.. the title’s meaning will become more evident as you read this article.
Although i didn’t grow up in Jordan, i did get the opportunity to live (and work) for a considerable time in Jordan over the past year. And since i am not a Jordanian citizen, let me start out by commenting on what i admire about Jordan and its people.
Realizing the lack of big-money-generating natural resources (oil), Jordan and Jordanians are commended for bootstrapping their country (almost literally) in an effort to create a sustainable economy based on tourism, services, some manufacturing, and an evidently exploding technology sector. They have also tried to create a stable economy in a restless region of this world.
One can also never forget Jordanians for being the gracious hosts of many of their distressed Arab brethren. Palestinians, Iraqis, and Lebanese have all escaped the gruesome horrors of war to find a safe haven in Jordan. Yes there have been some clashes in the past (manifested in black september), but overall (despite some minor glitches), nowadays Jordan is a relaxing melting-pot for many Arab nationals.
Let me also be the first to offer some brotherly criticism from a citizen of one Arab nation (in the making) to another. Truly, we all have to realize our problems before we fix them. Since i have spent most of my time in Amman, my comments below are mostly applicable there.
The first issue i would like to bring up is that of air pollution. Simply put, you can not walk the streets of Amman without nearly suffocating. Yes Amman is a bustling metropolis, but somebody must regulate the car exhaust gases, and enforce that regulation! You can actually see all the black, dense, suffocating emissions spew out of pick-up trucks, mini busses, and cars of all sizes, makes, and models. Why can’t police personnel consistently issue tickets and fines for those who are caught with faulty exhausts? Why do pedestrians have to suffer? If you add up these tiny toxic deposits from all the millions of cars that navigate Amman’s streets and corners, you’ll end up with a hefty amount of toxic waste that is inhaled regularly by pedestrians and residents of this great city. “Sorry, i made a conscious decision to avoid toxic fumes by not to smoke cigarettes, and i do not want cars forcing their toxic waste down my lungs whether i like it or not“.
Speaking of smoking, when are we to realize that it is our natural right to breathe pure, smokeless air? Most restaurant, coffee shops, malls, shops, offices … you name it, are filled with smokers. I am not saying ban indoor smoking entirely (one has to set realistic goals first), but at least dedicate specific smoking and nonsmoking sections.
If you approach any smoker with a request to consider his nonsmoking fellows, you almost always get the same answer, as if it was taught and rehearsed in a secretive smokers club seminar “Smoking is my right, i am not trespassing on your right. If you don’t like it, stay away. Turn your head and don’t breathe this air”. Argh, i can not over stress how aggravating this answer is. Most people don’t come out of their mothers’ wombs with a cigarette in their hand, thus it is the unnatural thing to do, and smokers have acknowledge the right of nonsmokers to clean air. If you want to smoke, fine; it is your right. But, please do not force me to second hand smoke with you.
Another growing bad Ammanite phenomena is showmanship and one-ups-manship. In a city suffering from a growing gap between rich and poor, and the slow vanishing of middle class, many still find it necessary to indulge in extravagant arabian-gulf-like unnecessities (with no disrespect). Somebody explain this to me please; how is it necessary spend tens of THOUSANDS of Dinars on “special” car license plates while your average fresh college graduate only earns about 150 JDs per month? People used to criticize the people of the gulf for their extravaganza, and now some of us are doing the same.
“Not only do you have to buy the ungodly, gas-guzzling car that is the Hummer, but you have to buy it with a Jordanian two-digit license plate to show the rest that you are #1”. For god’s sake, that car is only a cube, at least get something with a nice shape to amuse our eyes.
I hope my criticism was not taken as blind hatred or prejudice. I know we suffer many of these problems in Palestine and in many of our Arab countries. Yet, we can not solve these issues by not talking, and acting upon them.
Finally, if you are still wondering about the title. Well, good titles must encourage the audience to read the given article, and if you have reached this point, then my bizzare title has done its job 🙂
Thanks Qwaider for your initiative.