Friday, 27 March 2009

Hajjaj's Latest Cartoon Controversy

Hajjaj's latest cartoon has provoked some controversy among Jordanians and especially Christians, for criticizing the pure waters of the Jordan River at the Baptism site.

The cartoon, although cynical, is a bit edgy and the tone of attack is tangible. Hajjaj's style and talent has grown into a Jordanian phenomenon, closer to the beat of the street and to the life vibe of everyday low and middle class Jordanians.

It is also essential to acknowledge that a cartoon, no matter how critical of a certain issue is supposed to provoke controversy to a certain level, and that's what cartoonists' talent is all about. However, Jordanians are not used to linking religion to any of our contemporary issues. In a statement issued on his personal website, Hajjaj spoke of his respect for the Christian religion, and explained that his cartoon's message was aimed at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the latest furor over the polluted water matter.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Jordan Engineers Association: The Mini Jordanian Politics

It is a funny tale of two colours; Green and White, and yet it seems to be the mere true political arena in Jordan, where politics and elections get people going. May be not with enough momentum to make changes, but at least mobilizing them to a certain degree.

The Tale of Two Colours in JEA (Jordan Engineers Association) is a small replica of the political scene in Jordan; where variety is limited to two colours only, and two modes of political campaigning, one loyal to the banner of Islamist thought (White) or right wing, and another devoted to change and thus holding on to left wing thought (Green). The White is dominating the engineering political scene and consequently the union itself, and thus controlling JEA's wealth, estimated roughly at JD 450 million - not a humble amount of money at all in Jordan's economic standards!

So the Whites are controlling the money, Greens want change, and yet the majority of 76,000 Jordanian Engineers are absent from the equation. The monetary contributions poured by engineers into the JEA purse resembles contributing to the mafia! Without effective transparency; the engineers have no idea where the money is going and how. And yet the engineer feels the need to contribute sums of his/her money, to his/her union, after all the union represents their profession and is (supposed to be) a sign of civilized society.

The election battle is fierce and the young (20 and 30 something) Jordanian engineers are not lured into taking part yet. The same faces, shuffle randomly but remain in the picture, leaving many activists of change and variety disappointed.
It is the same old story where Jordanian activism is concerned; we all feel the need to change things, we all have thought about change at some point; but when actions are needed, we tend to dither a bit, and that remains our eternal cultural faux pas!