The Casino!

OMG! We were at risk paying $1.4 billion for the casino issue!
I can’t express the amount of gratitude that I carry for the government
*for saving* out butts of this problem!
We paid $157,000 instead!
Not a bad price for saving our morals!
Aslan, we don’t have any hungry people to feed
o even if we have, it is our moral dignity that matters the most
so what if some people sleep a night or two without dinner?
The government has better priorities of spending our money
It had to take the risk
Even if we have to paying $1.4 billion
We would be ready
We can all sleep a night or two without dinner then!
After all, we are ‘al nashama’
Brothers do support each other
so we stand behind our government
No matter what goes wrong, or WHO is responsible!
Because it doesn’t matter really. Does it?
It would be hectic for the government going back into the signed up papers
and prosecute the guy responsible
He most probably didn’t do anything illegal!
He had a vision
and the new guy has another vision!
At the end of the day, individuals rules!
We never claimed that we have a country policy?! Did we?!

Anyway, it is just a small mistake
It isn’t like one of our sisters have lost her virginity, right?
That would be a totally different issue!

To be honest with you,
I still don’t understand all the fuzz about the casino
(This is between me and you)
Was it really a moral issue?
Enno, I don’t get it.
We have bars and night clubs, rights?
Alcohol is not as sinful as gambling, right?
We can get drunk as much as we like
It is okay to lose your mind, but no no to play with money!

Like if we have any money to play with

I am imagining having myself heading to the casino on a thursday night
How much shall I carry with me in order to be allowed to enter?
You can’t go to a small cafe in Amman without spending 10 jds on a thursday night!
How about a casino?!
Would 50 jd be enough for a low scale entry?!
(I know, with that amount of money, I wouldn’t be respected at the entrance of the casino!)
Would I be insane enought to spend as much moeny on a single night?
Ofcourse I have to pay for the car fuel and other expenses
and ofcourse I have to look for a female friend to join me
I bet it wouldn’t break the ‘couples only’ policy
(unless I have 1000 jd in my purse)

1000 jd?
I would go to Sharm al Sheik then
and gamble as much as I like!
Along with spending the night at the most luxurious hotels
and I would be in a touristic lovely area
that has much more to offer than what we have in the dead sea!

Talking about tourism?!

Can we start thinking of ways to entertain our tourists?
or is the term *FUN* out of the box to us?

Outside the body – Afaf Al Batayneh

It is good to read novels for Jordanian writers. It is even better when they are written well. Having this good feeling about Jordanian novels is not just about the sense of nationality and pride of discovering some cultural and creative local work, but it is different than any other work you can read around the globe because it is the closest to us where it simulate our enviroment the most.

Two months ago, I read a Jordanian short novel for little children ‘Through a mud wall’ by a Jordanian writer Rana Al Zoubi. While it was written in English, I was impressed with how much it reflects the lives of Jordanian’s families on Fridays. The Labaneh, Zaatar o Zeit, Ajloon mountains, the farm, the mosk, … and a lot of other little details gives out a unique experience of this book. I did enjoy the read although it is targeted for children from age 6-10. I recommend it as a gift for your kids. You can find it at the Good Book shop in Rainbow Street.

A week ago, I have also done reading Afaf Al Batayneh’s novel ‘Outside the body’. It is written in around 400 pages in Arabic. The first few chapters don’t really bring up anything new. The story of a Jordanian woman having to deal with the hardship of living in a male dominated society. The abusive father, the social constraints, and the victim mother and children, all resembles the writing of Nawal al Saadawi.

While I am a big fan of Nawal al Saadawi, and while being impressed to find something close to her writings in Jordanian literature, I got bored at first because I didn’t feel that I am getting something new from those first few chapters. The writer has also been very brutal in describing the life of the main character in those chapters, from being beaten very hard by her father for dating a man, to being forced to marry something she doesn’t like, ending with a rape attempt of her husband on their wedding night.

The story progresses smoothly afterward, and while Muna, the main character, endures more hardship in the process, the chapters at the end of the story give a brighter side to her life. She moves to scotland and tranforms from an Arabic woman living under the rigid rules of a premative society into a western woman that is treated like a human being, appreciated and loved.

There is a weird style in the way Afaf wrote this novel that I haven’t seen before. She alternate between characters perspectives in different paragraphs without alarming the reader. You would be reading something thinking a Muna is saying just to realize after a couple of words that her father is saying it! Sometimes it can be really ambigious, but it is a nice style for a change as well.

All in all, ‘Outside the body’ is a good read. I love happy ending, and in this book you would be dying for a light of hope which gladly you will get at the end.

I bought it from Books@cafe, but I think you can find it in other local bookshops as well.

ديناميكية علاقة المرأة بمحيطها

غادرت المنزل هذا الصباح مسرعة, لم يكن هناك وقتا كافيا للاهتمام بمظهري, لبست بدلة الرياضة و خرجت, لم افكر بلبس شيء اخر او تضييع الوقت في وضع الماكياج لمجرد زيارة سريعة للجامعة. بدلة الرياضة تريحني و تضايقني في الوقت نفسه, تشعرني بالراحة لانها واسعة و طويله بحيث تغطي معظم اجزاء جسدي فتحميني من النظرات الوسخة والتعليقات الحقيرة من الشبان المكبوتون جنسيا المترامين على ارصفة الجامعة, فهؤلاء الشبان لا حياء عندهم و يعتبرون ان لهم الحق في التحديق في جسد المراة فقط لانها تمشي بالشارع بلباس ضيق. وتشعرني بالضيق ايضا لانها واسعة, فاتساعها يغلفني بطريقة تطفس جمالي و انوثتي. اليوم بالذات اشعر بالقلق من مقابلة اية انثى اخرى من اناث الجامعة ممن اعرفهم شخصيا اكثر من مقابلة اي ذكر, فالذكر قد يمر من جانبي دون اعارتي اي اهتمام في اسواء الاحوال, لكن اية انثى اخرى فقد ترمقني بنظرة استعلاء, نظرة تصرح بها انها الاجمل, او بمعنى اخر انها الافضل
استغرب احيانا ديناميكية الحياة المفروضة علي. اجد صعوبة في التوفيق بين حاجاتي النفسية في المباهاة في انوثتي بينما في نفس الوقت الارتياح لاخلاقي و ديني. لماذا تتقاطع حاجات شخصيتي بهذا الشكل؟ لماذا احتاج كل هذه المعاناة للشعور بالرضى؟ هل كتب علي بان ارفض انوثتي لاشعر باعجاب الناس و تقديرهم لي, ام ان اظهرها دون استحياء و ارى نفس الاعجاب في اعينهم و همساتهم؟ لماذا يجب ان تكون المعادلة صعبة؟ و لماذا تتقاطع عكسيا توقعات الرجال و النساء و طلباتهم مني؟ اشعر بالذكاء في لحظه احقق المعادلة الصعبة, و اشعر بالغباء في لحظات عدة من الفشل في المحاولة بعد الاخرى بحيث ايقن دائما ان نفسي هي عادة الخاسر الاكبر
يريدني الرجل جميلة عارية طالما كنت غريبة عنه, و مغلفة بشعة عند صلتي به! يحاول ان يوفق بين ذكوره و طلبات المجتمع منه هو ايضا. فجاملي يصبح خطرا على ذكورته عندما تجب عليه حمايتي, بينما هو جمالي مباهاة لاظهار ذكورته عندما اكون غريبة عنه! في نفس الوقت يكون جمالي خطرا على محيطه من النساء عندا اقترب, و يكون قبحي فرصة لهم للتفاخر من بعيد
اعيش في عالم مجنون تتقاطع في الرغبات و الاحتياجات, و يبقى ميراثنا الثقافي الشر الذي لابد منه
مع حبي,

Military resistance proved its castration

Is it time for us Arabs to re-evaluate our definition of military resistance? Is it time for us to look back into our cultural values that we have built in the past century in order to fight back the threats around us? Isn’t it the time to stop for a moment and learn from our lessons, be wise and plan for a better future?

Military resistance proved its castration

The fighters we created in order to protect us are turning their weapons on our faces. The culture of glorifying our fighters and worshipping bloodshed blowed in our faces. The real fear of a normal Arabic citizen stopped being the greedness of Israel or the imperialism of the USA, and it is not the dictatorship of our leaderships, it is in fact the weapons of our fellow people in the very same country! Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine is a living model. Why would an Iraqi man fear the threat of an Iranian invasion while he can be easily killed and tortured by his fellow brother? What would be better for a Lebanese citizen to be occupied by Israel, Syria, or his very well brothers in Hezbollah?! And in Palestine, resistance grew up to form two sub-states that are short of the basic needs for living!

We should learn from history. Powers are prone to collide. People gaining power in a state would most definite look forward to gain control. It happened before in Jordan in 1970. The palestinian resistance gained much ground in the Jordanian soil, and became a threat to the Jordanian regime. We had to undergo a drastic surgical operation in order to level things up. The same is happening in Lebanon now. The power of the state is not enough to keep the resistance weapons to the outside. It is a risky play to build two power in the same state. We should learn to avoid it.

Maybe it is time for us to stop following our leaders blindly. The next cultural necessity we are in desperate need to learn, is to be able to communicate our needs peacefully. We ought to move the nature of our battles from the boodshed on the ground to the space of median. Let’s learn to use our voices instead of our hands.

Is it ironic that yesteerday I thought that Sykes-Picot agreement was a bless to our Arabic nation for we are unable to maintain the peace of those divided small states, how in the hell would we maintain the peace in a large one? Would we end up dividing the Arab world ourselves if Britain and France didn’t do that for us? Did they spare us a lot of bloodshed?

Buttefly – A Jordanian short film

Muhammad Hushki has done a great job in his Jordanian short film Butterfly. The film is really impressive in everyway. The directing is great, the acting is superb, and the story is excellent.

It is a short action film, it succeeds in a scary way of reflecting a social problem that a lot of us may have experienced in a way or another. The film starts with a spot light on three young men in a picture that briefs out the struggle of their proving masculinity by just sitting in a line on a pavement, smoking a cigarette in a cocky way.

A moment later, one of the young men is waiting for his girl friend in a coffe shop. He intended to break up with her. She comes with a taxi, and reluctantly tells him that the taxi driver harassed her sexually.

A civilised behaviour would be going to a police office and file a complaint against that taxi driver, but hey that is a not option in Jordan! Men have to protect their own owner, which as we all know lies in the vagina of their women (even girl friends that they intend to dump). It is just their way to prove their masculinity!

The young man grabs his girl friend right into the car in anger, instead of being concerned about her feelings about that events, he pushes her to remember the taxi driver’s car number. He passes by and picks two drunk friends of him on the way, and they manage through their connections of getting the location of the house of the taxi driver. On his way as well, he also passes by another friend of him and asks for a gun!

The rage of the young men excalates and once they reach the taxi driver’s home, they engage in a fight that goes out of hand, leaving the driver in a bad condition at the hospital with a parallized wife.

The film refreshed my own memory of my college years, and the way me and my friends used to behave and how many fights we had to go in to prove our own masculinity. I remember the beat we had to take for standing up for my friend’s girl friend when a bunch of other young men harassed her and her friends in the street. I remember the time we had to go searching for a young man’s home for a silly comment he dropped about my friend’s girl friend, and how it was so close to get out of hand. I remember school fights based on someone’s girl friend presumed honor.

It is scary how real this film is. The effect of a butterfly we endure daily can easily be escalated into a tornado, and the silly comment of a guy, a dirty look, or an unaccepted touch, can turn into a real tragedy with us failing to trust our justice system and emphasize on our youth masculinity to protect their honors by their own hands.

Excellent work Muhammad Hushki, and a beautiful addition to the library of the promising Jordanian film industry. Well Done!

تعجبني الطريقة التي يسطر بها الراوي احداث حياتي

تعجبني الطريقة التي يسطر بها الراوي احداث حياتي. تعجبني الشخصيات الرئيسية, يعجبني البناء الدرامي, و يعجبني ترابط الاحداث و تسلسلها في عبقرية شديدة تمهد لتطور سلس لبطل الرواية (انا) من جميع النواحي, بحيث تضيف ابعاد حقيقية و عمق تشدني لقلب الصفحات اما لمراجعة الاحداث السابقة او استعجال الاحداث لقراءة المستقبل
يقولون ان الشخصية هي التي تملي على الراوي تفاصيل حياتها. بكوني اعتبر نفسي راويا, و بكوني كتبت عدة قصص في السابق, فانني اعي حقيقة تلك المقولة, ففعلا لم اكن انا خالق ابدا لشخصيات رواياتي, فهي كانت من تقتحم مجرى حياتي, تسيطر على افكاري, و تجبرني على مشاهدة احداث حياتها و تسطيرها في اوراقي. كنت انا وسيلتها للحياه, عقلي بيتها, واصابعي لسانها
هل تنطبق تلك المقولة على راوي حياتي ايضا؟ بقدر ما تنم تلك الفكرة عن هرطقة و كفر, بقدر ما تشدني للابحار فيها و دراسة ابعاده. فهل مسطر احداث حياتي هو السيد, الامر و الناهي للاحداث؟ ام انني – الشخصية الرئيسية في الرواية – اسيطر على افكاره و اجبره على تسجيل الاحداث التي تناسب شخصيتي؟ بالمختصر, هل يخلق الراوي شخصياته, ام انها موجودة اصلا و لكنها تتطفل على ادوات جسده للحياه؟
في الحقيقة, فانني كشخصية اجهل ما يخبئه الراوي لي. فهنالك صفحات قلبت كل التوقعات, صفحات جعلتني اقر بعجزي عن فهم نمط تفكير الراوي و غايته من خلقي. و لكنني كراوي ايضا, اجهل الاحداث التي اخبؤها لشخصيات رواياتي. فالاحداث تظهر لوحدها, بتتابع و تسلسل مدهش بحيث تقف مذهولا, متسائلا, هل ظهرت تلك الاحداث فجأة, ام انها كانت تنتظر في صف انتظار هي ايضا؟
غريبة هي الروايات, غريبة هي الاحداث, و غريب هو الراوي. غرابة مثيرة ترسم تفاصيل الحياة
هناك عرف بين الرواة بضرورة محبة شخصيات رواياتهم. اشعر بحب الراوي لي, اؤمن باحداث جميلة يخبؤها لي. اثق بقدرته العجيبة على مفاجئتي بأشياء قد لا تعجبني لكنها مع الوقت ترهن لي انها كانت اساسية لبنائي الدرامي و نمو شخصيتي
اتساءل, هل تشعر جميع الشخصيات بحب راويها؟ ام ان سخطها و غضبها يستدعي مزيدا من الاحداث القاسية لتطورها الدرامي؟