How To Win A Parliamentary Seat By Making Slogans Of A National Tragedy

Yesterday, as everyone knows, was the second anniversary of the Amman bombings. I decided to join the caravan of cars that that traveled from the Martyrs of Amman Park, to all three hotels that were targeted, and then back. Earlier in the day, Prince Ali planted an olive tree at the park to honor the day.

But then I noticed something strange about this park. In the midst of parliamentary elections, where banners and posters hang from just about everywhere and every place you can think of in Amman, this park was void from the usual colorful vibrancy. I thought to myself this might be because most candidates wouldn’t want to campaign near a place that has become a sacred ground, commemorating a national tragedy and honoring the fallen.

I was wrong. Naturally.

Right behind the black plaque where the names of the fallen were listed, and the makeshift white tent that was put up for Prince Ali and the press, was a single banner. This single banner stood out like a sore thumb in a campaign-free environment, which is why I, and others, noticed it so much.

The first line of the banner reads: “Jordan is an oasis of security and stability.” To the best of my translation, the second line reads: “[in spite of] those who are treacherous and seek destruction.”

Just down the street, on the other end of the park, was another banner, this one reading: “We are all your soldiers, oh Jordan.”

These posters are for none other than candidate for the third district, Abdul Rahman Al Boucai. This guy used to be the deputy mayor once upon a time, and his face is currently plastered all over town. Some of those banners, like the one shown below, have the following (ironic) slogan: “National unity is a practice [lies in action], not slogans [not in slogans].”

Now I’ve seen some pretty silly posters throughout all this campaigning (and that is a post for another day), however this one was just plain low. I know that not every one might feel the same, or perceive this on the same wavelength, and I respect that. However, I personally, as a Jordanian citizen, found these specific banners, their slogans, their message, and their placement, to be downright offensive and inappropriate. Al Boucai’s campaign has essentially sullied the memory of this day by using a national tragedy for political gain. Had they been his normal posters I may not have given this as much thought, but these banners were specifically targeting this site, this day, and the audience in attendance.

I asked the security guard who guards the house literally meters away whether these banners had been put up at the start of the campaign and he told me that Boucai’s people hung them the day before; on November 8th.

To any one who feels I may be overreacting, I need not put this into context of the elections. An election not a single candidate has a political platform of any kind and their entire (non)issue-based agenda can be whittled down to various slogans (because most of them couldn’t just pick one), that are only a few sentences long, but long enough to suit the attention span of the common Jordanian motorist as he drives by. In other words, with elections in Jordan centering entirely on what is said in a slogan or a 10-word answer (as well as the family name), then the common citizen must base their electoral decision on these slogans, bringing their message to prominence where they should otherwise pass unnoticed.

To make a slogan out of a nation tragedy, to me, that’s just playing dirty.

Boucai should take them down himself and apologize to the public and the families of all the victims listed on that plaque a few meters away.


  • I asked the security guard who guards the house literally meters away whether these banners had been put up at the start of the campaign and he told me that Boucai’s people hung them the day before; on November 8th.

    Yep, that is low.

    I think this guy has a pretty aggressive campaign that is probably in its entirety built upon slogans upon more slogans. I don’t remember how many invites I received on Facebook to his group, and I just checked that group and sure enough, all you can find is a resume that lists the posts he held in the past 10 years or so, and a brief charter message that is just a collection of more slogans. There are two videos of some speeches he gave. I didn’t watch them because I don’t have the Videos app on Facebook, but if I had to guess, I would say the majority of those speeches would be just more slogans.

    But if I had to guess what Boucai would think after reading this, I would guess he would be frustrated. He might ask, what do you expect? What do you want to hear about? And to be honest, I think I remember him posting a question on my high school group asking the members exactly that; to tell him what issues they wanted to hear about. This is definitely a positive sign, but I reserve my personal judgement (which should not matter to anyone by the way coz I’m gonna miss the elections) till after finding out how he would use that kind of information.

    To me, I want to know how he made the organizations that he served better. How was Jam3iyt Al Thaqaafa Al Islamiyyeh better because he served on its board of trustees. On a more important level to all Ammanites, how was the city better when he served as deputy mayor? Does he have published articles from the past? Why aren’t they posted on his group? Shouldn’t he have a blog or a site that collects all these things together? Did he publish his opinions about certain incidents that mattered to the average citizen in the past? Were they real opinions, or like the majority of what our writers in Jordan produce; just another collection of slogans.

    I think this guy is active, and that’s a good thing. What I want to see him do is start blogging. Not blogging for an elections campaign, but blogging to tell the world your opinions. Just like all the other blogs we have in Jordan. Not a blog that repeats the slogans, but a blog that produces intelligent posts about daily events and happenings on the local, national and international level. I think that’s where the future of a successful political cycle is in Jordan.

    Hey if you [Naseem] ran for elections today, I’m sure the majority of your readers would pick you over the ones they know nothing about other than their slogans. Seriously.

  • Hamzeh: In my experience with these elections, most people who ask the public to tell them what issues they want the candidate to talk about is a candidate who is literally saying “tell me what you want me to tell you so you’ll vote for me”.

    in my opinion, a candidate for any political office should be a leader and not the french king who stares as his people run down the street and says “i must find out where my people are going so i can lead them”.

    btw: thanks for the potential vote. i’m building my network now, starting with my blogroll, in case i should decide to do it one day 😀

  • So Naseem, I have to agree that this sad memory would have been left more sacred if it was left out of this whole electorial debacle, but I also have to say I am shocked that he was the only one to capitalize on it. I would have thought a sad memory such as this would get all the candidates renew their slogans and their signs to cash in more supportive votes from every person who has suffered from that sad day..It’s a dirty war out there, and the empty words that are just being jumbled out there are pretty frustrating..the whole electorial process has nothing to do with democracy, rather reeks of people who dont seem to be ashamed to guiding campaigns to win PERSONAL chairs to serve PERSONAL needs, whether financial or just psychological ego booster status..with that said..I think one has to look at the whole image before passing judgement on a in the absecnce( at least as far as I know)of candidates in the 3rd district who are interested in reform, development and democarcy, and in the prevailing mentalities of people who are only looking for a senator who will asphalt the road to their farms, or hire a couple of extended family members in the government..I think Mr. Boucai is a service oriented person, and has had a great role in helping people who have come to him for help in his other official posts..he is a person with ethics..I know for a fact, I have worked for him for 11 years now..and looking at the big image, I believe this adds a huge weight to his campaign, ask anyone who knows him ..( And don’t think I’m saying this to butter up my boss, he has no idea I blog or follow blogs..I try to keep it personal..just in case I need to vent about work one day:)

  • salam: with all due respect to you and your boss, simply pointing out that politics is a dirty game doesn’t change the fact that this move in particular was obscene, and boucai’s hands were dirtied in the process. the fact that other candidates, people who are not a “person of ethics”, didn’t do dare to do this, is an indication of something as well.

  • You know Nas, these were my first words..I do agree it is not nice to capitalize on such an occasion..I did also say I am shocked others did not..however, I still don’t think this is an indication of others playing it whole point was to put in a good word for someone who I know is a very decent person..there are sometimes some faux-pas(s) along the way..but I wanted to point that much out.

  • “there are sometimes some faux-pas(s) along the way..but I wanted to point that much out.”

    and i understand that. i’m not attacking the man’s politics or even his self-branded identity. i’m simply pointing out this daddy of a faux-pas in hopes that a better man can recognize the mistake and make moves to rectify it in the proper way.

    if we can’t learn to expect such a thing from the people who are asking us to vote for them, from the people who desire to hold public office, from the people who want to represent us…then what does that say about us?

    what does that say about our expectations?

    what message are we passing on to the next guy?

  • the fact that other candidates, people who are not a “person of ethics”, didn’t do dare to do this, is an indication of something as well.

    If I had to, I would bet that they didn’t do it because they simply never thought of it. And I would be that had they thought of it, almost every one of them would have done the same thing.

  • “because they simply never thought of it”

    that’s a possibility…but there’s like a thousand people running in this district so the odds are slim 😀

  • Shameless! Absolutely pathetic. How does someone like this fall asleep at night? This election is just fraught in every which way, and to date I do not know of a single candidate with a seriously focused agenda, which in truth is simply insulting, and sadly and regretfully leads me to ask: why vote?

    Shock the vote and vote white!

  • i totally agree, check this out
    abu zanat has a slogan.
    “Your vote is a responsibility, and you will be asked about it on judgment day”

    😀 i guess im goin to hell

  • To my point of view I think that only when aspirants parliamentarians focuses much on developmental matters and avoid castigative languages T hey are likely to make it with flying colours Because as much as I know people do not need the abusive languages But issues that are worthful . Un palatables words only means that one has no VISION, INTEGRITY and WISDOM. he or she is a scrap Therefore need to preach peace and focus on matters that can help to improve welfare of people regardless of political affiliation and region { MALAWI}

Your Two Piasters: