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news organization that are constantly going after him seeking his input on current Middle Eastern affairs and on historical references for the region as a whole.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.