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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When I first heard that Jordan will initialize a nuclear program for electricity production, I was afraid that all previous plans for clean electricity will be thrown out, but before three days I've opened the newspaper and I've found good news...

The Council of Ministers approved the establishment of a wind power plant in the Jerash governorate. Previous plans regarding wind power were put up, most of them unimportant such the turbines in Husn (Irbid), but this plant capacity is estimated to be 40 Megawatt as Ministry of Energy said. The plant will be set up in Kamshah hills and the ministry will also build similar plants in other parts of Jordan, including Tafeelah and Wadi Araba.

Renewable electricity represents less than 3% of the total electrical power produced in Jordan, so I wish this will be the first step to begin thinking seriously about clean energy.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Monastery of Our Lady the Virgin near Dibbin.
Photo by PETRA
Centenary Pine Tree in Dibbin. The first Jordanian King, Abdallah I, took shade under this tree, and named it Al Hada'ah.
Copyright DIGITALGLOBE 2007
A Google Map showing the Dibbin National Park, also surrounding arid area is shown. Why not to build the project in this area?

As a Jerash blogger, I just wanted to have my say on Dibbin project. Personally, I have good memories of that park; school trips, picnics, passing the time under its trees with friends and family and other memories that are hard to forget. However in this post I will try to be rational as much as possible.

I'm happy that Jordanian blogosphere has different visions of Dibbin's project. The majority of bloggers invited to sign a petition against the project. However, I've read the Nasim's post two days ago, and he presented a different view of the situation and he demanded explicitly not to sign the petition.
I invite you to read his post.

Ok, let me present myself, I'm a Jerash citizen, or more accurately, I'm a "COOL" Jerash citizen, I've signed the petition and I still invite everybody to sign it. I know the petition is until now unclear; but personally, I will sign any petition that is in opposition to the current project and demands protection for our trees, even if I won't get knowledge of its secondary details. Another point is that the project itself is unclear, I'm sure you've noticed that different blogs, websites and newspapers have contradictory information on what will be built in Dibbin and how it will be built.

Anyway some intentions are evident; first of all, Jordan Dubai Capital is not a charity, so it's exaggerated to represent this project as a humanitarian action to solve all Jerash economic problems. The company tries to persuade poor people here that the project will have a key role in extremely decreasing poverty and unemployment rates. Unfortunately some of them believed in that, and found the Dibbin project as the unique way to exit from the current situation. In reality no one can bet on this, especially on the long term.

The company will also have a selective policy regarding entrances, for sure price of tickets to enter Dibbin will be high, very high. This discriminatory procedure will allow only privileged and elite class to visit the park.

Jordan Dubai Capital clearly expressed that one hotel and 200 chalets will be built, initially they aimed to construct three hotels and 600 chalets but this plan was downsized after several consultations with RSCN, which affirmed that 8% of the area covering the complex will be directly affected, and minimum 160 trees will be cut down. Imagine that… building such a complex is not so simple; electricity, water, roads and other several infrastructures will have a devastating effect on the surrounding zone.

The most important matter is that the project is illegal, in fact the proposed project does not agree with the Environment Protection Law No.52 of 2006 (Articles 13,14,18) and Agriculture Law No.44 of 2002 (Read Articles 28,32,34,35). These laws prohibit the use of forests by private sector and determine the forests property as national and public, they also give Ministry of Environment more privileges in approving or refusing activities that could have any impact on environment.

There's a solution for this problem and it's quite easy, I think that a good alternative is to make a tourist complex that:

  • Is outside the boundaries of Dibbin park, and outside forests. There are so many empty spaces here in Jerash, it will cost a little more to plant new trees, but results are the same, in addition, we will gain a new green zone, even if it is privately owned.
  • Protects environment. No trees should be cut down for the project, and if it will be set up in an arid or semi-arid zone, it will be good to help stop desertification. It should also encourage protection of wild fauna and flora.
  • Meets local community needs. Since the project is in Jerash it must be addressed to Jerashis (or Jerashians, as you like). It should really help to produce new jobs, workplaces and it should be an important investment for city's development and economic growth.
  • Does not monopolize forests in any way. Dibbin National Park is for all Jordanians; today we pay 1 JD as entrance fees, which 20% is directed to local people. Things should not change after the project.
  • Has an environment friendly architecture, promotes tourism and does not make wasteful use of rare resources.

I think this is a good alternative to all the parts; investors, environmentalists and local community. Sorry to say, many persons who pretended park's protection were accused to be averse to any form of investment, we are not against any 'Dibbin project' we're only preoccupied of the proposed project, so a project that takes the above points in consideration will gain my support. And believe me, most of the people of Jerash have the same opinion.

U P D A T E :

The Ministry of Environment had reservations on the original location, so it suggested a new location, the 'resthouse'=estiraha, that's owned by Social Security Corporation and already has infrastructures, so no trees will be cut down :) However, this zone is inside the forest itself :(

Can we say that Jordan Dubai Capital 'surrendered'?... they finally have decided to change location, on the other side, up to this time we don't know the result of the environmental impact assessment (EIA)...

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Friday, February 23, 2007

The man on the right of the photo is Amir Peretz, the Israeli Defense Minister. Take a closer look at the photo, did you notice anything strange? Peretz gazes at a military drill through binoculars, without realizing the lens caps were left on!

Peretz was inspecting Israeli troops near Syrian borders, along with Israeli Army's commander Ashkenazi who helped Peretz to pull through the situation, the BBC said that Peretz gazed three times through the capped binoculars before Ashkenazi's intervention.

Do you think Israeli Army is overestimated?

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

TiggerFor sure, you've listened to many stupid news last month, but one of them appeared with more emphasis on several US media, international newspapers and internet sites, the one regarding Tigger of Winnie The Pooh.

I'm not a big Disney fan, and I've never enjoyed watching Winnie The Pooh, I don't know why, but sometimes this cartoon saddened me! However, this time I'm definitely with Tigger.

All we know the world is full of injustices, and this is a tragic example: Tigger has been accused of punching and hitting a boy's face, during a pose for a photo.

Watch The VideoWell, I watched the video, and it's so evident that Tigger did not punch the kid's face, it kindly touched him after losing balance. And the so-named "boy" is a 14 year kid, has found nothing better than to visit Disneyland and take a photo with a two-meter tall plush. And then, for what reason should Tigger hit a boy?

The fact that there is a man who has to wear in a ridicule way, to get an underpaid salary and an underestimated job is a good reason, and that hundreds of nasty small boys peeve him daily and he must grin and bear it. So, little poor boy, do you know what I think? If I were Tigger, I would really break your face!

(If you're a Tigger fan you can subscribe to this fanlisting, visit this site or watch this movie).


Friday, February 16, 2007

The Majestic Petra Festival

The Majestic Petra Festival, a three-day long festival that hosts artists, actors, historians and other cultural personalities will be held in Petra in April 2007. The festival is to promote and strengthen the UK-Arab relations, so we have to point out that official support for this event came from Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and British Prime Minister.

The festival will include film, theatre, opera, literary and other arts elements. In fact, the festival's program embodies live Arabic musical performance, screening of contemporary Palestinian films and open discussions of main political and inter-cultural issues, such war in Iraq and terrorism; these are only a minimal part of the events the festival will offer.

Nobel laureates, Arab and British thinkers, Jordanian writers and poets will have their presence in Petra; confirmed speakers list includes Sir V.S Naipaul, Khaled al Karaki, Hanan al Shaykh, Reza Aslan, Vikram Seth and many others.

Tickets information is available on the official site, and for those who live in Jordan the entrance is free.

More Info:

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

أنا لا أشكك في وطنية الإخوان المسلمين، خاصة أني رجل لا أؤمن بالوطنية المتمثلة بالشعارات الرنانة ورفع صور القادة، التي عادة ما ترمز إلى وطنية مشبوهة قد تكون مرتبطة بأشخاص ومناصب أكثر مما تكون مرتبطة بالوطن نفسه.

ومن يدرس تاريخ الإخوان المسلمين يعرف جيداً دور الجماعة في بناء الدولة الأردنية، لا سيما في دعم النظام والوقوف ضد جميع محاولات الانقلاب التي شهدها الأردن.

أكرر، في هذه المقالة لا أريد أن أشكك في وطنية الإخوان، ولا في روابط الغرام والانتقام بينهم وبين الحكومات المتعاقبة، ولكن أدعوكم إلى القيام بمقارنة بسيطة بين الإخوان الأردنيين والإخوان المصريين مثلاً. خطاب الإخوان المسلمين في مصر خطاب وطني بحت، تسمع أحدهم يتحدث عن السياسة فيذكر مصر بخير، يذكر المصريين بصفاتهم الحسنة الحميدة، وهذا لا يقلل من هم الجماعة الإسلامي أو القومي. أما هنا فالحديث عن الوطن بخير ما زال ذنباً لا فضيلة.

حتى لو أخذنا حزب الله في لبنان، والذي كثيراًُ ما يتم التشكيك في حقيقة حبه وانتمائه للبنان، يضعون همّ شعبه في المقدمة. من منا لم ير كثرة الأعلام اللبنانية في مظاهرات حزب الله؟ أما في الأردن فقد اضطرت الحكومة يوماً لإصدار قرار برفع علم الأردن على مقر الإخوان المسلمين، بعد ستين عاماً كان لم يرفع فيها هذا العلم على الإطلاق.

اسمحوا لي أن أصف حركة الحكومة هذه بالغبية، ربما قد اعتدنا على مثل هذه الحركات، لكن من الواضح أن الوطنية لا يمكن أن تأتي بإجبار الناس على رفع الأعلام، لا بالتهديد لمن يقوم بحرقها في المخيمات، الوطنية على حد علمي أعمق من ذلك بكثير...

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Well, for those who are not habituated to eating spaghetti it's a big trouble. Things are even worse if you wear hijab...


"Bloggers grow in Mideast; police watch" is the title of an article written by Associated Press journalist Anna Johnson, published yesterday, in which she reported the increasing bloggers phenomenon in Middle East and, on the other hand, the pressure governments place on them.

Here in Jordan , all we know the situation is much better than Egypt , Iran or Syria , there are not big threats to freedom of expression on the web here and I don't remember bloggers and cyber-dissidents who were victims of campaigns against them or even arrested. However all bloggers in the zone are in danger and governments' censorship of websites or weblogs is common; this is for protecting us from "immoral and defamatory contents" they told us...!

All my appreciation and respect to those courageous bloggers that were arrested or persecuted here in Middle East, the AP article cited Mahmood al-Yousif (Bahrain), Wael Abbas (Egypt) and Hamed Mottaghi (Iran), however many other should be included in the list, I can mention: Kareem Amer (Egypt), Arash Sigarchi (Iran), Idrees Mohamed Boufayed (Lybia), Habib Saleh (Syria) and Mohammed Abbou (Tunisia). All these were arrested for opinions expressed on the net.

AP also published a list of blogs in the Middle East, and woefully no Jordanian blogs were included, even if I think we have good bloggers that work hard for democracy and reform, we have a grown blogger community and some of these blogs are from the first and most popular in the zone.

Hoping that more and more people will express their opinions freely whether on the web, on newspapers or in the streets.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz, the president of the World Bank, says he would free world from poverty but I suppose he forgot to take care of himself... In a recent visit he did to Turkey, Mr. Wolfowitz entered an Ottoman-era mosque in the city of Edirne, but when he took off his shoes two big holes were revealed on both his socks with his toes peeking through. [see photo below] Yes! Mr. Wolfowitz has socks with holes!

Is that an acceptable sartorial deficiency, or World Bank finances do not go so well? If these are the best pair of socks the president found in wardrobe, well I think we have found another motive to not be so friendly with World Bank.

Another unpleasant economic situation was revealed after this event in the mosque, Mr. Wolfowitz decided to buy two bracelets on a market, but he did not have enough money!

Wolfowitz was previously shown in Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 when he used his own saliva to style his hair, he was seen to spit on his comb before running it through his hair ahead of a television appearance.

(However, Turkish Socks Producers Association has sent 12 pairs of socks to World Bank chief after this incident)


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Reporters Without Borders issued its annual report on freedom of press in the world, and as it says, "once again, freedom of expression is under siege everywhere".


Regarding the Middle East, the report clearly refers to the difficulties journalists face in Iraq and in the Palestinian territories. 65 Journalist were killed in Iraq, others were attacked, targeted and kidnapped for their political or ethnical membership.

Kidnaps and attack were also relevant in the Palestinian Territories, and 17 media workers were wounded in shooting by the Israeli army.

In addition to the well-known dictatorship in the zone, Reporters Without Borders points out the increasingly influence of the religion in media. The cartoons of the prophet Mohamed that appeared in a Danish newspaper caused a batch of protests in Middle East and the report states that "Instead of calming the crowds protesting at Danish embassies in the region, Arab governments chose to censor the media as a way to curry favour with the Islamists".


Intelligence services closely watch local journalists, who have to be members of the Jordan Press Association. Jordanian journalists still face prison, especially if they write articles that can be considered harmful to Jordan's diplomatic relations, or if they express ideas on the King or the royal family.

The report do not cite the recent press and publications draft law, which will abolish the detention and imprisonment penalties against journalists in press and publication cases, which are substituted with astronomical fines for who will express 'anything concerning assaults on religions and doctrines or inciting sectarianism and racism'. However the report refers to the king's will in favor of decriminalization of press offences.

Prophet's Cartoons:
Hisham al Khalidi and Jihad Momani were arrested for reprinting the cartoons that first appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in September 2005. Al Khalidi and Momani, that were given 2 months prison sentences, were editors of the weeklies Shihan and Al-Mehwar, Shihan printed three cartoons and called on Muslims to be reasonable, Al-Mehwar reprinted all the 12 cartoons with an article about criticism of their publication. Parliament unanimously called in January 2006 for the authors of the cartoon to be punished for a “cowardly and reprehensible crime”. The report also added:

The king, whose legitimacy partly rests on his family’s descendance from Mohamed, said that any insult to the Prophet was an offence that could not be excused in the name of freedom of expression.

A good question is how much religion and freedom of press can get on well together? Issues of France-Soir, Liberation and El Pais that reprinted the cartoons were also banned.

Killing of Zarqawi:
The report says that journalist Yasser Abu Hilala was briefly arrested during an interview with Zarqawi's brother in law.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

قبل أيام كنت واقفاً مع مجموعة من زملائي في الجامعة، وإذ أحدهم بدأ يتحدث إلى شاب آخر من سوريا عن عبد الرحمن منيف، وبدأ يحاوره على أساس أن عبد الرحمن منيف كاتب سوري معروف، وينازع مستمعه كيف لا يعرف ذلك الكاتب وهو ابن بلده وهو من بين أدباء سوريا أكثرهم إبداعاً وشهرةً...
بعدما سمعت من صديقي ما يكفي ليشفي غليلي، توجهت إليه بنظرة استغراب...

- عبد الرحمن منيف سوري؟
- (يفكر قليلاً... وينتظر عدة ثواني ليجيب): إذا مش سوري أكيد لبناني ...
- (أفكر في داخلي: من الأفضل أن أختصر): مع ليش بس اتأكد من معلوماتك

عبد الرحمن منيف أردني ونفتخر بأردنيته، هل لنا أن ندعي غير ذلك وهو من مواليد عمّـان وقضى فيها طفولته ولها أهدى أروع رواياته "سيرة مدينة"، الذي تحدث فيها عن مدينته... عن المرور ببناياتها وأزقتها وشوارعها، وعن الدراسة في كتاتيبها ومدارسها وعن التعبد في جوامعها وكنائسها؟ إنه أردني إذ يتكلم عن شعبه الذي احتضنته عمان، فمنهم المسلمون والمسيحيون والنجديون والشوام والشراكسة ومن هاجر إليها من فلسطين؛ كلهم ضمتهم الأم الرؤوم إلى صدرها من قبل أن تضمه.

عبد الرحمن منيف ليس أردنياً فحسب، بل هو عربيٌ تجري في عروقه دماء الحجاز وبلاد الرافدين، فهو ابن أب نجدي وأم عراقية، ودرس في بغداد، إلى أن طرد منها لأسباب سياسية فالتحق بجامعة القاهرة، ليعمل بعد الدكتوراه في سوريا، ومن ثم في لبنان، ليرجع ثانية إلى دمشق حيث انتقل إلى جوار ربه في 24 كانون ثاني 2004.

هل يمكن لأحد أن يزعم أن أدب عبد الرحمن منيف كان أدباً أردنياً فقط، أو سورياً فقط، أو لغيرهما من الأقطار المحدودة؟ أم هو خيط من خيوط هذا النسيج الذي يجعل الثقافة العربية "عربية" وليست تابعة لدولة معينة؟

لقد فقدت الثقافة العربية واحداً من أبرز رجالاتها، أديباً قد ناضل بالوداد دفاعاً عن قضايا أمته، عن كرامة الإنسان العربي، وعن هويتنا ... عن عروبتنا... ألا يجدر بنا أن نعرف أكثر مثل هذه الرجالات؟

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