Photo Of The Moment: Inside The Election Tent Of A Moderate Jordanian Female Islamist

REUTERS: Jordanian parliamentary candidate Mahera Jewehan of the moderate Islamist Wastyea Party speaks with her supporters at her electoral centre in Amman October 21, find 2010.

I thought this was a great photo of the insides of a standard campaign tent, pharm especially for those who have never seen nor heard of one. What is interesting about this one in particular is that the candidate is a moderate Islamist (thus not a member of the Islamic Action Front party) and the tent appears full of woman. Though the vantage point should be pointed out here as the photo is capturing only the half of the tent where the women are seated, medicine as the men are seated on the other (right hand) side. That said, the women occupy the majority of the tent, which says quite a lot.


  • I am going to visit Egypt next month at the very time we in America have our most popular family celebration when more people travel home than any other day exceeding even Christmas. It is called Thanksgiving and it began when the first settlers in America invited the native local people to share in a family feast to thank God for His blessings. They came there for freedom and to improve their lives. I realize we all want to be thankful for such things which you also celebrate at the end of Ramadan. Be thankful for elections which give us an opportunity to have more feedom and improve our lives if we use our freedom to do what is right. Let us all hope that all our citizens do the right thing.

  • @Suhsuh: wow, that’s an interesting coincidence!

    @Marjorie: I’m not sure I get your point really, but I’ll join you in the healthy digression and remind you that Thanksgiving is technically a holiday that propagates an american mythology that you so poetically illustrated, which tends to involve something about the first american settlers who came to the new world in search of freedom and in the name of God and peace that manifested in a spirit of cooperation with the indigenous peoples.

    i think we all know by now (i.e. anyone who has ever read an actual history book) that thanksgiving symbolizes the systematic extermination of an entire people native to a land, invaded by so-called new worlders who brought to significant things to the “undiscovered” land: gunpowder, and a cross.

    ignoring and denying this part of history – something that is the very essence of modern day thanksgiving which seeks to enforce the belief in a historical mythology – is, to me, akin to denying the holocaust.

    lastly, elections in jordan are not defined by the same kind of freedom that exists in america today. jordanian elections have a completely different definition.

  • Dear Nas, Give my point some more. No person is without sin but what makes us better is our aspirations and what we believe. Our first settlers made a peace treaty that lasted for them for one hundred years. They had no prisons as they felt that they were against human rights and no instruments of torture have ever been the law. Other settlers heard of land and promised wealth and came for different reasons very soon. Some of my people originally came fron Syria unwilling to convert, fight, or to take up the jihads of Mohammed. They came from the first four hundred years of Christians which never used weapons. They found peace in Switzerland and later emigrated to America where they found religous tolerance. This is the freedom that we celebrate on Thankgiving. I believe that we can do what is right only if we choose to do it. To coerce a person is to deny him the right to good even if you prevent evil behavior. My parents and friends forbid weapons at home or drink wine or stronger drink. What credit would that be to them if they did it only out of fear of punishment. Many people do drink to their detriment but we cannot forbid them unless they are a danger to others or they could win an election and then force us to drink wine. In a free coun try that is the way it works. We absorbed many settlers with the hope that the constitution would give everyone human rights. You should know that it is a difficult aspirations to come to fruition but we keep trying.. I still believe that the outcome of free elections will be a better society and a one more pleasing to a loving God. I have observed that people who have the winning argument do not have to use force. They can stand agaist jihads and strict sharia laws by reason and our inherit gift to love others. It is the person on the losing side of a debate that has to rely on force.

  • Marjorie,

    You have to confront the fact that colonization is evil, insisting to ignore it is an endorsement to genocide and ethnic cleansing that always happen with colonial enterprises.

    The world of love and good you talk of – if any -, existed to the white supremest colonizers. Cultivation of the new world was brought around by enslaving Africans and cleansing the territory of American Natives.

    What judges a person is his acts, his thoughts count to nothing if the acts were evil.

    “No instruments of torture have ever been the law”.. According to George Washington it was “the process of cultural transformation”, “The Indian Removal Act of 1830 under Andrew Jackson”. To that a Native American responded “We as Choctaws rather chose to suffer and be free, than live under the degrading influence of laws, which our voice could not be heard in their formation.”

    As for the Syrians coming unwilling to convert as you say, you probably know that 15% of modern day Syria is christian. No one was forced to convert, or else, there would not be christian and jewish Arabs today. The Syrians you mention in America are settlers too, throwing in a national factor here does not change the argument.

    I invite you to step out of the 16th century you lock yourself in, embrace the times that you live in, and absorb the understandings human beings at large have accepted. While traveling in the time machine, some tips might be helpful:

    1. Differentiate between fundamentalism and resistance.
    2. Reading anthropology will help you contextualize, it will be a step to get rid of your christian fundamentalist framework, which makes you exactly like the muslim fundamentalists you despise.
    3. Avoid the ghosts of the 16th century, turn away from American mainstream news agencies that helped shape your awareness or lack thereof.

  • I hardly know how to answer your charges but I am reminded of the admonition to defense lawyers which says ” Attack the case if your client is innocent but attack the character of his victim if he is not. ” I have accepted the sins of the 16trh century but I do not believe in such deeds. You can judge us by our deeds. A good tree does not bring forth bad fruit and a bad tree does not bring forth good fruit. How do you measure up today and live is this century.Syria has turned away from war and persecution I hope but they did so in the past. We do happen to have evidence in many families. They kept records of their fmailies and you can folllow the trail of persecution by their wanderings. Some of them left after a jihad in Palmyra and named their towns after that. I grew up in Plamyra. I am suggesting that your jihadist are living in Mohammed’s world of his time and not myself. As for fundamentalism, If that means strict application of rules to always love your neighbor as yourself and always turn the other cheek than let anthropologists explain why pacifism is an inherent trait of so many Christans who founded America. They can also explain why they did not own slaves and have been credited by all historians with ending the slavery of the South. Could your anthropologtists also explain who Mohammed chose to go against all previous prohets by leading battles. No prophet in the mscripture was allowed to rise a horse but has to ride only donkeys and have no advice on war. Let me turn your statement around. Your actd count for nothing if your thoughts are evil.

  • Marjorie,

    I repeat, don’t force your fundamentalism here, and I don’t mean loving neighbors, it is what makes you the bigot you are.

    I didn’t even defend Islam nor did I mention it. I didn’t defend the fundamentalists of Islam, but your narrow mindedness makes you see Christian vs. Muslim. You have no understanding of states, of imperial powers of middle ages or the current ones as well, and you obviously read history from biased resources. You don’t adopt any scientific analysis to what you read and most of all, you base your arguments on religious texts, and defend empty words that translate to nothing in actual life.

    Since they are my Jihadists, answer me this:

    1. Do you even understand what does Jihad mean?

    2. Do you recognize differences between fundamentalism and resistance?

  • Nas,

    I’m not sure where Marjorie was coming from or how her point related, in her mind, the this election post. I appreciate the “peek inside the tent” as it were as it’s something I haven’t experienced. Seeing this, maybe I should. I hear they serve up food, too ;).

    However, I also think that your original response to Marjorie was a bit across the line. You are right, the picture she painted is a fiction. There were no settlers “inviting Indians to their feast.” Rather there were Indians taking pity on neighboring settlers who had no idea how to adequately farm the land and harvest food. In this setting, the natives saved the settlers’ behinds.

    On the other hand, while some came with significant ill-intent, most of the first settlers lived peacefully with their native neighbors. Throwing the cross into the mix seems just as out of place as Marjorie’s comment. What does the one thing have to do with the other?

    Oh, and I agree that elections here carry a different meaning than those in the US. Sadly, many Jordanians still seem to vote solely on tribe or wasta lines. The election isn’t about qualifications, fitness for the job, or campaign promises. Slogans are a waste of time since they are, truly, meaningless. In addition, it sort of makes you wonder why you vote when the people voted in are not recalled by the people. But, I’ll still be heading to vote again this year… no wasta, no slogans, just me and my thoughts on who might actually be able to do the job well.

  • I apologize if I gave the impression that I thought that all jihads were militant. I understand the difference but was too brief because I tried not to monopolize your blog. I appreciate a blog which has many voices as that is how we learn and I will give your points consideration in the future. I also appear to have given the impression that I read history from a biased viewpoint. I admit now that I do not always know what the Koran or Mohammed said on an issue but I taught Muslims for many years and I do know what they think it says. I also know what the educated person in your faith thinks it says and that is a start. I taught in universities in Iran and Sudan and shared offices with professors including Islamic teachers. I agreed with them sometimes but not always, but they were not militant or unfair to any student. I will have to give someone else the last word on this subject as i have a rule not to monopolize a debate. However, it was a genuine debate and I appreciate that. I repeat that I will consider the opinions.

Your Two Piasters: