … and by July 2004 this is exactly what happened to Khoury’s much touted book, when Sydney Morning Herald journalist Malcolm Knox – with the help of Jordanian journalist Rana Husseini and esteemed Jordanian activist Dr. Amal al-Sabbagh - exposed her book as a work of fiction. Perhaps that is why I was so flustered … I could not understand why this documentary needed to be shown and why we needed to see it in Jordan of all places. I could have given the Australian/jewish filmmaker a number of other topics more deserving of attention than the downfall of a con artiste par excellence, who also turned out to be a negligent absentee mother, and yet no-one seems to be bothered by that. It was obvious that Broinowski was taken in by Khoury’s persuasiveness and her soap box rhetoric of speaking on behalf of oppressed Muslim Jordanian women, all three million of them! If Norma Khoury was so concerned about the issue why did she never consult with the Jordanian experts in the field, or even get together with a bunch of women and chat over coffee?

I have no idea what Broinowski thought she was going to achieve by making this film as there was no controversy to ‘disentangle’. The only redeeming feature about this film was the creativity of the editor, who obviously had fun dealing with a load of fantasy. What the film failed to point out was that this book discredited decades of work by prominent Jordanian individuals, activists, journalists and writers who work diligently to raise awareness and combat a true scourge of society and to challenge a cultural mindset that believes it is right to rid the family of a twisted notion of shame by cleansing the family honour … in other words by murder … the victim is always a young woman, and of the 150 -200 homicides every year in Jordan, about 20% percent of these are so-called ‘honour’ crimes.

It’s ironic really to think that Khoury – a Christian Arab - pulled one over an Australian Jew, as the victim in this case must be Broinowski. This is clearly shown in their trip to Jordan that turned into a mini circus of the absurd traveling from one end of the city to the other in search of an elusive truth – a fantasy, a make believe spun in the web of a black widow, waiting to pounce on her victim. And pounce she did. Broinowski’s own face has been rubbed into the deception and pathological lies of a very unstable woman; something we in Jordan have known about for a long time. But nobody seems to listen to truth when spoken out of Arabia … why is that so hard to accept by a foreigner? Political expediency? Racism? You chose!


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Just a thought ...