Saturday, May 25, 2013

Independence Day, New York Time May 25th, 1946

Trans-Jordan Emir Becomes King in Setting of Arabian Pageantry


By Gene Currivan

Amman, Trans-Jordan, May 25- The emirate of Trans-Jordan became a kingdom today and Emir Abdullah became King Abdullah Ibn Ul-Hussein in a spectacular ceremony and amid a setting that in some respects resembled a frontier town in the Western United States when the first railroad came through.

Amman was jammed. Dignitaries from all the surrounding countries were on hand to pay their respects to the world's newest king. The narrow bazaar-lined streets were flag-bedecked and crowded with colorfully garbed Arabs.

Crowns decorated the festooned and illuminated archways and ever present were photographs of the 64-year-old monarch who some day hopes to rule a kingdom that will some day include Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

Suring his acceptance speech at the palace, King Abdullah intimate as much when, after thanking and his loyal subjects for his good fortune, said:

"My hope is that soon there will be a federation, effective and powerful, of all Arab states. I offer my throne as a rallying point for that federation."

His remarks also were constructed to mean a federation of Arab states to meet the threat of Jewish encroachment, because he later added that "Palestine is a special case and will be given special treatment."

His speech occupied a few minutes of the fourteen-minute ceremony in the throne room where the dignity of the setting received a bit of a setback as the klieg lights flooding the dais for the battery of cameraman gave the scene a Hollywood flavor.

The King, wearing a black flowing robe, with a gold chain hanging from his neck and a halo-like agal or camel hair rope holding his headdress in place, read his speech and never changed expression. He was flanked by his two sons, his Ministers and on either side of the room were the British delegation and visiting statesmen.

After the palace ceremony all converged on the Royal Air Force field for the biggest show of the day- the King's review of the fabulous Arab Legion.

The reviewing stand was flanked by Arab Legion bands- pipes on one side and brass on the other. Lined up across the field were colorful units of the legion, including a camel corps and cavalry nd a mechanized brigade of infantry and artillery.

Glubb Pasha on Hand

With the King was Glubb Pasha (Brigadier John B. Glubb), the glamorous figure who helped organize the legion, mostly from desert Bedouins- who now prevent other Bedouins from becoming unruly. He wore a British summer uniform and spiked helmet and at hi side was a long sword.

Each unit paraded counter-clockwise across the field, passed the reviewing stand and then formed in front of it and marched in parade review directly toward the King. No monarch could have asked for more than this precision march of one of the world's most colorful armies.

Beyond the tented areas tribes raced around on their spirited mounts, firing their pistols in the air and otherwise adding an Arab rodeo effect to the scene. down in the town others who could no longer restrain their emotions fired from second floor café windows fired as cars bearing the guests went by.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Iraqi Gets Beaten, Just Because

I was so pleased to see those brave Jordanians (in the clip below) beating the shit out of this Iraqi employee at the embassy. I was also pleased to see a brave Jordanian writer express his desire to shoot those non-Jordanians who can't drive or behave well, especially while they're talking with their funny accent in the street. They come to our country and they expect to be treated like they're equal? They come to our house and start making their own rules?

I liked all the Iraqi-hating Syrian-cursing Egyptian-condescending comments, clips, pictures and articles on facebook on my way back from work. If you're wondering where I work, it's in the United States. I moved here about 10 years ago alongside many of my classmates, not because there was a war in my country and I had to flee so I won't be slaughtered like a goat, I just moved here because there's a better opportunity to make money and be treated well. I don't only have a different accent, I speak a different language, have a different culture, and still have deep connections home. When I want to complain about problems here, I don't do it behind closed doors, I do it in front of people, write about it in the paper or express it on TV. Americans don't beat the shit out of me when I diss their country, instead they gave me a green card. Even in a country that sets the bar for freedom so high that one can burn the flag of his country in the street, no journalist is allowed to write an article encouraging violence against a certain group of people. He can go to jail for that.

But they're cowards, and we are brave. We can beat people because we can. They don't know what they're missing. I just hope, from the bottom of my heat, as an Arab, that Americans will start judging an entire ethnicity of millions of people just based on the action of a very small minority. Only then will I realize they have been promoted to become a third world country and I will finally feel that I belong here.
(Warning: clip consists entirely of foul language)
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Suicide in Jordan

 
 
As The Abdoun Bridge was being constructed, many equated it with giant bridges in the West, such as the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. It was the country's biggest, the most efficient, connecting parts of the big city that were far apart, and a masterpiece of design that improved the view of the cramped environment. And just like the Golden Gate Bridge, it was where young people went to kill themselves. Recently they found another one, a 27-year old man underneath the bridge. In 2010 they found another guy. Others try. Women too. Suicides also occurred in 2010.

In the 1980s, I remember reading the Guinness World Records books, and Jordan used to be mentioned only once.  It was in the suicide section. We had the lowest rates of suicides in the world with only one reported case in the history. Even as a child then I could tell this was a lie, because I had personally known of two Jordanians who had killed themselves years before: Author Tayseer Al-Sboul in 1973 and my mother's neighbor in Salt who threw herself off the balcony when Abdil Haleem Hafiz unexpectedly died in 1977. We had a problem then that we still have now: we under-report numbers that may indicate that our nation, God forbid, may have problems, especially when it comes to suicide.

Since we like comparing our bridges to the West, let's see what the West does when it comes to suicides. First, they admit they have a major problem with it. They analyze why do people kill themselves. They try to prevent it. For example, they found out that kids being bullied in schools have a much higher risk of committing suicide. They now have fierce anti-bullying campaigns in schools. They found out that military personnel tend to have very high rates as well, so they expanded programs allowing for soldiers to receive psychiatric consultations (maybe a better strategy would be: don't start more wars?). They still have a big problem with it, but at least they acknowledge it.

For every person who kills himself, there are many others who want to but failed or still didn't have the plan or energy to do it, but they will one day.

What can you we do as Jordanians?

First, don't say it's not your problem. There are people around you who are depressed who the thought of suicide came across their minds one day. Start with stressed out Tawjihi students and end up with wrist-slashing unmarried women in their 40s. Rarely ever will someone tell you "I'm depressed". But you'll be a fool not to note it with every conversation you have with them.

Secondly, don't make it a crime to see a psychiatrist or a counselor. If you have never felt too stressed in your life to the point of breaking down, then you haven't done anything challenging in your life. People react differently to stress. Even those who are able to handle it well have learned how to do it after some tough times.

Third, don't tell people it's their fault that they're depressed. Don't blame their parents or their siblings. Plenty of Jordanians suffer from pathological depression and they're not being treated. Being depressed doesn't mean you're less religious or that your family doesn't care about you. Sometimes, people just get "messed up" in the head. They can be very poor or very rich. They can be men or women. They can be the most sophisticated guy you know or a simple-minded person who can't form a single thought in his head.

Jordan is going through tough times, and many people in it have seen a lot of horrendous struggles in the past few years from the Iraq war to the overwhelming Israeli aggression to the mass murders in Syria. Even in Jordan there are more kids being born whose future is unlikely to be bright. We will have more people than ever who will think of life as not being worth living. It's not their fault , but it's your fault if not only you fail to reach out, but also deny their existence.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

King Abdullah Just Said This


King Abdullah suggested today, very clearly, that Bashar Al-Assad should step down.

This is huge, unprecedented, and surprising, for two reasons, two very good reasons, in my opinion.

ONE
Correct if I'm wrong, but this is the first time a Jordanian king ever asks for any other leader to step down, let alone be an Arab leader, let lone be it the Syrian leader. Late King Hussein had hoped for many Arab leaders to vanish , in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Palestine...etc. These were not only posing a threat to the monarchy, but to the stability of Jordan itself. But he never went public, for several reasons, in claiming that these regimes had to go. He supported the Islamic opposition to Hafiz Assad but he didn't claim Assad must go for the better of the Syrian people.

So today, things changed. We have finally asked the leader of a "brotherly" country to step down.

TWO
if you read exactly what his majesty said about Syria,

"If it was me, I would step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo that we're seeing,"

He said, "I would step down if......"

Correct me again if I'm wrong, but I don't think any Jordanian king has ever said "I would step down " for whatever reason. Never. I haven't heard every single speech or read every public letter for all the Jordanian monarchs, but I don't think such language was ever used before.

Certainly Jordan is not like Syria. People are not being killed in the streets and many of the most angry and the dissatisfied Jordanians are not calling for the King to step down. King Hussein faced heavier opposition with crowds screaming in the streets in many Jordanians cities for him to be removed during several rough times in the past, but he had never mentioned that he would step down if something happened.
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Since its independence, King Hussein struggled to prove that he's a true Arab leader who was ready to lead an underdeveloped nation into security and prosperity and prove that it had many good reasonable for existence even when the entire world had many doubts about it. I think that to a great extent he was able to accomplish this. He tried to avoid any kind of confrontation and always took the side of neutrality unless his throne or the the future of the country were be in jeopardy.

The statement from his majesty today, in my opinion, reflects a major shift in our attitude toward the world.
We didn't have to stand against the Syrian regime regardless of how brutal it was. But King Abdullah felt it was necessary for him to be the first Arab leader to make that statement. We all know that Syria has threatened to invade Jordan and in fact did invade Jordan more than any other country besides Israel. For Jordan to take that strong position against Syria, there might be a big a price to pay, but I hope that our moral obligation towards taking the stand is completely worth it.