This post. Is carefully worded. Because words. Still matter.

They put you in a small room. Very small. No cell phone. No keys. Just walls. They send a soldier every now and then. He pretends to be your friend. He asks stupid questions. You give him stupid answers. They wait for you to get scared. They make you wait. They make you wait. They make you wait. And so you wait. Two and a half hours later. They call you in. To the big man’s office. It is a matter. Of. State. Security.

This post. I remind you. Is carefully worded.

A cul de sac. Of ambiguity. But read. Between the lines.

He berates you. He calls you unprofessional. He threatens you with prosecution. He threatens you with jail. All because of one page. 795 words. To be exact. In print. Every word is translated. It sounds worse in Arabic. It sounds wrong in Arabic. It is wrong in Arabic. But you attempt. To fight back. Fire with fire. Metaphorically of course. But then you discover. It’s useless. It’s futile. So you succumb. Because you just want to leave. You want to get the hell out. Of there. So you flatter. So you ask. How it can be resolved. The solution is too simple. The consequences are too harsh. The contrast is stark. And you do mental arithmetic. It’s just not worth it. Not over this.

This. Post. Is. Carefully. Worded.

(dedicated to the people whose job it is to fuck with our minds. because i wouldn’t feel like myself if i didn’t post this. in all its ambiguous glory)


  • I recall a meeting with a nice man. When I asked him for his name, he said, You don’t need to know. He told me what to do. I asked him for something in writing. You don’t need anything in writing, he answered.

  • If only the king and queen found out
    They would launch an initiative immediately.
    Can you please at least link or provide a copy of the article?

  • mmmm! I can identify with it … all of it … back to the mid-late 60s when he was a young journalist/lecturer … his pen scared them … he withstood it all … and they were and continue to be just a bunch of ignorant cowards …

  • I looked very hard to find the image hidden behind the ambiguity of this post, but I couldn’t find it. Then a voice told me it was all in the family of words and ideas.

    If there is still even a drop of hope in you for this country Nas, then you are truly a good man. And if there wasn’t, then I wouldn’t blame you, and you would still be a good man.

  • and if i am not mistaken, you are describing THE MINISTRY OF TRUTH.
    where truth is manipulated. altered. retracted. falsified. a greater truth is manufactured.”created”. VIVA LA TRUTH. VIVA LA TRUTH!!!!

    (in the back of my head)
    everything is being watched. traced.
    and Big Brother will hear, normally.
    But what he and his other little cowards don’t know is that there are people who don’t break! NEVER BREAK!

  • Never mind…I think I found it…(although I think the word count doesn’t match…but a lot of other hints do…)

    But honestly, the piece -although great – is more suitable for a blog entry than a magazine column…
    especially a magazine with the queen on the cover!
    I wonder how did your editors approve it in the first place…given the strong “revolutionary” theme…

    And I thought all that pimping of Queen Rania initiatives would give you some leeway

    Does this mean that the World Economic Forum speech is gone ?
    Or is it “a little bit of intimidation a little bit of reward” system?

    (edited link)

  • Musa, don’t you think it defeats the purpose of the original post (ie. Naseem’s) when you post the URL to the story you think this is about? I mean, if this was about something Naseem wrote, and he was OK with the URL posted, then he would have done it himself, but obviously we (or he I should say) is dealing with people who can’t apply the concept of reason, let alone spell the damn word.

    Anyway, the sad part is, the article you pointed out is too long. So it can’t be it.

  • 7amdellah 3aslameh man. Don’t be afraid -I know you’re not. I would fight and die for my beliefs…

  • I don’t think it really matters which article he’s referencing … point is anyone who has the capability – of the slightest chance – of evoking a conscience revolution in the masses will be silenced … in any way!

  • What is really frustrating is that Nas is among the very few who actually strive to make Jordan a better place – sincerely. But I guess superficiality and looking from the small window to miss the big picture is a trend, or possibly a habit.

    I am so sorry my friend. I can’t stop thinking about it to be honest!!!

  • Rise black Iris of Jordan
    Rise you are a star for me …someone who can barely blog or know what power you have ..
    I read your blog everyday silently and I observe how hopeful I become every time ..
    I know your words silence in me my sense of hopelessness about this Arab world ..
    I know your daily commitment to voice an independent voice is a commitment to reshaping the role of the so called Intellectuals in our homeland..
    For Jordan and all Jordanians as well as any freedom Arab activist ..YOU ARE A STAR ..
    You dare remind us all that we have an ethos between us .. someone who still dares to break down the stereotypes and reductive categories that limit our ability to see create and change for the better
    RISE Black IRIS of this Jordan we love and want to evolve to a space where freedom is no longer a slogan for the elite few , but a responsible voice that shares the other side of the story honestly justly and truthfully.The role of the Intellectual is to be in opposition to the status quo when an opposite voice is the only thing left to show the inadequate unjust systems we have created for so long..
    RISE I hold your wound closely will heal through more words…Yes Words Matter .

  • My sister told me about this. We were discussing the state of free speech in this country (verdict: nonexistent), and it’s heartbreaking that this has happened to you. I am sorry, but it might have good consequences on the long run, both for you and for others.

  • mapless, kinzi, iman, hamzeh, secratea, awartany, mo, sarah, your friend, tambi, tololy, MD and moi: thank you all very much for your concern, comments, words, and observations.

    musa: if only your sarcasm could be wielded as an instrument of change; we’d all be living in a much better Jordan. heck, forget that, i just wish it was actually funny.

    jordanian: appreciate the acute observation!

    samar dudin: it is both an honor and a pleasure to have someone of your stature commenting on my blog, and i am incredibly humbled by your extraordinary words, which are some of the kindest that have ever been spoken to me. thank you so very much! 🙂

  • I don’t know what to say man. I have read the post many times but didn’t know what to say, it was like a shock at first, then I was more shocked that I have been shocked. Sometimes one tries to convince him/herself that things are becoming better eventhough we hear and see many things that suggest we are becoming worse, well, I guess this is what they call hope, but a more accurate word will be dillusions. I wish you the best in life my friend, you are one hell of jordanian.

  • Change what ?
    Let the record (and whoever is reading this) show I am very content with everything
    (Waving a little flag while Hashmi Hashmi plays in the background)

  • I don’t know if you remeber my comment on your blog that was about how Dr.khaled kaladeh got arrested for spreading flyers and my comment was that if you got influential they’re gonna sit with you sooner or later, that was like 2 weeks ago, what i mean is if you look at the bright side of this situation you can find that you;ve become an influential writer, i mean one that has the potential to change, his voice is being heard
    Our ministry of truth as others mentioned are smarter than their counterparts, they don’t bring anyone who starts blabbering and interrogate him because that way they are going to interrogate half our population even their own ministry because everyone is complaining but only influential people get the privilege of visiting the “circle”
    so congratulations man that means you’re on the right track!!!

  • Naseem, this comes with the profession in Jordan. This is your first encounter and I presume more will follow. It gives me a lot of disappointment to see someone like you in this position, but this is one experience you will have to adapt to when trying to raise your voice in Jordan.

  • I second Batir.

    Also, you’re not the first nor the last.

    But I hope this experience gives you more reason to keep doing what you’re doing!

  • As much as I want you to continue, as much as I want to tell you not to be afraid and to keep going, as much as I want not to be hypocryptical since neither I or any of the readers will be responsible for what you write. It’s your call after all.

  • “Instead, the media must recognize that it is the 21st century, and it is time to roll its sleeves up and prepare to get its hands dirty.”

    At the risk of coming off as snarky (although my motives are rather innocent); how did you actually “roll up your sleeves” to improve such a situation? You’re basically lecturing about “talking” about freedom of speech…I think that talk needs to be coupled with actions.

  • Jesus Christ!! I read in disbelief. A real sad day in my life!! Naseem, I have been enjoying every word you write since mahjoob forums with pleasure… This is outrageous… Be strong my friend we all love you.

  • If the reason is what I think it is – it’s outrageous beyond belief. Yes, it is a sad day indeed. But don’t lose courage.

  • I don’t know what to say ya Naseem.

    Although as Batir said it might not be your last or the least unusual for Journalists it is still jarring to have that happen.

    I hope this doesn’t deter you from achieving your goals.

  • Nasim, I am so sorry to hear of this. I suppose this is the usual case with successful people who try to change things. Please do not let it deter you from being what you’ve always been: the sincere honest person we all know.

    Best of good luck

  • After gushing my outrage and dismay at this incident in a mailer I circulated – mainly to get my disappointed emotions out of the way I guess, I now see the huge opportunity this presents on the very long and bumpy road ahead.

    While I’m aware this is not the first nor the last such incident as many here note, this blog post just went down as a marker and reference in history, case studies, academia. In all its ambiguity, it says everything about our current state.

    You write a sincere perspective, your words challenge yourself and readers in content and tone, you raise the bar, you engage in a new dialog on old issues, you communicate effectively on complex topics in a way that appeals to the diversity of your readers, you think abstractly, you breath responsibly, and bam….off goes that bell of fear tangled in that downward spiral. Is someone not listening to the words in the speeches, press releases, forums, papers, salons and workshops? While they use words to fill space and impress, to shroud fear and guild ignorance, to convince only for that moment, to distract and diffuse, you dear Nas used words as your actions.

    Action?! Yikes!! To take action. To do. Now that is a novel notion in this country suffocating under piles of incredibly visionary plans with so much undergoing the worst possible execution, mainly because many don’t want to do. Doing is difficult. Doing is scary. Doing means getting uncomfortable. Doing means making mistakes. Doing means changing the rules. Doing means disagreement. And as they get trapped in all these repercussions of doing, they forget that doing is what makes the change we ache for happen. Doing is about achievement. Too many stop doing way before they even start to try hard. Doing makes real what would otherwise remain a delusion.

    In one of your past posts and recently on Batir’s Esposito post, you mention separating your work from your blog – I wanted to YOL and say why?!… how??!…explore the synergies between the two because the complexity of your occupation is growing. And because your words make one hell of a difference. And because you are not either/or, you are whole. And wow do we need you, yes, preferably whole!

    They. Just. Upped. The. Ante.

  • thanks everyone for your kind thoughts, they are much appreciated

    ArabianMonkey, your attitude alone makes us all want to continue doing what we do. thank God for your presence!

  • Wow. I missed this whole post and just saw it now linked from Facebook!

    I was enraged as I read.

    But the sense of community here is heart warming. I cannot add more than what Arabian Monkey and Samar said.

    And this whole thing gives me some ideas too..

Your Two Piasters: