Monthly Archives: November 2013

“The Islamic Solution” English & Arabic book

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in Amman held a conference to announce the English translation of an excellent book I had been working through in Arabic by Mohammed Abu Rumman and Hassan Abu Hanieh. The focus is on the contemporary Islamist Movement in Jordan of the last ten years or so, though there is significant historical background. The book maps the diverse field of Islamism in Jordan, delving into differences between the Muslim Brotherhood (and its political party in Jordan, the Islamic Action Front), the Islamic Centrist Party, and the varying threads of the Salafist trend (including Quietist and Jihadi). Chapters cover the relationship of Islamists with the state in Jordan, the poor performance of Islamists in the 2007 elections and the subsequent boycott of the 2010 elections, Islamist political discourses, and the development and ideological program of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, among others.

FES publishes the books in PDF in English and in Arabic.

Spoken Word in Jordan

Compelling interview about the spoken word artform in Jordan following a recent slam poetry event. A friend and fellow Fulbrighter wrote a story for the ‘Daily Beast’ about the primarily female underground slam poetry scene in Jordan in the context of the Arab Spring.

Aysha, born and raised in Jordan and educated in America, holds two national  collegiate titles in slam poetry. She is at the helm of Amman’s spoken word scene, working with young poets and organizing events that draw crowds of up to 200 people. In Jordan, this small group of women who regularly perform poems falls outside the norm.

“There is an idea in this society that a woman is someone that you have to shelter,” Aysha says. “People aren’t used to seeing a woman get on stage and talk. It’s shocking.”

A hallmark of spoken word poetry is its unfiltered honesty, which can be difficult in a place like Jordan, where public and private space is very distinct.