January 22, 2006

A guest "entry" by an insightful anonymous commentator

It'll be a shame if this new "comment" gets buried under an old entry of mine! An interesting read worth being endorsed & aggregated to others as-is.

Thank you anonymous commentator:


I will not comment on this post! because reading this one has lead me to read all your previous posts! I have taken every chance online to read one of your posts (not in order but according to interest), and each time I find myself going through a mix of feelings. So maybe it is best to share with you (and all readers) whatever comes to mind...

1- More and more I realize how many are the things we have in common: Jordanian, working in the gulf, Belonging to the 80's in amman, and missing the feel of that, and most importantly, I share most of your views. As a special tribute, allow me to take you even to an earlier time that has really gone forever, the early early early 80's!!! actually I will just list stuff that has disappeared (add to your list!), in case any of the following items was not self-explanatory then... boy am I old!!!! Here goes:
2-The wealthier students in your class who had the pen case that folds opens in many ways and has a special place for everything?
3-The girrafe pencil sharpner with tail that you can push down for its neck to bend.
5-Because the community was less segragated, as a child you used to get an expensive toy from a friend of a family like LEGOs for example and at the same time a very cheap HEALTH football or a sparkling noisy laser gun (made in china ofcourse)from another! which suggests the next items :-)
6-LEGOS with universal and less theme specific pieces.
7-fattash, 6oggei3 and 3eid related toys that are sold at small shops (displayed in a a laundry line fasion)
8-3anbar, baloza, kraizeh,da7-da7 and other items that according to school you should not by from the street.
9-Good quality stuff in general, specially clothes without having to be extremely expensive or secretly obtained from 'stockaat' or second hand clothes shops!
10-Hand bags with the compliments of 'ALIA'
11-Chanel 6 and knowing their schedule by heart!
13-Endless TV shows that are forgotten (this can be the subject of a future discussion)
12-Antenna TV channels in general including neigboring country channels and I will not expand on this one!

I will stop here and move to my next point...

2-I agree with you totally in the way English language is related to a higher class and how confusing amman can be, being aware of and how we receive the 'otherness' is a totally lost skil. Not much to say about this except that one of the things that really make me feel sorry for our community is how little we accept diversity, everybody regards the others with little respect, and for me, the ones who I love to hate most are 'western ammaners' who express their accptance to the ones on the east side by going on brave 'safaris' to east amman to show their acceptance of that other beloved half of the city by (in my opinion) very humiliating ways that include but are not limited to:
1- Suddenly becoming a specialist in Found-Object-Art and start taking pictures of places and faces of eastern amman and sharing those with (most probably) other western ammaners! I have noticed a lot of cases where the objects of interest are people with a history of bad nutrition, or places that are basically junk! the mere revelation of beauty in such objects is a manifistation of how far these communities have become from each other ... even if with good intentions!
2- Buying 'souveniers' from eastern amman and buying your daily needs strictly from wetern amman.
3- changing to another (hopefully) more blending accent!

Again, I will have to stop somewhere and go on...

3- I would like to share this thought... which is really based on many of your posts about us Jordanians...This is a personal explanation and subject to argument ofcourse... There are a few things that I wish I could change, untill then I will at least address: Firstly: Why cannot we tell the difference between a REASON for being rich, successful or elite ...etc, and the life style that is CORRELATED with being so? the result is wasting our time and resources trying to become something that is a result of being somehting else!!

Secondly: Why do not we face our true capabilities? why insist on making things LOOK right rather than MAKE them right???Thirdly: why do we copy so much? aren't we creative? Not creative AT ALL??? Impossible! people are really almost clones when it comes to fasion (people of the same 'community' ) interests are the same too! and I hate it when I think how little we know of the correct practice and how much we THINK we know! This actually applies regionally even to places like the impressing Dubai.Why don't we take our education further than the years of study? I have learnt the hard way that piling years of experience (at its best) does not alone make you the best around! it is contnuing to learn is what might make you distinguished!Why do we care so much for fasion and looks and care less for our education and right for health insurance? Speaking of fasion and styles, I am simply disgusted with our attention to styles of haircuts, clothes, eye glasses, and everything that was not developed with our middle eastern looks in mind! we are just out of proportion, and irrelevant to the colors and lines and attitude related to claimed styles!

One last thought: I have fallen myself in the mess of trying to become western in so many ways in spite of the fact that neither my family, nor my looks or anything at all related to the west. It was not my clear intention of course, it took me so long to realize what I was doing! The result? is that I regret every second and (ta3reefeh) I spent away from all the goals I wished to reach. why should we grow to the British pop charts? I am not saying it is wrong to listen to western music or do anything you like, it is the feeling that i was naturally driven there is what I cannot understand. Why did I buy Smash Hits Magazine instead of saving to improve myself im one way or the other? If we don't have our own music then I think we don't deserve one yet, at least not before we sort out all the other essential needs before worrying and keeping up with pop music which by definition: Pop(ular)refers to a specific region.


Kommy said...

Salam Sheikh
& Salam Anonymous Commentator

There is one answer- in my view- to the many 'whys' in your comment:
"Beacuse We Are A Defeated Nation".

I have had slightly more time to think about many of the issues that you raise in your comment to the excellent post by our Sheikh here- simply by being a bit older than both of you, and I am not trying to 'pull rank' here.

I have gone on long tracks of thought that usually began with the "Why are we..." words, and on each trip (and believe me, some of these trips were really long and difficult) the answer has been the same: because we are a defeated nation.

There is another related, very closely related reason: because nobody wants to remember the fact that We Are A Defeated Nation. In fact, everything is being done by anyone who can do anything about it in order to completely wipe off this fact from our minds.

The playing fields were changed, the goal posts widened or narrowed , the rules book re-written, the referees and the audience changed, bribed and even brutalised as need be. Even the name of the game changed. In fact everything possible has been done to wipe off The Defeat.

But it is there. It is very much there and it cannot and will not go. Meanwhile many will play the drums for us,and .... we dance unawares, until we start asking the why questions AND persist in them .....

There is no other answer that I could come up with for all these whys: it's The Defeat.


adjo73 said...

I've bought this book called "Arab Voices Speak to American Hearts" by Samar Dahmash Jarrah; a few weeks ago and I was facscinated by the facts that I read from ordinary Arab citizens. As an American it made me change the way I view Arabs (Muslims and Christians) in the Middle East and it also made me understand more about our foreign policy and Middle East politics.

Anonymous! said...

Salam Basem,Kommy and all,
It's me the Anonymous again! I have to admit, it is with a feeling of suspence that I am writing now, never meant to be the "Anonymous Commentator" but it feels good, so allow me to stay like that just for a bit longer :-)
Basem, thank you for the publicity! and for referring to me as insightful, it is exactly How i thought of you all the way. If I may, I would like to comment a bit more, it is Kommy that got me started this time!
I totally agree with you, i myself have reached to this conclusion every time i reflect on many situations that are unique to us...
Think of the way a civil servant uses the authority given to him... he uses it totally against you and against your needs with no reason! If everything goes fine you would say "Rabna sahhalha" (Allah has facilitated it) as if the norm is to waste time and not get things accomplished at once!
One other thing that is unique to us is summed up brilliantly by someone I don't know really, but he happens to teach an american friend of mine Arabic and Quraan when he was trying to explain to him somethings about the middle east, he likens competition between people like a running race. In the West, individuals train themselves hard, do their best and stay focused on the finish line, while for us (unfortunately), the idea of winning means being busy watching the others then grabbing a hard stick then start hitting them so as to make sure that nobody makes it to the finish line! How true!
Another way of proving how defeated we have become is how much we accommodate the people above on any organizational chart, my problem with that is when the scale of success measures how pleased the one above you is, regardless of the quality of work you deliver. Anybody below you is basicly treated in the same manner the one above you treats you, the harder rimes one recieves the harder times he delivers! usually tendencies are not very nice anyway :-)
Ibn Khaldoun has summed it all up brilliantly with the shocking fact that: Defeated nations tend to copy and follow the nation that defeated it! I remember this from a Sociology ellective course I once took, and this is the only worthy thing I remember of it. All the rest revolved about mixing females and males at school and work as a reason for a society to nourish. Which reminds me of the previously mentioned notion of a Reason Vs. a Corrilation.
Ahmad Humeid (Jordan Planet Blogger) is a dedicated and commited person. I have known him since long (not too closely though). I would argue many of what he has to say but I do have great respect for him. his writings are very insightful and he maintains a level of professionality and seriousness which is not so common. The reason I bring him up is that even a very bright person like him, tends to fall for the trap of looking for correlations rather than reasons. Consider his article...
Tales of nudists and nerds: what our IT industry could learn from Silicon Valley
Thursday, March 10th, 2005
Here’s what’s ‘wrong’ with Jordan’s IT scene: there’s not enough weird people in it!...
Trust me Ahmad, we have enough weirdos to supply the whole world! we need more people like yourself, people who have an interest to start with, then take it seriously, and further than that, have a stand. I did not get you wrong, I know exactly the kind of weirdos you are asking for. Those people dress informally but their brains are on stand-by if not alert. These people care much less for the other's opinion. They have their own space inwhich they can do what they like, they stay away from other people's spaces as well! Right the opposite of most of us, we can show the full gear but perfomance is somehting else. Having said so, I must be fair and say that it is ok to copy good stuff, many professions are based on a case-study approach. However, most important is to apply that as a methodolgy rather that a goal. If you look deeper into the context that produces such weirdos, you would find it a totally different circumstance. CAUTION:Asking for local weirdos to make a better IT industry might bring undesired results is the least I can say! Which reminds me of an old experiment... no offence here, only bringing a smile to share :)
The experiment: knowing that the human being is made of 'this much' percent water, and 'that much' persent bla bla bla... then by bringing all those ingrediants together in a big bowl and mixing them you should be able to make one.
I appologize for shifting the comment far and expanding on Ahmad's view, it is only because I wanted to share that with you as well.
the best of regards,take extra good care everybody,

bilotee said...

basem you have been tagged

check: http://bilotee.blogspot.com/2006/01/tagged.html

Anonymous said...

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