It’s safe to say we’ve seen it all before. It begins with two students quarrel only to resort in to a massive physical fight. It ends in a death. It begins with riots. It ends with Jordanian security forces invading the town to restore peace. It’s deja vu. It’s cyclical. How easy is it for a university student, at 19 or 20 years of age, to take out a knife and stab a fellow student to death? And over the most idiotic of reasons, which typically involves either a female, family honor, or territorial skirmishes – or all of the above.
The answer, in my opinion is: it’s easier than news headlines make it seem. But, the better question is how much violence are the kids exposed to in the first place? How much violence does the Jordanian educational system have to offer? Let’s go back a few years. Back to elementary.
Saleh Dweikat, a 12 year old, recently underwent eye surgery after his teacher caught him drinking water from the teacher’s water fountain. The teacher slapped him so hard, the 6th grader’s head slammed in to a closet. He lost an eye. Subsequently, the teacher’s contract was “terminated”.
The Ministry of Education recorded 84 cases of violence against schoolchildren last year. According to a report issued by the ministry, 51 of the cases involved physical and verbal abuse, including 35 incidents of abuse committed by teachers against their students and 16 committed by school principals and administrative staff. The report also detailed instances of teachers belittling students, threatening them and expelling them from the classroom, as well as two cases of sexual abuse among students. [source]
I would wager that the ministry of education numbers stated above are at least half of what students face in reality. Not only are government reports generally unreliable, typically downplaying certain realities, but in this specific field there are other factors to consider when it comes to soft numbers, such as the fact that so many of these acts of violence go unreported. Actually, let me be clearer: so many of these acts of violence are not even considered to BE acts of violence. Students will accept them as a reality, the same way many teachers in the kingdom feel it is natural to be physically and verbally abusive to their students. These perceptions are generally supported by the social environment these schools exist in, where parents welcome the abuse and might even appreciate a teacher’s participation in helping to discipline their child. This is not always the case, but in the cases where it is, it does contribute to absent records of reported violence.
School violence is an idea that is manifested and reinforced from an early stage in Jordan. It stems from a society that generally accepts it as a way of life – as a right of passage, as a testament of manhood, and from an educational system that accommodates it. Naturally, the ministry of education does handle the big cases that result in wider media coverage with the expected suspension or expulsion of teachers – but how many fly under the radar? How many incidents involve officials looking the other way, deeming the situation unworthy of attention? It’s just a slap, right?
Are these not the questions we should be asking? Instead, media, observers, and people-at-large will look to pin it on the undercurrents of racism that often run through the student body. It must be Jordanian versus Palestinian. That must be the only reason to explain why fights take place on a university campus.
The truth is, it’s not. The truth is, if we do take a careful look at the immediate causes of a fight on campus, we will find a wide assortment of causes. And while some do involve discrimination, or what I would prefer to call social divisions, which typically find themselves manifesting in various ways – there is no way that they represent the majority of cases, and moreover, those immediate causes are all besides the point. Violence is inherent in the educational system, and is as widely experienced and accepted as it is amongst our own population, our own communities and the families that they consist of.
How do we solve it? A tougher line needs to be towed, and that begins both in the home and the most primary levels of education. The government needs to be its own advocate for anti-violence in the school system, and not rely on some donor-driven initiative to invest in awareness-raising, establishment of hotlines, media engagement as well as community engagement. Parent-teacher associations should be formed and active on a monthly level – these two groups need to interact more often, and violence should be a top priority. The educational system, vis a vis the curriculum, should also be used as an educational tool to combat violence. Student-led anti-violence organizations should be established, allowing students to be empowered advocates. Violence needs to be talked about – be it in town hall meetings, in parent teacher meetings as well as between teachers and their students in a classroom. Conflict resolution should be a standard part of being licensed as a teacher in the first place. A zero tolerance policy needs to be instituted whereby teachers face absolute termination and are unable to teach in the country upon being found guilty of any kind of abuse, be it physical, verbal, sexual or otherwise – and not just in cases that have the most unfortunate of results such as what 12 year old Dweikat experienced.
And while all this (and more) may seem like tough work for the government, it is actually easier, more sustainable and more feasible than having to deal with the consequences in the long run, which, in Jordan, involve security forces invading an entire city to keep the peace, running youth through the judicial system, putting them in jail, and the further reinforcement of notions that include violence and tribalism.
OK, so let me just say this. Each and every one of us, even me, can use this case and any other case to push for an idea or something that we believe in. I know the quality of the education system in Jordan is even worse than we can imagine. I know that we have many social illnesses. I know that the state policy is to produce conformers not rebels and critical thinkers.
BUT, violence in most of its forms is part of who we are as humans. This doesn’t mean that I condone such behavior or even rationalize it, but it is a fact. Humans are violent and men are more violent than women. A behavior like the one described in your article is mainly a product of the moment, but it was enabled by many other factors, factors that we as observers can present and mold to our liking. Yaser abu hillah of alghad looked at it through a political lens. Abu rumman from the same paper used the same lens but used somewhat “different” arguments. Yusuf mansur today, looked at it from an economic perspective. Ammon’s fayez el fayez used religious,cultural,political,moral, and self contradicting arguments to make the case that there is a need for reforming tribal leadership so that it retakes its role in leading our society! I can go on..But the pattern is clear, we can all use cases to support our views, but from a scientific perspective you can’t make inferences based on outliers and extreme cases. A better approach I believe is measuring attitudes and behaviors on the aggregate level so that we can make more educated inferences that can actually help shape policy.
Also, we can look at the reactions to the incident by the government and make inferences. Some might say that our culture requires culturally “sensitive” security methods, but how I see it is that we have a scared state. Not scared of individuals who can easily be silenced, but from collective action by masses of people regardless of the legitimacy and the rightness of the moving cause.
Here is how I see it: The unintended consequences-along with the intended ones- of the many failed state policies are now becoming, in a way, systemized. All of those policies morphed into a big fat complex mess that is almost impossible to untangle.
But we can all agree that something needs to be done, and that something need not be a knee-jerk reaction like always, but one that is actually based on strategic planning.
My two piasters.
@mohanned: i agree that strategic planning is required and not knee-jerk reactions, but this isn’t about taking an extreme case to push a perspective…that perspective exists despite that case. the extremity of such cases serves only as a reminder how BADLY that perspective needs to start taking some shape in order to change the status quo. it is the same with anything else, where we know a problem exists and the discussion around the issue is kept low key, but suddenly a radical and/or extreme case presents itself, pushing us to pay extra attention.
and THAT’s human nature. as for violence. yes, one can argue (unscientifically) that human beings are prone to violence, however they are also prone to self-control and discipline. and like it or not, passing this off as “well men are naturally violent” is in fact a rationalization, even if not intended. forget the outliers, look at the larger landscape of things. look at how widespread violence in schools is.
and i am looking, as you suggested, at behaviors on an aggregate level. we do live in a society where school violence is not dealt with, and in a culture that practically empowers it from the bottom up.
I didn’t intend to make this a philosophical debate, but to get my point across a bit clearer. The arguments with regards to violence are grounded in science from many disciplines such as biology and psychology(evolutionary,behavioral,and social). But that’s isn’t the issue at hand and the argument I presented was to show that people tend to interpret behaviors,limited they might be, and present them to support their interpretations. A man might kill for many reasons,and if not kill, can be violent whether verbally or physically.For example, an observer might argue that religion enables violence, or that suicide bombers commit such acts because they are sexually deprived, while another might argue that it’s injustice that pushed them to the edge. Point is clear, any argument is in a way a rationalization. You yourself “rationalized” the violence based on observations such as the bad education system.
I agree that such cases are attention grabbers, but the sad thing is that such attention is usually short spanned, and the plethora of interpretations make it more difficult to present solutions or even debate the issue.
Had to get my point through.
I am shocked by the figure that said there were 84 cases of violence committed against schoolchildren last year. Look at any typical school, and you will find that amount of violations committed in a single day. Just ask the kids.
Yes there are a million interpretations to the problem as Muhannad suggested, and each interpretation should be heard and acknowledged for the truth it has. There will never be a single remedy or a one-way solution; the deeper we dig, the more we ask and question, the more likely we are to come up with alternative ‘solutions’. You can both dispute how “scientific” our “tendency” to violence is (I agree with Naseem on this one), but perhaps we can all agree with Sophie’s first lesson in Sophie’s World: all humans are born with a capacity to wonder, the hard part is to keep on wondering. So a hundred different interpretation is a very good thing!
Having said that my own interpretation reads along Naseem’s on this issue- I agree with the superficiality of the ethnic divides cited, not because they are not real (they are!) but because they are the tool through which violence is vented, but not the cause. When violent people are searching for “vents”, ethnicity is an easy target, especially when you live in a geopolitical neighbourhood like our’s. So I agree that this should be understood within the larger scope of violence in schools, which socialise students into accepting violence as a means of establishing authority. Discipline in our society is not rationalised, it is enforced.
I also think that this culture of violence in schools extends to our very definition and understanding of power. From a brother who feels he has right to control his sister’s every right (including her divine right to life), to the way a mudeer treats his employees, and the way every employee treats an employee “below him/her”, to the way children play in the 7ara…even when physical violence is absent, the “assertion” of power through abuse (emotional and physical) is endemic. And it seems to me that the real challenge is this, how to emancipate ourselves from such a crippling understanding of power?
have u seen this? http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=112399575444567&ref=nf
Violence at school starts as violence at home.
When out-of-control anger is modeled as justification for an offense, it becomes a life-habit. It is reinforced at school.
I think Mohanned mentioned a very important issue here. That is, everyone will push for his agenda as a solution for this frequent violence. I am, as someone involved in the education system, will agree with you and say yes we need changes in our schools. For others it is a result of economical, religion, or political suppression. We will spend many years before we can agree the main reason behind this violence. Meanwhile, we can push for a more decisive punishment. The zero-tolerance-policy you mentioned is adopted in the American schools. And it came as a result for the many killing incidents happened in schools. Why don’t we try this zero tolerance policy and see if it is effective or not. We need to start doing something before it is too late. This frequent violence that starts between two young kids and escalate to violence between two tribes will eventually lead, Allah forbid, to a civil war. It is a matter of time before an Irbidawi student hits another Karaki student to eventually start a war between the North and the South or worse a war between Jordanians and Palestinians. These are very extreme scenarios but we need to educate ourselves about the danger of such violence and not take it for granted. May Allah grant patience and strength for the family who lost their son and make it easy on the families involved in this latest incident.
This phenomenon is symptomatic of a multi-layered complexity of issues:
1) Childhood, home and extended family context: hierarchical, male dominant home environment, where the father mistreats the mother, daughter and sister at the first level. His sons, younger brothers, cousins at the second…etc… . in such contexts, young males, from an early age not only play into this hierarchy, but also strive for attention, even if in negative ways. this becomes part and parcel of their character… they have to be the center of attention, even through hitting their sisters or younger siblings… of course, as boys, they are never punished.
2) tribal and regional affiliations: same hierarchies as above, plus 3anjahiyyeh and 3asabiyyeh. I still cannot get my mind around highly educated, well-exposed individuals, who revert to both attitudes in a split second. This is part of a societal problem, where “belonging” and “nepotism” are part and parcel of all this.
3) Lack of a nurturing of dialogue, nor an understanding/acceptance of constructive criticism. Did you ever hear any civilized, emotion-free conversation in Jordan? Everyone begins with shouting. There is a lack of a sense of humor.
4) points 1, 2 and 3 above when combined, lead to laxity in implementing laws leading many to believe that they are above the law. One of the commentators above mentions implementing a zero tolerance policy… come on!! this is Jordan, and “zero tolerances” are lost in familial, tribal, and nepotism relations…
5) add to that, a lack of a read educational system: schools and universities are more about “delivering” the same 70-year old information. They are not about instigating an appreciation for knowledge. Who seeks knowledge among university students in Jordan? they all want a cardboard degree and all do the “minimum” to get it… I bet those who really do engage in a “learning” process are far less than 1%. And they do it on their own because their professors are part and parcel of all the above attitudes. I know, I am a graduate of that system, and I was one of those 1%… Luckily I escaped and have no intention of coming back!
6) add to the formula, a lack of extracurricular activities, apart from smoking narghileh, watching soccer (and having ridiculous affiliations to European teams!! I am appalled by the 3asabiyyeh towards teams in countries we have no association with… 3asabiyyeh for the sake of 3asabyyeh….Dah!)…
7) add also, the ingredients of unemployment, sexual frustrations, increasing socio-economic bifurcations, corruption (in which they feel that if you cannot beat them then join them), lack of any outlets to vent (even in urban space: there are no parks or green space), lack of any activities to engage them in feeling useful in life other than belonging to the tribe or whatever that gives them meaning to their existence…etc…
The situation is ridiculous and is not new. I taught as an adjunct at one of the government universities nearly ten years ago, before I left to do my PhD, and in the span of the four months I spent there: three huge fights had erupted on campus with broken furniture and injuries… also, an example on the 3asabiyyeh and 3anjahiyyeh, which are simply “tayaseh” from my angle: I had an auditorium booked for an exam, and the exam was about to begin, and yet I had a few “male” students, who REFUSED to leave the hall! They almost physically attacked not only me, but some of my respectable students who tried to tell them that I was the instructor!! That was the day I vowed never to come back…
Here is how it goes in my mind:
1) A father mistreats his son or daughter by disciplining him/her with violence instead of modern parental techniques.
2) That kid grows up, goes to college and becomes a teacher.
3) That teacher starts to take up the parenting role and recalls what he learned in the past from his father and society in general. Sadly, he applies it on his students.
Educating teachers and parents about techniques with which they can deal with kids properly is not a bad thing in my opinion! I never saw any public campaigns about these things..
Even Kids nowadays don’t get polite unless they are subjected to violence. They are used to it, and it runs in their veins. Unfortunately parents got them to this stage…
We just need to break up the circle of “il walad ma bet3allam il bel dareb” aw “ol6osho kaf betrabba” and such stupid old-fashioned ways of thinking.
1) It’s time the Islamic brotherhood lay their hands of the educational sector in Jo, they had their chance, results are disastrous
2) Get serious about education reform, not just sweet talk to foreign media
3) Decrease spending on military in favor of education. Let go of most of current teachers (through standardized tests), hire good teachers, they don’t have to be good in their domain, most importantly, is teaching kids respecting themselves and respecting others.
4) Dare I say, canceling Makrumat, raising the bar at some private uni, and closing down all these community colleges, that are open for those “lucky and unlucky in Tawjhih”
Badran was so wrong about his comments, but it is 100% true when it comes to a teacher image. But they deserve a union, Badran should be let go, NOW.
We have serious problem with public education. Most of private school students are well off, secure decent jobs, many go study abroad.
Public school graduate are hugely marginalized. Should have been every parliament member to care about their community. We are far far away from being a functional institutionalized country.
A very well rounded article, the best so far
Guys, please please please repost yours and Ahmad’s Humeid in Arabic.
Please repost in Arabic, let it reach to more people. Sadly your blogs are read by few elite people.
Generally speaking, Ammonnews,Jordanzad and such are much more popular, although the are rubbish compared to yours.
Please blog in Arabic, or at least translate this article and send it to Ammon, It’s time someone with balls speaks up before it’s too late
The state is the biggest purveyor of violence and there is no match to it, it seems all of you have ignored this fact, there is silence and encouragement by large parentage of Jordanian when it comes to state violence , Iam sure all of you recognize that but you have chosen to ignore it.
Good lock Jordanian I really meant it. To solve any problem we ca’t just throw solutions , w e must identify the roots of “our” violence.
For long time, the state has been using violence exclusively without any “competition”, just goggle Jordan’s human right ugly record and you will find what Iam talking about , it is not only sad state of affairs but criminal , dreadful and ugly …..
I have been living in the US and Canada for the last 13 years of my life. My love to Jordan and the beautiful childhood memories of Amman constantly brings me back to read about Jordanâ€™s news.
Iâ€™ve been reading about the young student who lost his eye as a result of a teacherâ€™s brutality. I then noticed that this incident occurred last year at a different school and another school kid lost his eye as a result of a teacher beating up a student with a ruler. I then read about a phenomena that has been recurring every few months or so at a university where a student was stabbed to death by a fellow student. As usual, his tribe surrounded the university in Salt and a female bystander was shot by mistake. The police intervened to calm things down and Iâ€™m sure they will find a solution over a cup of coffee.
The question of why this vicious violence in a country with a population of 6 million and relatively decent standard of living constantly occurs. Even as a kid, I remember students fighting in school, trying to prove to others they are â€œMenâ€ capable of beating up a fellow student over the stupidest reason.
I always thought, well, it must be due to economic conditions or poor family values or a combination of both till I visited Cuba a few years ago. Whenever I go on vacation, I usually like to get to know the locals, talk to them, and get a feel about their living conditions. I was shocked to find out that the average salaries for the best paying jobs in Cuba which are usually given to resort staff is about $40 per month. I then started wondering around the city â€œHavana & Verraderoâ€ and saw very friendly joyful people loving life and dancing in the streets. These are the same people that barely have money to meet their basic needs. I then started thinking, how would our society react if this was the situation in Jordan? Will people treat each other with respect? Will anyone be dancing in the streets and smiling?
The obvious answer is NO. I believe that education is key from a very young age otherwise this cycle of violence will never end. There must be classes on etiquette, respect, love for one another and a great emphasis on fighting racism. To me, it seems that the subject of racism in our society is only reserved as talking points for politician before getting elected. It is a very serious subject that must be addressed. The government must be in control of the situation regardless of who committed the crime and should put an end once and for all to this chaos. Getting rid of tribal laws is not an easy thing to do but unfortunately, at this age and time, these laws proved inefficient in dealing with our social problems.
In a survey published few days ago in Al Ghad newspaper, they found that the number one reason for violence in our universities and schools is tribal loyalty and the ignorance that comes with it. Therefore, we know the reason that is causing this violence and itâ€™s time to deal with it. I truly believe that we need courage in dealing with this issue that must come from the top represented by the government and law enforcement. The government must exercise its right in defending the people. Laws must be strict and the media must play its part in exposing these people to the public. I pray that common sense will prevail one day.
I know some Americans who’ve been assigned to teach in English in rural Jordanian schools for the Peace Corps; they said that they can’t control their classes because they refuse to hit their students. Hence, their students don’t respect them.
This is incredible, if true. I have no idea if this is at all representative of rural Jordanian schools, but if it is–then the surprising thing would be if those students *didn’t* grow up to employ quite a lot of violence in their lives.
Luna, excellent points.
Free Jordanian, Yes you can blame the state but the state is a result of the people, even in suppression, they are responsible for it suppressing them.
There is no single isolated problem, it is all related.
Ahmad Al-Sholi ,, Please enlighten me and correct me if Iam wrong , how is it when we have, even a fake and manufactured parliament is dissolved by the king how is it , that the government is “result” of the people even during suppression ? ?
It must be Jordanian versus Palestinian. That must be the only reason to explain why fights take place on a university campus. “
Dude what the hell! Why did you have to drag Palestinians into that mess? Not one of the fights that i read about involved a Palestinian as an instigator never mind him/her being a Palestinian had anything to do with it at all … thats absolutely an issue that isn’t as prominent with the other half of the population because when a little jordanian of palestinian origin goes to school and start understanding he is different and start asking his parents questions about it the first thing that the parents do is make sure that they get it through the kids head that no matter what happens he should keep his head down and focus on his studies because he shouldn’t be causing trouble … that sense of no one having your back and you being somewhat different that those “others” is a very sobering experience for a child.
The fact of the matter is that part of this problem is the sense of entitlement that a section of the society feel and the boasting rights they get for getting things and doing things they are not supposed to.
Zero tolerance and all the crap suggestions like it won’t work because they operate in a realm of absolute delusion … those who get into a fight at a school might be doing so because they believe they are able to get back into the school if worse comes to worse with a lil Vitamin WOW … now how the hell is that going to change? thats my question to all those suggesting solutions?
seriously reading some of the comments and this article gave me the impression that majority of the people are commenting on something that is going in another country where they lack the knowledge about the nuances and intricacies of that culture and country.
and apologies for the messy grammar and spelling …
“Dude what the hell! Why did you have to drag Palestinians into that mess? Not one of the fights that i read about involved a Palestinian as an instigator never mind him/her being a Palestinian had anything to do with it at all â€¦”
are you nuts? i think any student that is currently at, say, the university of jordan, or has studied in many of the large campuses, will tell you that many of the brawls do involve this disconnect. heck, every time this particular subject is discussed in a social setting, the palestinian-jordanian thing is brought up. it is so emphasized that one would think this is the only reason for fights to take place – that is the perception I, and others, often encounter. My argument, as stated in that sentence, is countering this perception.
i’m not “dragging Palestinians in to that mess”…nor am I accusing one “ethnic” group of being an instigator. I said no such thing, so read that paragraph and attempt to grasp my meaning, otherwise, this explanation should suffice.
“because they believe they are able to get back into the school if worse comes to worse with a lil Vitamin WOW ”
I don’t think that’s true, but this is a matter of opinion. Most people do not have access to wasta that will keep them in university despite being expelled.
“thats my question to all those suggesting solutions? seriously reading some of the comments and this article gave me the impression that majority of the people are commenting on something that is going in another country where they lack the knowledge about the nuances and intricacies of that culture and country.”
then offer us a solution instead of criticizing those offered by others…
yes, some solutions completely depend on the country and its culture, but then again, some solutions are rather straight forward and operate on the human level and might work in a country like jordan.
Bambam and Nas, what you guys are talking about? Why this has to be always thrown in when things go bad? Egrefna form this old broken record.
Anyways, the last incidents of mass rioting and murders at schools/police,smashing tv stations, closing down towns and parts of Amman have been carried by the same tribes whom been granted things easily, like gov positions,free uni seats and educ,access to security positions,media,etc
This has to stop. Fahid Al Khaitan is sounding a serious alarm, saying we are fertilizing a civil war,just like Leb model.
Yet again, when more involvement and rights are demanded for Pal-Jor, the Watan Badeel scare crow is used by Easternes, and “ending the Palestine struggle” scare crow by the Westerner of the river. Both sides should shut up and see the reality of the situation, and maybe establish a country, where citizenship means, equal duties and rights,all equal, qualified people take positions,like Euorpean,American,Australian,Canadian models. just like Jor used to be.
I miss the 60-70ies Jordan. A generation determined to build a modern and solid country,qualified people, doctors/engineers studying/working their asses off because the army paid their education and they want to payback their duties, regardless of their identity. Top doctors,lawyers/engineers/media personnel belong to the 60-70 generation, ever wonder why?
@ The Jordanian: do not be so pessimistic about the upcoming youth, I know quite a few talented driven young people who are determined to help rebuild Jordan despite all its shortcomings. If you are fast to shoot them down then that will discourage them. Perhaps it is because I am part of this optimistic demographic that I don’t see the despair in the future years.
In my mind it is clear that we will always have problems no matter what we do, however I would like to stress upon a social dynamic in Jordan and may Arab countries from what I hear which has annoyed me far more than any other discriminatory dynamic. It is that of the sense of entitlement which an older generation has over the youth of that country. Be it in the family unit, the educational system, or the huge network of the country. I feel very jealous when I hear about how my fellow students in university (I study abroad) have been treated during their educations (again this is a very small demographic which I am exposed to, but as a basis for comparison it knocks us out of the education game), they were treated with the goal of them becoming independent learners and proactive learners in their respective classes, expected to do work and excel at it. My education in Jordan would be claimed by some to have been a good one, but I felt it was stifled by the students being stifled by overly conventional and didactic authorities as well as the expecting of no work – large payoffs which permeated most of my educational experiences. I do believe our education system need to work towards a less spoiled, more empowered youth in the larger sense, but as I said before there is a good number of youth who will come back and will work to fix the nation, regardless of the challenge.
I am not assuming an enlightenment role, I am only discussing with you.
Liquidation of Parliament is part of the king’s constitutional rights. Whether we like it or not, that is the constitution. It is a product of historical development. At the time it was written -nearly sixty years ago- it was an accomplishment, given the covenant that was in place before, which was a previous accomplishment when it was written in 1929.
However, many constitutions of the developed world gives variable power to the executive branch. Take the US for instance, the president can veto congress resolutions. France, has two executives that can contradict each other. It is true that all these executives are elected freely, I am trying to point out the imbalances that any system can have and not defending any form. Even immune executives care about perceptions of the masses even if they don’t have elections to worry about.
The savvy parliament was elected despite all the talk about its falseness. Say whatever you want about clearing all candidates from the intelligence before running and falsifying results. Still, 70% or so showed up at poling locations!
The choices taken by the people -though influenced by the power controlling their lives-, are still their choices. The minute you are afraid of persecution and cave in, is a choice. The minute you think about doing something about it, is another choice.
I am personally very optimistic about the new grassroots springing off in Jordan. Be it the workers’ endless strikes, the teachers attempts of unionization, or the student parauniversity body “thaba7touna”. I don’t see anything will come from the current political parties spectrum even if Jordan had full representative elections this year, as these bodies are no more than proxies to power or ideological manifestation that lacks connection with chunks of populations for this or that.
The historical product is a result of choices taken at every point, and that is why the people are responsible for it.
Nas there we differ greatly, what I read and heard of the cause of the problems was much more basic than that and honestly much more believable that your take. Basically its the childish “someone looked at me wrongly” or “he talked to the female of my tribe and i needed to put him in his place” these are the reason that where sighted by the head of security of a private university in jordan … and if you can find bases for the perception that you and others have for the problem do let me know.
Personally i don’t have a simple solution beyond what i already said many times ago … not everyone needs to go to college and especially those who don’t have the mental capacity to be social and conflict with people without resorting to violence. Actually its better for the entire society if those go to vocational schools at least they will be productive in some aspect. Those people are the same people that tend to get the seats and what not from the government. so if you want to solve university violence create a more competitive environment for students and then you will get only those who will benefit from being there rather than everyone.
Just to reiterate some of the key points of posters:
1) Education system needs a compelete overhaul, so does the university system. I don’t want to say everything is wrong but a lot of it is. New leadership, new school principals and administrators with a NEW mentality. Personally I don’t think donor workshops will do some of these “educators” any good. Huge investments in education: time, money, knowladge, and real effort for real outcomes are needed.
2) Its not just school violence. Violence @ home needs to stop, for far too long this has been an issue with Arab upraising. Hitting your child so he or she can stop winning is easy, the hard part is to convince him/her that what they are doing is bad. Somtimes you need to disipline your children with a little force, but there is the key word, little. Interesting article about spanking children: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1981019,00.html
3) Tribalism, tribalism tribalism…need I or anyone else say more?
I dissagree with Mohannads comment about humans are violent there-go this happened. Yes humans have a tendency to be violent, history will always remind us of that, not to mention the present. But humans also have a tendency to have a hurd mentality. Make them all understand violence is wrong and most of them will comply, thats also scientifically proven.
Another problem I see in Jordan is everytime someone in a position of authority does somthing wrong the only consequence they face is being let go… only to use their super was6a abilities to secure themselves elsewhere (those lucky enough to have super was6a). Ok, some teachers don’t but I’m sure they’ll find somthing else to do and WONT learn a damn thing about what they did wrong. Criminal preseqution, real consequences, NEED to be inforced on ALL those who are found guilty by a JUST system: time served, reperations paid, etc. This will probably be realized by the time some of us younger folk have grandchildren, but it needs to be said non-the-less.
Lastly… there was a lastly but I can’t remember it now so i’ll finish by saying that the arguement that an increase in tribalism could lead to a civil war is intriguing, and a little bit sacry to be honest, lets start to develop peoples loyalty and pride for their tribes or their towns/villages into loyalty and pride for Jordan.
@bambam – but that will only sidetrack violence from university campuses to vocational centres and community colleges. it will not address the issue of violence in society.
We shouldn’t be interested in offering a solution to cure a patriarchal tribal society of its problem with violence, that’s like promising to wipe out starvation or vowing to eliminate poverty. while they are noble pursuits they are just that … pursuits.
Does that make sense? When tackling problems such as violence, discrimination, poverty or hunger its important to focus on the small achievable solutions and rack up your little wins … otherwise its pointless. That’s why all those we should “change how we raise up our kids” and “reboot the education” solution is more of the same strategy of building castles in the sky rather than addressing realities. It’s good for some marketing and buzz creation but hardly can be called solutions…
As a former Peace Corps Volunteer in touch with many current PCVs in Jordan, I am sad to confirm that, yes, we all found to one degree or another that because we didn’t hit our students in the village schools, they had no respect for us. It was one of the most psychologically damaging aspects of “the hardest job we’ll ever love,” as the old slogan went, and was the second most common reason (after women’s issues) for PCVs to quit their service early.
@kinzi & Yanal
I agree, the problem starts at home, but I want to add a slightly different perspective. In Peace Corps, we were encouraged to use positive reinforcement in the classroom. Instead of beating the bad kids, love the good ones. Instead of punishing misbehavior, reward good behavior. It’s a tried-and-true method in American schools that works for the majority of American children. I attribute this in part to the fact that rewarding good behavior is also an important part of American parenting culture. Parenting self-help books since the 60s have advocated this method of discipline. Consequently, children expect, understand and respond to it in the classroom, too.
In contrast, most of my students in the village were disciplined at home with a big stick. In fact, the most potent threat you could make to a student was “I’ll tell your father,” because then they knew they had a beating coming. (As a result, I avoided telling parents about bad behavior in school, which further undermined my classroom discipline.) When children become acculturated to corporal punishment at home, there is no lesser threat of discipline you can use in the classroom that will have any appreciable effect on children’s behavior. When children are not acculturated to positive reinforcement, they are far less likely to respond to it in the classroom; instead, they seem more likely to take it as a sign of weakness, that the teacher is afraid or unable to produce consequences to negative behavior. In contrast, those few students in my village classes whose parents had raised them with significant positive reinforcement hung on my every word, strove mightily to impress me, and were never a discipline problem.
Changing the culture of the schools is only part of the answer. Parenting culture must also change for any changes in the classroom to have a noticeable effect.
Going back to teachers…..most teachers in the Jordanian public school system are only teachers because they could not do anything else. They are bitter, complexed and under paid and are not respected, by the pupils, their parents nor by society at large, and worst of all, by themselves. Most of them would rather be doing anything but teach. It cannot be a mere coincidendence that in Finland, South Korea and Canada, three countries which regularly top all the lists and graphs for student skills and achievenent, the difference between a high school teacher and a laywer or an accountant’s salary is not huge. A suggestion. Make teaching a much more difficult specialistion to get into ie 80% or plus. Pay the teachers much, much more. Reduce the number of university places in public universities, and open many, many more technical and vocational schools. Do not encourage a mindset where anyone and his uncle who has a poor average in tawjihi thinks it is his or her God given right to go to university and then gets shunted with their complexes into teaching, sharia or PE. All these three speicalistaions , in their different ways, are responsible for the well being of our future generations, yet the students are the dregs of the tawjihi graduates. Invest in teachers’ s salaries and training ( introduce a Post Graduate Teaching Certficate as an added incentive of better skills = better pay…..on the other hand, pay peanuts, get monkeys). Invest more in human resources and less in sophisticated equipment that might never even be used.. Oh yes, please, please, please, introduce a vigourous family planning scheme in to the country. Even if all of the above were to miraculousy happen, what use is it when our population growth is rampant ?
PS Sorry for my typos. It is late and I am tired.
no surprises, as long as the country stays tribal it will remain lawless, u can stab or shoot someone and the whole thing is wrapped up over a cup of coffee…even Sudan and Yemen did not stoop this low..some nation this is where the army has to mobilize to control the repurcussions of a fight between two university kids over a girl!!
“no surprises, as long as the country stays tribal it will remain lawless, ” Londoner
I really disagree with your statement, because if you look at “non tribal”/ western societies or some of you who like to label it as “civilized” society you will find crimes and violence are more prevalent and widespread, whether in schools , Universities, workplaces and even at home. In the US alone , domestic violence has been climbing, “23 women are killed weekly in the US by their husbands or boyfriends.” ..
The question to you, Londoner , is the US a triable Society or it it much more complex than your opinion ?
Not to undermine your point but as a past resident of Canada for many years, I can tell you that my highschool teachers use to complain that some public transport bus drivers use to get paid better. I think the currest success witnessed in countries like Canada could be atributed to a combination of home and school encouragement. School teachers receive high quality training and certification that train them to employ proactive and modern teaching techniques. At home education is heavily encouraged above all else.
That being said, your point on investing in teachers is excellent. Not sure on the feasibility of a higher pay scale and all the other details but there needs to be a change in cultural acceptance. If people understand that Jordan isnt like the west no matter how many sky scrappers it wants to build or how many fancy cars it has rolling around its pot holled streets. We are a developING nation that hasn’t matured yet. Teachers are arguably THE most important tool in shapping the next generation (sorry if i sound like a typical politician but its true). If people begin to understand that teaching as a profession should be regarded with high prestige because of its impact on the country as a whole maybe then we might see changes in the calibure of applicants to teaching degrees.
As to how this is to be done? We need a cultural expert for that
@ The Free Jordanian
Don’t forget that media coverage of such incidents of violence in countries like Jordan is heavily regulated. Media coverage of domestic violence and the like in the States is previlent.
Thats not to mention the population of the US is somewhere in the 300 million mark (not sure exactly) but my point here is proportionality; the ratio of lets say honor killings in jordan vs domestic violence killings in the US I asume would be comparable.
As for the 23 people dieing a week due to domestic violence, I highly doubt that “Hicham” is a reliable source for that information.
It is not shocking to have such incidents on our campuses (we have over 100000 students in universities) but the numbers are becoming a source of alarm. What is unfathomable is how this is taken out of context to become a war between two tribes. And why doesn’t the police arrest the people involved in the rioting rather than interfering passively and with a tribunal law that doesn’t belong to modern citizenship standards?
@ Maryah Converse Yes exactly, you hit the point perfectly. The reward system is also a great idea that has been rarely applied even at top schools in Jordan.
@Zak The reason for that IMO is because our government/military/police has very weak or no jurisdiction at all over big tribal currents. These tribes can seriously cause major trouble in Jordan as in what had happened at Salt. The government, even the king himself, understands it. They have to be extra-careful when they deal with people like them.
I had an experience today at one of Amman’s public boys’ schools that is very relevant to this discussion. You can read about it here http://hamzetwasel.com/forum/topics/30-minutes-in-the-life-of-a-1
the only solution that palestineans must leave jordan ..return to west bank or imigrate to australia, canada or newzealand, there is no place for them in jordan the carrying capacity of jordan can’t hold 6 million people and the palestenians keeps proliferating like rabbits.
Reading Jordanian newspapers, online and offline, blogs and reports, you would realize that we know EVERYTHING about ALL the problem we encounter, we are smart people. we spend a lot of time in root causes analysis, BUT how does this help in solving problems? who does listen?
Our educational system is boring and empty, it does not offer the chance for learning, it kills the curiosity that makes everyone buys looking for knowledge and answers.
mhmd,,,, Ø§Ù† ÙƒÙ†Øª Ù„Ø§ ØªØ¯Ø±ÙŠ ÙØªÙ„Ùƒ Ù…ØµÙŠØ¨Ø© ÙˆØ§Ù† ÙƒÙ†Øª ØªØ¯Ø±ÙŠ ÙØ§Ù„Ù…ØµÙŠØ¨Ø© Ø§ÙƒØ¨Ø±
Fascism and stupidity coupled together are tough enough. However, I am no less Jordanian than you are (You wouldn’t represent the overwhelming majority of Jordanians if you were one) and I am sorry you don’t think you are Palestinian as I am.
@Grace and Yet Another Jordanian
I absolutely agree, Grace, that pay and prestige is definitely an issue. I’ve been writing about it in my own blog: http://swissbooks.blogspot.com/2010/04/no-honor-among-teachers_01.html I think it’s important to note that it is not just money that matters. As in Canada, American teachers also earn relatively low salaries, but in return they get excellent benefits and pensions. In fact, this has been very much in the news in the States of late. As states like California and Pennsylvania face severe budget shortfalls, they’re talking about reducing teachers pensions, and teachers are responding by saying that it is the respect manifest in their excellent benefits that make it worthwhile for teachers to put in long hours for below-average pay.
In addition to pay and prestige, there’s definitely an issue of desire and commitment as well. The physical education teacher at my Peace Corps school once told me that more than anything, she wanted to be an English teacher when she was in Thanawi. English was her favorite subject, and she had a real passion for teaching. Unfortunately, when her Tawjihi results came in, she was told she could only be a physical education teacher. While I think she would have been a dedicated, enthusiastic, and therefore effective English teacher, as a reluctant phys ed teacher, she was perhaps the most despondent, least effective teacher in the school. In the U.S. and Canada, teachers choose their profession and their subject matter, and they pass or fail their university coursework and certification on their merit and enthusiasm. If Jordan allowed students to pursue their passions instead of having their studies dictated by the state, perhaps this would also go a long way towards improving education here.
Too bad a British installed royal sold my homeland to create his own.
I don’t necessarily like it, but am currently stuck with you. (barf)
@ The Free Jordanian
” â€œcivilizedâ€ society you will find crimes and violence are more prevalent and widespread, whether in schools , Universities, workplaces ”
FIND ME one record of a fight in any decent univeristy in the history of the UK please, or a punch up in Parliament. Thanks
Londoner..oh there are plenty of those just goggle it yourself and here one example
And here is another one for your eyes
Blind tribalism is certainly the culprit here. What infuriates me is that there’s no real punishment in this case, and all those young people who went on the streets smashing cars and stores..will do it again in a blink of an eye the next time one of their relatives is in trouble. They should all be jailed or at least forced to pay great fines. What kind of message does ‘3atwe’ give those young people? If anything, it encourages them to do the same thing when they’re faced with that situation.
I hope this piece along with another that i read on 7iber about education are the kindlings of a cyber push for better education, a chance for change in the kingdom inspired by the online community. This could be great, keep writing.
The Free Jordanian
i said “FIND ME one record of a fight in any decent univeristy in the history of the UK please, or a punch up in Parliament. Thanks”
you sent me a link on virginia massacare (which happened in the US) and knive crime in UK (whats this to do in universities)!! dont waste your time there never was nor will be punch ups in UK parliament or elite universities…
I think ZIMBABWEE is not this violent!!
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Spare me Londoner, The article you provided us doesn’t prove that tribes are the major reason of violence in Jordan as you wrote in your first comment “â€œno surprises, as long as the country stays tribal it will remain lawless,”.
So according to your logic, if we get ride of tribes we will be violence free, get real man.
Louis Farrakhan had wrote once” Everybody is looking for somebody to straighten out a mess that was made, unfortunately, by those in authority. We cannot stem the violence that is here at the bottom, which is an effect, unless we look at the violence that begins at the top, which is the cause. We are the effect of a cause that we did not stem the tide of, and now itâ€™s manifesting in the children.
A message to the free Jordanian- Dont worry about insults and culturual stereotypes- But dont Ignore them.
And to Londoner- You are well- in a Class of your own- No pun intended.
In mediterranean culture (37 countries make up the Mediterranean which include the Middle East) – People constantly hit eachother- When I was a child in Greece I was afraid to speak thinking-”Oh man- if I say the wrong thing- my butt is gonna hurt- Its cultural… But the EU now has instilled laws that protect children against any form of child abuse… So now, I see parents all over Greece making deals with their children- and those deals usually involve sweets, television and toys… Do you know how many Greek kids are turning into obese tv zombies with too many toys? Waaaay too many… My *opinion* is that a disciplinary spanking gets the point across until parents cross the line and become abusive.
In the mountains of Crete, Greece- people kill each other because a boy from some family will ask to go out on a date with a girl from a rival family- still to this day. Im Greek- but that is just savage.
Londoner’s comments were harsh- but tribalism is not the problem- it’s more tribal methods of solving problems- with that I agree….
and most Islamic scholars think that the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who has been banned from Britain since 1986 – is twisting Islam and racial issues for money and public appeal. He called Judaism a “gutter religion” and said Adolf Hitler was a “wickedly great man”….
Im not muslim- but Farrakhan is truly a false preacher. Nice quote… from a millionaire false preacher.
In his paper “The Doctrine of Jihad: An Introduction”, Mohhammad Noor establishes the difference between Harb (secular war) and Jihad (to strive with one’s power in God’s (Allah’s) path). Noor clearly states that scholars of Islam agree that secular wars are a condemnable evil that violate divine law and Muhammad encouraged Muslims to demand justice in the name of Allah. When asked: “‘What kind of jihad is better?’ Muhammad replied, ‘A word of truth in front of an oppressive ruler(Nisai)’.
I believe the majority of Christans, Jews, and Muslims and other followers of the other 252 other recognized religions around the world (excluding philosphies) are all being preached to by people and leaders of government institutions who dont practice their religion, who place themselves above humanity- who promote conflict rather than study, and of course are far richer than you and I…
and people watch too much violence on TV….
Like the world does not have enough problems from violence… Now we need to have images of violence being force fed to us all the time.
Parents are also becoming extremely lazy- buying their kids violent video games- the youth of this world need parents to play with them and read to them- culturally educate them… Not huff and puff and ignore their children. Bravo to wise parents who teach their children the value of reading and discovering the arts- promoting cultural activities…
A Jordanian mother recently explained to me that she did not have the money to culturally educate her children- but she had enough money for a satellite dish, a television, a PC, Internet Service ($$$), an X-box and like 100 video games… I told her that the last theater festival I attended at the Royal Cultural Center was completly free and had free events for children too. Undignified lazy and thoughtless parenting… Bravo to Wise Parents- they understand their children ARE the future.
Oh to Londoner- I wonder if british colonialism (alone) has contributed to the present state of the third world. Is there any country in the entire world that has not had to suffer the brutal consequences of British Imperialism?.. Really.
Where you there at the G-20 summit when british young adults and University students – like armies took down glass walls at the Bank of Scotland and other such banking innstitutions all over London… Or this that not considered violent protesting?
And personally the most awful fight I ever saw in my entire life- was at Gelder’s Green … ahem in London. Teeth flew. There was biting involved– these fine looking gentlemen in suits outside a sushi restaurant at a bus stop tried to kill eachother…Lets not pretend that fights and violence dont break out amongst civilized people or at ELITE Universities… or among the British.
Personally I lived in New York for most of my life- you have not seen violent screaming such as mine in 3 languages- coming home from work at 4 in the morning on the subway platform- talk about counter-violence against —- elitist frat boys. Not the crazy homeless guy cursing me out – cause of the one time I didnt have a dollar to spare…. No- American teenagers- being prompted, incited, and brainwashed to go and bomb any country the American and Corporate media puts on the map as a war zone with benefits. These students ready to touch any woman and her mother riding the train- drunk, violent, and sexist- because that is what Western culture and media promote-
Dont pretend the Western world are not mainly responsible for the bulk of destructive evils, wars, and social injustice that exist in this wolrd presently and previously… And to boot wire tapping, spyware, detainment centers, and genetically modified foods, illegal taxation – this is the present situation we live in- all being forced down our throughts by so called- Western democratic institutions.
Give me a break- The Sudanese are being murdered everyday- AKA Genocide
Genocide of the Sudanese being backed by the UN and China- because of Western Business interests.
Yemen YEMEN!!!- Yemen is a different situation alltogether and in a major Crisis uncomparable to Jordan- In quote “Zaydi rebels in the north, government secessionists in the south, al-Qaeda militants in the east, and Somali pirates off the coast”.
I wonder if the Mafia and rednecks dont settle murders over a cup of coffee- or corporations for that matter!
Some Nation… Well the Same Nation that created the Reading Room at the British Museum also created you- (and- By the way- The British Museum refuses to give back the Freeze- aka the roof of our Parthenon back to the Greek Government… What kind of Civilized General – as civilized as General Astor would steal the roof of the PARTHENON! And what kind of Modern day civilized governmnet would refuse to give it back?!
I as a citizen of Greece am forced to go to Britain to see my ancestors ancient work and toil- which should be at – THE ACROPOLIS!– Civilized- are you serious?)
And where would all the Palestinians and Iraqee refugees go- If it were not for Jordan.
What? Does England have a place to put them? UNHCR- take a look at where most refugees in this region are placed- Jordan!- Yes the most economically stable country in the Middle East.
Read up man.
Thank God for Jordan- Even Moses and Aaron are buried here. Jordan is holy to half of humanity!
While British Imperialism continue on in pursuit to destroy humanity.
The Kingdom of Jordan- is doing a damn good job trying to save it.
Why dont you take a look at what Queen Rania spends her time doing as compared to Queen Elizabeth? Why dont you look up Queen Rania on youtube?
Here is your comment Londoner-
no surprises, as long as the country stays tribal it will remain lawless, u can stab or shoot someone and the whole thing is wrapped up over a cup of coffeeâ€¦even Sudan and Yemen did not stoop this low..some nation this is where the army has to mobilize to control the repurcussions of a fight between two university kids over a girl!!
But really- to the Posters on this topic of violent behavior in the Jordanian Education system. Congratulations to your parents for having such thought provoking children. Peace – Antrea of Greece
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if i dont blame the above on tribalism then on what?
i never heard in the UK of two people having a fight in London, so the family of the first person in manchester group themselves and head in buses to Birmingham burn shops and gun down with 8 bullets a elderly person from that family, with the other family attacking theirs back….same as i never head of a stabbing inside a university….someone said whats the difference between a university and the street? hmmm seriously?! and lets not forget the problems of ajloun a few months back – shops burnt, a city turned into a fortress, hundreds of security forces deployed, and why? coz a divorcee was killed whilst visiting his son by his ex-wife’s brothers…and the solution (over coffee) – EXILE THE FAMILY FROM THE CITY and the kid’s custody taken away from the mom! and you are telling me this is a civil law society?! EXILE from the city!!!
Londoner,,I think you doing yourself injustice by burying your head in the sand, to you, badwans and tribes are bad, and white man is good ,and that’s all i could read from your comments, no substance what so ever
and to you a student stabs another student to death in a univeristy and gets a slap on the wrist is acceptable…he should be executed or minimum 25 years in jail…lets see if he gets more than 10 years
londoner,, Let me say one thing , Iam against some violence but not all violence,if you know what I mean, for example, if somebody wants to break into my house and threaten my family, I will make sure that i will use everything and anything in my power to defend my self and my family, will that satisfy your misunderstanding of violence
another tribe taking the medieval route with riots and rampage destroying private and public priorities, ofcourse all arrested will be freed next week with no charge over a cup of coffee…
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i mean you can see how much people fear the forces of the law when they storm into a police station and start shooting!!!
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