As many people know by now, Prime Minister Samir Rifai held a meeting with a few bloggers, a meeting that I was invited to. This meeting seems to be referred to by almost everyone as a “secret” meeting. So secret that everyone who calls it a “secret” meeting found out about it from Al Ghad newspaper. Jordanians crack me up. Even if it’s reported it’s still a secret. There’s still a conspiracy. I will be very honest here and say there was nothing noteworthy that took place during that meeting other than it being held in the first place. If there was, I would’ve blogged about it. But there wasn’t. I’m not going to write an “oh I met the Prime Minister post” just for the sake of it. Also, we were all made to swear a secret pact not to reveal what was said…
But if you really must know what was discussed, here are the top ten talking points:
1- Rifai spent roughly 3 hours talking about the government’s initiatives, and those are just the initiatives for the next 2 months.
2- We were not allowed to go to the bathroom.
3- A discussion about whether the national dish should be changed from mansaf to magloobeh ensued. After vigorous debate, a vote was taken. Mansaf won.
4- Rifai, who carries around a golf club at all times, demonstrated for us his golf swing. Have to admit, it was pretty impressive.
5- According to documents presented to us, the Jordanian government is in fact responsible for global warming.
6- One blogger broke down in tears after losing complete bladder control during the fifth hour – I’m not going to mention any names.
7- We spent 20 minutes, as a group, rewriting the National Agenda. Way easier than I thought it would be.
8- A 45 minute debate on what the greatest movie of all time is. Rifai insisted it was “My Fair Lady”.
9- Turns out Rifai is a big Black Eyed Peas fan. “Boom Boom Pow” was playing non-stop throughout the meeting.
10- Spent 1 hour watching Rifai show off his new iPad.
Alright. Enough fun. A more serious rundown is available on Mariam’s blog for those interested, so I won’t get in to it. The only thing I will have to add is this: we were called up individually and we attended. There wasn’t an open call for applications or any wasta involved. Secondly, we made clear several times during the meeting that we were not a representative sample of the Jordanian street, and hopefully a more comprehensive group will attend in the case of future meetings.
Lastly, on a personal note, I emphasized the government’s inability, and often times, unwillingness, to properly communicate with the people, which is a problem that affects it negatively more than anything else. This includes their silence on recent issues, such as stripping Jordanians of Palestinian origin their rightful Jordanian citizenship, as well as the ominous once-proposed Cyber Law – both issues of which were brought up. The argument was simple and has been repeated on this blog several times before: silence breeds fear.
On the communication issues, I also emphasized the government’s ineffective internal communication, specifically when it comes to these kinds of meetings as an example. Bloggers meet with the Prime Minister and ideas are exchanged, recommendations are given, and whether it’s the PM or any other official, there is always the sense that the official gets it, and is on board with it. But that never trickles down to the employee – the government clerk, which 99.9% of the time, is the person that the average Jordanian has to deal with. Something is lost in the translation, be it purposefully or otherwise.
Nothing that was brought up was entirely new and thus nothing was worth reporting, thus my lack of blogging on the issue. I wasn’t aware that the meeting was on-the-record or was going to be reported in the newspaper, but since it was, and since that alone spawned questions over the said “secrecy” of the meeting (that still cracks me up), I just wanted to put up this post for clarification’s sake.
In any case, communication and dialog is never a bad thing, so regardless of what one might think of either the government or the Prime Minister, getting a little over an hour of his time was a significantly positive move. Which is why I will reiterate what I said in the beginning for the politically articulate, there was really nothing noteworthy about the meeting other than it being held in the first place. Whether we were actually listened to or simply heard, is besides to the point. We were in the room and we made the best of that time to voice our concerns of the hour. I do hope more bloggers from more diverse backgrounds will get the chance to talk with the PM in the future.
That’s about it.
Well let’s all be glad you didn’t do something irrational to put yourself out of that misery
I was going to say “well, at least they’re trying” but on a second thought I’m afraid holding these meeting in that manner that lead to nothing new or fruitful could be worse that not holding them at all, because now they get to boast it in daily newspapers, so it’s like “See? We’re all about democracy and open dialogue”. I guess that’s why this post was necessary in order to set the record straight
shabakna el 7okooomaaa…w ba2eena arayeb… nasebna el 7okooma…we saba7na 7abayeb…
hey I’m just practicing my right of questioning anything that has to do with the government seeming to care. can’t blame me!
Ya habeebi ya Naseem,don’t evade from the main issue here.
-Who funds 7iber? Tell us,who does?And other magazines and websites?
– Who picks and sponsor all the trips for unknown bloggers to the US/Europe ,secure journalism master degree programs?
-Why no blog entry about it till now?
It’s over, it’s clear now how these below standard somehow journalists (yeah including the eng turned journalist) are pushed into our throats.
Here is a question for you:How come the best JOR blogger,Osama Abu Romoh was not invited? Why no Arabic bloggers, only English bloggers? Because you speak to the outside,giving them a false image?
Who on earth is Mohd Al Qaq or Madas? At least u got a great blog,prog journalist and worth it, the others?
Plz publish so I wont lose faith in u
i just couldn’t hold it any longer…..
hahahahahha Naseeeem! 😀 I bet Rifai’s heart will drop between his legs when he starts reading your post! 😀 “Played boom boom pow throughout the whole meeting” LOL…
On a more serious note, could you please tell us what do you think of PM Rifai ? Your general impression? Can he move the country forward? Is he the right guy?
Frankly, I think he’s doing an outstanding job compared to his predecessors, especially on the dialog and communication grounds. Gov is doing more press releases as I am noticing. Transparency is a bit better too, although we’re not there yet 🙂 . However, “Taboo” subjects are rarely discussed as in the case of freedom of speech which is pretty much lacking in Jordan.
eza el 7okome e5taratekom ento men ben 6 million! ay hada kafi enha 7okome sag6a! alllllll dueeeee respecccccttttt
This meeting was organised just to let you know that government are watching and reading what Jordanian bloggers write and discuss, and in my assessment, they are afraid because it’s beyond their control and surveillance>.>
– Can you answer who sponsor 7iber.com?
– If you are complaining about the lack of transparency, why no one mentioned anything about this till it was exposed?
– Who picked/payed the trips to the US?Master degrees?
– Why no Arabic bloggers? The world’s best blgger:Osama Abu Rumoh?
– Some of the invited are never heard of bloggers?!
– Why the secrecy,it’s a very valid question,not answered.
The idea of free independent online media has been ruined by the very same people calling for it all day long.
Will you allow this comment?Lets hope so
@Mafsoom Naseeem allows every single comment even if it offends him directly…
On a more serious note.
The level of the discourse in both naseem’s black iris and 7iber is the best in Jordan, if not the whole region. The fact that they provide a platform for jordanians to speak freely and express their opinions is more than enough for me to believe in those guys and trust their judgments and their ethical and professional standards.
The fact that they didn’t make a hoopla out of their meeting carries an enough strong message for those who invited them.
If other “activists” were the ones invited I might have had a different view. Ø§Ù„Ø´Ø¨Ø§Ø¨ Ù„Ø§ ØµÙÙŠÙ‚Ø© ÙˆÙ„Ø§ ØµØÙŠØ¬Ù‡ØŒ they tell it like it is.
I wondered at first if you were launching “Al Bassel” a new feature of the Black Iris. 🙂
I am going to choose optimism, and believe the best about this secret meeting. The no bathroom breaks bit proves there aren’t enough women in government.
I was waiting for u to speak-up Nasim, and thax 4 doin` it.
It`s hard to please.convince everybody, Jordanians or non :D, that`s what got into my head while reading the comments :).
it probably was to complete some missing information in your files at the intelligence department (update your pictures etc.) lol
and a bigger LOL @ “Rifai spent roughly 3 hours talking about the governmentâ€™s initiatives, and those are just the initiatives for the next 2 months”…u made me laugh
LOL, I wonder what he thinks reading your post here
Please address the question raised by blogger Mohammad Omar : He speculated in his blog that the meeting with HE was a subtle attempt by the current government to ” domesticize” the English language bloggers as opposed to the Arabic language bloggers.How reasonable is his inference….
@Ola: I’m a firm believer that hosting a discussion or having a dialog is important no matter what and no matter whom. It is even MORE important when two entities are either distant or disconnected from each other, as is typically the case with governments and people.
@Naser: Practice away! Never stop questioning!
@rumzi: no comment.
@Yanal: Jordan is in a tight spot economically and politically right now, which is unsurprisingly not a big difference from its past positions. With that in mind, what a government and a PM accomplish on the ground is difficult to assess until much later.
@ana sage6: lol you can’t purposefully offend people and then add “with all due respect”. It’s like saying “I think you’re an outstanding idiot….with all due respect..”
@troublemaker: this tends to be the first line of thinking but i highly doubt it’s true, judging mainly by the tone of the meeting and the manner in which it was carried out. having been a blogger who has gotten in trouble for something they’ve written on their blog, i can safely say that when the state wants to scare writers and activists they dont send the PM to hold a meeting with them. they send someone else.
@mafsoom: in response to your questions:
– Can you answer who sponsor 7iber.com? –> No one. It is a free civic platform that is not funded and has no advertisements on it. People can freely submit content and we can freely publish it to create a genuine civic space with no agenda other than the desire to see a growing sense of free speech and expression in the country. We fund ourselves via 7iber Inc, which is the business arm of 7iber and does social media training as well as arabic web content development.
– If you are complaining about the lack of transparency, why no one mentioned anything about this till it was exposed? –> Like I said, it was really not worth reporting. Nothing exciting happened during the meeting. Everything that was discussed you’ve already heard before. Also, we did not expect it to get reported in the first place as most of us were under the impression that it was an off-the-record meeting, so I respected that decision as a writer.
– Who picked/payed the trips to the US?Master degrees? –> huh? what are you talking about?
– Why no Arabic bloggers? The worldâ€™s best blgger:Osama Abu Rumoh? –> I didn’t organize this meeting so that’s not a question I can answer. It is, as I mentioned, the very first thing that we brought up and made the PM aware of repeatedly throughout the meeting.
Also, please note that Osama won the best Arabic blogger in the BOBs competition and not the best blog in whole wide world, an honor which went to Ushahidi whom have been doing some amazing work in creating real time platforms for regions like Sudan and Haiti. Just want you to get your facts straight.
– Some of the invited are never heard of bloggers?! –> I’m not exactly sure who you are referring to, but I knew everyone there.
– Why the secrecy,itâ€™s a very valid question,not answered. –> again, there was no secrecy! for God’s sake, you found out about it from the newspaper! not much of a secret!
@Mohanned: Thank you for voicing your opinion. I think you bring up a valid point. I think we are so used to people reporting the heck out of this for personal gain that we lost sight of what the whole point of this is in the first place.
@kinzi: “The no bathroom breaks bit proves there arenâ€™t enough women in government.” lool
@haitham: thank you for reading…
@lubna: i’m hoping he takes it in good fun. this post wasn’t dedicated to him as much as it was to the conspiracy theorists of our country..
@hatem: are you guys kidding me? what do you think goes on in these meetings? Domesticate? Really? how does one go about doing that in a 70 minute meeting? is this a remake of a scene from Clockwork Orange? This is the problem with reporting such meetings, there is the automatic assumption that by attending them you are now in the government’s pockets. this is especially hilarious in this context when you consider that some of the bloggers invited have never written anything political in their life.
when you’ve been knocking like crazy at the government’s door asking them to open it and start a line of communication – and then someone opens that door, you don’t slam it shut in their face. you can’t ask for one thing and then turn down any small step towards achieving it.
there’s a word for people who do that.
but i’ll keep it to myself.
A7a A7a ya Rifai :
First : Non of opposition blogger’s was invited , may be because they are not golf fans.
second” Al-Rifai just a show man , did he thought that such meetings will make him popular , no sir your policies is the standard not your public relations.
Third:i just want to know the selecting criteria , is it your look , your english fluency level , your eyes color , your jeans trademark.
Fourth: i’m not a blogger i’m just an observer .
O A7a ya Rifai…..
@Hamza: well, my jeans aren’t trademark and the best pair I own are 5 years old, but i’m told I have nice eyes…
as for popularity, i have to disagree having thought about this longer than you have. this wasn’t a photo opp. which is generally the way to go if you want people to think you’re popular and to milk such an even for all it’s worth. traditionally this sort of meeting makes it to the front page, not a 5 line paragraph in the corner of the newspaper with misspelled names. so i highly doubt this was an attempt to get popularity points.
lastly, i don’t know what you mean by “opposition blogger” or how you even define that…
Man hats off , I really loved your post. what makes more sense about your blog its last words
” that’s about it”
@ Naseem :
Of course you that there is an opposition in jordan which divided into two parts :
1-Jordanians in opposition parties “islamic movment, communist party , wihda” as example and those are minority.
2-jordainon with opposition opinions but not belong to any party, those are the majority .
on the internet there is a numerous jordanian blogger’s with opposition opinions , why do u think they haven’t been invited ….?
and believe me there aim wasn’t to publish it , MR. naseem nowadays blogger’s are considered as an opinion leaders , so if u have them to your side you will own a great power , and the most beautiful part that public doesn’t consider those blogger’s government writers such as a lot writers in newspapers .
Mansaf’s status is not a matter of discussion even if it’s between a Karaki and the PM…eeh
Sarcasm on the wrong crowd for the wrong occasion
why haven’t they onvited any Arabic-speaking blogger other than Midas?
@hamza: first of all, i’m well aware of jordanian opposition. im talking about so-called “opposition writers” that you are referring to. do i have to be a member of the muslim brotherhood in order for my, or others’, critiques to be considered as part of the opposition? do i have to be a card-carrying member of a political or social organization such as the communists?
but the more important question here, and this is my original question, name them. name me those opposition bloggers that you talk about. heck, list them here. because i would be very interested in reading some of their blogs as i know very few of them.
as for the “on your side” argument. this is old media. rifai and his government have no control over what i say and believe than does the king of spain. unless these governments begin censoring the web, it will not make a difference.
and you dont need to take my word for it. that’s the beauty of blogging. you can always check what the blogger is writing and how his opinions have changed, thus measuring any influence such meetings have. and i can guarantee you, they have none. again, ill repeat myself. if the government wants to influence bloggers, they dont send the PM to do it. they send someone else.
@maha: ya sater! my bad, my bad.
@hareega: once again, i’ll repeat myself for the 3rd time, i don’t know. we pointed this out to them several times and emphasized that future meetings should host a much more diverse group than those of us that went. much more.
The good news is that the young PM had the insight and wisdom to seek out the input of young active local bloggers…quite progressive….The sad news is that there is nothing to write home about as far as the meeting of the young PM with young local bloggers….So much so, that even these very bloggers, whose “raison d’etre” is writing and reporting on issues, opted not to write and to ignore the whole event….How sad!
you see, my friend:
“Also, we did not expect it to get reported in the first place as most of us were under the impression that it was an off-the-record meeting, so I respected that decision as a writer.”
so no one told you it was off the record, you all decided or thought to yourselves that we shouldn’t talk about it, and who are you? bloggers! bloggers decided to just not say anything :/ that on its own is thought provoking if not anything else!!
on the other hand, I really can’t understand how is a meeting with the PM isn’t report worthy, even if there was nothing new in it!! I mean if whoever met with whoever its reported, when we have tweetups we report it, when you accidentally meet your long time friend you report it, when you meet a funny taxi driver you report it, but the PM meeting wasn’t worthy of mentioning ? at all?
you know if that was really the case, I second Tallouza, that’s sad and miserable actually.
@ Naseem :
I don’t know in which way u r reading my words , tell me where i said that u should be muslim brothers member or u should belong to any party …
i will tell u some names ”
1-osama el romoh
3-kamel nesirat (writing in a newspaper too)
Finally i hope u answer those questions…
1-what is the selection criteria …?
2-why the meeting was media black-outed …?
neither the bloggers nor the government said anything about it till Alghad wrote about it in “Zwareeb” column ….
3-did they order the blogger’s not to write …?
which means the bloggers take their orders from government now …
nothing personal and keep going man , in such country u will be a minister in future .
– Why most of the invited are 7iber’s editor?
– I was referring to the trips sponsored by the US state dept that sent you to the US,fully paid by them.Who called you, and why?Just another
: We don’t know, a lady called us?
– The Eng-turned journalist, how did she secure the master degree seat?Who paid 4 it?
– Why these same 7iber editors,b4r coming up with 7iber, they used to go to many youth camps and what not when they were at uni. Why the same names?
Always “picked” by “The lady who keep calling”??
Need we mention who ur supposed to meet in these “youth” camps?
– Who is Mohd Al Qaq?He is a blogger,yes, but c’mmon, he is no one. Roba Assi?A girly blog that is emtpy?Got no content? Ahmad Humeid? An IT blogger
?What he’s to do with journalism?
– So you all decided not to blog because you thought:3adi,the PM office called us and PM met us for 2hrs, it happens to every JO so that it is very
3adi??? 3anjad ya Nasim
This is a blow to the e-media in Jordan. This is a set back…
Your blog,the media u guys operate, are officially: NOT OBJECTIVE! It’s over for you. Boog e3lami.
Who is Ramsey Tesdell?An American who decided to reside in JO and starts a citizen journ website out of his pockets? C’moooooooooooooooooooooooooon?
Look,we loved your blog and admired your courage, your blog is much better than OsamaAbuRm7. But the way this has unfolded? Worse than the gov dealing
with any scandal!!! Takhbees and you just ruined it!
ØØ¨ÙŠØ¨ÙŠ Ù†Ø³ÙŠÙ… Ø¥Ù†ØØ±Ù‚Øª Ø£ÙˆØ±Ø§Ù‚ÙƒÙ…ØŒ Ø´Ùˆ Ù…Ø§ Ø¹Ù…Ù„ØªÙˆ Ø¨Ù„Ø´ Ø±Ø§Ø Ø£ØªØ¯Ù„Ùˆ: Ø§Ù„Ø¬Ù…Ø§Ø¹Ø© Ø¥ÙŠØ§Ù‡Ø§ ØªØ¹ÙˆÙ† Ø§Ù„Ù…ÙˆØ§Ù‚Ø¹ Ø§Ù„Ù…ÙˆØ¬Ù‡Ø©ØŒ Ù…Ø¹ Ø§Ù†Ùˆ Ø¨Ø¬ÙˆØ² Ø§Ù†ØªÙˆ Ù…Ø§Ø§Ù„ÙƒÙ… Ø¯Ø®Ù„ØŒ Ø¨Ø³ Ø³Ù…Ø¹Ø© Ùˆ Ø·Ù„Ø¹Øª
How come they’ve left you all alone in booz al madfa3?How come they didn’t blog or comment here?At least you have courage! Respect for that
Nasim, you are a great man,an honest one. But you’ve taken too many choices and wrong turns. Latelty?Takhbees. Sorry if this is the 4 same post,but it looks like I’m blocked?
@ Hamza Ata,
I am curious to know how you define the Islamists as opposition. To me I understand opposition is bound in electoral competition. Since we lack programmatic competition, I think the term opposition is blurry. What we have is no more than limited lobbying.
Not worthy of mentioning means that the guy didn’t want to brag about it, being genuine (in my opinion) and decided that there is nothing to discuss, not to report. This is a blog, not a news agency that people pay for their updates and get critical of its quality.
@ Ahmad Al-Sholi
That’s the definition :
In politics, the opposition comprises one or more political parties or other organized groups that are opposed to the government, party or group in political control of an city, region, state or country.
The above definition is 95% applies to the islamic movement in jordan .
Islamics has their own vision & program for jordan which 100% paradoxical to government vision & program.
Mohammed Omar is one of the best Long with kamel nserat, but I think those fall under the definition of Journalists, not bloggers per se.
Omar Shaheen, Ø²Ù„Ù…Ù‡ Ø¨Ù„Ø§Ø®Ù… Ù…Ù„Ø§Ø®Ù…Ù‡ØŒ ÙŠØ¹Ù†ÙŠ Ø²ÙŠ Ù…Ø§ ØªÙ‚ÙˆÙ„ Ø¨ØØ§ÙˆÙ„ ÙŠÙ‚Ù„Ø¯ Ø¨Ø³Ø§Ù… Ø¨Ø¯Ø§Ø±ÙŠÙ† Ø¨Ø³ Ù…Ø´ Ø²Ø§Ø¨Ø·Ø© Ù…Ø¹Ù‡..
Ø£Ù…Ø§ Ø£Ø³Ø§Ù…Ø© Ø§Ù„Ø±Ù…Ø Ù‡Ø§Ø¯ Ù‚ØµØ© Ù„ØØ§Ù„Ùˆ..Ø£ØØ³Ù† Ø¨Ù„ÙˆØ¬Ø± Ø¨Ø§Ù„Ø¹Ø§Ù„Ù… Ù…Ø±Ø© ÙˆØØ¯Ù‡ØŒ ÙŠØ¹Ù†ÙŠ ÙˆØ§Ù„Ù„Ù‡ Ø§Ø´ÙŠ Ø¨Ø¶ØÙƒ..ÙˆØ¨Ø¹Ø¯ÙŠÙ† Ø´Ùˆ Ø¬Ø§Ø¨ Ø·Ø² Ù„Ù…Ø±ØØ¨Ø§ØŸ ÙŠØ¹Ù†ÙŠ Ù…Ù† ÙƒÙ„ Ø¹Ù‚Ù„Ùƒ Ø¨ØªØØ· Ù…ØÙ…Ø¯ Ø¹Ù…Ø± ÙˆÙ†Ø³ÙŠÙ… Ø¨Ù†ÙØ³ Ø§Ù„Ù…Ø³ØªÙˆÙ‰ Ù…Ø¹ Ø£Ø³Ø§Ù…Ø© ØŸ Ù…Ø³ØªÙˆÙ‰ ÙƒØªØ§Ø¨Ø© ÙŠØµÙ„Ø Ù„Ù‡Ø§ÙˆÙŠ ÙÙŠ Ù…Ø¬Ù„Ø© Ù…Ø§Ø¬Ø¯! Ø§Ù„Ù‚Ø§Ø±Ø¦ Ø§Ù„ÙˆØ§Ø¹ÙŠ Ø¨ØØªØ§Ø¬ ÙƒØªØ§Ø¨Ù‡ Ø°ÙƒÙŠÙ‡ Ù…Ø´ ØµÙ ØÙƒÙ‰ Ø¹Ù„ÙØ§Ø¶ÙŠ..
Ø§Ù„Ù…ÙˆØ¶ÙˆØ¹ Ø£ØµØ¨Ø Ù…ÙˆØ¶ÙˆØ¹ ØºÙŠØ±Ù‡ Ù„Ø§ Ø£ÙƒØ«Ø± ÙˆÙ„Ø§ Ø£Ù‚Ù„.
3’eereh mn meen ya man ….
ana mosh modawen 3lashan a3’ar , b3dain sho hal sha3’aleh el 3a9’eemeh elly bdk el nas t3’ar menha . 7bibi ya man el fekra kanat enno laish 7’yar o faqoos , o laish el qe9a kant bel serr …????
ase2leh baddy jawabha mn naseem mosh menak o men 3’airak ….
You only know the names of the bloggers who attended therefore you cannot say that arabic bloggers were not invited..you only know who showed up to the meeting. Maybe Osama abu romoh was invited, who knows?
If you are a newspaper writer you’re not “only a blogger”
From my experience we have no real intelligent opposition bloggers …ÙÙŠ Ø¹Ù†Ø§ Ø±Ø¯Ø
this wasn’t front page news, maybe the PM wanted to leave el sabaq el sa7afi for the bloggers
maybe i like that boom boom pow
That’s the idea. Naseem said it wasn’t a big deal, so why do you keep coming back with the “why”? Also, how is it a secret if we all know about it? On the issue of Khyar wa faqoos, I am not sure what you are alluding to? But If I get it correctly, then I think I can safely say that the guys above don’t fall in or accept the khyar wa faqoos “classification”, they fight it and enable others to do the same.
Just because naseem is a tarawnah doesn’t mean that the guy is mad3oom or ” Ø¹Ø¸Ø§Ù… Ø§Ù„Ø±Ù‚Ø¨Ù‡” , if you will. It also must be hard for him to do what he does without being labeled or having his motives questioned. A last name can be a “bliss” and/or a curse. Give the guys some slack and direct your anger at the deserving entities and persons.
for the sake of good arguments that enrich discussions, stick to facts and crystal clear definitions. That is a vocabulary meaning of opposition, what I was trying to say that opposition exists only with competition.
then, 95%! why not 97%? How do you reach these numbers?
100% paradoxical? thats clueless anarchy and not political agenda. I assure you that they are not that paradoxical and they lobby for a share of the pie. Needless to say who is helping maintain the status quo in the unions, and who will be in approval of the new civil law related to minor marriages.
They have very good stands on some issues, and you know what, others do as well.
@Naser: first off, the impression that was given was that this was an off-the-record, casual meeting. there was no real agenda. there was no press. there was no photographer. the words “off the record” were uttered several times. the meeting was closed doors. i’ve been in enough of these situations to get when something is a casual off-the-record meeting.
we went in, he talked, we talked, we left. from my personal opinion, this isn’t newsworthy, and to say nothing of the fact that i have never blogged about meeting a long lost friend, or a tweetup or a funny taxi driver to my knowledge. maybe the last one. maybe. i can’t remember. but taxi drivers always have something interesting to say about the status quo. so you can’t blame a guy for that.
but there was nothing that i found substantive enough to write about here, and considering that’s partly what i do for a living i think my opinion may carry some weight here. just a little. why not substantive? because the things that were discussed, as outlined in mariam’s post, are things we all know, we’ve all heard and it’s not like we went in there and came out having achieved world peace. i think we all made the best of the opportunity to voice our concern over some sensitive issues, even though we were apparently there to talk more about social media.
and if there’s nothing for me to talk about, would you like me to follow in the footsteps of a typical jordanian journalist who would write about it just to brag about it. post a picture of myself and rifai in a bear hug? if i had written that post with nothing of substance to offer in it, then the result would be people saying “ah, shoof, he works for the government now…”
you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
so i’d rather not.
@Hamza: Regarding the names you mentioned, 3ala 3eini ou rasi, they’re great bloggers all in their own respect. But to answer your first question: THIS WASNT MY MEETING AND I WASNT RESPONSIBLE FOR CHOOSING WHO WENT. Please repeat this statement several times in your head before you write your next reply. I need you to be absolutely clear on that fact. I don’t arrange meetings for the Prime Minister of Jordan nor for Obama, Santa Clause or the Emperor of Japan. I was called, I was asked if I wanted to come, I accepted, and I went. I didn’t ask them to send me a PDF document outlining the selection criteria.
As for your other questions:
Why was the media “blocked”. Again, I didn’t organize this but i don’t think there was any “block”. Al Ghad did not get the news from some stellar investigative reporting. Zawareeb is the small pieces of news that are not newsworthy enough to be news. They are the things that get leaked, intentionally or otherwise. But this further goes to say that we were given the impression (or at least I was) that this was an informal off-the-record meeting, which is no different than the overwhelming majority of meetings taking place in government. We were not “ordered” not to write, nor were we chained to the wall and whipped. but as a writer and someone who’s worked in journalism, when someone tells me something is off the record I have to respect it. It is unethical to do otherwise. Especially if one is hoping that more meetings like this can take place and more people can get invited. Why burn a perfectly good bridge just to let everyone know you meet the PM.
@Devil’s Advocate: Yes, you’re right. Other bloggers may have been invited and didn’t or couldn’t attend. I am only aware of those who did.
1) you are not blocked, no. i think you tried pressing the submit button too many times and my spam filter thought it was spam. that, coupled with your use of different IPs to post the same message, doesn’t help.
2) i think 7iber was invited as a single entity. but again, i don’t know. i didn’t make any choices other than choosing to attend.
3) regarding the US trip. it was indeed funded by the state department. i declared that right at the beginning of that particular post for full disclosure. again, it’s not a secret if you’ve read about it. i was called by the embassy’s press office. i looked over the trip and the program and felt it was beneficial, thus accepted. don’t know what this has to do with anything though.
4) “The Eng-turned journalist”…i guess i know who you’re referring to, but that’s a question best posed to that person, not me. either way, i don’t seen how it’s relevant to this discussion.
5) i’ve never been to a youth camp in my life. and what “lady who keeps calling” are you talking about? is this some dream you had? are you describing a dream?
6) Regarding the bloggers picked, putting aside for the 100th time that i was not responsible for inviting anyone, I’m going to remind you that I can’t stand slander or insults. If you’re purpose is to insult other bloggers just because you don’t like them or don’t like what they have to offer, then go do it somewhere else. preferably in the bathroom where you can keep it to yourself. it’s definitely not welcome here. You want to have an exchange or a dialog, fine. You want to insult people, go somewhere else.
7) “So you all decided not to blog because you thought:3adi,the PM office called us and PM met us for 2hrs, it happens to every JO so that it is very 3adi???”…first of all if wasn’t 2 hours. it was 1 hour and 10 minutes. Second of all, that wasn’t the line of thinking. The line of thinking has been detailed above. I’m pretty sure you have some basic form of language comprehension, so I’ll leave you to it.
8) “This is a blow to the e-media in Jordan. This is a set backâ€¦” really? THIS is a set back? we live in a region where sites are blocked, news is filtered, laws to censor are created and implemented, bloggers, writers, internet activists are jailed…to say nothing of unemployment, conflict, poverty, and the fact that the average Jordanian makes less than 500jds a month…And THIS is a set back?
9) Of course my blog isn’t objective. It’s not a newspaper. It’s a personal blog. It’s SUPPOSED to be subjective. As for “the media u guys operate”, I think you mean 7iber? The content is created by the people, so our objectivity doesn’t really come in to play. And I don’t see how either of those things come in to play here.
10) I don’t see many people standing behind you, so maybe you should put the pitchfork down and take a few steps back.
see, here’s where this gets interesting…the more your comments reveal a personal slant, the more your comments drive towards some bone you have to pick with me or other people that i know and i consider dear friends – the more you come off as, well, not credible.
slandering people is never a good strategy.
it just forces everyone to question your motives.
@ Ahmad el sholi :
by following ur definition then there is no opposition in Egypt , Tunis , Thailand, and almost 70% Of 3rd world countries , opposition means that u r against & opposite to government policies that’s it …
@Devil’s advocate :
If they have been invited then they would write about it after all this noise , at least i know that mohammad omar hasn’t been invited as he wrote….
To finish this nihilist debate i just want to say:
1- i have no personal thing with you , i don’t know u .
2- in Jordan when PM go to WC it’s a news ,then people should ask and wonder the secrecy thing…
“at least i know that mohammad omar hasnâ€™t been invited as he wroteâ€¦.”
actually, you know that piece of information because his name wasn’t mentioned in the paper…
“in Jordan when PM go to WC itâ€™s a news ,then people should ask and wonder the secrecy thingâ€¦”
and do you think this is a good thing? that it’s considered news because he went to the WC or because he took his kids to the movies? you think it’s a good thing that these pieces of news occupy the first 3 pages of our media? when none of it is substantive news?
im not a blogger who reports…i offer a commentary or an opinion when i have one about an issue. i had none concerning this specific issue until people read about it in the paper and started calling it “a secret meeting”….as if literacy is a gift to the few…
I want to second Mohannad’s note on 7iber and the Black Iris. Probably the two most important blogs in Jordan, and the fact that they have something (or someone) in common says a lot too.
On another note, to “mafsoom,” I think you couldn’t have picked a better name in this discussion. It really fits with the double standards you’ve been applying here in this silly interrogation of yours. As if Naseem (or any of the other bloggers) has to answer any of your questions. If you’re trying to imply that these guys are involved in wasta or anything of the sort, then try to grow the balls to ask the real people who should answer questions like yours: the government. Don’t go around hiding behind a screen name trying to dig your nose in people’s private business.
And who are you to call someone like Mohammad Al-Qaq “no one”? At least he is courageous enough to put his name behind his work, unlike you, hiding behind an anonymous screen name. And what a screen name!! “Mafsoom.”
Seriously Naseem, why did you even bother answering this guy?
Perhaps there is compelling commentary in the uneventful and uninteresting. Eight bloggers walk into the prime ministry are eight individual accounts and subjective POVs perhaps. Eight voices. Even if one of them was commentary about the local art or lack of on the walls, or how much electricity is consumed in the building, or what not to do when you invite bloggers to such a meeting 🙂
This meet and outcome may not be important to you, and clearly from what’s being shared, it doesn’t seem to be important to anyone on either side, and yes the urgent priority list differs, however bloggers & citizen journalists can help on how the conversation and action towards priorities can be shifted/evolved. A considerable portion of our challenges can be better handled through improved communication at all levels. One of the most important achievements of TBI & 7iber, the way I see these places, is that you are leading by example on such a convo. A group of bloggers meeting with PM is a good opportunity to lead.
In a comment to @mafsoom you say that you were under the impression meet was off record. Curious to know why you made that assumption? A group that has a wide open attitude to dialog surely assumes the opposite unless specifically informed otherwise….
This is verging on the ridiculous. The meeting was organised by the PM’s office, who also was in charge of the guest list, and the guys who get blamed for the choice of guests are the bloggers? Come on, guys…
As for secrecy: I read about it in the Jordan Times, of all places. So what’s the secret?
Nas,, I have to say something here, you are accusing Mafsoom3of insults but at the same time you are practicing and advocating the same and that’s what you wrote “Iâ€™m pretty sure you have some basic form of language comprehension, so Iâ€™ll leave you to it.”, we all make mistakes, in matter of facts our queen and king have speech writer not only editors.
@FRUAMP: “Seriously Naseem, why did you even bother answering this guy?” because the opposite would be worse.
@Nadine: again, to repeat myself, there was no press. it was a closed door meeting. the words “off the record” were uttered several times throughout. they wanted to keep it an informal meeting of the minds, and it is an overall attempt to host more of these meetings. so the purpose of it wasn’t to report but to exchange ideas and thoughts in order to begin turning to wheels for future meetings, hopefully with a wider spectrum of bloggers. that was the atmosphere and I respected that.
i agree with you about conversation building, but this is hopefully the start. again, if the government wants to pursue a bridge of communication, what good comes out of me blabbing about it and setting that bridge on fire before we even start building it? what good is the conversation if it’s the last one we have?
Ù„Ø£Ø±Ø¯Ù†ÙŠ Ø§Ù„ØØ±: first off, the quoted statement was not an insult but a fact. if the person is able to read, i shouldn’t have to repeat myself over and over, with the same answer to the same question. second of all, more often than not, your links have absolutely nothing to do with the conversation taking place. of course the king and queen have speech writers. practically every public speaker has had a speech writer since the 2nd century. how is this news? and more importantly, what does it have to do with what’s being discussed here?
Well it’s good to know the PM meets with bloggers. It’s a very positive first step towards the recognition and accomplishments of bloggers and electronic news portal have had on Jordanian Society.
Furthermore inshallah this will create awareness not only in Jordan but across the Middle East region that there is huge potential for online business.
Best of luck Naz
Didn’t assume that commentary or POV necessarily meant blabbing your mouth off, but if that’s how you put it, ok. Meanwhile, how weird that it was asked to be off record.
So the meeting about nothing, that was unimportant and unclear to all was strategized to be off record then ended up being slapped around on a couple blogs.
That went well!
@Yazan: I agree and I hope so too.
@Nadine: I think you may be over-exaggerating this a bit. It was an informal meeting to exchange ideas and introduce each other. No more no less. To their credit, they didn’t want to run the risk of turning it in to another typical photo-op to say “the prime minister met with bloggers and he’s so progressive”. I think they were serious about trying to make this a somewhat frequent event as opposed to a hit-and-run press grab.
and yes, in the absence of substantive commentary or POV, there’s nothing left but blabbing.
Opposition is different than an opposing act. In an opposition, you politically avoid agreeing with the government for the kind of election tactics you are playing. An opposing act is what we have, which many perform on different levels, and the muslim brotherhood practices it with other approving acts.
that’s the link from his blog ….o seebak mn ne9’am 3anzeh walw 6arat …..
@Ahmad Al-sholi :
What do u name the one who is making the “opposing act”…?
and if they called them self opposition and opposing government almost in 90% of policies….
if you think that china doesn’t exist & insist that there is noting called china but there is just Chinese people and Chinese acts then it’s your problem not our ….
Interesting how you attributed on the record to formal media controlled by gov. And the absence of press/photographer to off record comm.
Off topic, kind of, not really, also interesting… Mark Zuckerberg studied psychology.
Here’s a great piece of advice; never argue with idiots, they will simply bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. Personally, I do not see the need to point out as to who those might be regarding some replies to this particular blog entry. I believe their comments speak for themselves 😉
Have a nice day,
– Don’t turn it into:You got some beef with us,your motives are questioned.You still has not addressed major issues
– Again who is this TED?A random American who settled in Jordan and started a website out of his pocket? Sorry ya3ni,it’s too much
– Most of your posts are constructive criticism, you have never gone completely free in saying what’s obvious,it’s either because you are scared to cross the RED LINES, or you are pleasing your masters,in both cases,it’s the reality of how things are done.
– Why I would not be surprised that in 10 years or so,we will see one of the names mentioned
(especially that their last names are cool enough) in an official post?Again the excuse will be:You know the opportunity presented itself,it was good,I thought I’ll bring change from the inside blah blah blah.
-Not having many people supporting me,is not representative since it’s the internet. I think you even mentioned about this thing when it comes to ammon news comments. People are scared to comment onthe blog of a goverment’s pet blogger.
Say what you want,choosing not to blog about the meeting till it was EXPOSED and not published,sums it all.
So what job are you eying? Don’t go for the ministry of misinformation,a minister’s salary is not lucrative as much as the dewan,or a conduit media outlet like Alghad or Alrai.
No personal beef,just disappointment by you,thought you were not an opportunist.
@Nadine: Im attributing the off’-the-comment to the fact that it was emphasized several times and yes, there were no cameras or press or anyone reporting it. again, having been in enough interviews, i adhere and respect off/on the record rules as it impacts credibility.
yes, it seems rather personal when you turn from inquiring about a meeting in to questioning the personal lives of people.
TED who? I don’t know who TED is either.
umm, is there a third option?
in my defence, i think constructive criticism is actually a good thing. you make it sound like a person has to either insult people or they’re just no good at all. if you’re just offering criticism, if you’re just casting stones, if you’re just looking to destroy, then what good are you.
my only master is God, and when I was younger it was He-Man, who, as we all know, is the master of the universe but not sure which one.
putting the wasta issue that you point out between brackets aside, i’m not sure what’s wrong with a government job? i understand that corruption often breeds in government, as it does in all sectors of society and industry for that matter, but to damn all people working in that field? there are many who believe that they are working to create change from the inside. Whether they are capable, able or even just plain naive, doesn’t make them corrupt.
personally, i’m not a huge fan of government work, and see the private and civil society sectors having greater impact on the country’s development.
once again, i have no idea what you are referring to here nor its relevancy to this back-and-forth. i’m afraid we’ll end up debating which is better, an ipad or a kindle. can we stick to something relevant.
secondly, i don’t think such fears genuinely exist anymore since people, such as yourself, can use aliases and anonymous names, and leave a comment. and if i was the government’s pet blogger, i dont think you’d see any of that constructive criticism you talked about a few moments ago. it would just be plain old praise. isn’t that how it’s usually done?
i don’t think it does, but it’s hard to have a discussion with someone who decides that their opinion, and their perspective alone, “sums it all” up. i am simply offering MY perspective as someone who was there, no more and no less. whether you choose to believe me or not is up to you. but don’t make up conspiracy theories and accuse me or anyone i know of things, just because your original point fails to stand on its own two feet.
lastly, an “opportunist” is someone who selfishly takes advantage of a situation to their own benefit. in this regard, for me to be an opportunist, i would have violated ethical media standards just to blog/brag about attending a meeting with the prime minister. i did the exact opposite. so how am i opportunistic again?