Monthly Archives: September 2012

مظاهرة عن الإنترنت

اليوم, شاهدت مظاهرة عبر المعهد القصد. موضوع المظاهرة كان القانون حاول قضية صحافة الألكترونية. المشركين كان الصحفيين و المدونيين الذين غاضبون بنسبة القانون و قضية حريات الصحافة. انا مهتم في النشاط الإجتماعية و السياسية, فأستمتع رؤية هذا الحدث.ا

على الرغم من تشهد بداية الحدث, لم أكن أتحدث مع الناس هناك لأن لم يكن عندي وقت في ذلك وقت. ةبما فيما بعد سأرجع و أسمع و أتكلم مع اشخاص. الصورة على شمال تصور الراية امام الخيمة حيث يوجد المظاهرة. ا

30 Year Anniversary of Sabra and Shatila

An incredibly important event in contemporary Middle East history, the Sabra and Shatila massacres occurred thirty years ago starting on 9/16/82 and lasted for three days.  There’s a lot written – and therefore to be read – about these events and their context.  This piece in the NYT presents new information from declassified archival research by its author about the international politics surrounding the massacre.

In light of embassy demonstrations/attacks…

A number of people in the U.S. have asked me if there have been any effects here in Jordan from the protests and attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen.  The U.S. Embassy here in Jordan issued this yesterday (it’s unclassified, so I can repost):

Subject:  Planned Weekend Demonstrations at U.S. Embassy Amman
U.S. Embassy Amman has learned that various groups have called for demonstrations in front of or near the U.S. Embassy this evening and tomorrow.
Today at 1700 hours or later: Some groups on Facebook are calling for a protest in front of the Embassy.  Police have not confirmed the event, but there will be additional security deployed at the Embassy.
Friday, September 14 following noon prayers: Online media outlets are reporting and the police have confirmed that one group plans to demonstrate in front of Al-Kurdi Mosque (near Abdoun Mall), approximately one-half a mile from the Embassy.
Friday, September 14 at 1800 hours: Another group plans to hold a sit in outside of the Embassy under the slogan “Be With Us.”  The police have confirmed this event.

So, yes, there is a reaction here in Jordan but significantly more contained by American and Jordanian security services.  Here are a few news stories on Jordan specifically:
Ahram – Jordanians Protest Anti-Islam Film, Torch US Flags
Jordan Times – Hundreds Peacefully Protest Prophet Muhammad Film Near US Embassy

I caught some of the general discussion taking place in the international and American media, U.S. politics, and social media in response to the embassy breaches in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, and the subsequent protests at U.S. embassies across the region.  There’s much to say, of course, especially as much of the discussion degenerates into predictable generalizations of religion and culture that have little benefit (and do some harm) in understanding these events.

In lieu of writing something lengthy, I’ll just share a few things that are perhaps slightly different than the typical coverage on the news:

The “Amman Message” was initiated by King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2005 in consultation with top Muslim religious scholars seeking to “declare what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not.”

One of many responses to the events by Muslims who deplore the actions of the attackers, arguing that:

“…their reaction, which included vandalism and the murder of innocent civilians, completely contradicts the character and message of our beloved Prophet. In a famous Islamic tradition, he stated: ‘It is not allowed to cause harm to others nor to return harm for harm.’ … When lies are spread about our Prophet, we simply respond with the truth. And the most effective response is to embody his merciful character on a daily basis. Violence and vandalism carried out in his name are more offensive than the content of any film.”

I also came across this (quite graphic) Onion “news” story with a satirical, though very pointed criticism of the outrage and violence in response to stupidity and ignorance (like “Innocence of Muslims” film).  Both are senseless.

On Poultry

I was walking home the other day, which takes me just next to the Ministry of Agriculture, and I noticed a small crowd of men (maybe 100+?) in white hats and a few signs/banners out front.  One man had a bullhorn and was giving an impassioned speech.

Apparently inside the Ministry, a meeting was taking place between the Agriculture Minister and poultry breeders over issues including gas cylinders, chicken imports, and regulations on the distribution of chicken feed.  Here’s a story on it from the English language Jordan Times.

This was the first time I stumbled upon a demonstration not knowing in advance it was taking place, so I thought it was interesting.  The picture is from a distance as I was crossing over a foot bridge. Normally I just run across the street — it’s kind of like playing real life Frogger on this busy street (what everyone refers to as University Street because the University of Jordan is just up the road).

Dinner and art!

Went with Johanna and Eli for dinner on Tuesday evening to Wild Jordan (a Jordanian nature conservation society) that has a nice restaurant and cafe off of Rainbow Street near downtown Amman. The boy was especially curious while we were there and wanted to explore everything, including the view.

After dinner, we went to the Nabad Art Gallery next door for the opening of a new exhibition of artwork by graduate students from the University of Jordan. Nabad was started about four years ago by a wonderful friend here in Jordan when I was last here. The exhibit is provided under the patronage of Prince Hassan who gave the introductory remarks (and security was therefore extensive, to say the least).

All in all, a very nice evening out!

 

Qasid Arabic

One of the best perks of the grants I received is that they both emphasize further study of a foreign language (in my case Arabic). So for the next few months I'll be doing intensive Arabic training at the Qasid Institute in Amman. Today was the first day, and I can tell already that it will be a wonderful place to advance my knowledge and abilities in Arabic.

The institute is also just a 15 minute walk down the hill from our apartment, so it's very convenient since I will be there daily for the next few months (and perhaps longer if I continue into the winter term).

My courses are solely in Arabic, so that really helps with refining my ear for the language spoken at its usual (fast) pace. I will do three hours each morning of core coursework, and two days a week will take two supplementary classes. I'm pretty sure the two extra classes will be 'ammiyya (colloquial speaking) and an intensive grammar seminar (it's been quite a while since I paid any attention to grammar, so by all accounts this will be a great review).

We also get funds for private tutors, so I hope to identify one in the next week and start that as well. By the way, Johanna will also be getting an Arabic tutor a couple times each week to introduce her to some basic speaking skills and vocabulary… very excited for her!!

Qasid trains all levels of Arabic learners, so any of my students interested in doing this should get in touch with me and I will tell you more about it.

 

Off we go (went)…

Off we go…

It’s old news by now, but this seems to be an appropriate beginning for the new blog.  We left the U.S. on August 21st after spending 10 wonderful days back in Indiana.

It was a nice visit after packing all of our belongings into a storage unit in New Jersey or into the suitcases we were taking with us to Jordan.  All in all, I think we did a pretty great job packing efficiently for the year. We filled the storage unit to the brim. Thanks to our Jersey friends for helping us get all of our stuff in there!