Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Jordanians and Condoms

Our government is taking the first step in distributing one and half million free condoms to Jordanians. Although I understand most people would have preferred a free tank of gas, I still think this is a great idea. (For detials click here. English here).

To start with, the government has been taking serious steps in birth control for many years. This was a 2-way process, first the government wanted less people because they figured out that's better for the country, and people started realizing they cannot have six or seven kids anymore. They can barely raise one kid a decent life.

Not too long ago a Jordanian woman had to bring 10 kids to life for just 2 or 3 of them to survive. My father had at least 5 siblings who died in their infancy from pneumonia or plague. As health care in Jordan improved and vaccinations became available the life expectancy of Jordanians had significantly improved (in your face vaccines-are-dangerous freakish mothers). Jordan now has the best life expectancy in the entire Arab world, also ahead of countries like Denmark, Ireland and the United States, according to the CIA's 2008 World Factbook.

So, when a Jordanian is born, he's likely to live too long, way too long. If you think there are too many people in Jordan now just imagine how it will look like in a few decades. There will be quite a lot of old people, much more than now. Meanwhile the prices are super-high and regardless of who's responsible for that, it doesn't look like it will get better anytime soon. Even if it did, it won't be like the good old days when middle-class families were able to raise a few kids and put them in college and even go on vacations in neighboring countries. That's over and sadly I think it's over for good. We have to be realistic. There's no coming back from this. We'll reach a stage when having 3 siblings means you have a big family. Unfortunately I think this is necessary, and with more wars going on in the region and Palestinians then Iraqis then God knows who else will flee to Jordan the country cannot take it anymore.

Some like to live in denial so they hate any move by the government to control the number of kids they want to have. Someone has to wake these people up. Men have to realize that their ego of being served and loved (although not always) by many kids when they get old doesn't serve his family's or his country's best interests. It also exhausts his wife(-ves). He has to put on that piece of latex or at least stop beating his wife if she refused to experience another 9-month journey with another miserably-poor child to be.

Look at the misfortunes that Jordan and other Arabs went through in history and you'll realize that having not having too many people was never the reason behind any of them. We never lost a war with Israel because there weren't enough Arabs. Having more people wouldn't have prevented corruption or poverty or thefts or wars between neighboring countries. In fact it would have intensified such problems. For those who believe Jews are controlling the world, the number of Jews is estimated to be only 15 million worldwide. There are more Egyptians living in Cairo.

Jordan has changed and we have to understand this and make others understand it before we get overwhelmed with the number of humans we have came up with. Having very large numbers of people who look like us doesn't mean anything if these large numbers can be dominated by others who were raised in more luxurious societies and received all what a child needs for a decent life. Maybe we had an Einstein living among us but he didn't have a chance to excel or even ask a question in class packed with 50 other students, or his father pulled him out of school to beg on the streets so each of his 7 brothers can get to have one meal a day.
I think it's time every Jordanian should consider birth control for his own sake and for the sake of others.


Anonymous said...

So true. People should stop living in denial as you said.
I once saw a documentary on Al Jazeera, where a woman came up and started crying:
'We will continue to raise more children until every inch of Palestine is free'.
That doesn't make any sense, and you raised quite a few interesting arguments.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you 100%

Old "GOLDEN" days will never return!

Life is becoming "Hand-to-mouth" in Jordan.

mab3oos said...

يقطع الخلفة و يومها
I am one of 8, imagine the misery I lived through.

YFA said...

I'm having 12 kids....6 will be US citizens and 6 will be Jordanians....same momma though. I have to do my part to reduce the 5.3% you know ;-)

Mapless said...

I wonder if the distribution of condoms would actually reduce birth rate! There's severe lack of awareness! If you happen to go a trip south of Jordan, and enter people's houses, you will see families with paralyzed kids, mentally or phycially and yet they have 7 kids, each with a different physical or mental problem! these people dont only need condoms, they need allot of awarness,to know that no matter how many times they try, they will not be able to bring healthy kids! they need to stop trying! From out of around 300 houses i entered, all with big families, 50 out of those have kids with severe problems, and yet big families... health problems out of family marriages, which again is due to lack of awareness....These people dont know how the condom looks like! they need support for those kids and they have a serious problem of LACK OF INFORMATION! and there's nothing that makes me feel sad more than seeing that people dont know things that they should know!

No_Angel said...

hareega the problem is not that, the problem is the idea of "2il walad bijeeb riz2eto ma3a" (they child brings his income with him) and that family planning and restricting the number of children and using mechanical or medical methods to restrict the number of children is frowned upon religiously whether its muslim or christian
so that's the biggest problem, fighting against those ideas rather than stressing the economical and social reasons to do that.

plus the other thing is that i don't know how comfortable the center's will be in discussing and demonstrating the proper way of using a condom. On the other hand, since they mentioned that this has been done before, are there any statistics regarding the success of the previous programs of that nature and have they addressed things differently to resolve some of the obstacles faced in the past. these programs especially its more so about the education than the availability

Maher said...

Disturbe condomns? ya3ne jad ana mo fahem!
as you said..ya3ne shouldnt they focus on something else?
Gas (as you said) ? prices going up?
ma ba3raf..
homeh adra.."a36e el '7obez la '7abazo"

The Observer said...

We are no longer an agricultural society! No need for many children to help in planting.

People are realizing this, and condoms are essential :)

Anonymous said...

People are realizing this, and condoms are essential.

Of course it is. Sticking it in the rectum without protection is just nasty. ;)

Anonymous said...

I think they'll use them to make balloons

Ali said...

Longest life expectancy, now thats a bumer, u want to tell me that Jordanians will live longer to witness their miserable life getting worse with all the taxes and miserable prices we have in Jordan! I better move to a war zone!

Hareega said...

YAzan... exactly doesn't make sense and it doesn't sound right anymore

anonymous.. yes they call it the nad-mouth disease these days

maf3oos, well if al;l your siblings are doing well then that's great, it's fantaastic to have many siblings if they will all receive attention from parents and go to good schools and receive good health care, but i think that works only for a very small number of families these days

yfa... 12! good job, you have a soccer team with already one substitution avaialable

mapless, you touch on educating people and that's very important. But when people have plenty of kids you won;t have time to spend to learn about each one's problems and dedicate enough time everyday trying to solve it. I think if you're at an office and have a tremendous amount of work to do you won't have enough time to produce ood quality of work you just want to survive the day, the best thing to improve that quality would be to reduce the load of work. I think most parents want to raise their kids right and make sure they're healthy but the load of work is too much for them to handle.

Hareega said...

no-angel, I totally agree with the religious part, birth control is still prohibited among many Chrisitians mainly Catholics. In Islam I know it was controversial in the past but is now allowed at least with some kinds of methods (like barrier methods and pills) but not with more definitive ones (like vasectomy or tubal ligation) . If the government gave people incentives, like offering meals and day care for kids (whatever that may be) during classes for a large number of mothers or fathers to educate people about contraception and giving them the religious point of view that would definitely help. However I do not have enough statistics to be honest.

Maher, I think birth control is more important than what you think it is and if there's something we can do about it we shouldn't hesitate to.

Observer, thanks for your observation

Ali, that';s an interesting suggestion to make, I'll see how many people will follow it :)

bella said...

I always enjoy reading your blog Hareega, and you never fail to disappoint.

VERY well written and touched upon all the important points.

I completely agree with you. Perhaps another advantage to this is that Jordanians will finally be able to produce well-behaved children since the mother will actually have time to teach them manners and not send them to the shaware3 to raise themselves along with the neighbors kids!

Mohanned said...

What is your medical opinion on this:


Hareega said...

bella.. thanks for reading.

Mohannad.. I have to see it to believe it lol

Anonymous said...

Are you gonna write a tribute to dr DeBakey (ميشيل دباغي) I expect this to be your next post :P

Hareega said...

anonymous, it was really sad to see him go, I wrote about him when he was alive, I don't think I have much more to add