You Just Can’t Trust A Jordanian Woman In Politics

Yes. I will admit it. Today I just feel a tad bit mean-spirited. In other words, I cannot resist the temptation that this opportunity has to offer. If any of my readers remember, over a year ago I posted a rather funny, yet, factual portrait of the first Jordanian woman to head a political party. Suffice to say, it garnered some attention.

This week, Mona Abu Bakr has been arrested for fraud.

The first woman to lead a Jordanian political party has been arrested over claims she manufactured and sold unlicenced medicine, a security official said on Tuesday.

“(Mona Hussein Abu Bakr) was arrested on Monday night over fraud and violation of the food and drugs law after a complaint that she had manufactured and sold unlicenced medicine,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. [source]

I should note that Jordanian blogger Mohanned reported about the charges a few days back.

When I first posted this, an acquaintance at work told me that he knew of Mona personally. At the time he told me a story I really didn’t believe to be true at all. He said that at a meeting one time, she stood up with a vial of “green stuff” and declared that she had the cure for AIDS, and even brought a piece of paper from some Ministry that verified it. Although the paper simply stated that the contents of the vial were “unidentified”. I was sure the guy made up the story or had confused her with someone else.

Evidently, I was wrong.

Now.

I’m not going to make jokes about her appearance (even though it does strike a resemblance to the Joker – sorry) and I’m not going to comment on the absurd nature of her crime.

But.

On a serious note.

I will say this.

Regardless of one’s politics or looks, there has to be a recognition by Jordanian women who are in politics that they are setting an example. Perhaps it is a bit much to demand of them, but reality demands it of them. They are pretty much trailblazers, regardless of the elements, simply because they have the ability to be noticed by a generation of young girls in this country who might just need that “role model” to look up to when it comes to the male-dominated political arena in Jordan. They are, whether we like it or not, an example. And there’s something to be said about acting like one.

Sadly, most, not all, but most Jordanian women in politics have been just as bad an example as their male counter-parts. The fact that they are women and thus have that added responsibility of setting an example (a responsibility of which I’m sure most are not aware of), I would argue that their failures are even more disappointing.

But that’s just my two piasters.

(Based on some of the comments, I feel obliged to point out that when I was talking about setting an example, I wasn’t referring to her looks but rather the fact that she was trying to poison people!)

34 Comments

  • I don’t think any woman can look up to her as a role mode in the moral, political, or visual sense!
    I’m still tempted to believe that she is some cbm comic actress! This is quite shameful. However, I’m glad that other, albeit numerically insufficient, women are present on the political scene like Maha Khateeb and Suhair Al-Ali.

  • Didn’t you work on the picture? I can’t believe she actually goes out with that makeup! Anyway it is her personal freedom! lol

    I just don’t like the attachement of her to other jordanian women or the notion of role model, let’s just have her as an individual case

  • observer: this may be the issue at hand. Jordanian women are in a fortunate and not-so-fortunate position of being “role models” by default, simply because almost any woman that takes up a prime leadership position of any sort in this society and in this country, is a de facto walking advertising for something new and something different with regards to women advancement.

    diala: i’m personally not too fond of your choices but i get your point πŸ™‚

  • Yes, women in politics must be considerate of the fact that they are trailblazers, but I also think that the media and the public subject them to another, quite frustrating, level of scrutiny. I lived in the United States and Canada before coming to Amman and I can’t tell you how many times I saw headlines commenting on Hillary Clinton’s outfit choices or Belinda Stronach’s “sexiness”. Women in politics don’t simply exist as solely political figures, they have become points of cultural fixation in societies that are still uneasy with seeing women genuinely powerful positions – and I can assure you that this isn’t just a Jordanian trend.

  • nas, unfortunately having barely 10 women in our parlimant is not enough to support the thought you’re addressing here. these few probably reached it the way many of the males did with fraud, lies and big money. and it’s pretty easy on the ear to hear a case like Muna’s…

    i do not look up for the woman when i look for the role.
    i look up for the role or the position taken by either a man or woman.

    why does my role model have to be of my same sex?
    all of them in the parlimant should set role model examples, if one failed (of any freaking sex) would be a shame…

    this note is racist. I do not agree with you.

  • Dan: You’re right about both things, it is not just a jordanian thing and they are subject to another level of scrutiny, and that is the unfortunate consequence of being a woman trying to attain power in a male-dominated arena.

    Lubna: i think you mean sexist and not racist. yes, i agree that the role model for a girl does not necessarily have to be a woman. granted. however, when we look at certain realities and realize that emerging realities will automatically have a spotlight shone on them, then we have to respect that. this isn’t world based on equality of the sexes, and that is even more true in the arab world. hence, a woman who manages to be successful against all the societal and cultural odds has in fact done something worthy of recognition. whether its politics or business or civil society or any other field, the role of the emerging woman in our society is something that has a big spotlight on it.

    now you many not see certain figures as people you look up to as a female, and that’s fine. however, i would argue the majority perceive it differently. we refer to the “first woman to” do whatever, as a benchmark. a woman’s accomplishment in this society is representative of the destruction of sexism bit by bit. more freedoms, more equality, more hopes, more possibility. and in the minds of many young girls all over, there is an invested amount of hope that comes through these role models.

    so my point in this post was that there is something to be said about those specific women when it comes to the achievements they represent.

  • Dan: You’re right about both things, it is not just a jordanian thing and they are subject to another level of scrutiny, and that is the unfortunate consequence of being a woman trying to attain power in a male-dominated arena.

    Lubna: i think you mean sexist and not racist. yes, i agree that the role model for a girl does not necessarily have to be a woman. granted. however, when we look at certain realities and realize that emerging realities will automatically have a spotlight shone on them, then we have to respect that. this isn’t world based on equality of the sexes, and that is even more true in the arab world. hence, a woman who manages to be successful against all the societal and cultural odds has in fact done something worthy of recognition. whether its politics or business or civil society or any other field, the role of the emerging woman in our society is something that has a big spotlight on it.

    now you many not see certain figures as people you look up to as a female, and that’s fine. however, i would argue the majority perceive it differently. we refer to the “first woman to” do whatever, as a benchmark. a woman’s accomplishment in this society is representative of the destruction of sexism bit by bit. more freedoms, more equality, more hopes, more possibility. and in the minds of many young girls all over, there is an invested amount of hope that comes through these role models.

    so my point in this post was that there is something to be said about those specific women when it comes to the achievements they represent.

  • ya i read abt this in the paper the other day and when i read the name i knew it sounded familiar … i remember thinking wasnt that the clown lady featured on the black iris sometime ago πŸ˜€

  • I don’t think Abu Bakr has to go the extra mile to set an example just because she is a woman, or because of the extra scrutiny women face by virtue of their gender in the Jordanian political scene: male, female, Batman villain or otherwise, I think equality should stem from abhorring immorality from whomever commits it. By asking Abu Bakr to be a “better example” , we forget that ALL politicians should become better examples – regardless of their gender – and once we have that attitude, perhaps male dominance vs. minority female representation won’t be that relevant anymore.

  • It is known that a woman has always to work twice harder than a man to prove herself especially in a society like ours, the fact is even more true when it comes to a woman in a position regardless if it is political, social or in business; thus, you are absolutely right.

    when a woman is in such a position, she has to work really hard to give a good representation of women, by doing so, she does not have to forget that she is a female, and there is nothing wrong with taking care of your appearance and looking good while doing your business, but it seems that women here are not realizing exactly how to create a balance!!!!! Anyway, the issue of her looks is totally personal; however, whatever she did could not be taken slightly, it seems that we all hear the same unbelievable stories that turned out at the end to be true, it is a big shame and disappointing for a person to do that, and it even worse when it comes from a woman, because at the time women are trying to upgrade their status, a woman like her comes just to spoil all the meal, I hope she is only one example and not more. Unfortunately, bad examples are recalled more than good ones; hope that this woman will not wipe away the achievments of other females.

  • I have to copy and paste this comment from 2007 when her picture was published.

    ————-

    sorry on Apr 26th, 2007 said:

    LOL, the first female chief of a political party in Jordan looks like a man. Slowly but surely weÒ€ℒre getting there HAHAHA

    ————-

    LMAO. “Slowly but surely we’re getting there”.

    So i guess it goes from man > manly woman > woman.

    HILLARY WAS PERFECT DANG BASTARDS!

  • Honestly though, how could she?
    Now stereotypes and hesitations about women in office in Jordan are going to FLY OFF THE CHARTS.

    Thanks Mona, for being the first and last woman (?) to matter on a governmental level in Jordan.

  • I would have loved to disagree with you on that, but I couldn’t.
    Women in the Parliament have not added much to women’s rights in Jordan. Some women have really helped other women in their communities but not by going into politics.

  • All your commentators have criticized the make-up, and no one mentioned the hair; which I think looked fantastic! Especially with the fringe – really en-vogue! πŸ™‚

    And who ever said that people in politics should ever look good?!!
    If Tony Blair looked like Kate Moss; he wouldnÒ€ℒt hesitate in quitting politics at the first modelling opportunity!
    Do you think I would vote for him –regardless of anything –if only Γ’β‚¬β€œ he looked like Brad Pitt?!! πŸ™‚

    I think men shouldn’t be sectarians when it comes to evaluating women in politics, or should they?

  • This is just wrong is soooooo many ways. And Nas… stop insulting the Joker, pls – I have a lot of respect for him! Plus, the Joker has tactics. This is just an out of whack kamikaze job!

    Forget the woman part. Forget the looks. Forget the green bottled slime.

    How sad is this picture with the Jordanian flag in the background?! Yet another image that taints our image and thanks to the wonderful wide web will never go away. Great!!

    Has anyone ever seen the HBO show Carnivale? There’s an Arab version in the making….

  • maybe she found no one to try her medicine and drugs on, but herslef…
    this is what the foto says..
    i know,, i hate to talk about appearances too…sorry.

  • Did you see she looks like the Joker, she is more scarry man, atleast the Joker was funnier and smarter!! did somebody actualy elect her without being bribed?

  • Nas, yes sexist not racist.. and i still think you are in the post.

    I do understand what you’re trying to clear out in the comment and it does make sense, but no just. People in Jordan tend to not mind an idea that’s wrong just because it’s less wrong than other ideas. what i mean is that, instead of us fighting the corrupt members (regardless of sex) of the parliment. We fight a smaller scale: Females. (ofcourse cuz they are expected to be other than just NOT corrupt, role models).

    one other thing, women have spotlights on them for fairly pathetic reasons like:
    1. being of the OTHER sex
    2. expecting them to fail
    3. Having pretty much everyone opposing their (other than get married) roles.
    4. being pointed out for any freaking mistake they do, and having no chance for even the slighest mistake.

    i think if we cut the crap and let them be treated as equal as their other (of the respected sex) collegues. They would do better work as role models.

  • Okay the title is just cruel. I don’t base my opinions about men in politics on Kharabsheh let’s say, nor should you base your opinions on this individual who’s obviously a nutcase. I’m the first one to criticize women in politics because of the example they need to be setting, but to call all women politicians incompetent is unfair. Especially in light of what’s happening with Bakir lately, it’s like people can’t wait to pick on women.

  • Farah: the title was meant to be sarcastic and not…realistic. πŸ˜‰

    Lubna: “one other thing, women have spotlights on them for fairly pathetic reasons”…yes, but can’t we agree that regardless of the reasons, that spotlight (whether fairly or unfairly) is there? and therefore there is an (perhaps unfortunate) obligation to set an example, simply for being a trailblazer?

  • Lubna: I think I do understand your point. But if you feel I don’t feel free to expand on it.

    As an example: if you look at Obama right now, he is the first viable african-american candidate to run for the presidency. He doesn’t even have to mention his skin color to get attention on the fact that he is black and therefore, by default, represents a great deal to the african-american community as he is a trailblazer. His actions and words are carefully measured and weighed in that context.

  • I have never responded to a blog, but have been recently addicted to your website! I have to say…I never laughed so hard at work when I read your words “Joker” and then looked up her picture on the net! THANKS FOR THE GREAT LAUGHS!

  • Hahahahahaha…i have never been a fan of Batman…but somehow the new one got released in Cyprus and i went and saw it…and during the movie i couldn’t stop laughing when i remembered some of the comments here….
    Keep it up Nas…albeit i don’t agree with all of what you stand for…but i deeply respect you and this blog….

Your Two Piasters: