A recent study on Jordanian newspapers showed that there is in fact a lack of local political news coverage. This comes out to be 24 per cent of the newspapers’ space devoted to local political news. Whereas regional politics received the highest amount of coverage at 39 per cent, followed by international politics at 37 per cent.
In other words, we are more interested in what’s happening in Palestine and Iraq as opposed to our own backyard.
Or perhaps what’s happening there is actually more interesting than what’s happening in our own backyard. Now usually when an event occurs we as human beings begin our political rantings and there’s no doubt that in the past 2 weeks since the bombings in Amman, many Jordanians have been on a political high and it’s evident from the many blogs at Jordan Planet. You could probably see something similar to that when Iraq was invaded back in 2003 had enough Jordanian bloggers been around then.
While there are many reasons which have been discussed and debated by everyone, and I believe everyone’s opinion played a role; an element in the overall environment, but I think there is a noticable culprit at hand. In a Jordan Planet meet up in June I said out loud that most Jordanians do not have a political opinion to begin with, and so like a student who hasn’t studied the night before, they sit in the back and hope the teacher doesn’t call on them. I was only scratching the surface back then I suppose.
This genuine disinterest comes from the fact that politics has become truly unsexy in Jordan. Yes, it’s true. Our politics is dominated by constant change in governments, the lack of noticable reforms, and more of the same old same old. It’s almost like the Bold and the Beautiful (which I don’t watch) where you can tune in 5 years from now and practically pick up where you left off without missing a beat. Predictable. Does anyone remember when Lebanese took to the streets and protested the Harriri assassination less than a year ago? Beautiful young women with long wavy blonde hair, fresh from Beurit salons. It was sexy, the world paid attention, we paid attention. We practically ignored the other Lebanese (shiites) who protested or Egyptian protests a few weeks later and even when Kuwaiti women protested their right to vote (which they got by the way). But the Lebanese were youthful, energetic and sexy.
And not to say that Lebanese politics is superior because that high has died down, but it marketed itself very well back in March of 2005, and sex sells. Jordanian politics is not sexy in the sense that we don’t have that energy. Why? Perhaps it’s like a rerun on tv, you’re only willing to watch the episode so many times before you’ve memorised every line and you turn it off.
Perhaps we need sexier elements…another terrorist attack? an assassination? a conspiracy gone public? a war? maybe more low key like a popular strike? a sit-in? something with flare, something with pizzazz, something that reeks of a strong political aroma.
While other bloggers in other Arab countries (Bahrain for one) have bloggers being threatened and even jailed. While some Arab countries block sites and restrict Internet access and freedom of information. While these bloggers belong to nations which have far less interesting things going on in their political world. We should not waste this oppertunity.
The point, or rather the answer to the eternal and maddening neo-shakespearean question of "to talk or not to talk" as Lina once asked, is that we are a rare generation folks. We are at a point in history when two things are happening, the majority of our population is under 30 years old, the other old people are about to all die, the country is on an IV of reform that will result in a new atmosphere in Jordan, effecting none other than us and our children. So I guess it’s on us to make things "sexy" before we get old and artheritis renders us unable to type (or they invent something better than the Internet which none us can understand and have to have our children explain it to us in vain).
And while everyone has their own thing going on at their own blog and I truly respect that diversity and falvour, don’t see politics as something not worth talking about. You don’t need political credentials to talk politics (unless you’re going to say something really absurd, then you need at least a bachlors degree), but the reality of it is if it’s effecting you, if it’s effecting other people in your society, blog it. If you think no one knows about it, spread the word (I promise to trackback). If you just want to vent or rant about it, do so. It’s on us.
On the right is the opposition in Lebanon and on the left, the one in Jordan