I’ve been here for 3 months and after enduring an endless supply of torment from this society, my society, I have come to one conclusion. I have whittled down all our problems, and I mean every single problem you could possibly think of, to just one single villian: selfishness.
Selfishness my friends is why we have traffic jams, selfishness means that as a driver I own the road and can therefore cut lanes, turn without signaling, speed twice the speed limit, and drive in the opposite side of the street into on comming traffic. Selfishness means that everyone is racing up 80km/h towards a red light; everyone is in a rush to get where they’re going and everyone else is in their way. Selfishness means that because I am a foriegner visiting Jordan and because I know the police cannot stop and fine me, I can drive my hummer in the middle of the road cutting off both lanes for several kilometers.
Selfishness means I think only of myself; it means I come first. This of course can only mean that there is no need for me to wait in line is there? This must mean that I as a citizen can just walk into a bank and stand next to another citizen in the process of a transaction and be close enough to breath on him; maybe even sign his cheaques if he needs me to. Selfishness means That if I have any government business in any ministry or branch, I can just crowd around the counter of one employees work station with about 10 other people, sticking out my hand over someone’s shoulder and waving a paper in the employee’s face. With my armpit in someone else’s face, with the weather outside being in the mid-30’s, selfishness means I don’t need to wear deoderant…I naturally smell like a field of roses.
Selfishness means that I can buy a piece of land wedged inbeteen 3 buildings and decide to build an apartment building by bringing in egyptians who wake up every morning at 6 am and not only chip away at stone and drill for hours, but also feel the only way to communicate with each other is by shouting. Selfishness means that I do not put a supervisor at the construction site to make sure the workers respect the inhabitants of the area.
Selfishness means I am important and there is only me. Therefore I must be the most important person in the world and all my telephone calls must be of the upmost urgancy. This of course means I can be disrespectful to my fellow brothers in prayer when I leave my mobile on during Friday prayer and in the middle of prostration the latest britney speares tune can echo through the walls. It means I can also choose to take my calls at the cinema, in the middle of a movie. Selfishness also gives me the freedom to tell the person on the other end of the line how bad the movie is.
Selfishness means I can be wasetful. It means I don’t need to pick up after myself and I can litter anywhere I want. Selfishness means someone will pick up after me and I don’t have to care about the half full can of pepsi I just threw out of the car at 60 km/h.
Selfishness means that nothing matters but me. It means that the suffering of others does not concern me, even if those “others” are from my own blood. Selfishness means that while a land which was once ours is occupied, while its people, our people, are under seige…Selfishness means we should all pack into Starbucks, a company which is widely known as a supporter of Israel, an occupier, an invader, a killer. Selfishness means I don’t have to think about this while I sip my coffee on a hill that isn’t high enough to see Palestine, but is just low enough to ignore it. Selfishness means I can make excuses like “the owner is kuwaiti” and wash my hands clean of the matter.
Selfishness is a killer. It has seeped into the water supply in Jordan lately. Selfishness means that I don’t need to even remember that Jordan, a country with one of the lowest water resources in the world, can’t afford to have a water park on the airport road; that it can’t afford to be wasteful. I should think about profit. I should disregard the fact that the first thing people see coming from the airport into Amman is a water park; and that these people could happen to be foreign diplomats sent to analyze the water situation and provide aid based on their assessment.
Selfishness means I can double park my car. Who cares if the person I’ve blocked has an emergancy? I’ll only be gone for a minute. An hour or two at most!
I see a nation of selfish people. I see stickers and ancient billboards saying Jordan First, a slogan which asked its people to think not of themselves but of their nation. A failed program shelved for another generation. I see an artifact.
I see a long journey ahead of a nation that despite it’s economic growth will end up going in circles of no advancement.
How can you expect political reform, economic reform, any reform…without social reform?
what’s a hot summer’s day in Jordan without a little venting eh?