Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Observations from the News

* The Jordanian government decided to cancel Jerash festival. They said the festival was costing too much for no reason and becoming extremely unpopular.
And trust me, nobody knows what costing too much for no reason and being unpopular more than our government.

* 14 "belly dancers" were deported from Jordan. The government said that their visas were not good anymore. Nobody elaborated on what they really meant by "visas".

* It was reported on Al-Arabiyah that Syria is leading Arab countries in the number of honor killings, with about 200 cases each year, versus only 30 in Jordan.
Hearing that, Jordanian men have started a nationwide campaign in an attempt to catch up.

* Despite many scientists' arguments, George Bush mentioned recently that he still doubts evolution. After saying so, he started laughing like a monkey.

Monday, April 28, 2008

How Will Jordan Look in 30 Years?

Being Jordanian myself, I have considered several times the possibility of Jordan being completely wiped off the map of the Middle East. I don't think I'm alone here. Plenty of Jordanians have witnessed events that threatened the very existence of Jordan as a nation. For many years the main threat to Jordan was not only coming from Israel but rather from the neighbors; Iraq, Syria and Egypt. The leaderships in these countries have considered the Jordanian regime an obstacle to the liberation of Palestine and the unity of Arabs. For about three decades after its foundation, Jordan had witnessed several wars with Israel, one brief dirty civil war, the assassination of the king and two prime ministers, in addition to several assassination attempts on late King Hussein and states of instability that the country went through but miraculously survived.

Jordan is about sixty-years old. I will personally divide it into two eras, each being three-decades long. The first is the one I just talked about, and the second is the one starting in the late 1970s, after Al-Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel. It looks to me that whatever happens in Egypt will soon affect the Arab world one way or another..
First came Nasser, and his nationalistic tone hit Arabs in their core. They loved him. Then came Sadat, he gave Arabs victory but later infuriated them with shaking hands with the enemy. Whether they liked or not, Arab leaders realized they could not fight a major war with Israel without Egypt being an essential part of it.

Beginning in the late 70's Jordan became a more secure country, the country that most of the young people including me know, a safe country where nothing wrong should happen. The main threats to Jordan were not external anymore. The Iraqi regime became less hostile at the time Al-Baker. Syria's tone towards Jordan calmed down after Black September, and Al-Sadat had no interest in toppling the Jordanian regime. Israel knew that Jordan did not and could not fight another war.

A lot of things happened since then. Three gulf wars, a Lebanese civil war, Iran became a different country, several peace treaties were signed and we had a new leadership. A large influx of people immigrated to Jordan but again, Jordan survived.
That made me wonder how will our country look like in the next three decades?

The last war in Iraq might have been more than what we could handle. It was different from the previous ones. The whole country of Iraq was destroyed, and to make things worse there was a significant racial divide that spread to other countries in the region. Currently 15% of Jordan's population consists of Iraqis who are not going anywhere anytime soon. If a democrat wins the US elections there's a near-100% chance the US troops will start withdrawing from Iraq soon afterwards and will never come back to the region for whatever reason. Syria's current president did not inherit any iron fist from his father and there's an increasing dissatisfaction with the dominance of Alawiyyin in the country, in addition to the internal conflicts within al-Assad family. Lebanon: worse, they can't figure a way to select or elect a president. Husni Mubarak has never been that unpopular in Egypt.

Jordan has never been a rich country; however the level of poverty of plenty of families combined with the obscene level of apparently undeserved wealth of another group of Jordanians seemed to have miserably affected the middle class. Add to that the awful situation Palestinians are growing through in the West Bank and Gaza, and the terrible injustice they're subject to both by their own people and by Israel amidst Arab silence, you can tell there are a lot of angry people in Jordan.

All of these facts cross my mind when I think of the events that shaped, if not created, my country. The question of how we will look like in 30 years stays in mind and I have no answer to it. I don't know if anyone living in the late 70's could have thought the region would look like that by now. Everything was sudden, unpredictable and insane and there's every reason to believe the future of the region will be so.

Jordanians and the Weather

Jordanians should stop complaining about the weather. What do you expect the desert weather to be like?

Friday, April 25, 2008


* George Bush honored the brilliant 99-year old cardiologist Michael DeBakey. Debakey said jokingly that it's been a very long time since he's been with a US president. Bush answered seriously that it's been a very long time since he's been with a smart person in the same room.

* The Saudi government has launched a campaign warning its citizens from the hazardous effects of PlayStation. The campaign was sponsored by Microsoft's XBox.

* A Jordanian man from Ramtha brought his pregnant cat to JUST Hospital in Irbid. She delivered four healthy kittens by Caesarean Section performed by 4 different doctors.
Looks like our government is trying hard to resolve the problem of garbage babies, but perhaps got the species mixed up.

* The price of rice is now sky-high and people worldwide are not eating as much rice as they used to. Meanwhile, pharamceutical companies are also complaining of a large drop in the sales of anti-constipation pills.

Monday, April 21, 2008

كمان واحد

عمان -بترا- صرح مصدر عسكري مسؤول في القيادة العامة للقوات المسلحة الاردنية انه في تمام الساعة الواحدة والربع من بعد ظهر امس سقطت احدى طائرات سلاح الجو الملكي المقاتلة من نوع ( ف 16 ) اثناء قيامها برحلة تدريبية اعتيادية في منطقة التدريب المخصصة واستشهد طيارها الملازم الطيار حمزة سمير عودة العبادي

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hareega's Ten Huge Moments in Entertainment

Here are ten events in the history of TV/movies/media that have left a great impact on the world of entertainment and have affected many people in one way or another.

1- John Lennon is assassinated.
In 1980 in New York City, A psychotic man named Mark Chapman yelled at Lennon, "Mr. Lennon", and as Lennon turned around, Chapman shot him five times.
Chapman is to this day being incarcerated at a correction facility.

2- Miss Lebanon... Miss Universe.
In 1971, Georgina Rizk, the Lebanese beauty, won the miss Universe contest and officially became the most beautiful woman in the world for one year. I can't believe how she ended up marrying Walid Taqwfiq!
Here's a clip of the event. It's in black and white! Sorry!

3- The Pope's called evil on Saturday Night Live.
Artist Sinead O'Connor appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1992. She was singing "War". As she was singing "Fight the evil" she took out a picture of the pope saying "fight the real enemy" and tore his picture on air. NBC said they had no knowledge of what she was about to do.
Here's the real live footage that NBC had refused to rebroadcast. To me at least, it's somewhat disturbing.

4- Superman stops flying
The Superman, Christopher Reeve, falls off his horse and becomes paralyzed from the neck down in 1995. He first thought about committing suicide but with the support of his wife he went on to become an advocate for research on spinal cord injuries. In 2004, he had a sudden heart attack and died. His wife followed him 2 years later.

5- Elvis makes his first TV appearance.
The kid makes his appearance on TV in 1956. The rest is history.

6- An Honorary Oscar.
If there's only one honorary Oscar that could be given, this man deserved it the most. He was physically very sick but decided to show up on stage, and was given this Honorary Oscar unusually presented by the president of the Academy himself.

My advice: skip the first 3 minutes of this clip and try to guess who this actor is. If you couldn't, go back to the beginning.
This took place in 1972. He passed away 5 years later.

7- ABBA hits the world.
This Swedish group of four (2 couples) became the superstars of the late 1970s in Europe, the US and the rest of the world. This success was astonishing. There's a Tony-award winning musical, Mama Mia, based on their songs that is showing in different parts of the world.
Here's Mama Mia.... here I go again

8- MTV is born.
AS the funny-looking presenter said, "This is a new concept. You'll never look at music the same way again", and he was absolutely right. MTV had impacted the pop culture inside and outside the US, and its effect even spread to Arabic music several years later.

This is right at its birth in 1981. Priceless clip.

9- Psycho
Hitchcock's 1960 movie was horrifying by all means. This shower scene made people (like yours sincerly) terrified to take a shower for some time. The best thing about it: the music. It may not be that scary by today's standards, but remember.... it was 1960.

10- "Paradise Now" wins a Golden Globe, gets a nomination for an Oscar.
The controversial Palestinian movie wins a Golden Globe and becomes the second Arabic movie to be nominated for a Academy Award for best foreign movie. Not surprisingly, Israel objected being it called a movie from "Palestine" and insisted on using "Palestinian territories" instead!

Here's the trailer.

Hope you liked the collection,

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Before and After

Fadel Shana'a, Reuters' photographer in Gaza,
Before an Israeli Attack


Friday, April 18, 2008

Harega's Observations

** It was reported that the price of iron in Jordan is comparable to the rest of the world. Excited about the cheap iron, the government gladly announced to Middle-class Jordanians that now is the best time for them to buy guns to commit suicide.

** Orange pleasantly announced that ADSL connection is now available in 100,000 Jordanian houses. The rest of Jordanians do not have houses.

** A large fight broke outside Mu'tah University yesterday. Policemen had to interfere and they did beat the hell out of those involved, who were later transferred to al-Mowagger jail where they will be treated very gently.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Uncomfortable Conversation

A friend asked, "How's your work this month"
"Good, I'm doing HIV clinics three times a week"
"HIV? like AIDS?"
"Watch out"
"Watch out from what?"
He looked me like I was an idiot, "Watch out from the HIV"
"Why should I watch out?"
"Well, watch out, it's HIV, it's AIDS"
"But why should I watch out? I don't sleep with my patients in the clinic"
"I know idiot, but just watch out, it's AIDS"
"I don't inject drugs with them either"
"I know I know, but just watch out"
"From what?"
"Listen, I'm no scientist (obviously), but you gotta watch out, or I have to start watching out from you"
Since January 1st, 2008, twenty-two new cases of HIV were diagnosed in Jordan.
Public knowledge about HIV among Jordanians, especially the "well-educated": Zero, and declining.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Selling Jordan

In case you haven't been following "the news", here's an update:

The Jordanian government had sold:
1- Aqaba- for 5 billion dollars to the UAE. The port area of 320 hectars was sold.
Puropose: development of the port.

2- King Hussein Medical Center- for two billion dollars, to a group of UAE investors.

3- A chunck of Amman- 55 hectars sold for 1.5 billion dollars, for Najib Mikati of Lebanon.

Source: Unfortunately the AFP, and not the government.

I'm not against the idea in general, but this is a bit too much. All the buyers are non-Jordanian, all these deals were secretive, and we're not really informed of the details of these contracts. What does "development" mean?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hareega's Observations

*** Jimmy Carter, the former US president, met with Khalid Mish3al of Hamas. Israeli officials released a statement describing their concern. They didn't want the man topping their most wanted list to meet with Khalid Mish3al.

*** Many protesters in Europe and the US are asking their governments to boycott the Olympic Games in Beijing. They read about the Olympic torch reaching their town through their made-in-China laptops, chased the torch down the streets with their made-in-Chin tennis shoes and asked their leaders to help the Chinese people by boycotting the biggest sports event that happened and will ever happen in their country.

*** Delta Airlines and Northwest are merging. Two other airlines, Aloha and ATA, filed for bakrupcy. We may end up with only one airline running services in the whole US. Tell me something, are communists getting into this country twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall?

*** Crime rates are record high in Washington DC. The Congress is asking president Bush to do something about it. They suggested he should seriously consider "spreading democracy" in Washington DC.

*** Last week in Texas, arrests were made after a polygamist ranch was discovered. Many teenage girls in that ranch were forced to marry older men and were even impregnated by them.
In other unrelated news, the Arab Gulf Country Council asked its members to hold an urgent meeting next week.

*** HM Queen Rania appeared on special videos on youtube discussing different serious topics concerning Jordan and the region. She is the first queen to make such a video on youtube. She is also the first Arab woman to have a very popular video on youtube that is not preceded by "This video or group may contain content that is inappropriate for some users, as flagged by YouTube's user community."

*** Jordanians are still concerned the country is not capable of accepting the large number of Iraqi refugees who fled to Jordan in the past few years. They became much more concerned when Prime Minister Nader al-Thahabi assured them he's handling it with his always-overbook-to-guarantee-good-profit policy he adopted at Royal Jordanian.

Monday, April 14, 2008

From Hama to Mahalla

This is a simple story that an Arab grandmother may tell her kids. It does explain a lot of events.
I'm quoting it from Thomas Friedman's From Beirut to Jerusalem:

" One day, an elderly Bedouin man discovered that by eating turkey he could restore his virility. So he bought himself a turkey and kept it around the tent, and every day he watched it grow...One day though, the turkey was stolen, so the Bedouin called his sons together and said, "Boys, we are in great danger now- terrible danger, my turkey's been stolen."
The boys laughed laughed and said, "Father, what do you need a turkey for?"
He said, "Never mind, never mind. It is not important why I need the turkey. All that is important is that my turkey has been stolen and we must get it back."
But the sons ignored him and forgot about the turkey. A few weeks later the old man's camel was stolen. His sons came to him and said, "Father, your camel's stolen, what should we do?" And the old man said, "Find my turkey." A few weeks later the old man's horse was stolen, and the sons came and said, "Father, your horse's been stolen, what should we do?" He said, "Find my turkey." Finally, a few weeks later, someone raped his daughter.
The father went to his sons and said, "It is all because of the turkey. When they saw that they could take my turkey, we lost everything."

Friedman mentioned this story in a brilliant correlation to what Hafiz Al-Assad massacre of the Brotherhood members in Hama (حماة) twenty-five years ago. The Syrian army "invaded" and completely destroyed the city that had been violently overtaken by the Brotherhood. It was estimated that 25 to 35 thousand Syrians were killed. No journalists was allowed near the city at that time; however Friedman was one of the first journalists to visit the city after the Syrians government had rebuilt it. He described the chilling encounter with a man in Hama"

" As my taxi driver and I rode off, we encountered a stoop-shouldered old man, who was shuffling along this field of death.
"Where are all the houses that once stood here?" we stopped and asked.
"You are driving on them," he said.
"But where are all the people that used to live here"
"You are probably driving on some of them, too," he mumbled, and then continued to shuffle away.

Friedman called that chapter in his books "Hama Rules". Any Arab knows very well that Hama Rules did not apply only to Hama, and they're still in practice in the unwritten constitutions of several Arab leaders. I've been reading about the recent events in Mahalla, Egypt and thinking to myself whether Mubarak is going to play by the Hama Rules and there are not a lot of reasons to make me believe otherwise.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Best Comedian of All Time

This is why I think George Carlin is the best comedian that ever existed,
over 40 years (including sort trips to jail for his material) he had produced some of the best comedy in history.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Is it worth it after all?

Reading about the Saudi blogger who's spending his 4th month in jail, I'm asking this question, "Is it worth it, in our Arab world, for one to go to jail just to be able to say something?"

In other words, do you think that saying something against your government that can make you end up in jail, be tortured or make you disappear , is worth saying, IN THE ARAB WORLD.

Look at the mass graves in Iraq, Syria, and possibly other Arab countries. With all my respect to the dead, do you think they helped make their country a better place?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Kiss of Life: Kiss it Good-bye

The American Heart Association said yesterday that CPR (es3aaf awalli) using rapid deep pressures on the victim's chest work just as well as the traditional CPR, the one with the mouth-to-mouth breathing.

In other words, to perform CPR, apply rapid deep pressures as fast as you can the victim's chest. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is useless, a waste of time.

Make sure you remember this, because the last thing you need is to be arrtested for attempting to sexually assualt a nearly dead person.