A Question Of Censorship

(Disclaimer: The following is a rant. Itâ??s quite long because I ramble on like this in real life as well. If youâ??re one of those people who will read the first few lines, decide they know my position and then argue with me in the comment section, then at least read the last two paragraphs to know where I truly stand on the matter. In truth, the purpose of this rant is best defined in the third to last paragraph. The last two I included simply because without them people would make assumptions. Thanks)

Well a big issue on the Jordanian blogosphere lately has been about censorship. Mainly a recent edition of VIVA Magazine which ran articles on Gays in Jordan and women and their vaginas, which was soon pulled off the market.

The main concern has centered not on Gays or vaginas (a winning combination) but rather censorship. The main idea being that by removing it from our sights the powers-that-be are hoping we’ll just ignore it and it will eventually go away.

Another argument seems to center around there being absolute freedom of speech with no restrictions (or punishment) in the country. Something which has been tested time and time again in Jordan and only recently with 2 editors who published the religiously offensive Danish cartoons a few months ago.

I’m a student of politics; a student of public policy. And more importantly I’m very pro-freedom of speech in Jordan because I know my politics and I don’t see any progress in my country taking place without public accountability via the media. But that’s just me and I could be wrong and with that in mind please consider the following rant:

Gays: I’m aware the issue exists in Jordan (as do vaginas apparently). We didn’t exactly invent the concept of homosexuality and this censored article isn’t exactly making a scientific discovery so let’s not pretend it is.

My beef isn’t with what the articles say or don’t say, my opinion on these matters is my own. What I’m concerned with is two things: action and reaction.

If we’re publishing articles about gays and vaginas or any thing else, we usually have to cater to an audience. So this begs the question: are Jordanians accepting of these issues? If not, does that mean they are a backwards people who don’t know any better and therefore the enlightened minority of our society should take it upon itself to force the rest of them to see things their way? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.

If the overwhelming majority of Jordanians find Danish cartoons mocking their religion offensive, should we remove them? If the overwhelming majority of Jordanians find the Da Vinci Code offensive to their religion should we ban it? The main answer to this is that it will only encourage people to see the movie, look for the cartoons, read the book et cetera. I’ve said that before on this very blog and it’s a valid point. On the other hand, letâ??s not kid ourselves; these moves are in large part political. Whether people do see the movie or read the book was not the point behind banning it or censoring it. The government knows people will watch The Da Vinci Code, especially when it’s banned, and so do the Council of Churches who asked for its banning. Neither is naive. But there’s politics to be made here, there’s catering to be done.

The advent of the Internet has changed certain realities about information. Heck, Emad Hajjaj has a whole section of censored/unpublished cartoons on his site for all to see. Jordanian bloggers have been talking about everything that by now would land a lot of people in jail. Oh and if you think the powers-that-be don’t monitor your blogs you are highly mistaken; take my word for it.

The rules are different with the Internet. The government discriminates, or to use a euphemism, it has the ability to differentiate between the two different parts of our society. In the simplest terms we have the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated, the upper and the lower class, and above all those with access and those without. The issues I or others blog about are not disseminated through the channels we would like them to be. Picture a pinball machine where the little silver ball never goes anywhere really, it just bounces back and forth between the walls; contained.

But newspapers and magazines; well that’s a different story. Anyone can just walk to a bookstore and purchase one and so information disseminated through those mediums is still dangerous.

(This is a rant so forgive the incoherency of my thoughts, I’m rambling in the order of which the thoughts enter my brain)

The question I was posing earlier was basically about what’s acceptable and what’s not. Many people are angry about the censorship of these articles in VIVA magazine but what does the majority think?

I kind of laughed at the imagery conjured up in the article on vaginas; a line of panties. A suitable metaphor for airing out of one’s laundry; I’m sure it was a deliberate use of images. But do we want that. I am speaking as a collective. If we polled the entire nation what would the response be? Should we be talking about these things? Is the point to simply expose the issue so that people can consider it? We’ve considered it, now what? Where do go from here? And if the majority of Jordanians agree with the move to censor such articles what do we do about it?

I’m just asking the questions here; those reading them can answer them on their own.

The main argument though is that you cannot fix a problem until you acknowledge it and by censoring it you are ignoring it but it won’t go away. Which leads me to wonder if what gays, vaginas, Da Vinci, and Danish cartoons have in common is that they’re all “problems” that need to be solved? The other main argument is that you can’t have freedom of speech and place restrictions on it. Well sure you can. In fact it’s done in every country in the world. It’s called the law. And even in the most progressive nations on this planet, the battle for freedom of speech is being fought in the courts; between the law of the land and the protection of constitutional rights. The reason it’s there is to protect people (and politicians, but mostly people).

There’s the old cliché of democracy being what the majority wants but the majority doesn’t know what’s good for it. Is that true? Let us make the bold assumption that the intention behind an article on gays was for people to consider the issue of homosexuality (although after reading it I felt the intention was otherwise). Let us make the second assumption that the majority of people don’t want to consider it. Does this mean the majority is wrong? Again, I don’t know. I’d like to believe that people know what they want and know what they’re doing but that would be a bad assumption. It’s the reason direct democracy never worked; imagine thousands of Athenians crowding into their town halls centuries and centuries ago, all of them screaming to be heard, Plato and Aristotle caught in the mob’s stampede. So the Greeks felt representative democracy was the way to go; less bloody.

You don’t know what’s good for you. Our parents tell us this when we’re younger. When we reach their age our governments tell us the same. But doesn’t that section of society that feels they know better do that as well?

These are all questions that come to mind; my mind. I didn’t want to write a post where I talked strictly of my opinion on matters; I wanted to approach this subject by posing political and sociological questions for people to consider. We all have our opinions on the matter, sometimes we jump the gun because we’ve come to define what we believe in and those beliefs often crystallize without the chance for further considerations and there are always further considerations. There are always exceptions to all the rules and all the beliefs which we believe in; always. These are all questions which we should debate and this is the time in history to do that; especially our history.

Do you want to hear my opinion on this whole issue about censoring gays and vaginas? Jordan is situated between Israel, Palestine and Iraq. It has little to no natural resources. The majority of our country can’t afford to feed their families the way they deserve let alone buy 3 JD magazines. 30% of the country is unemployed, or barely employed. Most workers and most of the country make the equivalent of $133 a month. A great deal of the country has families sleeping side by side in the winter with a leaky gas heater that leads to their suffocation because they can’t afford anything better. I think there is corruption everywhere to be found and no one is holding anyone accountable. I think no progress will ever be made until that happens. I think people are reckless when it comes to their environment and the protection of it. I think we still have women being killed over honour or lack there of. And I think that hundreds of intelligent students graduate every year and can’t find jobs.

So do you want to know what I think? I think gays and vaginas are the least of our “problems”. And I think the censorship of such articles isn’t even in the same galaxy as the importance of censorsing politically related articles, which upon considering the state of our nation, I feel personify the ultimate form of freedom of speech that is needed today. Which leads me to pose the only question in this entire rant which I really really don’t know the answer to: why are we more concerned with the former than the latter? Again, these last two paragraphs are just my own take on the issue. The main point of this post which is more relevant for discussion are the questions posed throughout it. I end with this statement now for the sake of concerning ourselves more with the discussion of those questions rather than the dissection of my personal opinion, which in the context of it all is more or less irrelevant.


  • Nas: That is a cop out. The question to be considered is whether you agree with censorship. To say that in this case it is not important suggests that 1) you agree with censorship when you don’t personally agree with the content and 2) people shouldn’t complain about it (because there are more “important things to worry about”.

    But who get to decide what is important or not? And why is importance a yardstick in the first place?

  • Khalaf, you’re refering to my opinion in the last two paragraphs right?

    1) I don’t believe in censorship…in this case I don’t agree with the content but I don’t believe it should be censored.

    2) People can complain about whatever they want, that is not the final question which I was asking.

    3) Who gets to decide? People, logic, what have you. Can we honestly say that an article about gays being censored is more important, or demands more attention, than an article discussing the censoring of an article which addressed much larger concerns?

    4) Importance leads to priorities. Do we not have the ability to prioritise our social concerns? If not…then we’re in bigger trouble than I thought 😀

  • Nas: Everybody has different priorities. I started to read the articles, and got bored after the second line. The issues covered are not important to me. However, who am I to say that people shouldn’t write and read what they want?

    Censorship is a slippery slope. The argue that it is acceptable if the issue is “unimportant” is dangerous. The censored topic may be unimportant, but censorship is.

  • Khalaf, lol are you skipping over what I’m saying? 😀

    censorship is very important but can we deny it’s relation to what is being censored and if people deem it important or not? this goes back again to questions about the rule of the majority. and do we not have national priorities in this time in our history? I’m not saying people shouldn’t read it and people shouldn’t write it, I’m saying other things have been censored and we don’t nearly give them as much attention. That is what is important.

  • You see, you are approaching the issue the wrong way. Instead of decrying censorship in general, you resign to the fact and say that since it is practiced, then this is less important than other cases.

    Rule of the majority can easily become dictatorship of the majority. I am not fond of that thought. Democracy needs free dissemination of ideas to work. Thus, despite the concept of majority rule, democracy and censorship are incompatible.

    Take care.

  • Khalaf, this is what I’m getting at! a discussion of these concepts. I’m not offering answers dude, you can read the whole post again if you have the time and energy. I’m looking for a discussion of these questions of concepts. Questions about democracy, censorship, soveriegnty etc. That is the point of the post.

    as for my opinion, im against censorship (i feel like im repeating myself), but it does happen and it shouldn’t, in all shapes and forms. however since it does shouldn’t we be analyzing what is being censored, its importance, and its relevancy? does that not deserve a discussion?

    as for the question of compatibility, democracy and censorship play together all the time, even in the states. so it’s not necessarily a question of compatibility, it’s a question of whether democracy can still function despite censorship.

    as for rule of the majority becoming a dictatorship of the majority, isn’t that essentially what it always comes down to? there always needs to be someone in the minority and they will always view it as a dictatorship.

  • Thanks for a thoughtful post.

    When you write:

    “If we polled the entire nation what would the response be? Should we be talking about these things? Is the point to simply expose the issue so that people can consider it? Weâ??ve considered it, now what? Where do go from here? And if the majority of Jordanians agree with the move to censor such articles what do we do about it?”

    A main point about censorship vs. freedom of speech is, of course, that if you don’t agree with something being said or some things considered in certain newspapers, books and magazines, don’t read them, don’t buy them – but that’s no reason to complain about their existence or about other people buying or reading them.

    That goes for both political and moral issues. You’re right that being able to speak about politics, corruption etc. may be more important for the concept of freedom of speech than the “extravagances” of the rich, but this form of argument is a very slippery slope: It could be reduced to:

    Why do we need this form of “un-nice” or horrid art in this time of need, so why would we defend it if it’s banned? This could be used to justify censorship like that suffered by the poet Shelley due to his political views (other examples abound).

    It may be easy for me as a liberal European from a (at least once, alas!) relatively liberal country to talk like this, and you do have a point when pointing out that many Jordanians have other things to think about than Gays or Lesbians (or poetry or erotic art).

    However, the very strict norms of the European 19th century were originally challenged at a time where the European populations were not really more prosperous (less, actually, if anything!) than the average Jordanian today, and for the better I think. I think the articles that were removed were a part of a push for more freedom of speech originating in a WISH for more freedom of speech in some parts of Jordanian society, including yourself and most Jordanian bloggers of course;

    a less important part than the direct push for freedom of speech in the political sense, but a part all the same.

    Greetings from Denmark …

  • Carsten, very interesting points, and I’m glad to know I have readers from Denmark! 😀

    It could be reduced to: Why do we need this form of â??un-niceâ? or horrid art in this time of need, so why would we defend it if itâ??s banned? This could be used to justify censorship like that suffered by the poet Shelley due to his political views (other examples abound).

    yes, that is a very valid arguement. however if we make the assumption that a particular topic is printed in a newspaper which not only do most people disagree with it but find it offensive, does the paper not pull the article in order to cater to the majority of demands? does the same assumption not apply to the broader theme of things within a society and/or collective which has drawn lines of what it deems acceptable and what it deems unacceptable?

    It is an interesting topic and you’re right about the slippery slope. But I’ve always seen slippery slopes as part of a mountain in the sense that there is always more than one side. If we censor one thing, what’s to stop us from censoring another thing, and another thing? Where do we draw the line? If things go uncensored what’s to stop us from breaking all the red lines society has laid down? Art, as you mentioned, has always been an issue societies have struggled with, in regards to censorship. Today eroticism is a norm in the arts. The slope here leads us to pornography (which is more or less a psuedo-art) and maybe eventually it will get to a point where kiddie porn is deemed an acceptable art form.

    when you censor, there are lines to draw and when you don’t censor there are lines to draw. or perhaps in both cases rather lines to protect.

    thank you for your comment 🙂

  • Nas, if we start considering the importance of the censored issues; aren’t we:

    a) accepting censorship as a matter of fact?
    b) trying to find justifications and making up excuses to those practicing censorship?
    c) becoming a part of the denial ourselves?

    A debate took place on my blog today regarding the exact same issue and feel free to read if you have the time and desire to do that .. http://anolita.jeeran.com/mind/archive/2006/5/49929.html

    I do not believe in censorship and I believe that these “problems” as you refer to them are very important from a sociological aspect … as these matters play a major role in defining one’s personality and hence existence and contribution to community …

    People are the base and cornerstone of this community .. if it is corrupted and shaky .. how would the whole community be?

    These are thoughts to be debated if you like ..

  • Khalidah, you make some very valid points here. Let’s look at some angles here…

    1) However are we accepting censorship as a matter of fact, or acknowledging censorship as a matter of fact? There is an obvious difference between accepting it and acknowledging it.

    2) this is an excellent point, which leads one to think of who is doing the censoring and on whose behalf are they acting and do those people approve of their action or not.

    3) i dont quite understand this one, but I think you mean by considering if what is censored is actually important/relevant then we will become part of a denial?

    yes you’re right, these matters do play that major role in defining who we are and that’s why I wanted to take this oppertunity to raise these questions. the discussion is necessary, we can’t just take it all for granted and be “anti” for the sake of being “anti”.

  • Nas, when I said that we will become part of the denial .. it is the blind that we place on our eyes and think by doing so we are invisible …

    When issues (regardless of content) are being censored .. I believe that those who use (or abuse) the authority to censor them are afraid of acknowledging them and the “Oh my God, it IS true” syndrome .. so they choose to be in denial but they force us to go along in the process .. because they blocked the facts or hid them or whatever they do to keep people from accessing information.

    So if we start questioning the motives behind the censoring, aren’t we adopting the same mentality with which they censored to begin with?

    To me, anything that concerns people and community .. is of paramount importance .. and it is upon intellectual educated sophisticated individuals to stand up once and for all and do some changes .. after all .. if you do what you always did .. you will get what you always got!!!

    Change is the key .. so lets start with things we can change or influence .. then move on to things that are more challenging .. so lets pave the road to future by doing little things that make a big difference!

  • Khalidah, I dont completely agree with that first part. A lot of the political moves come by way of social protest or influential protest, I’ve actually seen some of this process work. It’s where tribal leaders, or organizations or other elements of influence make a few phone calls and manage to get something like this “done”.

    More importantly, whether it’s the powers-that-be or the general society, no one is wearing a blindfold afraid of accepting reality, that’s more of an assumption. Everyone knows there are gays in Jordan and censoring an article so “people dont find out about it” is like banning da vinci code and not expecting people to watch it. (this too is an assumption but I think it’s a more accurate reflection of our society, at least based on what i’ve observed)

    I’m with change but I do acknowledge there needs to be a discussion about what we want to change into or where we want to head, what direction? What do we want to preserve and what do we need to abandon. And as for “intellectual educated sophisticated individuals” they cannot lead a society in a direction it does not want to go in. Like a shepard trying to move his flock to cross a river, he believes they’ll survive the crossing and the sheep believe they are being steered towards drowning. 🙂

  • But you know for a fact the river is shallow, and they wonâ??t drown, and you know the grass and their better life are across the river, will you still stay with what the majority of the sheep decide, or encourage them, always try your best to convince them, pass the river in front them? And you know the fact that itâ??s better for them

    All believe me, â??google trendsâ? is working like hell, it shows us all Arabic Islamic countries having major problems related to our taboos, I wonâ??t go to tell you what some really awful results showed. But denying these problems will only make them worse, and standing still is not the best solution. We are not those so immature sensitive fragile societies that we are afraid from publishing an article about LGBT because it will shock us, no we are not when we know that we are the worldâ??s major searchers for a term such as â??boy gayâ? over the internet, itâ??s a fact. Parents will be shocked to know this, well, let them be shocked and know the truth, they will survive. The majority doesnâ??t want this, well, whenever any majority did want a change! Itâ??s always the leaders who are standing for change and trying to convince the majority, in which they follow gradually, so at least letâ??s not silence the voices which are calling for change.

    If we are even making a big debate from two small articles talking in a normal respective way, then what change we are seeking for!

  • Nas, aren’t leaders supposed to take the responsibility and “lead” the people??

    What makes a leader .. a leader? Isn’t it the vision and the ability to lead from the front? which is a better scenario? A shepard knowing exactly what he is getting into as he approaches the river and knows as well that the sheep are quite capable of crossing without drowning, so all he needs to do is motivate them and lead by example by crossing the river himself in front of them to reassure them that it is OK … or sheep trying to cross the river because they are afraid of something behind them and they recognize the danger .. but their shepard is wearing his denial sunglasses and believes that the sheep are paranoid and there is no such dangers, hence stop them and blocks them from crossing?

    As uncomfortable as I am with the shepard and sheep metaphor, but I am trying to make a point here!

    When things are being censored (and I am not talking solely about LGBT issues) .. isn’t it possible that the shepards (censors) are in denial themselves and refuse to recognize the obvious that the sheep (the rest of us) are trying to point out?

    I know I am rambling .. but I think this is a valid discussion and we should pay more attention to the changes that are taking place on daily basis … now with the high exposure to media outlets .. people have access to almost everything .. but what if the sources they are going to are not the right ones, which is the case almost always .. in this case, isn’t it better that we come up with our own sources where we customize them to our religion and culture so that they don’t cause extreme shock in the community?

    I think that our people are kind of lost … they are swaying between extremes and not able to place their feet on the ground because:
    a) there might be no ground underneath them to begin with or at least they can’t see it
    b) the ground is shaky and unstable so standing on it might cause more damage to them than swaying in the air
    c) they might be able to see the ground but don’t see a spot where they can place themselves comfortably

    What should be done in this case? people need guidance .. period

    The question is, how to qualify leaders and trust their vision?

  • Khalidah, there was a shelf life associated with that metaphor, but who assigned us shepards? was there an election where the majority voted in a handful of people to lead the rest of society in a particular direction that I wasn’t aware of? what if 15% of our society wants to legalise drugs, should we say this 15% has the vision and forethought of leaders and should therefore lead the rest of society?

    also, when it comes to this particular issue, was it the government that censored or was it the publishers of the magazine?

    as for paying attention to the changes and customizing issues to suit our social needs, I couldn’t agree with you more. however is this what we’re trying to do here? the question which begs itself is whether we are pushing for a discussion of the issue or an acceptance of it. my personal take on this article in particular was that it sought out acceptance which is something that will never happen in Jordan, at least not in this century and that’s not because there’s a lack of leadership.

    the reason people are swaying between extremes is because they are being pulled there. the westernization of Jordan has meant an unprecedented rapid influx of information and a shifting of social paradigms that is operated by agents from within. what happens to a body when you inject it with a high dosage of medicine? it goes in to shock I suppose, it shuts down to protect itself. This is what is happening today. People are forced to shift all the way to the right even though they were not positioned there before. They are forced to because the elements of the far left are coming at them at full speed and the impact is that of a belly flop dive. This is why we are fighting two extremes. This is why there’s a retreat to higher, and safer, ground.

    as for leaders…leaders require followers. without the support of the latter the former is just a person screaming into a megaphone with no audience to hear. it’s Moses, walking in the desert, alone.

  • My opinion on leaders,Leaders make followers, NOT require followers, leaders lead, means they are not standing in the same position with the majority, leaders share different vision than the majority or else they will not lead them to anywhere, leaders are not perfect nor their future plans will be, but they are trying to make a change for the better. Leaders influence for a change, Leaders are not leaders anymore when they think no change is needed.

    Nas, â??what if 15% of our society want to legalize drugs, should we say this 15% has the vision and forethought of leaders and should therefore lead the rest of society? â??

    I will stand against them, knowing this legalization will harm the society, and thus will harm me as a part of this society based on my own believe that drugs will cause addictions, loss of concentrations, loss of productivity, mental suffering, illness and domestic violence.

    â??what if 85% of our society want to legalize drugs, should we say this 85% has the vision and forethought of leaders and should therefore lead the rest of society? â??

    I will stand against them, knowing this legalization will harm the society, and thus will harm me as a part of this society based on my own believe that drugs will cause addictions, loss of concentrations, loss of productivity, mental suffering, illness and domestic violence.

    â??what if 15% of our society want to legalize LGBT, should we say this 15% has the vision and forethought of leaders and should therefore lead the rest of society? â??

    I wonâ??t stand against them, as I know for a fact this wonâ??t harm a society, I wonâ??t mind them to choose the way they want to live, as they are keeping their role as a constructive part in the community.

    Leaders tend to influence the environment around them, rather being influenced by it.

  • Nas, I agree with you on the need for a smooth change rather than a sudden one .. however; life is full of unexpected changes and they can take us by surprise .. what do we do if something like this happens both in our personal lives and in our community?

    We cannot enforce these changes without preparing people first, I agree 100% .. however; what are we doing to introduce small changes to smoothen the bigger ones? what steps are we taking to prepare people to understand and teach them how to cope, what to accept and what to reject? I for one, do not accept that someone does the acceptance or rejection on my behalf, because I have a brain and I know how to use it, so what makes anyone think they can over-rule me and take decisions for me? I would like to see everyone in the community thinking the same …

    As for the article .. I did not like it either and I thought it would provoke a lot of people, but aren’t they entitled for the opportunity to read, understand and then respond? Isn’t it better that the criticism is directed to the magazine for promoting this issue and drive them to talk about the issue from a cultural aspect where it really tackles our lives HERE? Isn’t is true that after censoring, almost everyone became curious to know what the fuss is all about?? besides; the other article was completely normal and even can pass as a health related article rather than a provocative one .. and if you ask me, all women need to know more about this issue because we all have questions and don’t know where to go to get answers .. it is about time that we stopped dealing with it in complete ignorance .. I hope you agree on this one!

    Having said that, in my debate here and on my blog, I kept repeating that I am not talking about a single incident, I am talking about censorship in general ..

    As for leadership .. I believe that the leader should be capable of creating followership, not wait till followers make him a leader .. just look at examples of leaders in history; Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and all other prophets for that matter, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King … etc.
    These are all great leaders of history who were able to create followership and lead their people towards a certain cause .. while before they became dedicated to the cause, they were normal people and one might think that there was nothing special about them, yet they were able to make history … so a leader should be an initiator, a starter and a proactive visionary who is accountable and responsible enough to accept the challenge and deal with the resistance of change that comes by default with any move ..

    I know that I might have shifted from the main topic of this great post .. and maybe I might sound argumentative .. however; the discussion with individuals like you is enjoyable and an excellent use of time and effort … thank you for going along with me 🙂

  • Interesting discussion, but from the little I read about the Viva article I understand that the magazine was pulled by the publishers, a decision they took willingly. If that was true (please correct me if I am wrong) then this does not amount to censorship comparable to the cartoons and Da Vinci Code movie. The articles could still be published with impunity (I assume) should the publishers change their mind. There was neither pressure from authority nor from community on the publishers to do so.
    In similar cases writers/journalists who are censored by their editors/publishers would resign in protest and take their work elsewhere to publish it. Also, the readers could exert pressure on the publishers by writing to them, canceling subscriptions and stop buying the publication.
    I can’t see how (in this particular case) anything else could have any effect.

  • Khalidah, I agree there is a level of ignorance that needs to be cured. And people should be entitled to read and respond. The problem is there is debate and then there is social propaganda, the intentions are different and so are the approaches.

    And yes leaders can create a following, they should not be passive observers otherwise they become the french king who watches the crowd move on and says ‘there go my people. I must find out where theyâ??re going so that I can lead them there.’

    However a following enables a leader by offering support. If that support is removed then there is no following and there is no leader. All those leaders you mentioned had a huge following that supported them for their cause and people who abandoned them for their cause. But what if people didnt like the cause? It would be like a bad TV show with incredibly low ratings that is even losing money but the TV Network keeps airing it anyway. It’s economic theory of supply and demand. A leader with no following is supply with no demand.

    And note that all those leaders had a cause and all of them stated it quite clearly and people chose to follow based on that. The same reason people will vote for the candidate with the most appealing political platform. So if two community leaders stand up today in Jordan and tell their people “vote for me and I’ll lead you to the acceptance of Gays in our society becomes times have changed and so should we” and the other says “vote for me and I’ll lead you towards the radical political change we need where you can vote for whoever you want”…how many in Jordan will go with the first guy?

    we should also keep in mind that a lot of the censorship which takes place is political and that’s what gets most of society frustrated. the censorship we seem to concern ourselves with are these small social issues which we assume are going to change the world. and these social issues are always matched up against a moral compass; a moral compass that is entrenched into the heart of the Muslim and Christian religions. in most cases with the media, it doesnt seek to provoke discussion, it seeks to break that moral compass or find a way around it, which is why people are so naturally inclined to resort back to it and defend it.

    this is the kind of discussion i was hoping to inspire. 🙂

  • Husams, most of repsonse to you is outlined in my reply to khalidah but quoting the last bit you said:

    Leaders tend to influence the environment around them, rather being influenced by it.

    yes but leaders are also subject the environment around them. it’s idealistic to assume that a leader can just swoop in and enforce the changing of an environment. at least not a positive leader.

    Jameel, yes in this case as far as I know it was the publisher(s) who decided to pull the articles. I think people suspect that the government has something to do with it, which is a bit far fetched since the government has no problem censoring such things on its own. it is a matter of business in this case (as far as I know)

Your Two Piasters: