RIP Hikmat Kaddoura And Everyone Else

Author’s Note: I thought long and hard about publishing this post and how people might react to it. Especially those who read this particular blog. There are times when writing or saying what I’m about to say can be confused with being opportunistic. This, I assure you, is not one of those times. There is a message that needs to be delivered now, while people have not yet forgotten, while there is still a lesson to be learned.

I would like to start off by offering my condolences to Hikmat Kaddoura’s family and all the people who lost a friend. I hope they all find strength in this terrible time. It seems since the fatal accident, where Hikmat was hit by a car that sped off into the night, his case has been the talk of the town. Especially in west Amman where everyone seems to have known him all of a sudden by some formulaic two degrees of separation. And if the people of west Amman are talking about him, then suddenly, all the newspapers are as well. It’s the market value of a life; where supply meets demand. In this case, the authorities who are hot on the trail of the hit-and-run culprit, saw fit to leak his nationality to the press. The man is Iraqi, and has apparently fled, leaving his wife and son in the country.

Naturally, this incident means the press will continue to tell the Hikmat Kaddoura story for awhile, and people will continue to be interested and entranced by it. Over a decade ago, a similar accident occurred in Abdoun, and after marches and vigils from influential people, the main street was filled with speed bumps.

For every action there is an equal and proportionate reaction. Sometimes.

This brings me to the second point of this post, which, given the nature of this incident, I will try my best to explain with the utmost sensitivity, sincerity and honesty. Please read carefully and try to see my point before lambasting me for being anything but.

Qadourah’s death caused an outcry in the capital, with Internet chat forums filled with debates and people calling on the police to catch the motorist and impose stricter penalties for traffic violators. His schoolmates held a candlelight vigil for him at the scene of the accident the day he died.

By mid-December last year, a total of 94,257 traffic accidents had been reported in the Kingdom, killing 789 people and injuring 12,989 others. [source]

Every life is valuable and I’ve never believed that any life is more valuable than anothers’.

Orientalist thinking has always ingrained in us the idea that an Eastern life is worth less than a Western life. If 100 Arabs were massacred tomorrow, no one would ask questions. If an American life was lost, justice would be sought out. It is the type of thinking that has allowed the Palestinian situation to exist, along with Iraq along with Darfur, and in the past, Bosnia and Rwanda, to name just a few.

And these notions of an Eastern life as opposed to a Western life, does not stop merely at the water’s edge of color, race or creed. Geography also divides classes.

In Amman, there is an Eastern life and a Western life. One is worth more than the other. The latter has wealth and therefore has influence. The former has nothing. Politicians in Jordan will constantly deny these notions of “east” and “west” exist, but this is because they all live in the west end.

And so when a member of the latter dies, there is an outcry. There are debates, and inquiries and a call for stricter penalties, and justice and there are candlelight vigils and their death becomes memorialized in a way that an Eastern life could never hope to achieve.

Think about this carefully:

Last year, 789 people died from traffic accidents in Jordan.

That’s nearly 2 people, every single day.

Think about this for a moment.

Just a moment.

Everyday: 2 people.

Two people whose names are never mentioned. They are never talked about. They die known only to their families. No calls for justice, or vigils, or tighter laws, or full page condolence boxes in every newspaper, on every newsstand, or even a phone call from HM Queen Rania.

Everyday.

789, every year.

Right here, in this country, where you live.

And it seems that in these dire times of economic tragedies, where the gulf between the poor and rich, the East and the West, has turned in to a dark abyss, we have allowed for that gulf to direct the way we think and feel and internalize things. In this case, a life; of all things.

The ideals that govern us, the laws, the sense of justice, the right to exist and live and breathe; these ideals govern all of us, and not just some of us. If justice is sought, it should be sought for all. If laws need to be changed, then they should have been changed when the first child was hit by a car. Not just now; not just because the wealthy or influential mourn.

Every life is equal, and if we can’t honor this fundamental principle during a lifetime, then we should at least be able to honor it in death, when everyone returns to God equally.

These words I write now may, to some, seem out of place and time. But I figure the people who need to hear this the most, who need to be reminded of these underlying principles the most, are those that are reading this right now.

Today.

And with that, I offer my prayers and condolences to the Kaddoura family and every other family in Jordan that has had to endure a similar tragedy, whose names, I sadly do not know.

Author’s Note #2: If you’re going to respond to this post I should direct you to my comment that seeks to clear up a few misunderstandings. Thank you.

Thought Is Free...

51 Comments

  1. RIP Hikmat, may god rest your soul

    Nas, I couldn’t agree more. Even with someone as sensitive as me regarding this specific issue since I personally suffered from it.
    What I think is happening is that people are putting a face to the tragedy, this way they identify with it more. He’s becoming the Rosa Parks of traffic accidents. Representing all the kids that have perished due to issues in the system.

    I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m just trying to rationalize what is happening away from eastern and western Amman rift.

    May god rest the souls of everyone who became a traffic accident statistic.

  2. point one … have you actually naweit in any of you previous prayers to pray for him or is that just the right thing to say to sound pious ? ? am really curious to know this bit :P

    point two … S^I^ ..stuff happens … people die, nothing new in that and the circumstances of this makes the situation a bit of a What were the parents thinking kinda moment. regardless of that my condolences go to the family since its never really easy and reading and hearing about on hourly bases across all communication spheres doesn’t make the forgetfulness of human nature take its course which makes the pain last so much longer …

    point three… what are you getting to ? that there is discrimination against east ammanis ? booo wa hee whats new here ? oh i guess i should be flabbergasted right now ? let me strike my vogue
    and you actually accomplish something by mentioning a solution … oh wait … you didn’t

    point four… there is nothing to be effectively done regarding this issue, speed bumps don’t help it. it all comes down to human nature and ethics which we despicably lack when it comes to driving. so maybe raising the driving age (not because youngsters are bad drivers but because our road system can’t handle the traffic) or maybe hashing out the exam to actually make it include ethics with in its system rather than rules … but all that falls down on enforcement which sadly will be unlikely to materialize.

  3. What’s wrong with you people thanking for the great post! There is nothing great about this. Instead of making compliments about Nas’s good writing skills, show a little respect for the victim’s lost soul (May it rest in peace).

    Nas, what you are pointing to is so true; however, it’s not only about this specific subject. They see nothing unless a “western” something is influenced by it, unless THEY are influenced by it.

    There are people, a huge segment, in this country, or accurately in Amman, who I believe never seen how East Amman looks like or how they live. They are taking over every significant and valuable thing in this country, government, enterprises, trade, resources…etc. Why should they care then?! There is nothing of the so called “Social Justice”.

    It’s like we are living in two isolated countries, who share the same resources, however, one of them is controlling the whole thing benefiting from it, getting wealthier, and sleeping in relief. The other is invisible, transparent, and cannot even be noticed.

    May Hikmat soul rest in peace and god be with his family. May all our lost souls rest in peace.

  4. Nas,

    a very nice post,

    I do not know if I want to agree when you say that “Every life is equal”. In this life there are people dying to protect some values like freedom and peace, and others dying when they gave nothing to this earth, and sometimes nothing even to themselves, not a piece of respect. There are some who work and develop, and some who just blame and curse. I do not know if those lives are equal. lives are maybe equal until the age 16, until it is time to make choices..

    I never knew Hikmat, I dont know if he was crossing the road on the right place for crossing ..and I wish him the peace he deserves. I think that he got all these news about him because his family and friends are fighting for their right. Others may only accept a “3atweh” and pray for their loss. Everyone gives him/her self their value by accepting the wrong, or fighting for the right. Is it the fault of west Amman if east Ammannies did not fight for their rights when such accidents (not foreseen) happen? I mean we know that Jordan is a mixture of a constitution and some tribal laws, so its complicated. you may consider the money and the family name to be the issue and the difference here, I think its the smallest issue, the WILL is the main issue.

    On the other hand, I think that the only reason a palestinian/Iraqi soul worths less is that we got used to the news…the big devil made us get used to such news, so the news doesnt matter anymore. I remember that long time ago when I used to listen to such things, i used to give some tears away, now I got used to it. Americans did not get used to such news,,, (yet ?) . so the one soul worths a lot for them..

    Sorry for the long comment. Never hesitate when you think that your post may be sensitive, many here love to read your good posts. An opinion should always be respected.
    Regards

  5. Some people’s comments will always continue to baffle me – I’m still not surprised by the words that incredibly well-written and spot-on blog posts may illicit.

    This, I think, is one of my favourite posts for you – definitely. You voiced something I was thinking myself – so thank you.

    And completely unrelated…I’d like to point out how much of a rumour-based society we are. I’ve heard various versions of who the hit-and-run culprit might be, including a young girl in her twenties driving drunk and an older mother, in her forties, also driving drunk. Hhhhmmmm….

    And, from what I understand, new traffic laws and new penalties for people who break these laws have already been established, a little while before the Hikmat Qaddoura tragedy. What new laws are we asking for now? This is what I’ve received:

    |——————————–+———-+—————————–|
    | Category | Amount of| Remarks |
    | | fine | |
    |——————————–+———-+—————————–|
    Parking in a no – parking zone| 30 |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Not using the seat belt while | 50 |
    driving | |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Using the cell phone while | 50 |
    driving | |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Eating, drinking, smoking …etc.| 50 |
    while driving | |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Baby in front seats | 50 |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Not making a complete stop at | 50 |
    the stop sign | |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Driving a Jordanian car with a | 150 | Plus 1 – 4 weeks prison or
    foreign driving license | | both
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Hit and Run | 250 | Plus 1 – 3 months prison or
    | | both
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Crossing a red light | 250 | Plus 1 – 3 months prison or
    | | both
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Driving against the traffic in | 250 | Plus 1 – 3 months prison or
    a one way street | | both
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Driving under the influence of | 500 | 3 – 6 months prison or both
    Alcohol | |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Driving without a license | 500 | 3 – 6 months prison or both
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Exceeding the speed limit with | 50 |
    1 – 10 Km per hour | |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Exceeding the speed limit with | 100 |
    10 – 20 Km per hour | |
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Exceeding the speed limit with | 150 | Plus 1 – 3 months prison or
    20 – 30 Km per hour | | both
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Exceeding the speed limit with | 200 | Plus 1 – 3 months prison or
    30 – 40 Km per hour | | both
    ——————————–+———-+—————————–
    Exceeding the speed limit with | 250 | Plus 3 – 6 months prison and
    over 40 Km per hour | | withdrawal of license,
    | | either both or all.

  6. I agree with Ammania, the western Ammanis are not all influential, many are stable but not powerful..

    This tragedy was publisized due to non-formal debates and awareness. His family knows half the current cabinet and yet they did not attempt or wills to violate a single law of the country, they only demand that law shall prevail…nothing less, nothing more.

    I agree with your approach, no single life is more valuable. But this is not the case here, the problem is the hit and run. How many people of those killed were assisted by those who caused them the harm in the first place?

  7. Q: what happens when a girl from a prominent family runs over a kid from another rich family and kills him?
    A: An Iraqi did it

  8. My condolences to Hikmat’s family, and his loved ones.
    Nas you never fail to impress me! Top notch post. Outstanding!

  9. And yeah…since nobody is buying the Iraqi who fled the country story …and since everyone in Jordan knows someone who is either a high rank police officer, and since Jordanians like to trade rumors….which turns out to be true 93% of the time

  10. Nas Great Post (فشيت غلي ) i had the same thoughts
    Farfetched …..But Possible interesting idea i’ve always loved conspiracy ideas !!!!

  11. Great post, Nas. I agree with you.

    Overall, the rules should be modified. 700+ deaths because of reasons such as speeding or drinking or being from a powerful family is unacceptable.

    May Hikmat’s soul rest in peace.

  12. The issue is not comparing the value of life and death. Just look at the size of the condolences ads in newspapers and you get the disparity. The major point is to make sure that the life of this young man as well as the other 788 is not wasted and the only way is to PUSH for a stringent traffic law. When the draft law was issued the moaning Jordanians displayed a national campaign against the law and its fines, asking for awareness instead.
    Awareness my ass!! Every reckless driver knows exactly what is wrong and what is right. If there is no fine and no penalty no one will adhere to proper driving. What is the difference between 5 Jds and 500 Jds for someone who decides not to do any violation? I am all for a more stringent law because drivers in this country are more dangerous than terrorists whether they are Jordanians or Iraqis or even Europeans.
    The Law should be implemented on everyone and all of those who opposed the latest traffic law are partners in the crime.

  13. May Hikmat’s soul rest in peace Inshalla …

    The divide between West Amman and East Amman definitely exists, and Hikmat’s story indeed attracted press coverage unheard of in similar cases that happen across the divide … however, I disagree with your position that lays blame on the ‘big’ powers of money, status and media.

    To start with, I am incredibly ‘allergic’ to conspiracy theories that overvalue the role of macro politics, and underestimate micropolitics – i.e. the role of the citizenry themselves. I know that I am at risk of sounding incredibly cold and heartless for saying this, but I think it is important to consider to what extent the lives of East Amman’s citizens are of their own making .

    If 40 students from a school in East Amman gather for a vigil in an area where their classmate was killed, and contact the media about it, I don’t think there is plausible reason to assume the media wouldn’t cover it. In fact, from a commercial point of view, East Amman is much larger than West Amman, so a newspaper would want to cover issues close to the heart and beat of the largest section of society. And while East Amman families can not afford long obituaries, any family can take the initiative to write ‘letters to the editor’ explaining how dangerous driving adversely affected their lives – these would be published for free.

    Citizens always have choices, even in the most dire of circumstances, and it is the choices they make that determine their lives. True social and political development – the only way of overcoming the divide – can only succeed if it happens from the bottom up (from East Amman’s citizens) and much as from the top down.

  14. “bottom up (from East Amman’s citizens) and much as from the top down.”

    Well, be sure that the “anti-riot” police will be there to protect the citizens not to kick their asses..The irony is that at the same day they had the vigil, there was a peaceful gathering to protest the rocketing prices near the parliment, but those poor left-wingers got some kicks in the nuts and a camera was taken by the police(They didn’t have any beards and they were playing guitar so I guess they are cool by our new measures!)

    It’s not east Vs. west, it is the powerful Vs. the powerless, many people in west amman can be considered powerless “socially” and politically and many people in east amman are powerfull both socially and politically…

    “a newspaper would want to cover issues close to the heart and beat of the largest section of society.”

    Yeah right!Maybe in East L.A but not east amman!

  15. As cold as this may sound. Qadoura’s family and friends did something about it!
    They went public! And I salute them over this.
    Deena got it right!
    They didn’t get all this publicity because of their status, which I know nothing about! They contacted local media (remember that local medias are new) and they went on Facebook.
    They took an actions. Others are either afraid to go public or don’t know what exactly to do or how to react. It looks the parents are not selfish, and I hope they start a movement to stop the madness on our streets, think about Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) , we are not used to have normal people starting a community service or group.

    Remember Bilal Tillawi? He got the right publicity because his parents did something about it. This is absolutely not a Western Amman vs. eastern Amman thing, but rather Western mentality vs. eastern mentality.

  16. Sorry about the multiple comments, I just wanted to add that I agree that officials are not doing enough if the vicimt is of no big tribe, money,or high status-wasta (they don’t always happen to be from West Amman or rich). But on the otherhand, The Baqaa camp took an action, they have no money, no tribal status, and no people in the police,military,or mukhbarat.

    Great post Nas, as usual.

  17. no idea who the guy is but Allah yir7amo ..

    anyway .. not sure if someone mentioned this already too many replies to read but you said ..

    “”Orientalist thinking has always ingrained in us the idea that an Eastern life is worth less than a Western life. If 100 Arabs were massacred tomorrow, no one would ask questions. If an American life was lost, justice would be sought out. It is the type of thinking that has allowed the Palestinian situation to exist, along with Iraq along with Darfur, and in the past, Bosnia and Rwanda, to name just a few.””

    ummm bosnians are not eastern!!
    their crime was being muslim..

  18. may be Isam is right .. not all of them doing the same naseem , but i still on your side , i admit that i didn’t think the same when i read the newspapers , you showed me a different point of view.. what his mother wrote was really painful.. what ever we said he was a victim as many people who died the same way .. and may be allah choosed his story to wake us to be more conscious

  19. We keep talking about this continuous tragedy in streets of Jordan ,but so far I have not seen anybody offering a sensible solution to this everyday mayhem in our streets and yes I would call it mayhem because it recurring events in our daily lives and unfortunately ,it’s not going be the last tragedy
    Where is Amman municipality and Driving Department of all this?where are they when you need them? and where is the public participation in the decision making when it comes to our lives?

  20. i got an email about it ..

    apparently they are organizing “maseerit hikmat maher kaddoura” .. taking place at 10:30 at makka street – taqatu3 il 7aramain – dawwar il kilo sabiqan ..

    and i quote ..
    wa hadafuha nashr il wa3i bi i7tiram qawaneen il sair wal iltizam biha wa lil ta5feef min 7awadith il sair il mufji3a

    btw .. i followed the link you provided (ammon) .. some of the reader comments are truly disgusting ..

  21. I heard a comment recently that I’ve been pondering ever since. “The worst handicap one can have is for it not to be well with their soul.”

    Defining soul as that “life element” through which we live and feel,and make decisions, and defining well as being at peace within one’s self, I don’t think it’s about where we’re from, how much money or power we have, what color our skin is, what our education level is, etc. Human beings, not always, but most often, do things from self-interest. Even the things society applauds.

    Have law after law after law ever changed the human heart? How sad to think that we would be more moved by the need to obey a law than by love for our fellow man. If we arrived at that place where we genuinely cared for others as much as for ourselves, would lovingkindness and justice and righteousness prevail? What joy to think that it would!

  22. Alurdani…the solution was mentioned by Bitar and dozens of other posts when the topic of traffic comes up.

    ENFORCE existing laws. Period. That is all that it will take to make a start.

  23. Naseem, that was a gr8 post..
    i couldnt agree more with what you said, even though my condolences go out to Hikmat Qaddoura’s family, but there are ppl being killed out there every day and we never hear their names, or their stories, or how they were killed in those horrific accidents.

    just because a person is in a well known prestigious school and comes from a well known family does not mean in any way that his life is more valuable than anyone else’s. when was the last time any of us heard about a car accident victim in east amman or nos il balad?

    anyway, i hope that soemthing is done about our traffic laws, driving in Jordan has become unbearable, and we are the only victims of that.

  24. Great post, I really had it with all the reckless driving in Jordan and how worthless is the life of people walking or driving in the streets of Jordan. Laws should be implemented on everyone, and the Hit and Run driver should be jailed so people in this country can get a message. Why on earth would a 16 year old biy loose his life? There are tens and hundreds of victims in our streets.
    This should stop.
    BTW, there is a march this coming Saturday in Mecca street to memory of Hikmat.
    Thanks,
    Ali

  25. This is a very pathetic post. I know personally Hikmat’s (may he RIP) parents and they have done a lot to give back to the community or what you call “east amman”. There is no such thing as social justice. It will never happen, the same exists in every country of the world. It is a natural thing. You are not tackling the issue at hand, i.e. extremely dangerous traffic in jordan. Instead of using this article to bash the “social injustice” and sounding like a hippie, sound more professional and encourage maybe a protest to make traffic better, fund raising event to finance better roads and traffic law enforcement i dont know, come up with something more creative, rather than writing something pathetic which anyone can write, and insensitive especially when Mr. Maher and Randa have just lost a son.

    There is nothing regarding the fact that he comes from a prestigious school or anything means that they are trying to think it makes him more valuable, it happens his parents know a lot of people who are willing to support them in such a remarkable tragedy which none of you would want to experience, that is all. Do you think people in east amman care about people in west amman in return?

    Stop this bullshit and nonsense because you would never know what it is like to lose a son until you have lost one, until you actually have one. Had any of you been in the Kaddouras shoes, you would have done the same believe me.

  26. Allah yir7am Hikmat Qaddoura – it is always a tragedy for parents to bury their children and none of us who haven’t experienced it can understand the depth of their loss.
    We all wish them strength during this difficult period.

    I also want to say that I can’t help but agree with Naseem’s observations in this post. SO MANY PEOPLE are dying in Jordan every month (2 a day!) – many of them are young people – and they barely get mentioned in the media. It’s not that their parents “don’t want” to take action or see justice served, it’s that they are not empowered to do so,socially, financially,etc.

    Surely the loss of any young life in this terrible way deserves the attention of the media and decison-makers and until protecting ALL our citizens from the recklessness of our drivers become an ENFORCED POLICY, Jordan will continue to mourn its children.

  27. 1) Allah yerhamo.
    2) This is not a pathetic post. Naseem is right in everything he said …
    A divide DOES exist between the poor and rich areas with regards to everything, regardless of where you live.
    3) BUT Isam raises a very valid question. How many deaths are caused by hit-and-run? I mean even in the worst of slumps here in the States a drive by shooting or a hit-and-run is always reported on local news channels, radio and newspaper….

  28. Firstly let me start by saying that Hikmat (may he rest in peace) is my first cousin and is like a brother to me. I will love him forever and inshallah one day i will get to see him again.

    If you knew Hikmat and the purity of his heart im sure you would think twice about writing some of these posts, but that aside i am a strong believer in equality and enbedded within equality, lies freedom of speech. But when your illustrating input and aspects on a very touchy subject such as the one of my cousins death, i think its very crucial that you do your research before portraying the people that live in the the “western” part of Amman as rich stuck up snobs that dont believe in any aspects of equality or for that matter think that they are better than any other people that dont have money.

    I say this in the most respectful and sympathetic way possible because i believe you do have great skills in writing, its just a shame you would go and post something like that on a messageboard that is Headlined “RIP Hikmat Kaddoura and everyone else”. I would also like to outline that my family, especially hikmat’s parents have done more than you can imagine in terms of giving money away to charity and helping those in desperate need.

    In conclusion i think you need to focus more on the governmental influence that currently resides in Jordan itself, as that is the only way any of these problems can be minimized, but sadly enough not completely ammended. God save any of you from a day that we went through in this tragedy and thank you very for all of you who offered your condolences, i know for a fact Hikmats family are very much appreciative for the support. God be with you

  29. Zeid: I wasn’t planning on replying to anyone in this thread of comments, but i feel obligated to clear a few things up given your relation to Hikmat, God rest his soul.

    Firstly let me start by saying that Hikmat (may he rest in peace) is my first cousin and is like a brother to me. I will love him forever and inshallah one day i will get to see him again.

    inshallah

    If you knew Hikmat and the purity of his heart im sure you would think twice about writing some of these posts, but that aside i am a strong believer in equality and enbedded within equality, lies freedom of speech. But when your illustrating input and aspects on a very touchy subject such as the one of my cousins death, i think its very crucial that you do your research before portraying the people that live in the the “western” part of Amman as rich stuck up snobs that dont believe in any aspects of equality or for that matter think that they are better than any other people that dont have money.

    I say this in the most respectful and sympathetic way possible because i believe you do have great skills in writing, its just a shame you would go and post something like that on a messageboard that is Headlined “RIP Hikmat Kaddoura and everyone else”. I would also like to outline that my family, especially hikmat’s parents have done more than you can imagine in terms of giving money away to charity and helping those in desperate need.

    first of all, this is a blog and not a message board; my own personal web space. second of all, you, as well as others, perceived this to be an attack on the family when NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. I am a member of the west Ammani society, and this post is not about Hikmet’s family, it is about social perceptions. The way we, as a west Ammani society perceive certain things, and the way the rest of the country reacts to them simply because our side of town has most, if not all, of the power, money and influence.

    It should be noted that Hikmet’s family reacted naturally and correctly, for if I was in their place I would do no less. Again, I am talking about the social reaction, the way we value one life to be more important than another and this being the sole cause behind such a reaction.

    To put this in another way, this is a post about how the case of hikmet’s death and the resulting reaction was another example between the growing divide between rich and poor in this country, that has become a hollow abyss in which the rest of the country have been completely marginalized. it’s about the disconnect. no more, no less. it is in the same tone that people celebrate openly in amman over, say, a football game, when their brethren are being slaughtered in gaza and iraq. just as an example.

    in any case, thank you zeid for leaving your comment and i hope my response helped you see more clearly that this post was not in fact any form of an attack on your family. i think those that know me or this blog best will tell you that that would be the last thing i would ever do.

    my condolences.

    ________________________

    I’m sorry that I can’t respond to every comment left, but to clear a few general things up:

    1) true, not every car-related death was due to a hit and run. but if just 10% of those are hit and run, heck, if only 1 case was a hit and run…isn’t that one to many?

    2) please stop spreading rumors about who the “real” culprit is. and especially don’t be low enough to mention their names.

    3) i mention no solution because i have no solution. some are under the impression that this post is about traffic laws and their implementation. it is not. the implementation of strict traffic laws is an obvious conclusion. my concern in this post was about social equality or lack thereof.

    4) lastly, i am not suggesting that hikmet’s family are pulling strings or using their connections to do whatever. again, this post is about social perceptions.

    it is not about them

    it is about us!

    thanks

  30. Let me start by stating that I do/did not have the privledge of knowing Hikmat (Allah Yarhamo) or his family in any way, shape or form. Also I do not (and inshallah I never will) know anyone else who was taken under the same circumstances. Everyone (whether East or West Ammani) has the same choice being a parent, sibling, friend etc. to do as Hikmat’s amazing friends and family have chosen to do. It does NOT take money, fame and/or both to simply stand up and say “I’m sad, stand by me in this time of need, and let’s see how we can stop these needless deaths”. ANYBODY can hold a vigil, ask a paper to publish an article or ask for his/her fellow citizens to think twice before they get behind the wheel and speed off… Bravo Kaddoura family for all that you have done and continue to do! May Hikmat sleep with the angels and may God be with you.

  31. BTW, everyone (East and West Ammanis alike) stand to benefit from the efforts of the Kaddoura family, whereas the Kaddouras have the least to gain, as they already lost a son.

  32. Naseem, sorry for the multiple posts but I have two young children who require 110% of my time! I hope you are not annoyed by my comments/opinions as you stated in your commenting policy that you like to hear from people especially those who do not agree with your comments.

    You wrote: “In this case, the authorities who are hot on the trail of the hit-and-run culprit, saw fit to leak his nationality to the press. The man is Iraqi, and has apparently fled, leaving his wife and son in the country.” Wow! What a spineless creep – leaving a child for dead… do you really think he deserves the luxury of anonymity? His face, name and identity should be splashed in every paper in town.

    Anyway, thank you Naseem for letting us hear your thoughts and for giving all of us a chance to express our thoughts as well!

  33. Hanya: the culprit, whoever he may be, is worse than a spineless creep, that’s for sure. but keep in mind that we do not live in a barbaric society, there is a system of law that is supposed to govern every member of this society. with that in mind, my point in reference to the sentence you quoted me on, was that the authorities haven’t captured this person, haven’t released his name, but they saw fit to release his origin. This act alone shifts the blame, at a time when we want to avoid friction between the Iraqi and Jordanian community. So it was not a wise move in my opinion.

    As for your previous two comments, i’m not sure you read my second author’s note, but in any case, let me point out once again the obvious: i am not attacking the family. in fact this has little to do with them.

    Moreover, in reference to “choice”. I’m sorry, but I don’t think you are aware of the choices available to the wealthy in this country as opposed to the poor. Choices, rights, access, opportunities: these are fundamental elements for every citizen, but due to social inequality and economic catastrophes, they are usually made available only to the few.

    You have access to the internet. You have the choice to choose between the best service provider. You have the choice to send your kids to great school; they have the opportunity, mashallah. Most of the country, doesn’t have that. You see my point?

  34. Hi Naseem, I do see your point – I was just angry and couldn’t see (or read) straight. I’m still angry at the actions of the driver (no matter where he/she is from) and not being able to do anything to stop the countless, needless deaths on our streets of all citizens alike.

    I also do/did realize that you were not attacking the Kaddoura family – but I thought I would like to reach out and praise them for their efforts – I only hope (I’m sure as you do) that their efforts are not in vain.

    As for peoples choices, I do realize that the wealthy have more choices but the poor can also make a difference and a statement by small things that are open to everyone such as a candle light vigil, a march, or a statement to a newspaper. It does not take money but will to change what we do not like. “If there’s a will, there’s a way”.

    Thank you for your time.

  35. You made me go sad for how things are going, I salute your sense of justice, honesty and straight forwardness in the hardest of times.

    I respect your mind Naseem. Before and now and more than ever.

    Lubna,

    ps. You can add Mohammad Sha3ban, my school mate who died when he was in 10th grade, a 17 year old kid hit him by a car. When I hear of Hikmat’s or read about him, I get to flash Sha3ban’s mother’s face when we went to visit. :(

  36. All what you have said is right, i agree with you 100%.
    But the thing is you have to remember that life isn’t fair.
    People who are well known and who have good connection will most definitely make a bigger or louder buzz than someone who doesn’t, I’m not justifying anything or defending what is happening i am just stating that all of this is a mere fact of life.

  37. wow. i just cant beleive that all of you people have posted all of these heartless comments on this page. if you only knew how much hikmat’s parents have given back to the community, for the eastern and western communities of amman. hikmats parents have just lost a child,probably one of the hardest things any parent can face, and all what they have done was try to stop what happened to hikmat from happening to anyone else. Too bad for you you didn’t know hikmat, he is one of my closest friends, and is one of the most amazing people anyone can ever meet. try putting your self in the place of the Kaddoura’s, you propbably would have done half what they have done because you would have been shocked, unabe to realize what is happeneing and gravely mourning your sons death. his parents, have not done that, instead of mourning their sons death, they are trying to celebrate it through spreading awareness campaigns against reckless drivers, and have donated huge amounts of money to help improve road safety in jordan.they are giving to the community that took their son away so much more than you can imagine, for that, we must thank the Ammo Maher and Anti Randa for what they have done, and not condem them the way alot of people seem to be doing here.

  38. Hi guys,

    Just letting you all know that the official website for the road and safety awareness NPO is up and runninf, although its not 100% functional as yet. Please visit it at the following address:

    http://www.hikmat.org/

    If you truely want to help decrease the number of road side related accidents within the whole of Jordan, then please contribute as much as you can by not only just donating and raising money, but by sending this link to as many people as possible and spreading the awareness of this Non Profit Organization all around the middle-east.

    The more the merrier

    Thankyou all very much and may God be with you

  39. Thank you for your post, in essence i agree, especially about the growing gap between the East and West. What I want to point out, is Maher Kaddoura is taking the initiative to bridge this gap, it is the first time that someone in Jordan, from the private sector is taking the lead in creating such change through mobilizing resources.

    I have met with them and their partners the Greater amman Municipality and the Traffic Department, Maher and his family have made great efforts to spare people from the pain they have gone through; regardless of where people live. You said you didn’t know the names of people who were tragically killed on our streets, Maher through his meetings with people in the poorest communities knows thier names, or at least is trying to create some change by lobbying, by putting in money. If you take the time to speak to people in east Amman, they know Maher, they know the Hikmat Road Safety Fund, is that BAD????

    Yes I agree opportunities, choices, resources are for the West, but he’s putting in so much effort to direct these resources, opportunities etc, to less advantaged areas, not necessarily only in the East of Amman, but also the North and South of Jordan.

    Take time to visit the Hikmat Road Safety Fund and learn of the activities they are doing, get the report that shows how traffic accidents have decreased since they started this initiative. Before making such assumptions. You said its about social perceptions, you should explore and research all dimensions first, as the way it reads it is YOUR perceptions only.

    Change cannot happen overnight, but we cannot just sit and watch and criticize if we reall want to have a voice, lets take part in what we believe needs changing and do something about it, maybe what Maher Kaddura did.

    I understand your article is not about a person, or family, but when initiatives like this happen lets take a moment to commend them and encourage others to follow, writing is easy, action is what leads to change.

  40. I’ll have to disagree with you Nasma. The only reason Hikmat’s issue became known is because his family decided to channel their grief into something better. They decided to make their country a better place and you’re criticizing them for that?Before you start criticizing Hikmat and his family, I can’t help but ask: do you know them?Do you know Hikmat at least?Have you ever been through what his parents have been through?Please before you start writing such things about him and his family… think and weigh the pros and cons of what you are saying.I truly believe that everyone has the right to speak freely but how can you use Hikmat’s story as a weapon to get to your point?!

  41. @Anonymous: I’m surprised you found your way to this post 2 years later, but disappointed that you probably did not take the time to read my point of view thoroughly as outlined in both the post and the subsequent comments I left below.

    2 years later and the same truths still holds. if you don’t want to give me the respect of reading thoroughly before jumping to the absurd conclusions you just did, then i dont think i can give you the respect of an articulate answer.

  42. Apparently, you haven’t read my comment thoroughly enough though I read your blog several times before posting this comment.. let me rephrase my point in a clearer way: Many people talked about Hikmat and how he became ‘ the talk town’ because of what you said about the difference between East and West. That upset me quite a lot because his family was ,and still is being criticized for trying to spare other families from the pain they went through, and because they took their pain and used it in constructive ways to improve their society,rather than lay back and ignore the fact that road safety was an issue that needs significant attention all around the world, and I have to assure you that no soul is more valuable than others ,therefore I do not believe they should be criticized.I do understand that you thought about posting this post well before doing so ,but I don’t appreciate how you used Hikmat’s story as an example.I’m sure if you looked at it from this angle you would have different sentiments.

  43. “therefore I do not believe they should be criticized”

    where did i criticize the family? please point it out in the post.

    i am well aware of their public safety efforts and they are very commendable in my opinion. but it should also be noted the context in which this post was written i.e. two years ago.

    i dont know how much more i can simplify the arguments made in the post:

    1- there is a divide between rich and poor.
    2- it is a divide that has altered our perceptions of what a life is worth.
    3- therefore, be it the media attention or social perceptions – there is an underlying belief that the life of someone from the upper strata of society is more valuable than others.
    4- those are perceptions that need to be changed, and much of that change stems from bridging the gap between rich and poor.

    Those are the arguments i am making.

    And why shouldn’t Hikmat’s story be used as an example? If the government, his family, the media and even NGOs continue to use his story for a particular agenda involving road or public safety, why cant it not be used by a single citizen to highlight something that plagues the very nature of our social cohesion – which is ultimately something we should all be fighting to purify and sustain….? By Jordanian standards, I myself come from an upper strata of society (not nearly as upper as in this particular case) and I would not want people to react to my unfortunate demise under ordinary circumstances as if it were something unordinary, requiring the extra attention of everyone in a country where similar deaths happen everyday.

    I am not criticizing this particular family or any other for that matter as you seem to be insisting that i am. If I have done so, point it out for me.

  44. Naseem,

    With emotions running high at the time and clearly still so to this day, you post seems to continue to be taken out of context. So I wanted to say that I couldn’t agree more.

    There are countless instances of people losing their lives and livelihoods that go completely unnoticed and worse still, often brushed under the carpet. I remember one incident of a 7 year old boy from an East Amman neighborhood being electrocuted by a fountain operated by the Greater Amman Municipality in a park downtown. The boy is still in a vegetative state, now 3 years later, and his parents are caring for him with extremely meager resources. Had he been the son of an affluent Ammani family, the media would have latched on to it even if they parents had not made a sound, though of course they probably would have. This is in addition to the medical attention that would have been sought and found, the lawyers that would have been hired and the efforts that would have been made to remedy the situation, hold GAM accountable and bring someone to justice.

    So here’s to you Uday and to your family who has had to watch you lay helpless and in pain; who care for you knowing you will never recover, and that no one other than them actually cares.

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