Dear Jordan,

EDIT: Unfortunately we still don’t have any news about my friend but some wheels are turning now but I cannot say anything to this point. My friend finally got released. However the issue continues. He won’t be the only one it seems.

Why are you treating your citizens like this? What are you afraid of?

About 2 weeks ago a friend of mine got arrested because someone spray painted anarchist slogans on some wall. Really not a graffiti merely some tagging, pretty ugly. Although my friend was innocent (well he has anarchist ties… but so what? Lots of others do have to and they didn’t get arrested) he was placed under “Administrative Arrest” and was not allowed to talk to anyone not even a lawyer. After a while (we were all worried about what might happen to him) he then finally got announced to be released about a week ago (just before Eid) but not as an innocent man. Although there is no evidence whatsoever that could prove that my friend did the spray painting he then was put under house arrest for 3 months.

So now we have an innocent young man being treated as a criminal because someone unknown has spray painted a wall and my friend was put under house arrest. Ok, nothing anyone can do about it because it seems that the Jordanian authorities can do anyway whatever they want with their citizens, but my friend decided to play by the rules rather than revolting against that ridiculous sentencing. He went home every day on time and didn’t break the law.

Now about a half hour ago another friend of mine delivered me a message:
“they took [Friend-X] from his work about an hour ago”

Not surprisingly I was shocked by this. Why did they take him this time? I mean his hair is cut now, so it cannot be that (in the past the police and mukhabarat have harassed him numerous times just because of his hair). Did someone do another spray paint somewhere?

Jordan claims to be a modern country, with modern views, laws and uprising economy. Jordan likes to blind the rest of the world with big construction projects and tourism. But Jordan is still decades away from being a modern country. It lacks one very important ingredient: Human Rights!!! Arresting innocent people without any evidence of crime and still putting them under a sentence is a violation of basic freedom. I mean hey, why not… let’s go around and arrest everyone we just don’t like.

Is Jordan really that afraid that they have to go around and arrest small time people that just try to live their lives somehow; Yes my friends and I do have a different lifestyle than what probably many in the Jordanian government like to see but yet we are not criminals. We do not impose a threat on anyone; We are peaceful and happy people (well happy except for the authorities always stomping on our feet. This stomping does not limit to political arrests, just have a look at what happened during Ramadan, the closure of many restaurant-pubs).

I am sorry Jordan, but please give us the freedom of expression and the freedom to live our lives as we choose to and we chose to live peacefully without harming anyone, apparently you chose to live your life not in peace but in war with everyone who does not live by YOUR standards. Not standards of law but standards of a life-style.

EDIT: I received several comments after I also posted this on Facebook. This is what others had to say (I re-posted the comments as they are and I’m not responsible for any typos or the like; to protect the identity of the authors I have not disclosed their names):

“Dear Jordan,
Why is it that the governor of Amman has the right to put any one in prison (administrative arrest) for an indefinite amount of time with out charging him/tacking him to court?

Why is it that the “law enforcement” can send any one to jail through the process of administrative arrest, simply by clamming that they suspect him of a crime?

Why is it acceptable to send some one to jail for not liking how they look like?

Why is it that my friend was sent to prison for 10 days and placed under house arrest for 3 months with out being charged of anything, with out seeing a judge, with out having the right to appeal or protest and with out having the right of legal representation?

How is that democracy Jordan?” – A.H

“Dear Jordan:
i have no comment, i am not shocked, i have nothing but pity..there is a reason why i left, and there is a reason i’m in no hurry to return.

I’d happily give up my passport/citizenship to live in Palestine where they openly admit we have no rights as citizens, humans or Palestinians, because of the Israely occupation, rather than hold a passport to a country that fabricates lies, over taxes its poor, starves the hungry, stuffs the rich pigs, allows some *name* privileged boy to shoot someone in the face, jails someone for having an opinion, stares a woman down in the street, treats children like a burden, allows illiterate fucks to hold influential jobs, closes down shops/bars/restaurants because of someone’s choices, changes laws and bends rules at will conveniently, sells precious land to other countries, hold treaties with enemies, gives passports/visas to 1st world countries and denies it’s neighboring sister country, pays a foreigner more for holding a passport, discriminates, raises prices at any given time, allows the drunks with connections to drive/ kill / hold an unliscenced gun, and is still the only country where HONOUR KILLING IS LEGAL.

This is exactly why they will stay a 3rd world country, with the majority of the population hating the government, spiting on the law, & leaving with no return.

I have no hate, I have no solutions, I hold no answers, I just know that this is plainly mind blowing obvious that there is something wrong with the system, and the system was created by the people, and the people are a production of society. People should blame themselves for ALLOWING this to have come this far, I take part of the blame for choosing to leave rather than help in change, but when you’re only allowed to be dumb, deaf and mute in a surrounding where you have no authority to do anything, you look around and say fuck it, I’ll be a secretary in the Emirates, mistaken for a terrorist in the US, treated like an outsider in Europe, be in exile in Australia, or live in a blur in Asia, rather than being a dazed executive assistant in some money laundry, corrupt, enslaving company.

I’d appreciate it if people took this as is, not read between the lines and don’t raise eye-brows, because you have simply thought this at one point.

I don’t need your approval on my opinion, I’m speaking out, I have a right to in my own mind. More power to you if you disagree, even greater power to the stronger of my peers who are in Jordan now living this, battling it, surviving it and still breathing. And no I’m not over-exaggerating.

Thank you Mozzy, i was begging to worry about our friend again, now i know, someone fucked up is on his case yet again.” – B

“Dear Jordan
your favorite bitch is Amman, loaded with plastic faces and ugly,dark blue,stupid men proud of their blck stinky mostage, cold white buildings constructed by paid slaves to keep the filth of the city safe and untouched. expensive cars driven by fat cell phones running over children on traffic lights ,on the radios voices screaming for mercy mixed with uploads and cheers for prostitution and the political masterbation

I know that my words may not make any sense but … I still have more and more to say but I dont think that you’ll ever get it

leave us alone and we’ll be happy ……….. yes maybe we have to leave, I know that there is worse in this world but I’d rather suffer in a place that I chose, I never chose you, I might come back but believe me if I do I won’t shut my mouth till Im dead.

Sam7oooona” – B.O.

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22 thoughts on “Dear Jordan,

  1. this is what happens when uneducated tribal gangsterists have the power over a modern developing nation.. it’s absolutely absurd.. yet the people shall explode, and revolt.. kfaya..

  2. The observer,

    Few did stand up and protested against that law and the many others when they were being approved. where were you and all the rest now complaining and acting all shocked and helpless?

    and i differ big time here, this is not an act of uneducated tribal gangsters, this is a political maneuver in its finest (repulsive) form. and oh man, we are as far as we can ever be from being called a modern developing “nation”.

  3. Hey Che,
    The problem is that many… too many people were not aware of such a law being published. But just because a law has been published it does not mean that the people cannot oppose it and demand it to be revoked. As for me I didn’t know about this law up-until 2 or 3 weeks ago. I was not aware of many laws such as that Honor Killings are sort of legal here in Jordan (still) until a few months ago, well I suspected that they are legal but I was still shocked that it is actually the case.

    Of course not everyone can know every law before it has been published and not doing anything, not even saying something about it although one knows that those laws are in-humane and ridiculous is just as bad as knowingly not saying anything about them when they are being discussed.

    However, it is because of such laws that people are also afraid to say anything and in the past people have disappeared for less. I am not sure but a friend of mine told me that this Administrative Arrest law has been there since the 50’s but I don’t want to confirm it since I don’t know enough about it.

    I do agree with your words that it is not an act of uneducated tribal gangsters, however these actions do have their roots. Political it is definitely but we should not accept such behavior from our authorities. This country calls itself a democracy which means that WE the people have the DUTY to stand up against the enemies of democracy even if those enemies are to be found in several spots of our own government. It is our DUTY to make this country a great country. To say it with JFK’s words: “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”.
    And I think that many in our government share the same opinion.

  4. Hi all, first of all let me comment on some comments

    B: You’re describing most of the countries around the world, including, US, GB and Palestine!!!!

    B.O: “dark blue,stupid men proud of their blck stinky mostage”, spelling mistakes aside, you should be grateful to those people, if not for them u won’t be able to walk in the street and sleep safely at night, you won’t be able to send your daughters to schools, it will something similar to Iraq (let your imagination loose)!!

    Now the real talk.

    I Personally don’t find anything wrong with what happened to your friend, he was accused of putting a Graffiti (someone most probably accused him, or claimed he saw him), and accordingly he was arrested, Graffitis are not legal in most of the world’s countries regardless of their content.

    my personal guess is that someone hates the dude and set him up somehow or filed a complaint against him.

    anyways, Jordan will never be “Free” Country by your definition, it won’t be Germany, UK, US or anything similar, because it’s different, in Culture, Traditions of its people.

    In the Constitution its says “Islam is the religion of the State”, that means laws and acts of the government will/should be based on Islamic rules.

    90% of the country’s people are conservative people, that should affect alot of the government’s policies whether we like it or not.

    Back to the Laws.

    Jordan has a sensitive demographical and political status (a look at B’s comment should tell you that), its surrounded by political instabilities in Palestine and Iraq. it cannot afford to give people alot of freedom. I admit that we need more freedom and there are alot to work on regarding the freedom issue, but full freedom is just too risky.

    Nations form laws that fit with its best interest and cultural standards, and what is OK somewhere isn’t OK somewhere else.

    In Germany you can’t publically glorify Nazis while in Jordan you can.

    In Turkey you can’t degrade Turkish culture or race, while in the US you can.

    In the US you can’t be communist while you can somewhere else.

    We in Jordan we formed our laws and regulations according to what works best for us, there is much room for improvement, but it should be carefully studied and assessed, not just because we want it and hate the current situation or want to be like the US or Canada.

    Bottom line, we need to change but not in the way you’re suggesting, we can’t steal Australia’s laws that they devised for its own culture and political situation and apply it to our county.

  5. Thanks Tamim for your comment,

    I do agree on a certain level with you. Yes graffiti is illegal in many countries, however the punishment does not fit the crime. You’re right with the examples of laws you gave of other countries (glorifying nazis etc.) but in my opinion those laws are also wrong.

    I am fully aware that Jordan’s role (active or passive) in this region is crucial and that it is not easy for the authorities to guarantee security with a certain amount of freedom but here we are not dealing with so called terrorists or movements that are out to break the stability of the region. We’re dealing here with people who are NOT conservative who have a different life style than those who are. Jordan may have the Islam as the religion of the state, but Jordan’s laws are disconnected from Islam (not all of course but hey, alcohol is allowed right?).

    As to how my friend got arrested and why, to be honest this is a highly sensitive issue and it is not as easily put away with someone filing a complaint.
    It has more to do with politics and that people like my friend have been for a long time the fly in the soup of some authorities.

    What you are saying about Jordan forming laws and regulations according what works best for us is what should be the case but in reality it looks different. Yes, people do mistakes but such mistakes can be fixed (such as “Administrative Arrests”).

    As far as I know also the graffiti that was sprayed did not even say anything really bad, the sentences I was given were:

    “health care and education for everyone”
    “they sold us”
    “they privatized us”

    As an in-official reason for detaining my friend they said that those graffiti “provoke violence”.
    Where do these slogans provoke violence?

    I am not so sure about your statement that 90% of Jordanian citizens are conservative however the amount is big enough to make an impact. I agree that they should have an impact since it is supposed to be a democracy but conservative views are not always the right views and a democracy also requires that minorities will be heard (the majority leads but also listens to the minorities).
    Furthermore I don’t think that we should put conservatism on the same level as inhumane treatment of people.

    If the state has a law against graffiti then this law should include a proper punishment. Not to detain a person for a week without charge without being able to see a lawyer without knowing when he would see a court. That is totally in-acceptable and frankly anyone supporting this, no matter what crime has been allegedly committed, makes himself an accomplice of breaking human-rights.

    Most of the middle east is complaining and spitting on Guantanamo and laughing about the Patriot-Act ignoring that we do the same to our own people. If you detain someone, charge him with proper evidence. If you cannot prove his guilt, release him.

  6. Our Friend is out ,but
    Im really ashamed of those guys who are supposed to save this country and its people, I don’t want to be saved those gangsters who are always ahead in breaking the laws.
    Our friend was doing well, he did what he had to do, when you are under house arrest you have to go to a police station every morning at 10 am to sign for attendance, and you can’t leave your place starting from 6 pm till 6 am,otherwise you go to prison for 3 months.

    those bastards kidnapped our friend for 2 days and released him without any official document to prove that he was arrested, so for the authorities our friend should go to jail for three months now.

    please tell me what you think, I feel sick, I see people breaking the law in the name of justice, this is corruption, lets raise a fund for [Friend-X] and find him a good lawyer, preferably an international.
    again tell me what you think.

    EDIT MOZZY: Sorry I took out our friend’s name

  7. again
    I was much more worried about my friend than arguing with anyone but…
    Tamim,
    I don’t know you, I learned that judging people as individuals is worst common fault, every individual is driven by his\her history.
    we might disagree on almost everything or the opposite and still I won’t judge you, I don’t mind as long you are a human following the same humaniterian laws that are shared by different religions philosophies civilization … whatever.
    I think that my Ghandys comment is enough(at least for me) to justify my point about “dark blue, stupid men proud of their blck stinky mostage”, and I meant this kind of the blue people, that are corrupt enough to look even worse than the way I described them, are there good blue people, of course, but Im not talking about them.
    Now…
    the only interesting part of your comment was “spelling mistakes aside”, maaaaaaaan, a human being is in isolation, tortured, humiliated, …, under the circumstances of not having a lawyer while they don’t have any evidence against him,…
    maybe you have to be in his position to know how it feels to at least care more, oh yes I forgot he is not your friend or brother or …, he is X, by the way X = (anybody who lives in Jordan) – (Blue people)- (Rich)-(Powerful)-(Westerners).
    on the other hand. my language is Arabic, English is just a plus
    thank you

  8. The observer,
    what we can do now? refuse these laws collectively and seriously, not just complain and display frustration and denial when things hit our personal space and forget about it other wise. committees and groups campaigning on these issues are pretty known and they lack tools and a crowd to support them; and i am so sure that if everyone commenting here got enrolled seriously to work for change rather than talk about it, we would not have been in this situation in the first place.

  9. Mozzy,

    Well, i personally don’t appreciate the i didn’t know argument. yes, true, not everyone is aware of the literal syntax of the laws governing us. but the obvious freedom level we are entitled to is pretty much lived and expressed through every single Jordanian in the country, the state of whispering and encrypted comments, cautious attitude when we express our thoughts is indicative to what we believe are our red lines, and this reflect that the majority is careful because if not there is a price to pay.

    The nature of this price is a detail for me, not the major issue. a detention, a jail time with or with out trial or any other form of harassment, social or legal is the same for me, and its known for everyone and everyone should have reacted to this ages ago, it is a right we are entitled to and we should not really let go on our secure days and only remember when a threat hits our safety zone.

    now, i am not saying that if you didn’t take an action in the past, you should not complain or act now. not at all, different experiences triggers some at different point of time and that always add to any cause maturity.

    but what i don’t really get is the tone of denial and shock of youth living in Amman and friends with activists, presenting what should be among the fine group of educated in-action youth. this we didnt know, we are shocked, we hate Jordan, i want to the leave the country kinda of tone, is not really helping and its not quite correct to just throw incoherent un-representing statements out of the blue to just say something.

    and of course, dedicated lines in the vertical try to reflect an image that is quite the opposite to what we actually are, few campaigns are working against that also, but you know what? its not a matter of who doing what question. we lack the constitutional tank that should govern our citizenship and existence regardless what is the image shown to others, we want our rights, not a reputation we don’t stand up to.

  10. Tamim,

    There is a huge difference between a you saw it coming kind of reply and a you deserve it one.

    Social laws are not another Quran or bible script we are ought to just follow, humanity reached the point that everything is elastic and things can change, a typical yes we can moment i guess. so there is not really a taken for granted judgment and final say that no one should object to, especially the youth crowd.

    This is a political case, in its manner, shape, background and foreseen results. and political actions in all their forms, immature, planned or riots are not a moody form of expression. even if done or supported by not really worthy or political persona.

    i dont really get how a young man really believes that the obvious relativity among nations is a reason to accept the lack of constitutional governments and states. if you can tolerate not having your rights because the way things are now suits your life style then dont expect others to just settle for less simply because our culture is different.

    beside, i am pretty baffled here, when did we as a nation form our laws? as far as i am aware in our side of the world the laws controlling us are enforced by different means of power and manipulation. you make it sound as if we are living in a democracy and those who preached this agreed upon life style are punished, which absolutely not the case.

    demanding human rights and civil rights protection in a citizenship based country is not an imported quest asked by those “cool different” crowd, yes they play on that demand the silly crying way and for their own personal demands and our of their personal issues. but that does not mean that the quest it self is a right that should be worked on seriously and endlessly.

  11. sorry mistake,

    last paragraph:

    but that does not mean that the quest it self is not a right that should be worked on seriously and endlessly.

  12. Hey Che,
    I agree with you and I did not promote the “I hate jordan”, “I want to get out of here” attitude.
    Those were comments of other people.
    As for me I think I made it clear that we HAVE to do something. That we have the power and the right to stand up. You mentioned “committees and groups campaigning on these issues”… can you maybe post web addresses or contacts of those? I am very much interested in what they are doing and how one can support those.

  13. Hi guys,
    i want to clarify few things, my mentioning of Islam wasn’t to say that we’re an islamic country or anything, it was just an example to show that we’re “different” that other western countries and that their political and social rules should not necessarily suit our special status.

    Anyways.

    my personal analysis of the situation in Jordan led me to classify the “Bad Things” in Jordan into 2 categories:

    1) Bad laws, put to serve a bad intention of the government. (most of the laws 😛 )
    2) Seemingly bad laws, put to protect the stability of the country by minimizing the effect of “ugly truths” that we hate to admit exist, or don’t know they exist.

    Do you know that there is a good number of people that support Amman bombings!?

    Do you know that there is a good number of people that wont full islamic laws like saudi arabia!?

    check out this link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy#Criticisms

    I’m not saying that we don’t need democracy, or that the current situation is OK, or that we shouldn’t claim our rights. all i’m saying is that there are ugly truths relating to our society and “SOME” laws and prctices are made to reduce their effect and stop them from spreading even though they seem arcane or “3rd-Worldly” (i think i invented a new word here).

    Again, before demanding any change to the laws, first look at the big picture of the society (the really big picture), and assess if the change will do more good than harm.

    Islamic religious scholars have a wise saying, that roughly translates into the following:
    “A Lasting Injustice is better than a rising Instability”, What happened in Iraq is a small sample of braking this rule.

    you can shoot me now.

  14. Hi Tamim,
    I’m sorry but
    a) spray-painting slogans that concern health care and education has nothing to do with the amman-bombings.
    b) the law for “Administrative Arrests” does not mention any type of crime. Anyone can be detained for any reason for an indefinite time.
    This makes the law even worse than the patriot-act. Even you Tamim can be detained and never see the light of day again without knowing why. The law supports that. If your concern is stability then such a law should address (like in the USA or UK) only suspects of terrorist attacks (however in my opinion this should even not be the case).

    Our country is doing a great job in keeping it safe but for sure not by making “random” arrests on people that just have a different life-style,. In fact those people are the least to do actions like the amman bombings. I recall that the amman-bombings were carried out by conservative, ridiculously religious (I am using the word ridiculous because their belief has nothing to do with Islam) people who also oppose people like me who have a very different life-style; those people have more in common with the majority of the Jordanian citizens than with me.

    So why are we the targets then? You tell me Tamim. I am not putting you or anyone conservative on the same level as those savages who did the bombings but the profile of those is way too different than so many who have been in “Administrative Arrest”.

    So if you think that this law is good to retain stability, then I hope that you are human enough to admit that this law (and similar ones) is frequently targeting the wrong profile of people and it should be at least changed if not removed.

    As for Iraq… I hate to disappoint you but currently there’s more injustice than before the invasion, so this “wise” saying you mentioned does not apply at all there.

    Done shooting.

  15. dear all… i’m really happy to see people arguing about what happened, i’m glad most of u are against administrative arrest, i’m no writing this to describe what happened.. all i want to say is that it pisses me off that anyone with a little amount of humanity here upon us can be sent to jail, and not by a judge, th funny thing is that u may do u might do a crime, do the time for that crime, be sent to jail by a judge, then when you’re out, a half educated governor can resend u to jail (though ur time is done) because he feels u’re some sort of dangerous pest that should be crashed or at least separated, this man isn’t only insulting us (people), the unlimited powers he has is insulting the jordanian modern law and the constitution … i really wonder who would would defend administrative arrest, even right wing guys should be against it.. for a better jordan.
    i say whoever is interested should at least sign a petition about it, i see no harm in using civilized methods, any other ideas?

  16. Lool
    OK Mozzy.
    First of all my comment was not to support any law, and it was not related to the spray-painting incident.

    All i wanted to say is: before requesting to change or remove any law, just try to see the big picture and make sure ur change does more good than harm. this is it.

    As for the “wise” saying, it means exactly what ur saying, if people in Iraq in the days of the old regime didn’t want change so bad (and saw the big picture) they wont’ve been in the shitty hole they’re in now.

    “A Lasting Injustice (Old Regime) is better than a rising Instability (Current Situation)”.

    this is all i’m saying man.

    I once asked a wise college professor what to do when there is a “Lasting Injustice”, he said: if people worked hard on changing themselves for the better, worked on changing the community and people for the better, creating a knowledgable, humble, kind community, one that most of its citizens share a common goal and vision, then the political and legal changes will come by themselves.

    i (personally) prefer to make jordanian people focus more on spending more time on reading than to ask for more freedom for people who aren’t very ready for it.

  17. Tamim,
    I agree that people here are not ready for total freedom… but we’re talking here about Administrative Arrests and not all freedom to everyone. Furthermore we are talking about basic human rights. I don’t think that in any place or any situation, basic human rights would cause instability.

    Cheers

  18. what the hell !!! i actually disagree.. people are far more ready for freedom, and iraq in the old regime isn’t the best example, dictatorship made them angry, and was removed suddenly, so everyone went violent, and it wasn’t removed because of their will, it was removed so that another tyrants would benefit from the expected chaos…
    now, administrative arrest and house arrest arn’t really that far from the saddam regime, it is pissing people off, and shouldn’t be tools of keeping the community safe in the 21st century

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