Having just returned from a brief mental vacation that didn’t even require me to leave Amman, I’ve been amused by some of the news that’s dominated local headlines recently. Although distancing myself from my laptop, I have to admit, the blogger in me was a consistent visual stenographer, taking mental notes all the while.
– For example, this story, that everyone seems to be talking about these past few days, is that of a young brother of a member of parliament who decided to take a parliamentarian car to Lebanon and bring back some hashish, heroin and counterfeit money. Zarqa Deputy Farhan Ghweiri, whose brother is now in custody, has said repeatedly that if found guilty, then his brother deserves it. I thought these comments were rather interesting. For sure, what his younger brother did was absurd and criminal but nevertheless, to dismiss one’s brother so fervently in public seems to me like a political play. The likelihood of him being elected again may be slim, so he might as well stick by his brother, perhaps in the very least refuse to comment. And let’s be honest, this isn’t the first time government cars have been misused, but that is a post for another day.
– National identity headlines. Rumors of citizenships being withdrawn from Jordanians of Palestinian origin circle wildly, fueled by Israeli press and right-wingers who think Jordan is Palestine but that even then, Israel is laughably entitled to some of the land. King puts on the uniform and gets a bit angry. That sums it up, right? Well, I would love to delve in to this topic but there’s no way it’ll fit within the confines of a paragraph, so that definitely qualifies as a post for another day.
– The Muslim Brotherhood seems to have made nice with each other recently. I am still wondering as to the reason for Zaki Bin Rshaid’s abrupt exit, and to what extent he was used as a scapegoat for the organization’s internal problems, and moreover, to what extent some of those so-called internal issues revolved around the identity question that has been surfacing in recent months. I will say this though, I have to respect the way these people stick together. Even when suffering internal conflicts, which are natural, they appear organized.
– I was very disturbed to read this story about a middle-aged pharmacist who killed his wife, two kids and himself recently. I think what made the story more-than-usual disturbing was the fact that this was not a man who came from a poor neighborhood, but an arguably middle-class pharmacist and professor, who lives in a rather affluent part of town, Al Rabia. His 12 year old girl, who locked herself in the bathroom during the early morning killing spree, is the only survivor.
– Might be a few weeks old, but a recent Pew study had some interesting results about the Arab world, and Jordan in particular. According to the study, Jordan’s US favorability is at a seven year high of 25%. Also, 31% of Jordanians believe Obama will “do the right thing”, and confidence in him is at 30% compared to Bin Laden who stands at 28% in Jordan, and compared to Bush (in 2008) who understandably stood at 7%. Yet, only 16% of Jordanian respondents believe Obama will be fair in the Middle East, compared to 31% of Palestinians who believe the same (post-Cairo).
The survey also looked at economic opinions, revealing that more Jordanians feel dissatisfied with the conditions in their country. Asked if satisfied with national conditions, Jordanians went from 49% to 46% between 2008 and 2009 respectively, while 39% to 33% represents the drop during the same period when asked whether they thought the national economy was in good shape. The results are generally reflective of global attitudes during this recession, with China and India the only countries whose respondents seemed to respond in the positive.