Friday, March 16, 2007

Profile: Must Speak Papers

A reluctant rant

Today marks the 12th day since the “historic” speech took place. A 25- minute Wednesday morning speech squeezed between House sessions discussing the Libby case and Sewage management (seriously). The historic “I Must Speak” speech that was filled with generalities (bordering superficiality) that one would think it was delivered by mother Teresa, not by the ruler of a country who hosts more than 2 million Palestinian refugees dreaming of return.

Well, the true effect of the speech and its place in history remains to be seen: maybe the American congress and the President were so moved by the conveyed picture of a starving Palestinian family or maybe they felt the anxiety of a Zionist mother while her kid mounts the bus (way to present a picture that have the Palestinians and Jewish occupiers at a similar suffering level), or maybe they were reminded that the American empire was supposed to, at least, act like it was built on justice and freedom for all, not on slavery, genocide and bloodshed from the Native Americans to Iraqis and all the murder in between. All of this does not matter and will not matter, but please do not tell the Jordanian printed media that.

For the 12th straight day (not counting the two weeks preceding the speech) every daily news paper had at least one editorial, column or an opinion section dancing, waving hands and blowing horns in celebration of the historic speech. The first-page columnists have already written two articles each. One (more liberal) daily took a shorter route and just permanently pasted a link to the full speech on its electronic first page. “Celebrating” the speech has officially replaced his majesty’s birthday as the longest celebrated occasion of the year (and that is no small feat). Just keep in mind that all this coverage is far from being an objective debate about the “positives” and “negatives”, or the “likes or dislikes”. It is a simply a non-stop festival of picture-waving, “dabkeh” dancing, “Hashmi Hashmi” yelling over an irrelevant event.

Here is what practically happened: all four editors-in-chief of the Jordanian dailies were invited to join his majesty on the historic trip and join the exceptionally inflated accompanying delegation (which despite all the coverage, one could not find the exact list of people joining the trip, or the names of the guests in her majesty’s box). On the way home, each of the editors-in-chief was issued a bag of party whistles and was instructed to distribute them to his employees (one whistle per so-called journalist) and keep blowing them until they all choke. And that is the first step in installing free independent press that will monitor all three branches of the government.(Of course, the next step is the infamous criminalizing publications laws).

Now, over the past few years (well, few decades) one got used to the local news papers being practically a press release of the palace. Here is a quick example: Pick a random day from the electronic archives of any daily and there is no doubt that the three opening headlines, at least, are king related (not that there is anything wrong with that). About a month ago the leading daily AlRai featured SEVEN “His majesty did..” stories on its first page!! On the bright side his majesty is not really involved in the political life and he maintains an honorary and advisory role that is not allowed to be questioned.

All of this is understood, after all this is not Sweden, and the papers are nothing but a reflection of the people. One can brush off the repetitive sucking-up waste of space articles. One can laugh off a cover page column entitled “Girls” that opens with seven straight paragraphs describing “school girls” in a borderline pedophilic overtone and closes with “long live the king”… repeated thrice! (Now that’s some creative writing). But reporting imaginary things as facts, assuming that people still live in the 19th century is unacceptable.

Here is an excerpt from the 2 millionth “historic speecht” article:

جلالة الملك حقق اختراقا مهما في السياسة الأميركية فلأول مرة يجلس الرئيس الاميركي جورج بوش مع جلالته وهو يضع ورقة وقلماً ويقول لجلالة الملك ماذا تقترح علي أن اعمل؟ ومع وأين؟ وغيرها من الأسئلة المهمة التي تؤشر
“His majesty the king has achieved an important breakthrough in the American policy. For the first time George Bush holds a paper and a pen and asks his majesty: What should I do? What doYou suggest? And many other important questions”.

Honestly whether this is another form of “creative” writing or not, I could not but imagine his majesty resting back, crossing his legs in Bush’s face and dictating some suggestions to him, while poor Bush is writing down the tips in confusion: (“So you suggest we pressure them into NOT demolishing the Aqsaa mosque? Mmm, interesting! So… Do you spell Aqsaa with one A or two AAs?”). The only reason that one may be skeptical about such an incident, is the fact that there was no reported official meeting that took place between his majesty and president Bush, at least according to the unreliable American papers and the white house press releases! “The President and Mrs. Bush hosted the King and Queen of Jordan for a private dinner”. End of story. His majesty and Bush were both in casual clothes, no ties, no press conferences, and definitely no pen or paper anywhere in sight. Well maybe that took place during another one of these historically notorious secret meetings.

Again, this should not be a big deal. From the Jordanian perspective Jordan is the center of the universe, while from the American perspective, not as much. From the Jordanian point of view his majesty is meeting with the CEO’s and the giants of the Massachusetts economy lobbying for investing oppurtunities in Jordan, while from the Boston Herald’s perspective he is simply promoting his 36,000 $ a year prep school.

What is more alarming is when the 1984-ish phenomenon of actively and retroactively distorting the truth extends to polish tainted characters of lesser stature than the king. When you get to a point where you are referring to the current Head of Parliament using the sentence: “I recall that he was always democratic, understanding of differences, and receptive to arguments”!! Because nothing screams democracy more than the guy who was the chief of the police department under extended periods of “Martial Laws”. That is the same guy who threatened to use violence and to arrest a journalist, under the parliaments dome, a month ago!(And by the way, that Audi police cars deal we always joked about, according to the above “distinguished” columnist, turned out to be a great investment deal that generated revenue since the cars were eventually sold at a higher price!).
I just can’t wait to see the articles written when (when not if) the convicted ex-head of the intelligence department is released from jail (Oops, I mean returns from London, Aqaba or wherever he is currently vacationing) and assumes the position of the “Head of anti-Corruption Department”.

As a closer, some words of wisdom to live by:In my days in Massachusetts, I also learned something of New England virtues. There wasn’t actually a law against talking too much, but there was definitely an attitude that you didn’t speak unless you could improve on silence. Today, I must speak; I cannot be silent.”
Just wondering: “In the improbable case that some random Jordanian felt that his majesty did not represent him/her accurately in front of the congress for whatever reason, could this citizen “speak”, or is it a perquisite that he or she lived, currently lives or was able to afford the luxury of an education… in New England?”

31 comments:

Batir said...

Noithing the King does will please you. It seems you and Tom lantos are on the same wavelength. However I agree that the reactions to the speech in Jordan were over exaggerated but you just cannot dimish the value of this speech, you just can't.. that is if you want to be objective.

Abu Shreek said...

Batir,
There is no need for Zionist congress men comparisons, and there is no need for accusations of the sort of “nothing the king does pleases you”, because I made my position towards “his majesty” very clear, (I just insist that everything he does should be allowed to be freely discussed). I did not say that I did not like parts of the speech, and this whole piece above, as you clearly noticed, deals with the disproportionate amounts of coverage it was given in the daily Jordanian press (compared to its content), and was not aimed at dissecting the speech (which believe me, if YOU want to be objective you will be able to analyze its positives and negatives).

As I said, the importance and the value of the speech REMAIN TO BE SEEN. If the Americans take it as a serious message and try to revive the peace process and pressure the Zionists into “compromises” (highly unlikely, with a struggling president and during a primary elections year where everyone is battling for the Jewish vote), then it may have some historic significance to it. If it just pass by unnoticed by its target audience (it practically got very little attention from the Americans), then it will be nothing more than “let’s have the family in Latin America eat dinner safely, Please”, and its only significance in history will be shattering the record for the numbers of articles written in praise of a 25-minute speech.

Anonymous said...

Back in 1995 or 1996 a star presenter in Jordanian Television was interviewing some american accented wizzkid who spoke too many english so called words during the talk in Yesba3 saba7ak had to interupt his guest and saying in some husky-gritty-on-air voice BEL 3ARABY BEL 3ARABY with a very broad grin!!

Batir, its very reassuring that you love Friends !!

Abu Shreek said...

Anonymous,
I don't see how your story is relevant to anything. You have a 24- hour chance to explain your point, after which your comment will be deleted.

As for Friends,that is another completely ridiculous comment, and just to let you know Friends is a very good show (at least in its first 5-6 seasons)and who likes it or not has nothing to do with anything.

Please rephrase your comment and repost it.

Batir said...

Abu Shreek I agree with you that the value of anything, including the King Speech remains to be seen. However, this is only one part of the equation, because for everything there is always an intrinsic value that appears instantly. I hope and I am positive that you have managed to see that intrinsic instant value.
Anon, I am really interested in knowing how you relate my name with Friends, that TV show and the american accent and english words.

Abdullah said...

the day of the speech i was really excited woke up opened cnn, nothing was on, some crap about Anna Nicoles former lawyer getting her body to bury it or something, I waited then some little kid was kidnapped in a crappy town somewhere in the U.S., i waited for my King to appear and send a message to reach the millions of Americans that have so much control on our future in the middle-east also didnt see it, Being a the "loyal Jordanian
" i am,i didnt give up, went online checked all the news nothing only the cnn website posted an article I opened it they had 30seconds link didnt get a chance to hear the words of wisdom. Didnt give up I searched and searched after class i found the whole speech on the C-span website. I watched it was a good speech in as u said mother Teresa kind of way haha, but whats the significance of metaphors and general examples about the suffering of all people, i know it has a good effect on people but did it, well the few that heard it might have changed their views, but I still dont know whats worse the American media and general reaction to one of their closest allies "very important speech" which was zero, or the fact that Jordans political heirarchy have payed so much of Jordan and its standing in the region, the historical stance with the Iraqi people, the stability of their country with the influx of so much refugees and the fact it is a target because of its alliance to America. To be granted this "historical chance" that was only historical in the minds of Jordanians and those who heard it including myself to see no-reaction or discussion of such an "important historical speech" , in the american media is actually disturbing and shows how those who think they can change the American stance on the palestinian issue by being their seveants are delusional.

Now wait maybe the target audeince wasnt the american people but the Jordanian people, then again maybe not.

Anonymous said...

You are right Abu Shreek my comment was a little bit rude with Regard to Mr Wardam and his choice of TV comedies. Batir i dont know why, but you seam to rtemind me of that TV presenter who i think was on that particular show before he was sent for a master's degree n PEACE STUDIES from the university of Leeds, England. I am sure that you have alot to offer. At least you are using your reall name and photo. Abu-Shreek, feel free to delete either or both comments

Batir said...

Anon my choice of comdeies can be found on my blog as I have posted a list of my favourite 10 comedies and of course friends is one of them.
Now what about that presenter and peace studies and Leeds university? Do I need to choose "Colombo" as my favourite show to decipher your riddle?
Thanks for thinking I have something to offer, but I hope I offer the right message.

OmAr said...

I didn't want to join the rest of Jordanians and make flashy statements about the historical speech of his divine majesty, but since you practically spoke 99% of what's on my mind, I couldn't but to comment!

You just have to wonder who this speech really speak to? When there's almost zero attention from the American side, you have to think of it as if his majesty was addressing those Jordanian columnists alone!

Batir said...

Omar allow me to please say that there is a fundamental error in your evaluation. Is the only indicator of the impact of the speech is the American reaction? I know that some of the senates were interesetd and some were disappointed and some neglected the event just like the majority of the US newspapers. Ask yourself why? Had the King demounced Hamas in his speech you will find a remarkable reaction from the American mainstream press and then you will find another thing to criticise. The issue here is evaluating the event (the speech) itself. It is either you dislike it or you think it was good but the political apparatus in the USA will not be receptive to it. The King was certainly not addressing Jordanians but trying to get an idea through the hearts and minds of some Americans with sense. If they did not care, it is certainly not the King's fault!

Abdullah said...

Ok Batir i agree with you, if he was denouncing hamas it would be all over the media and we would have criticised him, true i admit it. This time he said something good but the media didnt cover it and we are criticising him on that too, i understand the point your trying to make. But the fact is Jordan's policies the last 4 years have been directed by whatever America wants to do, at the expense of many advantages we had some might argue we need this position so we can influence America's policies to have a more active role in peace. This event proved otherwise, that Americas foreign policy is un-seprable to Israel's politics of refusing peace. Bearing that in our mind now its our duty as loyal citzens of Jordan to question the reason behind our goverment gambling so much behind American mistakes in the Middle East if the fruit of all this "gambling/sucking" is one that falls and rotts on the ground because American politicians refuse pick it up.

OmAr said...

-Batir,
I cannot simply abide by the idea of that the King didn't know, to a considerable extent, that his speech won't get that much attention, because otherwise, if he, after all these years serving the Americans, doesn't know how they think then that alone is a shame! and if the speech was sincerely aiming to address the American lobbies and people then it simply failed, big time! The bottom line is, I did agree with some of what he said and I enjoyed parts of it as well, but you just have to be skeptical putting all the facts on the ground that's all.

"Is the only indicator of the impact of the speech is the American reaction?"
If the King spoke before the UN then the American reaction shouldn't be the only indicator, but as far as I know, the King spoke before the US congress, so if the American indicator shows that he failed, then I guess that means he failed.

Batir said...

So if the intifada was aiming at removal of the Israeli occupation and the Israelis did the opposite and destroyed the Palestinian infrastructure, can we say that the intifada actually failed despite all the sacrifices done by the Palestinians? is the result always the only indicator of success, or just the intrinsic value of the attempt itself?

Abdullah said...

hehe i swear this guy is funny, please do not use the intifada as an analogy to the speech at the congress, its just wrong in more ways than one. Do we have to repeat it a hundred times, get the damn point already if it didnt happen to change American policies then it was meaningless, doesnt matter how many goosebumps u got and the feeling of being proud he is your king during the speech. It didnt do anything and Jordan has given so much to reach this level of American trust, which turned out to be insignificant. The ultimate goal for palestinians is to end the occupation, for the King to "acheive peace". Now dont you think our goverment supporting American blunders in the middle east which increased violence aint going to make us reach this goal. As for the Palestinians its clear fight to end the occupation to force the Israelis to accept peace. Next time please refrain from comparing people who are fighting for their land to he who struggles for american trust. thank you

Batir said...

In the final analysis I agree with you that the King made a mistake. he should have never bothered with the issue of reiterating the necessity for helping the Palestinians. he should have just focused on Jordan since anything he, and Jordanians do will never please this minority of people who are just proud members of the Regime hatred club.

Abdullah said...

hehe It seems their training u well in twisting what people say. Read carefuly what I said, i really dont like it when people refuse to understand the meaning of words written in the simple english i use. Please dont categorize people. "anything he and Jordanians do will never please this minority" hmm anything he and Jordanians do, lets take a bit to think about this sentence, anything he does will never please me not true but I wouldnt be ashamed of it, lets see the second part "Jordanians" anything they do will not please me since im an australian haha what do u mean and since when does the desicion of the ruling elite reflect the desicion of us Jordanians,since when is it, that if i do my patriotic duty of criticizing the mistakes of the goverment, i am labeled as opposing anything Jordanians do huh? Or are you brainwashed enough not to differentiate between being loyal to a person and being loyal to your country.

Pheras said...

You want to know where the serious problem is?

People seem to think that those you criticize, are the ones you hate. While those you praise, are the ones you love.

When will we ever learn?

PS: Google constructive criticism and self-improvement.

Fadi Malian said...

Abdullah, I really can not understand what is your point, if you have any. If you believe the speech has no actual effect on the ground or on US policy why do not you let it go, and if you believe that the whole king’s approach is wrong and useless, there are many who disagree with you and see value in such an approach. Why do not you tell us what is the possible more useful approach that you suggest, if you have in mind any or if you know what you are talking about in the first place? And how the King’s speech is undermining your approach so you get upset!

I can list tens of things that I’d like to change in Jordan’s policies and politics such as giving more (and eventually full) freedoms especially of belief, religion, speech, press, and full equality (gender, minorities), and the list goes on, but I can not agree more with our foreign policy in Jordan, especially towards the west.

Now the real audience of the speech is the legislators in US, who gave their valuable time to hear the speech. There are other indirect audiences such as politicians in USA, Israel, other Arab countries, and whoever cares to listen whether in Jordan, West bank, Gaza, Israel, USA, or elsewhere.

Whether the speech end up serving the Palestinian cause or not, that depends on many factors and it is hard to evaluate in isolation from many other factors. But it is definitely a message that shows the importance of Jordan’s role in the whole process in the eyes of US political bodies and the trust and strength of relation we share with our friends (not the comedy) in USA. We are not competing with any here; we just care about keeping this relation as strong as possible.


And regarding your comments: “hehe i swear this guy is funny, please do not use the intifada as an analogy to the speech at the congress, its just wrong in more ways than one.” And “Next time please refrain from comparing people who are fighting for their land to he who struggles for american trust.” Who you are to tell people what analogy they can use or not use? And you see an approach more sacred than another; we see our approach more brave than others in taking less popular positions and supporting a real cause like real peace for all.

Abu Shreek, sorry for this long comment, however I do agree with you that the coverage in Jordanian media is as usual non-objective, exaggerated, and non professional. But that what you get under lack of freedoms and when people compete to flatter rulers rather than analyze objectively their positions whether in agreement or in disagreement and when media serves its real rule.

Anonymous said...

I really would rather have heard the king spend those 27 minutes with congress on Jordanian issues and jordanian economy. The palestenians themselves have ruined their cause and I dont see any benefit in trying to help them anymore. Jordan will always be accused of conspiring to create the state of israel and everything the Jordanian government does will be explained as such. If not, then it will be made fun of as is done by abu shreek.

Abdullah said...

Mr. Fadi, Israelis dont want peace, they have and are going to again refuse the King abdullah peace initiative the saudi one, they are still expanding the settlements building the wall and not accepting the new unity goverment. Now in the past under carter the americans had to pressure israel by delaying its arms shipments into signing the peace with egypt. Now its different the zionist lobby is stronger than ever after the war in july the americans cannot dare stop arms to israel, that is if we assumed the americans are seeking to even pressure Israel in any way. So yes Israel is refusing their is no point in going to America and telling them hey we want peace please help us if her beloved daughter is refusing it. So this means that the goal for this speech failed and i will laugh at you and people who think like you after the Arab summit when leaders try to re-initiate in arabic (i3adat i7ya2) peace but Israel will refuse it just as sharon did after the Beiruit summit, oh ya you and your kind keep on thinking that Israelis want peace and keeping saying dumb analogies, and keep thinking that because the taxi driver u ride with wants to go kill Israelis, that its the arabs fault that their isnt peace. And no its not braver to kiss asses for peace, bravery is to fight for peace if the other side refuses it. by the way abu shreek very sorry for this debate on ur wall last time wallah (tobai *kissing the finger and pointing it upward)

7aki Fadi said...

where are you man?

I waited and waited and can wait no more had to ask.

Pheras Hilal said...

Ok, Abu Shreek, what's wrong man? Where did you disappear?!

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رئيسية الموقع :
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اخر مواضيع منتديات مصر اليوم :
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اهلا بكم , اضع لكم موقعى لتتطلعوا عليه

منتديات مصر اليوم هى منتديات عامة تهتم بالكثير من الاشياء المصرية . منتديات مصر اليوم هى منتديات عربية عموما مصرية خصوصا و هى منتديات عامة تهتم بكل ما يهتم به الشباب المصرى من الحوار او النقاش او اخر الاخبار او جديد الصور و الاغانى و الالبومات و الكليبات و الافلام و النكت و الفيديوهات و الموبايلات و تحتوى على اقسام مميزة مثل قسم اللغة الانجليزية و قسم اصحاب المواقع و المنتديات و قسم البرامج و القسم الاسلامى و قسم المرأة و قسم الرومانسية و الرياضة المصرية و الكثير ....
شاهد اقسام المنتدى :
اخبار مصر صور نكت مصرية اغانى قنوات و ترددات اخبار الرياضة المصرية مشاهدة مباريات بث مباشر اسعار السيارات

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