Thursday, December 29, 2005

Year Accomplishments

My top ten 2005 Accomplishments.

1) On the professional level : I went to work every day except for the days that were designated as holiday or days off.

2) On the personal level : I Quit Mahjoob discussion list and joined Jordan Planet bloggers list.

3) On the family level : I Told my spouse and my children that I still love them

4) On the friends level : I Called my friends in Jordan and Palestine and conveyed my greetings and best wishes.

5) On the theological level : I Haven't started but I'm attempting to start praying on regular basis.

6) On the house level : I Bought new stove and refrigerator for the kitchen.

7) On the internet level : I Learned new techniques for searching and refining my search.

8) On the investment level : I did well in [REIT] real estate investments trust fund.

9) On the health level : I Took my medication according to the way the doctor prescribed them for me

10) On the cathartic level : I Engaged a group of very nice bloggers like Nas, Haitham, Rami, Roba, Lina, Firas, Tololy, and Ziad Kawar

My outlook for 206 : Much of the same things like 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims

Enjoy !

Simplify ... Simplify.

This post is inspired by Darwish Naji's experience during the period immediately before his joining Jordan Planet citizenry. His experience was reminiscent of my own experience and the experience of couple of other citizens who probably wouldn't want their names publicized and would rather remain anonymous.

What makes this topic interesting is the fact that existing members who have been citizens for a while themselves don't know anything about the appropriate manner with which an aspiring prospective bolggers become a citizen of Jordan Planet.

I'm not suggesting that somehow there is a huge level of fortified secrecy surrounding the manner with which a prospective blogger become a citizen what I'm saying is there is a need for something like a pull down key that would take the person for instance to a topic titled [FAQ] frequently asked questions.

The purpose of this topic would be to answer the most frequently asked questions that comes to mind when the person become interested in Joining Jordan Plant. I understand that currently there are brief statements scattered here and there that gives the person some hints on what to do, but judging from Darwish Naji's experience, my own experience and that of couple others, I felt that this topic warrants some addressing and I chose to be the one to address it.

A few days ago, Laith Zraikat suggested that the citizen ought to be given the option to post or not post some blogs on Jordan PLanet since some of the topics are too technical for some people and find it very boring and may not want to be burdened with looking at it. I personally thought that the suggestion was a brilliant one, as many times the citizen would want to be in the driver seat deciding whether a specific topic warrants the trouble of having the whole world look at it or it simply would be better off confined to the main blogger home page.

So Mr. Zraikat's suggestion would be added to the FAQ list. The question would read something like this : Will the citizen of Jordan Planet be able to post some blogs on Jordan Planet and withhold some other blogs from being published, or all the blogs appearing on the citizen's blog main will be published on Jordan Planet once he become a citizen without exception?

Answer : All blogs will exclusively be appearing on Jordan Planet, you can't choose between which one you can publish and which one you can hold back.

Having said all of that, now let me go back to the main topic and see if I can develop some hypothetical questions that are most frequently asked.

Question: How do I join Jordan Planet ?

Answer : Fill out the application provided.

Question : How long will I have to wait ?

Answer : Usually about 30 days from the day of your submission.

Question : What are some of the qualifications that you look for?

Answer : Interest in blogging. Blog, blog, blog.

Question : How will I know if I was approved ?

Answer : You will receive a letter of approval notifying you ( I've never received no letter)

Question : Once I'm approved, am I obligated to blog on a daily basis?

Answer : No

Question : Is there certain number of blogs that I need to maintain in order for me to keep my citizenship in good standing?

Answer : NO

Question : If I don't blog because I'm busy or have exams will I be penalized?

Answer : No

Question : What do I do to quit Jordan Planet?

Answer : You can't quit, this is a cult.[ Just kidding here] You can quit any time you want by sending an email to one of Jordan Planet staff members.

Question : Will my blog be censored?

Answer : No not unless it has something in it that violates the law.

Question : Who owns Jordan Planet?

Answer : The spirit of volunteerism

question: Is Jordan Planet for profit organization?

Answer : No

Question : Is Jordan Planet Governmental portal or non- governmental?

Answer : Non-governmental.

question : Do I have to be a Journalist to be a respected member?

Answer : No

Question : How do we resolve disputes?

Answer : There has never been any so far.

Question : Is faith, race, gender, ethnicity, play any role in this portal

Answer : No

These are by no means inclusive questions, I'm sure many more questions will come up as we go along, this meant to be a sample of what the questions and answers might look like.

This isn't something that needs to be implemented now or any time in the future, please note[ disclaimer] that I'm doing it as a blog not as a suggestion or a request or an edict. I have no say so over anything that goes on within the Jordan Planet administration, I'm simply a fresh citizen that has been around Jordan Planet for less than 90 days.

Feel free to comment on the blog or simply ignore it. I feel that simplification is the best policy, the more we simplify things the better they become. If the potential members are able to retrieve all the answers or finding them handy on the sight they will love it more.

People are parched for information, I know that Jordan Planet is a little over one year, I think that in the span of its short life it has done many marvelous things, but refinements never stop, they are an ongoing process. Adding FAQ feature is in my opinion a plus for the portal that will increase the level of visitors and traffic tremendously.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Googling Jordan Planet Members

Don't ask me why I did it because I have no idea, I guess I found some free time on me and I decided to use it Googling the majority of Jordan Planet members. I don't know what any of these numbers mean, they keep going up and down every so often, so don't be surprised to see yourself with a high number one day and then a low number on the next day.

The result of my Googling yielded some surprises, some of the members that I thought would get a low return received a very high return, for instance, who would have thought that a low key member like Jad would yield 114000, and a very powerful member like Ziad Kawar got only 655.

I was in between the 15 to 20 thousand category, I received 16700, very close to a former Journalist and an aspiring drummer/ singer Rami, he received 17000. The lowest was a member named Rawashed, he received 536, followed by Wael who received 578. Wael is more or less another surprise, he deserves more than that just for the exhibition he put out on the cultural street in not so distant past.

The Jordan Plant 'Staff' members did very well : Isam, the supreme leader received a whopping 57000, Roba did well too, she got 47900, Lina got only 12000, and Natasha had a disappointing 544, don't ask me why, Google yielded these numbers not me.

Moving along, Ahmad received 25500, I think it is a fair number for Ahmad, he isn't overly active but yet he writes in an adequate and consistent fashion. I Like his weekly and sometimes bi weekly columns appearing in the Jordan Times Weekender.

Another very disappointing return was Naseem Tarawneh, now who on earth would have thought that this prolific contributor would only get 544, it is ridiculous, I think that he should be up there with Roba and Isam in the fifty thousand category, but who am I to decide, it is Google who put out these search results.

Some members come out where they should be, Smeir is a new arrival and he received a fair 582, so is Owais, he too is fairly new arrival and he received 148. I hope that no one gets offended by these results, I'm only the messenger and the message is on Google you can investigate these results on your spare time and find out for yourself.

Other results in no particular order were : Ameen 13400, Matalqa 9160, Ammar Ibrahim 159000, by the way he was the highest one, with no one else coming as a close second.

Dweik 531, Sabbah 38100, I think the number for Sabbah is also fair, he is very active and puts out quite a bit of reading material out there. We haven't heard much though about London conference.

Sabanekh 699, Laith 837, Arrabi 833, Nader 11900, nader was sort of a surprise for me, I guess he is very active it just his name doesn't ring the bell when I hear it. Sabri 89000, Wow. For taking pictures of kids fighting in Hai Nazal, that is an excellent yield bro.

Kurdi 778, Yazan 10500, now who on earth is Yazan, I been around for at least 90 days and I don't remember seeing one single post for this Yazan, will Mr.Yazan please identify your self with a post or two so we know who you are?Thanks.

My sincere apologies for those that I didn't get to their names, they are either very new members, haven't posted anything recently, use an alias instead of their names, or I unwittingly omitted their names.

It doesn't mean that they are not worthy of being Googled or their Blogs aren't meeting the standard Blogging techniques, nothing even remotely resembles that.

In the scheme of things and due to the nature of doing things, one have a tendency to omit very deserving people, to those that weren't mentioned please accept my sincere apology, this report is by no means reflective of your skills or abilities, it wasn't meant to be inclusive nor comprehensive.

I started by Googling few names and when I found that I still have some time I googled some more, until I ended up with the bunch that I listed in the report. Again, please don't look at it as if it means anything to me to you or to any of the names mentioned.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Response to Khalaf post about the 'AGENDA'

I think that the purported election laws and the leaked news about the cancellation of the mandatory membership in the press association were the two reasons behind keeping the agenda articles obfuscated.Let us be realistic, it is almost impossible to implement any of the agenda's recommendations even if you have all the best intentions in the world.

Let us go over some of the recommendations and see how they fair up against the existing circumstances.

* Comprehensive universal health insurance for everyone in the nation by 2012. Give me a break, how much is that going to cost and who is going to fund it ?

* The creation of 600000 job opportunity.MMMMM Sure! How? In what field?

*Reduce unemployment from 14% to 6.8%. Read the item above, they go hand in hand with one another.

* Reduce poverty from 14% to 10%. This is possible with continued growth and money brought in by expatriates working in the Gulf.

* Increase annual income per capita from JD1500 to JD 2400. Well, I'm not so sure about this one either, if it hasn't happened during the past decade why would it happen now.

* Equal rights for both sexes by the year 2015. This one makes me laugh, it will happen when the salt bloom.

* Convert the budget deficit to budget surplus by the year 2017. This one also makes me laugh real loud. With so many thieves stealing everything including toilet tissue, I have serious doubts about any budget surpluses.

* Increase economic growth to 7.2%. Call me crazy on this one but I honestly think that it is achievable.

* Reduce external debt from 91% to 36% LoLLLLLLLLLL for that one.

* Increase spending on research. May be it will happen , by a small margin.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Proffesor Acquitted Of Funding Terrorists

Professor acquitted of funding Islamist group : Dr.Sami AlArian has been acquitted by federal Jury. See the link below.;_ylt=AlVp2G2ehVI4oEeqEeFrt.2s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

I have blogged about him on November 5, 2005. See the link below

I also blogged about him again on June 16, 2005. See the link below.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Arab-American Museum

Below is a very nice article written by my friend Ray Hanania about the recently opened first Arab-American Museum in Dearborn Michigan. Enjoy.

Another Suicide Bombing

Another suicide attack, how different is this suicide attack from the one that took place in Amman on November 11, 2005 ? Are all suicide attacks against the civilians are one and the same ? Are the attacks directed against the Israelis are supposed to be justified ? Shall we as ordinary citizens condemn all forms of suicide attacks against innocent civilians even though these civilians are considered enemies?

Are suicide attacks moral thing to do or totally immoral? What is the purpose of killing 5 people when the enemy is going to retaliate by killing three or four times as many of the Palestinians?

Are the suicide bombers helping the cause or harming it? Will suicide bombing yield any results or is it going to harden the enemy's resolve? All of these random thoughts are going through my mind as I listen to the latest news about yet another suicide bombing in Natalia Israel.

I honestly haven't fully recovered from Amman's suicide bombing, I just can't figure out why people resort to such a futile attempt to change things. The suicide strategy in my opinion, while it terrorizes people momentarily, and creates a great deal of havoc and mayhem, it is a strategy of failure on the long run.

When the Japanese used it against the United States in Pearl Harbor, the United States responded by dropping two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities that have not recovered until our present day.

The Chechnyan rebels used it against the Russian soldiers for many years, and more recently against the Russian civilians, it too proved to be a policy of failure because the Russians retaliated and devastated Chechnya into ashes and charred its buildings.

The Tamil separatists used it against the Sarilankan government personnel and it failed to achieve any thing, the Kashmir's used it against the Indian forces, and in recent years the Palestinians have been using it against the Israelis, they too have not been able to advance their cause a single inch by employing suicide strategies.

How long before the people sponsoring these strategies realize that suicide bombing doesn't work!? On the contrary, it hurts many more folds than the little benefit gained out of it.

The policy of suicide bombing is a bank rupt policy, it should abandoned all together, the responsible people with the right frame of mind must realize that the entire world is against it, you can't stand all alone in this world.

No matter what the cause is, no matter how justified the person in carrying out their attack, it never will be legitimized as a form of resistance, it will always be condemned as an act of barbarism.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Queen Rania

Ever since her ascendancy to the throne as a full fledged Queen of Jordan in the late nineties, Queen Rania has been very active on a number of fronts promoting domestic social programs, as well as polishing the image of the Kingdom abroad. Nevertheless, her efforts have been largely well below the radar level and haven't gained the necessary momentum to generate the broad based publicity necessary to put her directly under the spot light.

Fast forward to October 8, 2005. A massive earthquake strikes the country of Pakistan killing tens of thousands and injuring twice as many and leaves hundreds of thousands of Pakistani people without any shelter. Queen Rania, being the compassionate person that she is volunteered her services to the victims of the earthquake, and vowed to raise a massive public awareness campaign on behalf of the victims, exposing their case before the world public opinion, generating as much donations as it can be possibly generated.

Consequently, we couldn't miss noticing Queen Rania appearing at different times of the day on various satellite television stations promoting the cause of donations and soliciting other material help that can be provided to the earthquake victims. While it is very hard to measure the fruits of her Majesties message, it nevertheless gained a lot of publicity, and the Queens stature has been elevated in eyes of the people that watched these public announcements.

Queen Rania must have learned a lot about all of the human being sufferings while visiting the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan and while making those television appearances before the world audience, as her next performance shall be her best ever.

Fast forward again to November 11, 2005. Three Iraqi nationals blow themselves up in three different Jordanian hotels killing over fifty people and injuring over a hundred, a fourth bomber failed to detonate and was later apprehended by the authorities. Jordan goes numb, the country in deep mourning, no one can come up with a logical explanation to answer the questions : Why us? Why now ?

In the midst of all of the commotions, here comes Queen Rania appearing on Good Morning America for an interview on a television show that is shown across the United States coast to coast by millions of American on a daily basis.

The queen had made a very compelling case articulating the reasons for what happened and why did it happen, and despite her stunning performance the first time around, the queen must have felt that there is more to be said about this despicable act of barbarity that will go to any length for the purpose of inflicting pain and suffering on normal ordinary people enjoying a wedding party.

Fast forward one last time to November 13, 2005, in an exclusive interview with George Stepanapolus, the host ABC this week show, another nationally televised news show watched by millions of Americans on a weekly basis and shown coast to coast, here comes Queen Rania, poised, very elegantly dressed, speaking very authoritatively, and delivering a stunning super flawless performance. I must admit that I have never seen her so determined and so reassuring the way I seen her yesterday on this week program.

The host Mr. Stepanapolus tried to ask her very tricky questions, but the more the difficult the questions were, the better the answer she would give. Queen Rania described the attacks as attacks purely and simply directed against the people. There were no military instillations at those hotels, they weren't governmental institutions, the people are the ones who suffered the consequences of the atrocities.

I was so proud of Queen Rania, I have never seen any one from Jordan that was able to articulate the Jordanian position towards the bombing the way Queen Rania articulated it.

She connected all of the dots, replied to every question in a very coherent and cogent fashion, I wish for those who still have any kind of doubts about my Queen to watch the interviews and judge for themselves.

If you would ask me today I would have to say that Queen Rania is the best and most eloquent living public speaker in Jordan. The message has been delivered your Majesty, we are very proud of you Jordanian abroad, you have made us raise our heads high and our shoulders aplomb.

Our pledge to you and to Jordan that we will be the invisible soldiers spreading the good word about Jordan and polishing the image of the Kingdom abroad in every step of the way. This is the very least that we can do, fighting terrorism is not a one round match, it is several rounds, and just because the terrorists got away with one round, they will not get away with any successive rounds because we are determined along with your leadership to completely stamp them out .

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Condemnation & Commiseration

I strongly condemn the cowardly bombing act committed by unknown terrorists against the civilian facilities and people of Jordan.

I offer my sincere condolences to the loved ones of those who were killed. Those egregious acts are affront to humanity and they can never be justified under any circumstances.

I hope the the adroit Jordanian authorities quickly apprehend and punish the perpetrators.

May Allah have mercy on the souls of the dead and help the wounded recover in a swift and speedy fashion.

I'm so shocked and outraged to the point where I'm finding it hard to come up with the appropriate words for my condemnation and commiseration message.

To Allah we belong and to him we shall return.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Waiting for a verdict

The prosecution has rested its case after many hours of prolonged closing argument, the defendant isn't expected to call any witnesses. The verdict will be delivered as soon as the Jury completes its deliberation.

Dr. Al-Arian insists that he isn't what the prosecutor says what he is,namely; the lead chief financial arm of Palestinian Al-Jihad organization in the United States. The professor acquiesces to doing many charitable work raising funds on behalf of the Palestinian,but he insists time and again that he isn't a terrorist, never supported terrorism, and whatever he did is permissible and protected under the United States constitution.

The prosecutor on the other hand draws a very grim picture about who Al-Arian is and depicts him as the main Jihad Palestinian organization man in the United States.

It is an obvious harbinger of more woes to come.

I'm not sure what is the defendant's strategy behind not calling any witnesses and not countering some or all of the charges that were leveled against him. why did he chose to let this opportunity go is really a mystery to me.

I hope that he was not thinking that he will never get a fair trial no matter what he does, or no matter what kind of a defense he puts forth. Irrespective of the outcome of the trial, the defendant should have seized the opportunity by at least attempt to let the American Judicial system work to his advantage

"Jihad" is perhaps the most misunderstood word in America, if anyone hears it being uttered, right away they think that you are talking about a holy war even if you are yelling at an individual named Jihad.

For that reason alone Dr. Al-Arian and his attorney should have mounted a very succinct defense if for nothing else, it would be for explaining all of the meanings of the word "Jihad"

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dead on arrival

Did anyone hear anything about the national agenda? It was supposed to be delivered to the king after the Eid holiday ! The Eid holiday has come and gone and we still haven't heard anything that even remotely resembles the national agenda? What is going on? Is the national agenda dead on arrival? A writer in Al-ghad newspaper named Nimri stated in an Op-ed quoted a former Jordanian official telling him that the fate of the national agenda will be the waste basket. Another writer for the weekly Star named Janbek quoted the Jordanian Prime minister Adnan Badran saying that he doesn't know why was he hired for the position of the prime minister and he also doesn't know when will he be leaving that position.

A third writer in Al Dustour Jordanian Daily named Hussein Rawashdeh stated in his Op-ed that there is a mass confusion as to whether the national agenda articles are mere thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations, or are they edicts, canons, and invariables?

Meanwhile, the deputy Prime minister, Mr. Marwan Muasher is talking about printing a 200 mini version of the national agenda along with small booklets highlighting the most important article in the national agenda to be distributed for the general public and for the students in schools and universities, in addition, he will embark upon a public awareness campaign to tout the national agenda and remove all of the misunderstandings that are surrounding it especially amongst the skeptics in our society.

It isn't very unusual for initiates to die before the see the day light, I can think of too big initiatives that died before they started, the first is president Clinton universal health care system, it was met with so much opposition to the point where it ended in the waste basket soon after it was announced in the early nineties.

A more recent example would be the Bush's privatization of social security initiative, the President went out on the limb trying to promote his initiative, he pulled all of the punches and used all of the tricks in the book to make it sound good and beneficial to the average American citizen, never less, and despite all of his sincere attempts the initiative went down the tube and before it gained any momentum it too went down to the waste basket.

In Jordan I can think of two big initiatives that got doomed as well, one being the initiative about Jordan First, despite all of whoopla, and the public service announcements and the repeated slogans that were hoisted to support it all over the country, the initiative has never gain the necessary support needed to lift it high above the ground. It is still around but living in a state of comatose.

The other popular initiative that was also doomed to failure was the attempt to cancel the penal code that forgives or lesson the sentence on the people that kill their relatives in the name of honor crimes.

That initiative was debated in the Parliament chamber for many months upon months and in the end it was doomed to failure, even on repeated attempts to reinvigorate it once more have also failed due to tremendous pressure and opposition.

I understand that we all like to think of Jordan as a modern advanced, technologically equipped state, and to certain extent it is that and much more, but again Jordan is still a tribal society ruled largely by tribal laws and big family names, and it will take quite a bit of more time to get out of our tribal clannish mentality.

Let us hope that the national agenda gets delivered as soon as possible as this delay doesn't seem to be caused by what they say it is caused by, proof reading, printing, and-- putting it on the internet doesn't take that long.

The haggling, pushing, and shoving appears to be over the election law and not about those other lame excuses that we have been hearing. Coming up with election law should have been a top priority for the agenda committees, but since they let go until the end it has now come back to hunt them.

At this point in time, there is no if and or but about it, the national agenda must become public between now and the next week or two, otherwise, the credibility of the people involved will be on the line.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Change is coming...

In light of the flurry of activities that are taking place in the political circuits, political pundits, media czars, and opinion makers in Jordan are gambling on one of two things that are going to shape the next political atmosphere in Jordan immediately or soon after the Eid holiday is over.

Some zealots went even as far as predicting the demise of both; the legislative as well as the executive branches of the the government since neither one of them is showing any signs that it is willing to streamline their delivery agenda to coincide with the demands of the current internal as well as the external wind of change that are influencing Jordan in particular and the whole surrounding region in general.

If I have to make a wild guess as to whether the Jordanian parliament will be dissolved or the government of prime minister Badran will meet its final demise, it would be the latter.

Mr. Badran's government was doomed to failure from the onset, first and foremost it ignored the geographical factors influencing the political scene in Jordan, thereby the representation of some southern regions were totally ignored which caused an uproar amongst the tribal southern leaders and eventually lead to the reshuffling of the government while it was in its infancy even before receiving its mandatory endorsement from the parliament,

Secondly, it carelessly & intentionally carried over the same economics team that was dumped from the previous government despite the repeated warnings that this team was very unpopular amongst the opinion makers and was further accused with practicing massive unnecessary spending.

Thirdly, the executive branch appears to be always at odds with the legislative branch despite the denial by both branches about a deep resentment existing between them ever since the tepid endorsement the government received from the parliamentarians allowing it to function as a legitimate government under the law.

Finally, King Abdullah is faced with a choice between which branch is easier to dump without disrupting the flow of every day activities and without too much repercussions by the general public! When the King weighs the pros and cons he will conclude that it is much easier to get rid of the government and form new one that is willing to not only be pliant to the National agenda, but rather -one that will embrace the national agenda and sincerely believes in the biblical implementation of its recommendations especially the articles that deal with monitoring and bench marking now and for many years to come--accordingly.

Despite the fact that the agenda experts have already completed, signed, and delivered the sealed agenda dissertation to the appropriate personnel, the problem with the election laws is still looming large, it appears that the experts were not able to reach a formula where by a conciliation between the existing law and the proposed law can be enacted, it was left alone as to what the next move is going to be.

While we did hear through leaks that there will be two votes for each constituent, it wasn't exactly clear how these two votes will be cast. It was believed that one vote would be for the district or region, and a second one would be for the national vote.

While this issue is still pending, it would be very difficult for the King to dissolve the Parliament, he even said it on his own that dissolving the Parliament is out of the question.

In this case there is nothing left but to dissolve the Badran Government for the reason that I have listed above and for the reason that the government general perception in the public opinion polls indicate that it is a weak government that lacks the decisiveness existed in previous governments in Jordan.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I don't know what is going on with me lately but the feeling of lethargy has taken over my life. I'm hoping that it might be the Ramadan period is what contributed to this lethargic feeling, but I'll have to wait and see what happens when the fasting is over.

You can't imagine how bad it has gotten lately, I just hate to do anything, I feel that the smallest task is in my view a huge chore. All I want to do is cut corners and minimize the tasks to the lowest possible level that it can be minimized.

I have not cut the grass around the house for a long time, I didn't trim the bushes,prune the trees, or collect the falling leaves. I didn't wash my car, change its oil, or even put windshield cleaning liquid in it.

I didn't buy any Eid clothing for my children, heck, I didn't even polish my shoes for ages. I hate to loosen the necktie all the way so I don't have to re tie it the next time I want to wear it again.

My to do list has become several pages long, some of the items on my to do list is fairly new while other items are carry over from previous years, yet, all of it is still outstanding.

Sometimes I think that may be I'm depressed and I need to go on vacation to freshen up and rejuvenate myself, but the sooner I think about it the sooner that I forget about it and get up the next day much earlier than the previous day so I can make it to work on time.

Last time I got a hair cut was based on increased demand by my wife and by my secretary at work, they both urged me to find the time to cut my hair because I looked like a monster in their eyes.

I'm not busy at all, my job isn't very demanding, my wife and my children very much maintain themselves by themselves, they do need me to provide the necessary revenue to keep the household moving, but beyond that point they don't ask for too much of support other than what I'm able to give.

I'm financially stable, I don't have money problem, I mean I'm not rich at all but I earn enough to secure a decent life for me and for my family, so it couldn't have been a financial problem.

I don't know what to do next or what kind of changes do I need to make to get out of the lethargic state of affairs that I'm living in right now. I'm hoping that something will click and alter my mood.

I can't vouch as to when will this something click, this week, next week, or even never. I'm not really worried about this status because my life is moving as if nothing is happening and I'm the only one who is aware of this situation and this is the first time that I decided to write about it in a spontaneous fashion.

I didn't plan to write about this topic at all, I was planning to write about the national agenda and what changes it may inspire after its revelation next week, but some how & for some odd reason I found myself writing about my lethargy and the lethargic feeling that I'm going through.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Happy 30th Anniversary

I'm writing today to congratulate our national English daily newspaper, the one and only, The Jordan Times. There were many capable contributors in yesterdays issue felicitating the 30th anniversary [10/26/05], Rami Khoury stands out like a soar thumb, he isn't only well known in the Arab world, he is a world wide celebrity, I'm very proud of him and his achievements in the world of Journalism as a whole, and in his shepherding the Jordan Times while he served as its chief editor. I squeamish every time I hear about an announcement mentioning him as a scheduled a guest on the NPR news or on any of the many western news organization that are constantly going after him seeking his input on current Middle Eastern affairs and on historical references for the region as a whole. I consider Rami Khoury to be the number one authority on all of the social, political as well as the economical changes that are shaping the Middle East as we know it today.

I was touched by the piece written by P.V. Vivekanand, it seems like a very sincere expression of how he actually feels. I'm encouraged by the pieces written by George Hawatmeh and by Rana Gargour especially in light of their nuanced call for the establishment of a second Jordanian English daily-- as the Jordan Times may have already reached its peak in terms of what it can deliver.

I personally have had no affiliation with the Jordan Times other than being a reader and an occasional letter to the editor contributor. I think that my over all judgment is that the paper had somewhat weakened during the past few years.

I remember several years ago, and particularly during George Hawatmeh's tenure, the Jordan Times used to deliver very powerful daily editorial, headlines, and Op-ed pieces.

I used to underline at least a dozen difficult words that I had to look up in order for me to fully comprehend the many poignant high quality reports that used to get published in different sections of the newspaper.

Nowadays, the editorials are usually very poorly written and when they are well written which is very rare, the number of word count doesn't exceed 150 words. Most of the Op-eds are being extrapolated from project Syndicate or Common grounds. There is no reference to big time news wire reports and Op-eds other than perhaps the associated press.

I understand that the Jordan Times has been going through many ups and down since the passing of the late chief editor Abdulla Hasanat, but that shouldn't deter the paper from delivering stunning daily editorial that is reflective of a highly pressing domestic issue such as the national agenda & all of its ramifications.

Perhaps the time is ripe for a second English daily that addresses the more modern technological advances , along with life, art, health, the market, and everything else peripheral to the modern day gizmos, gadgets, bills and whistles.

The Jordan Times no matter what will always be in my mind and in my heart, my special love for it will for ever occupy a small and cozy space in my heart. Thanks to all of those that made it initially happen, and thanks to its current production, editorial, reporters, as well as distribution staff. Go Jordan Times go.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

commander in chief

Commander In Chief

I'm wondering if anyone watched last night the new episode of commander in chief on ABC channel at 8:00 pm central time. Any way, it was about a guy who supposedly tried to enter the United States through the Canadian borders with a car loaded with explosives. The guy got caught and was brought in for interrogation by the FBI.

The plot that he was scheming allegedly calls for blowing up several elementary schools around the country. He also was supposed to have had unknown accomplices plotting with him & were going to aid him in blowing up those targeted elementary schools.

To make the story short, when the FBI failed to extract a confession out of the guy using the allowable under the law conventional methods of interrogation, they decided to send him to Amman-Jordan for an aggressive type of interrogation, it was supposed to be a 'euphemism' for torture. However, the President understood that torture wouldn't be used, or if it was used, she doesn't want to hear about it.

After the alleged terrorist was flown into Jordan and was subjected to the prescribed aggressive methods of interrogations, he confessed, and provided the investigators with a list of his accomplices and another list of the targeted schools that were supposed to be blown up.

So the plot was uncovered the perpetrators were caught and no school children were blown up. Thanks to Jordan for having a reputation of extracting confessions out of suspects using unconventional methods.

I'm wondering if this was something Jordan knows about and condone, or was it something that Jordan was accused of and somehow become a stereotypical cliché that went on for so long and has become imbued to Jordan.

I remember last year during an interview conducted by the late Abc news anchorman Peter Jennings with his Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan, in it, the king denied having any information about prisoners being subjected to torture in Jordan for the purpose of extracting confession.

If this is the case then I think that letters of protest should be sent to the owners and sponsors of the commander in chief show and ABC station and its affiliates, questioning and denouncing the portrayal of Jordan as a hub for torturing prisoners. Especially in light of doing it on behalf of a third country, and in this case it was the United States Of America, the country that was supposed to be championing the cause human rights.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ethics Training

I have just successfully completed my annual ethics training course, this course is mandated by the state for all of its employees. The main tenet of the course is employee honesty.

It teaches the course taker how to avoid ethical pitfalls, and how to make it a habit of theirs to practice absolute ethics during the course of employment with the state.

I personally agree with some parts of the course and disagree with other parts, for example : I agree with the part that says that if you witness a violation of the ethics law being conducted in front of you, don't look the other way and pretend that you didn't see it, it behooves you to report it for your interest and for the interest of the institution that you are working for.

The part that I disagree with is really the silly one : For instance they want you to never ever use your work phone to make a personal call, and in the event that you do use the institution phone you should compensate the state for the value of the phone minutes that you used, otherwise your action will be considered unethical.

It is true that many of the prohibitions that they list such as making one copy on the copier machine, or taking the company car for personal business, or accepting a lunch from a business client may never ever get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the ethics law even when it is violated, but still they leave it up to your compunction to decide if what you did is ethical or unethical in nature.

I must admit that although I received a score of 100 on my exam , I don't necessarily adhere to the ethics law 100%, and they probably don't expect us to do it either.

I wonder if such a test would be useful in Jordan ! Would it help on lessoning the rampant corruption, graft, and wasta that is taking place in the civil institutions there?

I think that the key isn't in the law itself, it is in the enforcement, there are many good laws that are existing in books, but if no body takes the time or the effort to enforce them, then what good are they?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bush Speech Writer

Enjoy.... :-)

Social Security Controversy

I'm not sure that I fully understand the controversy that is brewing between the government on one hand and the social security administration on the other over the investment of the money saved up for the people's retirement.

The deputies say that the government is scheming to put its hands on the money while the labor minister says that it is not; and as far as the government is concerned everything stays the way it has always been.

It seems to me that this misunderstanding over the difference of opinion stems from the over all inherent misunderstandings between the executive branch on one hand and the legislative branch on the other.

There were rumors the other day about a covert impending government reshuffle, or even a government down fall and total replacement, but then again there were rumors prior to that about a dissolution of the Parliament.

Who knows where the truth is, however, politics in its very own nature is always full of speculations, rumors, leaks, impending schemes and so on and so forth. I'm writing today only to say that I'm in favor of having part of the social security monies 25-30% invested by the private contributing individuals themselves and not the corporation or the government.

If nothing else make this option available for the new contributors since the senior ones are probably too scared to invest any of their money in private account, and would rather have a secured monthly income once they decide to call it quits, or once they become disable and can't continue working. Their risk averse is very understandable since the cost involved may outweigh the benefits that will be gained by investing in private accounts.

By contrast, young people are dare devils by nature, they would be willing to go for it, for them it is a matter of make it or break it, they don't want to rely on limited amount of monthly income after say 45 years of working.

By having a portion of their contributions combined with their employers contributions invested in private accounts may yield on the long run a much better revenue than the one yielded by the traditional slow growth, low risk type of investments.

About 8 years ago, I went into my own self managed retirement plan totally and completely severed away from the social security administration, and you can't imagine the savings that I have already gained. It is almost triple the amount that would have been realized have I stayed enrolled in the traditional social security retirement plan.

I understand that this type of talk is too early for you, and some of you have never even entertained the thought about retirement, but believe me time go by real fast, it was the other day that I finished high school and college education, it was the other day that I started my first job, and here I'm already thinking about a secure income during my golden age years.

I think that whether you are 18, 30, or 50. You should always think about what type of life would like to enjoy once you stop working, and whether you have the wherewithal for all of your outlays need.

Believe me it isn't that easy, you need to begin your savings and your investments right now, don't delay the decision of saving and investing until later, life will catch up with you and before you know it you will be begging people for money when you are old, and you know how that feels!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Factual Error

آراء القراء

رسالة بوش المزدوجة - لميس اندوني

Factual Error - Hatem Abunimehالأردن
- habunimeh@yahoo.comلقد تمكن المحافظين الجدد من اعادة قبضتهم على الحكم ابان انتخابات مجلس الشيوخ وتعيين نوت جنجرش كمتحدثه الرسمي عام ١٩٩٦ فتلك السنه تعتبر هي السنه التي تم بها تتويج المحافظيين الجدد على راس الحكم وليس نهاية عام ٢٠٠٠ كما تم ذكره بلمقال لذلك يرجى التنويه

Monday, October 10, 2005

Yes to comments

If you think about it comments didn't start spurting until about a year or so ago, I remember when I first established my blog in 2003 there was no comment section available. Nowadays the comment section of any publication is proliferating at a rapid pace. Remember Alghad Jordanian daily when it first went into circulation which it hasn't been that long ago, it didn't have reader's comment section, now it does. Why ? I think that comment is very essential and can be considered an integral part of the blog. It is sort of like an informal survey, it is highly opinionated, it is feed back from the readers, some of it is positive, and some of it is negative, and some neutral. It is your job to see where your audience are from your blog,!? Do they seem very supportive? Do they think that you are passive? aggressive? or rational human being. I agree that some of the comments are very tepid and others are plain provocative, however, and for the most part, other bloggers are sincere in their analysis. Sometimes they like to personify their comments, other times they add little humor to it, and occasionally they are highly satirical. Whatever they might feel about it, without the comment part there is no way for any of us to ever get any sort of feed back on any blogs that we write. Grant you a lot of blogs go unnoticed without any comment even if the comment button is turned on, but that in itself doesn't forecast anything about the blog. It may have been a case that people were very busy, it may be that people didn't feel like replying at that time, it may have been that they read the blog, gave a little smile and then moved on. We can never predict the readers mind unless we hear from them, and the way to hear from them is through the comment section. So my conclusion is yes for the comment section it shall stay on all the time. All comments are welcome as far as I'm concerned. Good, bad, or indifferent. Sometimes the comment might uncover a bias that I have, sometimes it might aid me to sharpen my skills further, and some times it is entertaining. Diversity, democracy, pluralism, are things that I live for and indulge the functioning of my whole life from within them. I'm all for comments, praise me if you want, and condemn if you want, I'll still love you and respect you as a human being irrespective of your opinion.

Blogging Experience

I have recently joined Jordan planet bloggers, this is my 12th discussion list, message board, forum, group, mailing list, or call it whatever name you want to give it. Prior to Joining Jordan planet, I was an active participant on Mahjoob, I spent a little over two years on that site, and what an experience it was. I'm not going to state any high lights from my presence in there since there weren't any of it worthy of any mentioning. Before Mahjoob I was a resident on a site called Jordan for about 3 years. There were many mature participants in there, some of them were highly intelligent. we even had a Jordan net get together and we got to meet one another face to face. But then late in 2003, the site started having less and less visitors, and when the activities went down to almost zero, I migrated to Mahjoob. I recall my very first experience joining those internet discussion forums was in 1998, it was a list called Arab writers list. We were divided into different kinds of writers, some of us were writing columns, others were writing short stories, some were writing drama, fiction, tragedy, poetry and so on and so forth. I was primarily writing about politics since political science was my specialty and it was what I studied at the University. Most of my political writing centered around the Arab Israeli conflict, the American foreign policy, the UN, and the American domestic political policies,namely, the President, congress, and the Judicial processes. Like usual, people wouldn't leave one another alone and before you know it fights, arguments, and cursing started to be exchanged between members and not long after that the owner decided to close down the forum. At some point in time I tried to experiment with having my own discussion list, and sure enough I started what I named "Best of electronic media" I was able to enlist about 15 active members, and our group registered approximately 2200 quality messages, but I guess it was never meant to be, the members were getting lax by the day, and the posts were getting less and less, until at some point in time I was the only member posting. In other words I ended up being the owner, the moderator, and the poster. When that short lived experiment met its demise, I joined a group called Palestine media watch, the group was initially very active, the primary responsibility of the members were to check the major US newspapers like the New York Times, The Washington post, and The Wall street Journal, and we read all of the articles that talks about the Arabs, and when we find a factual error we write letters to the editor and we ask for a face to face meetings with the editorial board of that particular newspaper. We did real well, we managed to get the newspapers to call the west bank an occupied Palestinian territories, we managed to get them to call the Golan Heights an occupied Syrian territories, and we managed to have them refer to Jerusalem as a disputed territories instead of calling it an eternal capital of Israel. The main fights and arguments were about semantics, but then like everything else you get tired of it, in addition to being time consuming and too many bigoted editors and columnists. Their dogma blinds their writing. I still do some of that work on a volunteer case by case basis but I'm not as active as I used to be four or five years ago. The list of joining and quitting these discussion forums extended beyond what I have already manifested, at some point in time I was active in writing letters for an organization called the Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee, I was also active in a group called the National Arab American Journalist Association, and that is why Pal Force probably thought that I was a Journalist. In addition to the foregoing I also served in Al-Awda, Free Palestine, Arab community news, Ido net work news, and media monitor net work. If you ask me what is the purpose of being into all of these groups, my answer would be I have no idea. I guess for one thing I love writing, and I think that my experience finally helped me find my niche. I'm a blogger, there is no if, and, or but about it. It may have taken me since 1998 to try to figure it out, I think that it is now over and done with. I think that blogging for me is like what someone said it the other day : it is catharsis, there is no other way letting out the best of me the way I get done through blogging.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Homer Nods

Lo and behold last week I wrote a blog about how when we open the Jordan press association web page we don't find a single word about electronic media or about the bloggers operating in cyberspace, then this morning I find this headline : Committee to reexamine Jordan press association law, suggest amendments

One of the amendments that is the committee is going to be looking into amongst many other things is the electronic media, which means that we are getting some results, or are we !? Is this an aberration or someone is reading Jordan Planet blogs and noticed the criticism that is being leveled against JPA.

Whatever happened to the mandatory two year internship for each individual irrespective of his education or experience; prior to becoming a member in JPA, whatever happen to the article that prohibits members working in foreign press such as CNN and BBC from running for board members because there is a possibility that they might taint it and there is the other possibility of promoting normalization with the state of Israel.

I hope that those administering the JPA have finally come to their senses and relaxed the rules governing membership in the association.

The national agenda which will make all of its recommendations regarding the press fully public knowledge during the next two weeks have made it abundantly clear that it no longer see it as mandatory for the Journalist to be a member of the JPA before he can practice the profession of Journalism.

Despite the verbal fierce fight that the association has put forth thus far such as one hour work stoppage and holding a sit in rally in front of the prime ministry building, the national agenda committee represented by its leader Marwan Muasher, who is also the deputy prime minister have announced on several occasion that the national agenda recommendations aren't going to get into a squabble with the JPA over the membership issue since it represents only one item from 18 other items that will be governing the media as a whole.

JPA must recognize that electronic media has taken off like no other form of Journalism especially during the past half a dozen years, and to simply dismiss it as inconsequential, or ignore its presence altogether will be a grave mistake on their part.

I'm hoping that forming this committee to look into the rapid advent of the electronic media which some media pundits predict that it will replace the current press by the year 2025 is a step in the right direction.

I like to see JPA move into the 21st century instead of staying put relying on laws and regulations established more than half a century ago.

Everything must flex and the JPA is no different, it must flex too or if it insists on staying put it can blame nobody but itself since it will be committing its own self flagellation.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Who Said It And Why ?

"Your political acumen is equal to that of a 16-year-old, full of cum, piss and vinegar as the saying goes". I'll come back to this quote later, or better yet read the blog below you will see what I mean!

I remember when were going to elementary school, once in a while during the school year, the Arabic language teacher would walk into our class room, order us to remove everything on our desks, and then ask us to take out a blank sheet of paper and pencil because he is going to give us a quiz. I guess that was his way of giving us our daily dose of rude awakening.

Once he made sure that we have done all what he asked us to do, he would write a one sentence on the chalk board and then below the sentence he would write two questions.

1) Who said it ?

2) What was the occasion ?

This morning, while I was reading through the Jordan Planet blogging page, I have come across this following sentence :

Your political acumen is equal to that of a 16-year-old, full of cum, piss and vinegar as the saying goes.

I liked it a lot, and my mind didn't want to let go of it, I didn't know what to do with it, finally, the idea come to my mind late in the afternoon, and decided to turn it into a blog. What the heck ? why do I have to keep being anxious, why don't I vent out my frustration.

So going back to those elementary school lovely days, would some one please other than the author himself tell us who said that statement and what, or when was the occasion that it was said.

Let us face it, you don't see statements like that uttered by people every day! The author must have been very angry when he said it, or he may wanted to send a very strong message to whomever he was debating with at the time, or I honestly don't know what is the purpose for some one to say something like that!

Any how, if you figure it out sometimes tonight please let us know and if you don't for some reason figure it out until tomorrow, I'll let you know who the author was and what was the occasion that he said it.

I don't think that I'm concocting anything new, nor do I think that I'm violating any privacy laws or intellectual properties mandates. The statement is there for any Jordan Planet blogger to see it.

Why did I elect to pick it and blog about it, I thought that I already told you, it kept on humming in my head all day long, and I finally turned it into a blog, that is all.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Help Wanted

Rebuilding Palestine: Legal, Policy and Media experts Needed
Help Government Become More Effective By Providing Expert Technical Advice

An international development consultancy, Adam Smith International, wishes to recruit several highly skilled, energetic and dedicated professionals to its donor-funded project, the Negotiations Support Unit, in Ramallah, in the West Bank. The NSU’s purpose is to provide expert legal, policy and communications advice to Palestinian ministries and institutions on a range of issues related to final status negotiations and the development of a Palestinian state.

The project wishes to recruit:

· Lawyers with a minimum of three years of professional experience
· Policy Analysts experienced in developing policies relevant to the Palestinian context
· Communications Advisers with experience in public relations or media

All candidates must have excellent academic qualifications, a detailed understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and substantial experience of working in teams, liaising with other government organisations and delivering work to tight deadlines, and must be fluent in Arabic.

*Contracts are for one year in expectation of renewal being agreed by both parties*

Please send a cover letter and CV to: before the 15th of October 2005.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I want it all or nothing

A common mistake people get themselves into all the time when they try to go for the " All or nothing" solution. It goes without saying like this : It is either I get my PhD or I don't want to go to college at all, it is either I marry the most beautiful girl in Jordan or I'll stay single for the rest of my life, it is either I buy a house in Abdoun or I stay in my own lousy apartment for ever, it is either I buy that latest model BMW or continue taking public transportation. In other words, either I get it all or I don't want any of it, "I want it all or nothing".

In all of these cases and many more; a second, or even a third best choice would have resolved the problem in an amicable way without the need for staying in a permanent state lamentation.

The most popular example where you see this 'all or nothing' phenomena thing happening time and time again is when you hear someone talking about the Arab Israeli conflict. Most notably; when s/he are granted a space to write in an American newspaper such as the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or when the person is granted a two minute television interview with one of the major TV net works like ABC, NBC, or CBS.

S/he immediately try without any success to foist hundred plus years of conflict history into a 750- word article, or a 2- minute television interview. You see them usually starting with the inception of Zionism in the late 1890ties and taking you all the way to our present day current events.

There is no way on earth any one can talk about a complicated subject like the Arab/Israeli conflict in such a short period of time no matter how much intelligence that person possesses. No matter how skillfully the words and sentences get manipulated, the subject matter will not look the way it should because a lot of facts and key events will have to be omitted to accommodate the time given to speak, or the space given to write.

Everything takes time and lots of it, if you want to buy that house in Abdoun you may need to save money for over a 30- year period in order for you to be able to purchase that dream house of yours, if you want to get that PhD you need to start with your high school diploma and then two years associate degree, followed by a bachelor, and a master and so on. You can't just sit there and say : I want it all and I want it all right now or I don't want nothing, in all likelihood you will get nothing with that kind of an attitude.

Just think of how long did it take for the Lebanese civil war to come and go !? over 15 years, for the Sudanese civil war ! over 20 years, for the Algerian civil war ! Gulf war ! it started in 1990 and it is still raging until our present day.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you insist that you only are going to accept all or nothing it means that you are setting yourself up for failure from the get go. Everything has to start from somewhere and then work its way upwards or whatever direction it may take, for you to sit there and say 'I want it all' nothing is going to happen no matter how many times you say it, repeat it, or dream about it. When you get tired of saying it you will find yourself standing in the same spot that you started from.

For our experts on the Arab/Israeli conflict, they can't keep on saying that either Israel relinquishes all of the occupied territories lost during the 1967 Arab/Israeli war or there is never going to be peace at all, and do it in two minutes television interview or in seven hundred fifty words article, I have a news for them, it isn't going to happen.

They have been doing is since resolutions 242 & 338 were enacted by the UNSC more than 35 years ago, and thus far nothing happened. The reason being : You can never say ' I want it all or nothing '

Monday, October 03, 2005

Jordan Press Association

If you happen to be a media freak like me you might want to Google the Jordanian press association web page on the left hand side there is a set of buttons that take you to more links within the same page, one of these buttons is titled News & Activities, if you click on that button it will take you to a page that is titled Latest News, the funny part is : The page is totally blank which means that there is no news and there is no activities. If you turn to the Arabic version of the page and then start clicking on the links from the top you will come back to the same button that says News & Activities but this time around it is in Arabic, when you click on it you will find a one paragraph announcement about the order to the Journalists to stage a one hour work stoppage on Sunday and that is about it. If you scroll down further you will find another piece of news that talks about the committee for anti normalization, there is no exact date written on that piece but it looks like it was written either in 1998 or in 1999. In all honesty I didn't go to the website to vet it or to see what the portal has to offer, I went in there to see if they have anything written about the bloggers. I understand that the Jordanian press association doesn't recognize any individual as a Journalist unless that individual is a member of the press association. Therefore, I wanted to see what does it take for the blogger to become a member, or does the press association recognize the bloggers as Journalists. To my dismay none of what I was looking for was any where to be found on their web page, as a matter of fact the word blogger doesn't exist any where in that website. I'm wondering if the bloggers decide one day to join the press association, will they be allowed to do so.! As we all know by now the national agenda committee has made a recommendation stating in so many words that in order for the person to practice the profession of Journalism he/she don't have to be members of the press association. The association is fighting back with all of its might, we will soon know that if we as bloggers are able to join the rank and file of other Journalists or the Jordanian press association will stone wall us and prohibit us from practicing Journalism since we are not members of their association. I say bring it on, it is the bloggers time, we are here to stay so as might as well the association get used to us, admit us or not we will continue on blogging day and night, morning and evening, hot or cold, Ramadan or Eid, blogging will continue unabated, when one blogger runs out of topics the next blogger takes over, it is a team effort, and while it is uncoordinated individualized effort, the collective net result is useful for the general populace. There is no topic that is a taboo for the blogger, they have their own code of ethics, and they practice their own self censorship.Let us keep on blogging to whom it may concern.

Mutual Feeling

It used to be why they hate us ? Now it is why we both hate one another. I'm talking about the Arabs on one hand and the Americans on the other. The level of hatred between them two have reached an all time unprecedented high level. The Arabs claim that it isn't the American people that they hate, it is the American foreign policy that bothers them the most, it is the double standard that the US practices in its dealings with Arabs versus its dealings with Israel that is drawing most of their ire. The Americans on their part say that they are trying very hard to polish their image in the Arab world and they aren't only using their mouth they are using their money too. They have opened a radio station to broadcast in the Arabic language (Sawa) they have opened a television station, and they are publishing a periodic magazine in Arabic as well.They are all aimed at softening the existing level of hatred in the Arab world.
The American administration most recently hired an envoy (Karen Hughes) to travel to the region and listen to the grievances that are aired in public view against America and its policies.She visited Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the hottest two places in the region as far the US administration is concerned.
Meanwhile, Columnist Ami Tahiri suggests in an Article published in the NewYorker magazine that there is no such thing as Arab Hatred for America, he goes on to say that most of the hatred that the Arabs have for America is not home grown, it is actually imported from outside, & solely based on what the Arabs are reading from foreign left right wing editorial writers such as Naom Chomskey, Moore, and others. He challenges any one to come up with one single individual name from the Middle East that can be identified as truly anti American.However, this individual whomever it may be has to base his/her hatred on their own thoughts and philosophies and not based on imported ideas from westerners that are considered America's haters in their own country. I don't know what say, I think that it takes a very long time to build a trust between countries, a quick solution by an envoy visit is not going to do it. Cultural relation is a very good starter, exchange students, face to face meetings between ordinary people from both sides of the world is the best thing that can happen to improve the sour relationships.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


What a waste ! This project will never see the day light, people aren't only going to haul away the contents of the the containers, they are going to to take the containers and use it for something else. I remember back in the seventies when Amman municipality decided to disseminate black plastic garbage bags for the citizens of Amman so they don't put their garbage in an open container that usually gets attacked by wild cats, and attracts mice and other crawling insects. The people never complied, they took the plastic bags from the garbage collector and never put it in the container, instead, people started using those plastic bags to save the old loaves of bread from hardening, and to store their clothing for the next season. some people went as far as stealing some of these bags and went to sell them in the flea market on weekend . Before you know it the municipality stopped the distribution process. I have no idea what the people are using to contain their garbage these days. In any event and as far as this new project is concerned, the rummage enthusiasts will have a filed day with these new containers especially the ones that are going to be placed in the rich areas of Amman. The homeless, the looters, the indigents, are going to follow through on fishing expeditions excavating inside these containers. In my opinion unless the municipality secure these containers with chains, steel lids, and locks, the project will fall apart in no time. Better yet, the containers themselves are going to disappear and will be seen being resold in one of the many flea markets scattered around the city of Amman.


Mr. Sakhinini is someone I met through free Palestine discussion list, I like what he wrote below and with his permission I'm excerpting the passage he wrote below.


On 28 September 2000, Ariel Sharon, the butcher of Sabra and Shatila, made a provocative visit to Haram al Sharif in Jerusalem, which sparked what became to be known as the “Second Intifada”.

The “Second Intifada” was neither Second nor First. It was part and a parcel of a continuous resistance to the Zionist project in Palestine. It is part and parcel of the conflict that started with the arrival of the pioneer colonial settlers in 1882 and is still going on to this date.

There are two parties to this conflict. On the one hand, we have a racist colonial movement that was, and still is, supported with the Imperialist powers of the West. On the second hand, we have a people attached to their land and would never stop their struggle until their full human rights are restored to them and until the Refugees, who were ethnically cleansed from Palestine, Return to the homes and lands that were stolen from them.

It is a long, sad and bitter story that would be summarized in a number of short messages to follow.

Nizar Sakhnini, 28 September 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005


A discussion between me and my- 10- year old old daughter about happiness.

Me. What does happiness mean to you ?

My daughter. It means having money, lots of it, and more money.

Me.Is that all ?

My daughter. Well, it could also mean
pleasing God, my family, and my teachers.

Me. What else ?

My daughter. I don't know, I said all what I know.

Me. How about being healthy, could that spell happiness ?

My daughter. Yeah !

Me. Do you like challenge ?

My daughter. Yes, I do.

Me. Do you feel triumphant when you win the challenge ?

My daughter, Yes I do !

Me. Can we call that feeling happiness ?

My daughter. Well, sort of

Me. So money isn't all happiness, or is it ?

My daughter. Well, yeah, but I still say that money is the main thing.

Me. But you just told me that stimulating your intellectual thoughts can result in a happy feeling !

My daughter. What do you want with me, I'm only 10 for God's sake. !

Me. I'm just trying to understand what is happiness.?

My daughter. I already told you, it is money.

Me. But I have already established that it isn't only money-- and you agreed.

My daughter. I don't care what I agreed to, I still say money spells happiness.

Me. Were you happy last year when they announced your name that you were the number one in your graduating class ?

My daughter. Yeah ?

Me. Where is the money in that announcement ?

My daughter. I would have felt happier had they given me monetary award instead of recognition ?

Me. So you are now defining happiness as happy, happier, and happiest.

My daughter. Yes, that is exactly what I'm doing.

Me. So when was your hippest moment in life ?

My daughter. When you gave me that crisp $ 100.00

Me. When will you become much more happier than that ?

My daughter. When you give me more money on my birthday !

Me. So in your mind, only money brings happiness and nothing else !

My daughter. Exactly.

Me. What happens if you don't get any money ?

My daughter. I'll kill myself.

Me. So good health, good parents, a sense of accomplishment, triumph, intellectual mind stimulants means nothing to you if compared to money.

My daughter. Yes, dad, and please leave me alone, I'm going to work on my home work and I don't wish for this discussion to continue any longer than what it already did.

Me. Go a head, and sorry for taking up your time.

My daughter. Never mind but you are tricky dad.

Me. You agreed to have this discussion about happiness.

My daughter. Yes, I did, but I wasn't thinking it is going to be like that !

Me. Do you want to have a discussion about another topic ?

My daughter. No, thanks.

So, there you have it, a 10 year old girl had translated happiness into basically one single word " MONEY"

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Not So Silent

It isn't entirely true that Muslim Americans aren't making a concerted effort to denounce terrorism conducted by Muslims oversees. Many U.S. Arab and Muslim based organizations have consistently condemned the hideous terrorist acts in both Iraq and Palestine, and wherever else they take place around the globe. AAI, ADC, MPAC, CAIR, and many other Arab and Muslim organizations have made it abundantly clear in the print as well as in electronic media that terrorism is un-Islamic and those who commission it are bunch of thugs acting on their own and they don't represent the true Islamic teachings. Some organizations went even beyond the condemnation stage and started fighting back by exposing any kind of incitements found in literature that may promote terrorism or can be used as a fodder to brain washing young children at Muslim schools. They called Muslim Schools in part of Virginia to adjust their school curriculum which teaches intolerance regarding other monotheistic faiths. Muslim leaders of the world such as the Pakistani president, and the prime minister of Malasiya, and the king of Jordan have also condemned terrorist acts conducted by various Muslim groups. Maybe Muslims still have a long way to go before they are able to control all these irresponsible acts of terrorism conducted in the name of Islam, but silent no more, all moderate Muslims are united in their vision which spells out the notion that terrorism as the wrong approach to follow in trying to make a statement. Muslims are beginning to spear head real movements, albeit small in nature, calling for complete cessation of terrorism because all the terrorists are doing is besmirching the name of Islam and nothing else.

European & American Muslims

I concur that European Muslims provide the best hope for bridging the chasm between the West and the Islamic world, but I don't understand why were the estimated five to seven million American Muslims taken out from the mix of having an active role in restoring hope and confidence in the highly entangled bilateral relationships between U.S.A. and the Muslim world. President Bush was very careful soon after the 9/11 terrorists attacks to come to the Muslim's mosque in Washington D.C., and declare that the war on terror is not a war against Islam or Muslims, the American Muslims on their part reciprocated by pledging their full cooperation with the various governmental agencies, and by committing themselves to remain fully vigilant by keeping their eyes and ears open for any suspected terrorist hideouts and report them to the appropriate authorities. The Muslim organizations sought guidelines and clarifications from the Treasury Department on how to dispose of the charitable contributions collected annually from the members of the Muslim societies. In addition, they exhorted their members to commit to their civic duties by voting in the local elections as well as the national ones. They have provided libraries across the nation with copies of the Muslim holy book translated into every day English so other interested Americans can learn about Muslims if they chose to do so. American Muslims are also very active in Major U.S. cities in reaching out to other monotheistic faiths by instituting meetings and work shops with Jewish as well as Christian clergy men in order for them to understand one another and to keep the interfaith dialogue as an ongoing project to restore confidence between the varying faiths. American Muslims also travel abroad and meet with Muslim countries heads of states and expert theologians, and they facilitate trips and speaking engagements for them at major U.S. universities. So yes, American Muslims can and should be part of the larger endeavor of rebuilding the lost trust and part of restoring the hope for people of all walks of life to get a long peacefully with one another without regard to faith or ethnicity.


Success is not a goal it is a personal Journey. I'm concurring with the premise that the that extra curricular activities aren't part of the admission decision at the Universities in Jordan, and correctly so. So what !. I think that when the person decides to excel in some kind of a nonacademic activity, s/he are considered pursuing something personal, and no matter what this nonacademic personal activity is, it will not contribute to the advancement of the University in any way, shape or form, particularly when the University is considered an academic institution interested in teaching, in research, and in bringing up a learned generation. The University isn't a social club, it isn't a political organization, it is not an athletic arena. That is why it doesn't feel that it is obligated to consider the nonacademic extra curricular activity as part of its admission decision. The value of being socially, politically, or economically involved during adulthood years solely benefits those that are interested in pursuing such activities. Having said that, there are some activities that could be directly related to ones academic ambitions, for instance if one is applying at the university for creative writing curriculum, this person would be obligated to show that at some point during their life time they had done some creative writing work. It may have been a short novel that the person had written, it may have been an activity with the high school newsletter, or any work that will demonstrate that the person had interest in creative writing. I'm not suggesting her that extra curricular activities should be eliminated from people's lives, all I'm saying is that it is up to the individual to decide what they want to do with their creative mind.Some like your sister may want to run for student council, some body else may want to tutor other students, some may want to establish newsletter, some may want to be crossing guards, some may want to be involved in athletics, and so on and so forth. None of these activities have any relevance to academic excellence or its pursuit. I guess I'm siding with the University for not giving any academic value to nonacademic activities.

WSJ Redesign

I recall a few years ago the Wall Street Journal changed its design. In fact the redesign consisted of two parts only, it used to be printed in black and white only, so in the new version they added color to its pages, and moreover, it used to never put pictures in the paper, and once in a while when they decide to put a picture of some kind they would have it sketched by a cartoonist working for the paper. In its new redesign format it started putting pictures taken by digital cameras, and other colored pictures, as opposed to the previous black and white pictures– before the redesigning. As an added bonus to their readers, they added what they termed a personal Journal, it is a pull out section consisting of about 12 to 16 pages tailored for personal issues as– life, health, entertainment, travel, personal finances, and all kinds of other personal matters. I think that adding color didn’t really make any difference to the newspaper, after all, a newspaper is meant to be read and then thrown away irrespective of its appearance, we simply don’t save our daily newspapers the way we save our pictures for example, we simply don’t have an album that would fit the pages of the newspaper. In any event the addition of personal journal was a novel idea, it was a breakthrough if you will, and the reason being no matter what your profession is you are bound to find something in the personal section that would touch upon some part that will affect your life, be that a car you want to buy, a house that you want to build, or a bank loan that you need to finance a project that you are working on, the personal journal would have the information necessary to help you make an informed decision. I personally have been reading the personal section on a daily basis without fail since its inception over two years ago. You can’t imagine the volume of knowledge that I have added to my brain repository since I commenced this endeavor.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why ? Why ? Why ?

Why Does Guild Membership have to be Mandatory ! ?

Take a look at this report in today's issue of alghad newspaper, then see my commentary below the link.

I'm against forcing every journalist to be a member in the professional journalist association in order for the Journalist to be able to practice the profession of Journalism.It is absurd, why? what difference does it make? I think that membership ought to be voluntarily one. If the Journalist believe that he would be better off belonging to an association, then so be it but If he feels that his membership will not advance his career in any way, then why should he be obligated to become a member!?

The advent of Internet in the mid nineties have completely changed the way professional journalism is conducted and posed a great deal of challenges that never existed before.

The exploding of the electronic media and its ability to update events on the global level made it impossible for the print media to continue enjoying the prestige that it had always enjoyed since the dawn of the print media.

The bloggers posed another challenge as they proved that they can do the same job that the journalists are doing without pay and without any cost to the publishers, their rise over the past decade or so put another huge damper on professional journalists and their employers.

Everyone feels threatened by the bloggers, the journalists, the publishers, and the guild. They are trying to establish some sort of control over this festering problem. Will they be able to stem the tide? It is any ones guess. There is no way to measure how will the professional journalism look like ten to fifteen years from now.

If the current pace of declining readership of print media continues, there is a good chance that say by the year 2025, newspapers and journalists working for them will become a thing of the past like the typewriters and the eight track bulky tape players before it.

I certainly don't wish for the Journalism profession to become extinct but it is not up to me, the professional unions need to revise the way they deal with their members and give them the personal freedom to be able to join or not join the union.

But to make it mandatory for any member to join before they are able to practice their profession isn't the right approach at this point in time, it may even end up have a reverberating repercussions.

I hope that those in charge of the professional associations start thinking in terms of the requirements of the 21st century and not the exigencies of the 19th century.
Why Does Guild Membership have to be Mandatory ! ?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Reform In The Arab World

You said it, they just don't get it-- the way Saddam Hussein and the Taliban didn't get it either. Their mind is still set in the old ways that the US will be satisfied with stability at the expense of democracy. They have a very strange way of defining freedom, in Syria for example, reform meant for them that the Syrian citizens are now allowed to open up a barber shop and hold a wedding party without having to notify and get a prior approval from the Baath party apparatchik. In Jordan reform meant to the Jordanian citizens that they can establish political parties but at the same time they aren't allowed to assemble, nor hold rallies, and the names of the party officials as well as all of its members must be submitted to the ministry of interior for vetting. In Lebanon reform meant that the opposition parties can assemble and nominate candidates but at the same time they will be assassinated one at the time until no one is left or until those who oppose the regime get scared enough to the point where all they want from life is to secure staying alive. In Saudi Arabia, reform meant that three gentlemen asking for reform get tried in a kangaroo court and then placed in jail for merely demanding reform. In Egypt, the constitution was amended to allow for more than one candidates to run for the office of the president but then they attached so many restrictions and exception to the new amendments that only very few Egyptian if any will be qualified to run. There you have it the new democracy in the Middle East, too much rhetoric and no action at all. The leaders are fixated in their own ways thinking that so long as they keep giving the people the sops that they have all along been giving them the people will remain acquiescent. Twenty first century mental awareness didn't hit home yet. They think of their people as if they are their own little children, all they need to do is buy them that little a toy which makes bells and whistles to keep them calm and happy. It is a very sad state of affairs, the US needs to put an added pressure on the Arab leaders to free their people, and it need to develop a mechanism where by it can monitor the progress of the reform in every step of the way. Just because the leaders say that they are all for reform and democracy, it doesn't mean that they are now any step closer to it than before.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Candidate's hope looks grim

Candidate's hope looks grim.

I was highly ecstatic to learn that Mr. Aladdin Elaasar had decided to join the already crowded field of candidates seeking the office of the President of Arab Republic Of Egypt, I had learned earlier from browsing the internet that the Egyptian feminist Nawal Saddawi, and the Egyptian human rights activist Sadd Din Ibrahim were also contemplating taking a shot at that very important highest order of Egypt. I said to myself wow, that really transcends the facile.

What remained unanswered until today is the fact about how any of these candidates will be able to challenge an incumbent that occupied the office of the Presidency unchallenged for the past quarter of a century !

And just as I was trying to make sense of this web of contentious situation, I come across a report published in the Jordanian daily Newspaper Al Dustoor, which basically puts a damper on the hopes and aspiration of these enthusiastic candidates, it may even extinguish any remaining hope for them to even have their names listed on the ballots once and for all.

The report specifically states that Egyptian election law prohibits the candidacy for the office of the President of Egypt from holding dual nationality. In addition, the candidate must also meet two other essential exigencies before he can qualify for running. A) He must have gone through and completed the mandatory conscription draft. B) He must secure the endorsement of all of the members of the people's assembly, as well as the Egyptian consultative council members. I don't know if Mr. Elaasar is holding a dual national, holding both Egyptian and American citizenships or not, but if he is then his candidacy will be automatically disqualified.

The law wasn't obviously promulgated for Mr. Elaasar, it was supposed to be a safety valve against the candidacy of the son of Husni Mubarak who we believe to be holding A dual British as well as Egyptian citizenships. He is contemplating running in 2011 election.

I regret not seeing Mr. Elaasar enjoy his fifteen minutes of fame, however, if he is willing to relinquish his American citizenship, and meet all the other exigencies, the hope may still be there although it already doesn't look good at all for the adroit extra ordinarily ambitious Aladdin

Hatem Abunimeh

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sami Al Arian

The case of professor Sami Al Arian may turn out to be
nothing but smoke and mirrors, The government may even
have taken a bigger bite than the one it can swallow. Dr.
Arian may have had a big mouth and cocky attitude but it
is hard to believe that he provided aid to the terrorists
or he was the so called brain for the entire Palestinian
Islamic Jihad [PIJ] organization.
Yes he did call for 'death to Israel' in one of the
rallies, yes he did collect money for the orphan
Palestinian children, yes he spoke out against
occupation, oppression, and usurpation of the Palestinian
people, yes he lead a very brazen effort to free his
brother in law Mazen Al Najar from Florida Jail, yes he
went around the country yakking about America's
unconditional support for Israel and lack of support for
the Palestinians, Yes he lead faith based organizations
as he was a devout Muslim, and yes he established a think
tank institution that had a known terrorist on its staff.
Yet, none of these things combined can make him become a
terrorist or stand trial for variety of terrorist related
charges that if convicted carries many years of jail time
behind bars.
Dr. Al Arian may have been heard praising the suicide
bombing in Israel, many Palestinians that are so angry at
the Israeli occupation and the daily humiliation of the
Palestinian people would praise those bombing in the same
manner or even in a much more cheerful and gloating
In 2000 presidential elections, Dr.Al Arian held fund
raiser parties for the then candidate George Bush, and on
election day he exhorted the Arab and Muslim constituents
to vote for George Bush.
The indictment, charges, and now trial for Dr. Al Arian
is a classic reminder of the McCarthite era, during the
Senate race last year in Florida, Dr.Al Arian has become
the poster boy for the senate seat rivals.
That is why because of the intensive media publicity, the
mood that the country is going through in post 9/11 era,
and the penchant for convicting anybody for having
anything to do with terrorism, Dr Al Arian will not get
a fair trial, he is already convicted in the court of
public opinion, and before very long he will be convicted
by a jury of his peers.
If convicted Dr. Al Arian deserves to be pardoned by the
President of the United States, the President is the only
one that can see to it that justice is being served in
this circus like unjust case.
Hatem Abunimeh

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ensconced -- Arab-American -- Community
By Hatem Abunimeh,
The USA today reports that there is an increasing demand for Arabic language cognizance, and the record shows enrollment in US colleges that offer Arabic classes is 92% higher than what it was in the previous years prior to September 11,2001.
The news is very encouraging for me personally as I'm someone who is fully competent when it comes to tackling both; Arabic & English languages at an advanced scholarly level.
Few weeks ago I was contacted by a head hunter based in the west coast, he was recruiting linguists to be stationed in Iraq, he went as far as one can go pleading with me,in addition-- to wanting me to seriously consider it myself, he asked me to refer him to other competent bi lingual with Arabic and English languages skills.
He informed me that they are now offering a whopping $157000.00 for any one that can demonstrate some level of competence in the Arabic and English languages and be willing to relocate and work in Iraq on an annual contract basis.
I have never envisioned myself making half of what he told me they were offering,but notwithstanding the salivating offer, I respectfully declined for personal and professional reasons.
I spent the next of few days feeling highly melancholic, sometimes I laud myself for not getting myself into something that may eventually end up becoming detrimental,and other times I felt that I missed out on once in the life time opportunity to make extra money to pay off the mountain of debt that accrued over the years and can never be paid off with just sending in the minimum monthly payment.

And just as I was going through this state of comeuppance and self flagellation,lo and behold, The United States census Bureau released its 2005 report about the Arab Americans in the United States it explicate among other things that Arab Americans are doing very well in this country in terms of employment, income, homeownership, education and language skills.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself I started comparing myself with the data that was appearing in the report,when I discovered that I faired very well,I breathed the sigh of relief.
In terms of education I have a bachelor of arts degree which puts me in line with 38% of the other American population,not bad for someone that didn't speak meaningful English until age 20.
In terms of home ownership, I have been a home owner living in my current paid off home for more than two decades, the census says that more than half of us Arab Americans own our own homes.I guess that is considered in some circles to be the single most important investment an individual can make in his life time, and in some other circles owning a home is considered achieving the American dream itself.
I'm employed by a huge state Midwestern state University, I earn over $80.000.00 in annual salary plus 20% of that in benefits, now that is considered very decent if compared to all other wage earners in all of the USA which the census bureau puts at around $37.000.00.
I guess September 11 didn't do me any justice, I don't blame the general resentful feeling about Arab Americans, although we were totally innocent and we did apologize several times for the tragedy, and we condemned the heinous terrorists acts in every opportunity we got.
Needless to say, our reputation as Arab Americans continued to be tarnished, we were continually getting vilified and demonized by the media and especially the late night comedians, I was feeling sort of like imbued with indelible ink.
I'm glad to see that the census report has given me a breathing room, it is indeed a welcome development, Arab Americans are just like any other American, they bring their wealth and their intellect to this country and when it is coupled with the freedom and democracy, miracles can happen.
I believe that the census report exonerated Arab Americans from the stigma that they have been experiencing since September 11. We accepted being Americans in our adopted country, now will America accepts us !

Hatem Abunimeh writes about Arab people culture, politics, and religion.