Jordan’s Lettuce Girl Gets Eaten Alive

If I’m not mistaken, it seems this incident took place on the First Circle in Jabal Amman, where Peta Asia decided to dress a local female activist in a gown made of lettuce leaves. Yeah, not the most interesting concept. The lettuce girl, Amina, held up a sign that read “let vegetarianism grown on you”. She was successful in generating enough onlookers to, well, look, so much so that it caused massive traffic on an already congested street. The police escorted the lettuce girl to the Zahran police station.


In the above video, I found it interesting that upon being interviewed, the director of Peta Asia tells the interviewer that he didn’t know why it got stopped by the police, and that the scene was meant to be fun. It’s interesting because the head of a global NGO operating in Jordan doesn’t seem to be aware that there are laws against public gatherings in the Kingdom, unless previously approved and licensed. I’m not sure the extent to which they had permission to do it, but something tells me that a) they didn’t, and b) it was likely stopped because it resulted in a traffic mess in 35 degree weather.

The director also noted that this idea was thought up by the Jordanian members of the organization. It should be noted that this is an idea that Peta has implemented in the past, but usually with women who are, well, shall we say, not wearing the hijab (or much at all for that matter).

You can see photos of the whole thing here.

Hajjaj has a brilliant caricature on the topic, dubbed “Pedestrian Laws for Rainbow Street”, a comic rundown of what we choose to allow and what we ban:


  • To start with, PETA need to get their message straight; this “publicity stunt” was to promote vegetarianism (a good or neutral thing) or was to highlight the “injustice” of “murdering” 120k livestock annually in Jordan? (debatable especially when using such a strong word). From their press release; apparently it was the latter!

    Further, and as you rightly highlighted Nas; One would’ve expected them to do their homework when they prepped for this “event”, it is an event after all, wasn’t it? Unlike the almost ridiculous innocent look on the gent’s face saying “Why would they stop such a nice & beautiful thing” B.S… if you planned it, then plan it until the end.

    If PETA or the lettuce girl were serious about conveying their ideals and promote their just cause; they could’ve adapted to our locality and “level of understanding”; instead of blatantly replicating what they usually do; which is infamous for public nudity and “shocking” (nothing shocks me personally) public displays!

    The prophet Moh’d (peace & blessing Upon him) came to nomads with what was considered at the time as absurd and blasphemous ideas that disrupted the intricate fabric of his age; but he did so speaking their language; with compassion & empathy!

    I careless about the official response to the whole thing; its irrelevant because the people have no control over it; because in essence they have no control over their themselves in the areas where they still can! What’s more interesting is people reaction to it! Oblivious to say the least…

    From a self-acclaimed neutral perspective; I see today’s display as extreme as it would be if a group of say; religiously-motivated folks went ahead and marched little girls in full face-veil to illustrate the importance of the Veil in their understanding of Islam… Mathalan

  • Interesting, but he didn’t indicate that he believed they stopped it “because it was fun.” I think you have to listen to it again. He said he’s not sure why they stopped it, because it was meant to be a fun way to start the discussion.

  • Yeah let’s forget about people being killed in Iraq, Agfhanistan and Palestine and let’s foucs on animals that are being killed in order for people to eat.
    btw there are other better ways to promote your cause insted of such low ways that will only help you in earning publicity and thats it.

  • I am not sure if one person wearing lettuce to send a message is a public gathering. The girl wasn’t naked or anything, so most probably the people who gathered were pretty disappointed as the news websites got them mentally prepared to see a hot chick wearing nothing but lettuce leaves.

  • @Basem: i generally agree with what you say and it is a general reflection of some “bad practices” if you will, in the local advocacy community – the tendency to rely too much on applying foreign campaigns in hopes that they work locally instead of crafting something original for domestic consumption. it’s a tougher undertaking but it pays off a bit more, or, at least, you can avoid going to maghfar zahran.

    @hamzeh: valid point. in my haste i misinterpreted. i’ve amended the post to reflect that.

    @ahmad: well, i think the primary goal of many advocacy and awareness raising entities is exactly that – earn publicity in order to raise awareness.

    @mohanned: lol. actually the point you raise is an interesting one, and i was discussing it with a group of people today. what does constitute a public gathering? or, rather, what type of event, or advocacy-related stunt, requires government permission? is it a group of people holding signs and chanting? is it a guy with a tshirt bearing a political message and just standing motionless in the middle of the sidewalk for all to stare? is it a single girl dressed in a lettuce costume?

    in other words, some of the criteria set forth by the government is clear and yet so much in the advocacy world can lead to arbitrariness.

  • Any effort , of any kind, to turn Jordanians into eating less meat and more vegetables should be highly praised. Cost, and not health-related reasons, is the only thing preventing Jordanians from eating even more meat. I hope PETA emphasizes on that point, besides killing animals.

    It’s more likely to convince a Jordanian to give up or cut down on meat consumption for health-related reasons rather than animal cruelty.

  • A cheesy, pointless gimmick that screams of irrelevance.

    So amongst all the problems in the region (let me see, The situation in Palestine, corruption, Poverty, Honour crimes, Radicalism, Did I mention Palestine? rights of refugees, the mess in Iraq, Police brutality and corruption in Egypt, the list goes on) we choose to mimic the west and carry the torch of western middle class “struggles” like vegetarianism and Organic food and all that rubbish.

    We are people with a cause of for fuck’s sake, and we happen to be at a crucial time in our history (excuse the cliche, and yes, we do have a history, you lettuce imbecile) and we choose to be “activists” for Vegetarianism?

    In the words of Joseph Conrad

    “The Horror! The Horror!”

  • Hareega,

    Thanks for the reply. No. that’s now what I mean. Anti-smoking campaign and Eid al Shajara are different because they are real causes. Cancer is a big problem in Jordan and an effective anti smoking awareness will dramatically improve the health of Jordanians. Same goes for Eid Al Shajara (I’m not going to go into why, its obvious). Whereas some absurd proposition that doesn’t even stand the test of good language “Let vegetarianism grow on you” is an extremely pathetic attempt at activism. Vegetarianism is a personal preference, not a moral duty. These are the empty concerns of white, middle class westerners who don’t have any real struggles and so they opt for the easy ones like veganism and being obsessed with organic food and all that rubbish. Part is simply to feel better about themselves, feed their elitism, and part to deal with their guilt at being more well off than the rest of the world, knowing in the back of their heads that the wealth was built on the brutality of imperialism and colonialism.

    My problem isn’t with activism that is not directly related to the topics mentioned in my previous comment. My problem is with naivety and lack of identity and purpose demonstrated in this pathetic exercise.

  • Maan,

    how do you know? Maybe that lettuce lady is seriously into vegetarianism and truly believe it’s unjust to kill animals to eat them. I am with you that we have quite a bit of fake activism in the country, but some people are sincere about it.

    I don’t think it’s a damaging message. We eat a lot of meat, we are overweight, and we have high rates od diabetes and hypertension. Besides having plenty of meat in meals is pricey and many families can’t afford to do so, so there is some good message behind it in my opinion.

  • Nas: As someone said , is this really a public gathering? In the law it’s not defined and this is very good for the government. Anything can be classified as public gathering. Should it be planned or not? Let’s say I walked in a street wearing a funky shirt that doesn’t convey any message but in the same time attracted people, is this a public gathering? About the traffic jam, on the 2nd circle a shawerma shop causes more traffic jam than this lady, and every hotel on every circle when they are having a wedding or a party.

  • Oh, dear God, would you all stop whining. I care about Human Rights, Palestine and Iraq as much as the next guy, but I can’t help but feel insulted. Jordanians aren’t simpletons, we can handle more than one cause at a time. Let me put it this way, it’s going to take more than seeing Lassie being beaten up to make me forget the Zionist atrocities. And for the people who can’t handle more than one thought in their brain at one time, I’d rather they cared about Animal Rights than Tamer Hosny.

    I’m not even the biggest PETA fan either, I mean eating meat is halal, but the exploitation of steer and chicken on the scale that’s happening now in the world is bad for both the environment, and for our respective healths. [sarcasm] I just hope I can manage to try and eat less meat without forgetting all about Palestine. [/sarcasm]

    And Maan, research Vegetarianism more before you say there isn’t any moral duty to it. Smoking only hurts you and those around you, eating meat like we do impacts everything between here the Amazon.

  • Tarak,

    So you can afford to buy meat and eat it everyday, to the point where you are actually harming the environment. Good for you.

    I can’t help but feel it is extremely indulgent, elitist, and insensitive to preach vegetarianism in a country where most people can’t afford meat.

    In case you haven’t noticed, in your west amman mansion, that a lot of people in Amman and jordan can’t afford meat. So yeah, preaching vegetarianism is elitist bullshit. It screams of “looking at me, I’m more worldly and sophisticated than my ignorant fellow jordanians, therefore I need to educate them”.

    Meat consumption in jordan is nowhere near what it is in the UK, Europe, or US. Not to mention Latin America. Here in the UK people have meet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So please, give us Jordanians a break.

    Also, yes, people have the mental capacity to worry about more than “just” Palestine and Iraq. But like was pointed earlier, many more grave issues affect the lives of jordanians more seriously and directly than consumption of meat. So let us not be blind cocks and just follow trendy activism. Lets focus on what is real and effective. Honour crimes, anyone? Taxes? Human rights? Do I really have to keep going?

    And about Amazon, if you’re seriously worried about it. Have you heard of BP, Shell, and all the companies drilling and cutting trees and makes the mess out of the place? I’d say that would be a better place to start to actually help the Amazon. Although I also have to point out that being in one of the most troubled regions of the world, its a bit of stretch to worry about the Amazon.

  • Hareega,

    You have a point.

    A point to add is that its not whether the activism is sincere or not that I’m debating. Its that its deluded.

    But yeah, I pretty much agree with what you’re saying.

  • This is so entertaining!

    On a more serious note, so what if a cause chose to be a bit creative? khalas we should slam it just because it is non of the usual causes we talk about everyday?

  • pure ignorance @waseem and @maan,,, the leading cause of global warming in the world is over consumption of meat.. the world does not solve problem hierarchically, it solves them simultaneously… plus, what have you done to better all those causes you list??

  • @Maan Being a good human is about standing up for what is right, not just the things which affect one’s self. I believe it is an admirable struggle–the struggle for yourself as well as your fellows, but being a good person involves more.

    “I am in favor of human rights as well as animal rights, for that is the way of a whole human being.” -Abraham Lincoln

    Coretta Scott King is one of the people I admire most in history. (She was Martin Luther King Jr.’s Wife.) She fought for her civil rights–putting her life in jeopardy to do so, but she also fought for LBGT rights, against the South African apartheid, and, for the last 10 years of her life, was a strict Vegan and promoter of animal rights.

    It would be a fool who argues because she cared for the suffering of others, she no longer cared for the suffering of her fellows.

    Yes, Jordanian’s have “real” problems which confront them (as did Mrs. King!) but they should not be isolated from all the world’s evils. It is unarguable the Jews had real problems in the events up to and around World War Two… unthinkable evils! Is it fair, however, for them to view the evils happened upon them separately from the terrors they have cast? (I do not mean to target all Jews–I mean only to refer to the many who hold the philosophy terrors committed by the Zionist state are just because of the Jewish victim status.)

    Being an offender as well as a victim is not a wash. Causing suffering to others does not justified by one’s own suffering; it just adds to the global evil and is shameful while unfortunately “understandable.”

    Being secure certainly makes it easier to champion the causes of others, but I do not think it should be considered any less noble.

  • If I were wise, I would have offered Mahatma Mohandas Ghandi as an example, but I’m a United States American and a female, so there you go.

    Neither people gave up on the rights of everybody to focus on the rights of themselves.

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