Politicizing Funerals

It was with great horror that I managed to read through an op-ed piece in the Sunday edition of Al-Ghad newspaper, where regular columnist Hamadeh Faraneh attempted to initiate, what can best be described as, a “defense” of Dr. Bassem Awadallah. Sadly, this was done in the worst possible way. Referring to the recent passing of Dr. Bassem’s mother (God rest her soul), Faraneh attempted to point out that the large number of Jordanians attending the traditional three-day wake (or what he calls the “silent majority”) used this “opportunity” as a “platform” to express their support of Awadallah in light of the most recent “defamation” campaign against him. Faraneh also claimed that this support by the “silent majority” emanates from the level of trust and confidence Jordanians place in His Majesty King Abdullah II and, therefore, anyone who enjoys the King’s confidence is, by default, someone we should all have confidence in as well.

Reading this piece was kind of like watching a car crash in slow-motion.

I don’t want to point out the obvious fallacies littered throughout this op-ed, but would rather like to inquire as to what could possibly compel anyone to play politics with the death of someone’s parent? This is no more an opportunity for the “critics” to attack than it is for “friends” to defend.

This isn’t about law or politics.

It’s about common human decency, unless someone convinces me that this is something that gets waived if someone is a senior public official.

As Nadal Dabbas and Mohammad Abu-Rumman respond to this piece, putting politics and personal perspectives aside to pay respects to a man and family in mourning is part of what makes us Jordanian. It is embedded in our culture and in our tradition. It’s not designed to be a political litmus test for how many people like or dislike someone based on the number of attendees. That’s not something I would upon the worst of my enemies or the best of my friends. It’s tradition. All feuds are put aside in the name of one of our most fundamental social obligations.

Whichever way you see it, politicizing a funeral, in whatever capacity, is simply put: un-Jordanian.


  • Well I doubt the columnist did it without knowing that his argument wouldn’t have some form of approval from Awadallah. Given Awadallah’s position making such an argument could be dangerous if there wasn’t tactical approval for it.

  • I am rather un-familiar with the particulars of the case per se. but generally speaking – I think that it’s totally inappropriate to choose such conditions to issue one opinion over a political matter. I like how you dubbed the act un-Jordanian, which it certainly was. Its funny how in Jordan either you have a personal political opinion directed towards one person or have none at all – where in conditions like the above, I much rather prefer the latter! The absent of party politics, like what we see in the west, makes individuals shudder in political ventures that seem totally immature, and will do Jordanian politics no good at all!

  • I am from American and sadly many funerals of Public people have been used as a Political Agenda ground in the last few years. The media continues to report it but don’t seem to condemn it in anyway. Hopefully, maybe one day we will once again become respectful of the dead and their families instead of turning everything into a Political Media circus.

  • Faraneh didn’t write this just as a suck-up for Awadallah, but he really believed that Jordanians will buy his argument and I think he was right.
    It’s interesting when I read NAs’s entry I was thinking “there’s no way people will buy this” but when I read the article in Arabic it seemed more genuine and I hate to say this but it seemed to make more sense to me. It may be just me but when I read in Arabic I think in Arabic and that makes me think and behave in way I very often regret.

  • I am not a blogger , and I really have no time for this paka paka nonesense .
    Your previous piece got to me by accident , as I smelled some ” class ” in your words , and site , I played along …
    Once more let me enlighten you with some facts , and some insight , and believe you me…. that in the foreseeable future , you may see it happen ..
    Dr.Awadallah is going to keep going higher and higher , his blood is going to mix with some blue royal blood , and the people that did not like seeing him as minister , will have him in the highrst position , and for a long period , ( and not like other prime ministers , passing for one semester ) .
    The man is being waisted in , and on Jordan . He deserves better , and can reach and achieve more outside your tent , but his sacrifice and sense of commitment refuse to let him go , and he would not leave his beloved King alone in the middle of the way .


    All the other talk is useless , the dogs will continue barking , and the march continues .

    And the ” beduin dogs are wll known for barking , with their ass in the tent .

    Ciao , its time for my Italian Iftar .

  • Well I might understand if at least the argument that was raised after the funeral was strong, but what they said about a “silent majority” defending Awadallah is just silly and stupid.

    Anyway, el 3omor la wlaadha.

  • بننسى مرات إنو النفاق جزء من عاداتنا وتقاليدنا.

    Now, If Dr. Awadalla wasn’t in the position he is in now would it have been the same?
    The answer to the question above is a reflection of our “values”.

  • I realy hate going to Funerals in Jordan, not because it should be a sad event but because the people there make it a social gathering, where they keep talking and talking and saying jokes, I see no respect in the Funerals that I attend in this country. And as for funerals attended by women, the case is even worse as it becomes a social and gossip event. Bringing politics to the Funeral is not a new thing but it sure is against our tarditions and relegion.

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