I know this post might sound repetitive because a year ago a similar tragedy took place and a similar commentary on this blog unfolded. The point that I was trying to get across back then is the same point I’m trying to get across now: the fact that we, as a people, tend to place value on human life in Jordan, where the wealthier are more important and the rest are neglected if not forgotten. It is a fact that manifests itself in the way we choose to emphasize; be it in the media or on a very social level, the importance of one human being over another. This isn’t about the family or friends of victims, but a commentary about our society itself; a call for us to remember who we are as a people, as a collective.
This past Eid holiday, pretty much everyone knows by now that four local teenagers died in a car crash down in Aqaba due to, what appears to be excessive speeding. Many already know their names by heart, as well as their ages and even the school they attended. Everyone seems to be talking about them. Play 99.6, the west Ammani radio station, even held a memorial day for them and interviewed their friends, one by one.
And that’s great, but once again, I’m forced to ask myself, does anyone recall that 19 other people died during that same holiday?
Yes, the death of a loved one will always play on the heart strings and force us to remember, as it should. Memory is important. It forces us to remember them. Their names. The way they looked, smiled, laughed. We should be forced to remember these things. As Jordanians, we should be forced to remember that every 8.8 hours, someone in Jordan dies from a car accident.
We should be forced to remember that over 600 Jordanians die in a car accident every year.
And it is only fair to remember that in these dire times, when the gap between rich and poor, east and west, continues to expand further and further – when there is a growing need for us to come together a cohesive and collective society – we should be forced to remember that there is a social obligation to treat each other as equals. Media should know better than to emphasize 4 people in a crowd of 23, and people, on a social level, should also know better than to further sensationalize these stories, pressing the issue of inequality even further.
I understand that to some this may be an irrelevant topic, but to me, these typical reactions from an increasingly elitist Amman, is an example of the prevailing social inequality we should be fighting instead of promoting.
It is a social problem. It needs to be acknowledged. It needs to be addressed. It needs to be dealt with.
God rest the souls of all the victims and help their families get through this time of grief and sorrow.
This is my little online memorial to them.
Yes it is a social problem!
Does anyone remember the “Trust Bus” accident last january!
There has been a duplicability for example in dealing with this case in comparison with accidents like this one in aqaba and the qaddoura case, while the last 2 ones got the interest of the elite jordanian media, the Trust Bus case for example got ignored because of the weight of the company owners
I recorded a Trust bus driver talking on his mobile phone and sending txt’s whilst driving on the way back from Aqaba last Friday night…I have passed on the Video to Wakeel and Ammoun owner…I hope it makes it into the limelight…As for me personally I find no trust in trust buses. Ù„Ø§ Ø«Ù‚Ù‡ ÙÙŠ Ø¨Ø§ØµØ§Øª Ø§Ù„Ø«Ù‚Ù‡
I hope that Wakeel goes on a rampage and Ammoun well they can take it into their own hands they have big readership in Jordan and inshallah will do the trick…
I absolutely agree with everything you said.
It is interesting that after the terrible events in Mumbai the media round the world focussed on the two expensive hotels and foreign deaths rather than all those Indians who died at the railway station. I suppose, unfortunately, the Aqaba crash just makes a more dramatic story. At least the wealthy family of one young man who died crossing the road has turned their tragedy into a positive project of helping to make our roads safer.
May God rest their souls in peace.. all of those who died on streets.
the pictures are seriously shocking.. I’ve never seen something like that before..
I agree with you.
Thank you Naseem for writing about this. I really mean it! I was going to write about the exact same topic but I am still suffering with finals. Allah yer7am eljamee3.
I think newspapers should start posting the pictures of the car crashes and the victims (after the accident). Perhaps something as drastic and shocking as this would make an impression in the minds of Jordanians that, hey newsflash, speeding kills. It’ll be like “a5i al muwaten, o5ti il muwatena, unless you wish to have your brain splattered on the street as shown in picture X above, please refrain from speeding”. Would’nt go so well with the victims’ parents probably.
And I know that not all accidents are caused by speeding, but the good majority of them definitely are.
I’m truly over this hypocrisy. It’s really unbelievable; almost like what is going on in Gaza and people are turning the other eye like nothing is going on. This comment is truly unapologetic, I really couldn’t care less who is going to get pissed off or not. All these groups pop up on Facebook, an entire radio station holds a memorial DAY, their story is splattered on every Jordanian newspaper, and its getting old really quick. They were not the only people to die from a car accident, and they sure won’t be the last. Allah yer7am il jamee3, and their families are in my prayers. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, and I guess their parents have to live with their grief and guilt for the rest of their lives.
What is making me sick to my stomach is how Amman has become. This twisted sense of entitlement to the rich and elite minority is disgusting. Nobody has stood up and commented on the stupid actions of these kids. They are being hailed as heroes left and right, and nobody is questioning the act that took their lives. How DARE they go out in that car and speed? I am really enraged just thinking about it. How DARE they put the lives of other innocent citizens in harm’s way, just for the thrill of speeding or whatever BS their spoilt lives entitled them to. Surna niskot 3al ghalat w nshaj3o kaman, w ibn il wazeer w ibn ibsar meen. What if they had hit a car full of people? Would the story be different?
The pictures of the car accident AND these dead teens, and all others who choose to end their lives this way and put others’ in harm’s way should be drilled into each teenager’s head at driving school. Oh yeah, I forgot, we don’t have a proper driving school. You either really ace the driving test, pass based on luck, or of course, if you have a wasta.
What a joke. Effing dala3 w maskhara.
the problem is in relaxed laws…..a 17-yr old wouldnt have dared drive a car at a speed of 160km if he knew he and the owner of the car would be thrown in jail for months NO MATTER who his dad was….but as long as no law it will always be a jungle…
@Yazan Al-MajaliDid you mention the cell phone incident to anyone at the company itself?
Nas, I’m sorry that this year again you have to post effectively the same post. I have to agree that while it was certainly a shame to lose four young lives, it is no less a shame to lose the lives of small children improperly restrained, older members of society already contributing, etc. The only difference is that this one was more spectacular and more gossip worthy.
It is natural that people will talk more readily about those they knew (or knew someone who knew them), but we have gotten far too caught up in what happens on our side of the street. It’s time to remember that all of Amman are our neighbors and the losses in East Amman are no less devastating. In fact, to be honest they are likely much MORE devastating. How many of those who died over the same weekend were the sole breadwinner for the family? In how many cases will the death lead to a slow (or rapid) decline into poverty? A house divided against itself cannot stand…
Nas, is that death every 8.8 hour statistic true?! That’s practically 3 people everyday..
This is to all the unrepresented people of the world. You’re better off without phony showcasing.
@Dee525 – You are 100% right…..well said.
@Londoner – Basically in Jordan there are no strict laws to driving they are lame and no one adheres to them…peeps here cant even drive in their own lane, never use indicator lights, never give way there is no driving ethics or etiquette.
@Hamzeh N. – Yeah man I rang them and spoke to some idiot manager, who sounded all apologetic and said they would take action…they took my telephone number and said they would get back to me…I haven’t heard anything yet…I hope wakeel watches the video and goes on rampant at Trust Buses..they can be made an example of and hopefully get an official apology from them…If this type of thing happened in the UK the company would get slammed to the ground moreover the public would probably never use there buses again.
@al: unfortunately, according to the statistics, yes
Maybe you are looking at this from the west Ammani perspective.Everyone in sahab and all around it and anyone connected to it knew and was saddened by the death of the six guys crushed in one car, the people who knew them or of them remembered them properly i’m sure, and was struck by the tragedy just as much as the latte sipping elites were struck by the death of their own. If you live online and on facebook you will know about the death of four teenagers and the details of the incident, but our online savvy group is not the whole country. Accidents happen everyday it is normal for the public media to focus on the death of a minister’s son, it’s a juicier story with underage victims and the father a public figure was in haj at the time of death.
Also the death of youth is more tragic, i walk in a hallway at the CCU looking through the windows and i’m struck by the sight of a child with tubes and wires and not by seeing my own relative that I’m there to see.
Dee525…No one hailed the 4 teenagers as heroes or anything, actually most of the commentary i read on public media sites was along the lines of shamateh, “they had it coming” let them be a lesson to all the other crazy kids. People went as far as saying what was a girl doing in a car with 4 guys?…the story got more attention because people are as we say “3alam galeelet deen” o shamtaneh. more than because they were rich and important or their lives are more valuable.
Do you think the families of those kids are happy that the deaths of their loved ones is a public spectacle? Do you think the rest of the families would’ve been consoled by reading more details about their sons deaths and ignorant people’s comments like “kha6ayet abooh 3ala iqraar qanoon el mosta2jereen” and “khallihom yetrabbo”
The other 19 victims are lucky and blessed to have their deaths remembered with dignity, peace and SILENCE. it is more merciful in this case to die a statistic than to be judged as a spoiled, irresponsible elitest brat who had it coming.
I just want to say something.
I totally understand the post, but I want to say that it is required to have this kind of sympathy with these four victims and the others, but if the option was to sympathise with the few or none at all, then what do you think?
Four people who are from the “elite” community, and as a fact of life anywhere, will be dealt with in an “elite” way…so that we can’t stop. But what we can do is to learn from this spontaneous focus and attention on these four and try to implement that on all of the cases, but, it won’t be spontaneous I’m afraid, because its just not.
People cannot just (people including radio stations and private owned media and bloggers) sympathise with anyone unless they are all mother teresa. And they are not. And I think this is where the government should step in and be mother teresa for all the victims.
Thanks for this article, I totally agree!
Another horrible accident for 2008. This time it’s a JETT bus.