AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: November 2006 (Page 1 of 5)

Another Survey

My friend Marah has a survey that needs to be filled for her graduation project, which is the identity of a Middle Eastern style hotel.
It only has 5 yes/no questions so it’s really easy and wouldn’t take over a second of your time. Thanks!
Please take the survey here.

Undiscovered yet

Here’s a fresh view of a different Jordan, picture taken by Noor Bishouti

Intimacy

Although the class is probably the most interesting one I took so far in terms of theory, and regardless of all the Nescafe gulped beforehand, I always manage to doze off. I just can’t help it. The room is so small, probably measuring around 2m by 4m, with black curtains surrounding it from all directions. The buzz of the projector and the laptop give off a very sleepy sound, and I just sit there surrounded by the rest of the students as we sit packed on cafeteria tables and cushioned chairs. The tiny room is overheated so my jacket would be piled up on the table in front of me like a big pillow that I just lean my head on, and then wake up 20 minutes later, with Noor and Sultan laughing at me, completely oblivious to what is happening.

Protopage Protolove

Seriously. I love it so much I wish I can hug it and feel it oozing its bitsy bytsey love back to me.

Check out all the new features they haveCheck out my public page from my Protopage here (and my private one remains private :D YAY).

Autumn in the city


One shot, which ones are mine?

Communist in Amman

So today we (Lina, Khalidah, a Moroccan blogger, and several students attending a conference with the UN) went to Jafra, the new “communist” cafe in Downtown Amman. Pretty cool place I must say, though I didn’t feel any communist vibes; I ran into a good amount of professors and students from my Fine Arts Faculty at JU. I actually really liked the crowd, which appears to be a quite eclectic mix of people from all walks of life, old and young.

Other than that, I personally do not enjoy the style that the cafe is decorated with (too typical) but it’s very clean with a very laid back environment, in such a way that it reminded me of Beirut. They’re apparently aficionados for sponsoring the arts as they had a lot of paintings on display, and I really love the location of the place, right across from Hashem El Balad (though it’s hard to find a parking spot). The only real setback of the place though is that it has really loud music.

So, will someone tell me more about the communist bit? I really want to know where that came from, if its true, and who really owns the place. I admittedly was lulled to visiting the place because of that, and so I looked for political signs, but the only thing I found slightly political is a map of the Arab world proudly displayed on the staircase. Otherwise, not even the very long and rambly “story of Jafra” hanging in the entrance gave any signs of politicization. If indeed it is a communist cafe, then kudos to Amman, we’re finally going somewhere (though I’m a hearty believer in open economies).

Enjoy my wonderfully blurry pictures of Jafra Cafe.

Yay

Yay, new Laptop. At first, I really wanted one of those 12′ tiny notebooks for their portability, but then I decided that what the heck, might as well get a proper one, so here we go. It even has one of those thumb print verification things. Awesome.

While we’re on it, does anyone know where I can get my hands on some reasonably priced and stylish laptop bags or sleeves(ex. not black and not the terrible material usually used with laptop bags) either in Amman (preferably) or online?

Question Number 2

A question worth pondering is “Can you judge a person by their blog?”, which I came about on El-3atal’s blog.

Personally, I believe that you can judge a person by their blogs. You can judge me by my blog. This is who I am; slightly airheaded, infatuated with art and design, easily fascinated, quite imphalsapheh, and so on and so forth.

I try my very best to be consciously aware that I am representing who I really am. I try to periodically put a picture of myself so that no one imagines something that is not. I ramble about my daily life every once in a while so that the reader gets the jest of the framework in which the words are written.

I am what I write. I am what I take pictures of. I put all of myself in this space, and although of course it is very easy to misunderstand what I write, it still is a very vital part of the person I am, the ideologies I represent, and the the thoughts behind my actions.

I think the people who read my blog know me a lot better than those who don’t. And when people who read my blog meet me, they usually tell me I am just what they imagined, except that I don’t talk much in real life.

That’s another interesting question to ponder. Some of the bloggers I’ve met were just what I imagined them to be, others were very different.

If you met me after reading my blog, what do you think? Was I different? Or was I what you thought I would be?

Also, what do you think, can you judge a person by their blog?

France 24

On December 6, the newest international news channel in a crowded market including CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera’s new English channel is going on the air, first via Internet streaming and one day later by satellite. This channel is France 24; adding to the voices from the US, the UK, and Arabia, a voice from France.

Interestingly, the aim of this channel is to counteract the “unified, Anglo-Saxon” outlook of the U.S. and Britain, especially after the controversy over the Iraq war. To reach the maximum audience and “influence the world”, France has put aside its linguistic qualms, and will be broadcast via satellite and the Internet in English as well as French and, soon, Arabic followed by Spanish.

I really like to think that we’re approaching a media revolution, a world of information anarchy, and the internet is certainly a very, very, very big part this revolution. It realizes that network effects should come from communities and user contributions- connecting intelligence, turning the web into a kind of giant global brain.

On one hand, sites such as Wikipedia, Flickr, and and Digg rely on information from users to provide content rather than from centralized sources. On the other hand, blogging, podcasting, and photosharing are changing the way information flows, and many see blogging as a means of “getting around the filter”, offering views of politics, entertainment, and culture that were never available so openly before.

The influence of blogs is increasing by the day. In a study conducted by StrategyOne, it was discovered that nearly a quarter of the population in the U.S., UK, and France, read blogs at least once a week (and of that group nearly one-third are moved to undertake some type of political action). Similarly, according to The Economist, news channels are more about influence than money.

Today, the mass media is tapping into alternative media. The approach of France 24 with the net and the blogosphere are interesting. In a video published yesterday, the channel makes bloggers its first audience, addressing the video, “France 24’s Promise to Bloggers” to them (you can watch it here). They are broadcasting on the internet thirty six hours before satellites in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Back to the French government’s intention, which is to use the new broadcaster as a platform to spread “the French vision”, counter the prevailing US view of world affairs, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. In the case of Iraq, it’s easy to understand what the French vision would mean — more distance from the U.S. military line, and many French viewers see U.S. news as too uncritical of Israel. The channel also described itself as “a diversity of viewpoints, more debate, and an emphasis on culture and “l’art de vivre,” the art of living.” Many criticisms (especially by Arab critics) hailing the channel as “French imperialism in disguise” were quickly dispelled, “It’s not anti-American or against the Arab world, or anything like that at all. It’s just a different point of view.”

News about this channel sparked a conversation about French influence on our lives in Jordan between my mother and I (and here, I am not referring to all of Jordan, I am referring to myself). The language barrier in a country that uses English as a second language is huge, but being a part of the Levant which has had a lot of French influence naturally means that you can still see the traces, especially in language. I know that a good portion of our local lingo is actually Arabized French, such as garcon, bantalon, antreh, dosh, twalette, chufeir, telefone, and as my mother says, “Alo” by itself is worth a hundred words. When in the older parts of Amman, it is notable that many of the signs mounted over store fronts are in Arabic and French rather than English.

What I find most interesting in regards to French influence on modern Amman is on the cultural front. The French Cultural Center is quite an active participant in the local scene with their funding and supporting of cultural events in Amman, both French and local. Amman now celebrates “Eid Il Moseeqa” on June 21st with France’s Fête de la Musique. Most amusingly, the “Frenchizing” of Jabal il Weibdeh, where Dowar Il Hawooz was magically re-named and re-decorated to become Square de Paris. Across from the Square de Paris lies another new addition to Weibdeh, “Librarie de Paris”, a cafe/bookshop with French and Italian books. A round the corner from Librarie is the renovated French Cultural Center, painted in bright attractive colors.

Personally, after a childhood in a very global Saudi Arabia, I have come to like the French, who are a lot warmer and friendlier than the English, and who I can relate to on a cultural level a lot more than the Americans, although I grew up with Americans, the exporters of culture.

My mother and I also discussed Radio Monte Carlo, which was very popular in the Arab world before the privatization of Arab media, but which didn’t have a speck of influence on its audience, nor did even try. Obviously, the objective of France 24 is different, but I guess only time can tell. It would be interesting to see what a French news channel with such a will say, which viewpoints it will represent, and whether or not it will have any influence on its viewers.

What do you think?

Rock N’Roll is here to stay

I love Rock N’Roll. Seriously, I do, I actually think it’s my favorite music genre, so when I heard that we were going to learn to rock and roll in my dancing class I got quite excited. I mean, besides the fact that I love it, I’m a LOT more likely to rock and roll in Amman than actually waltz (ha, waltz in Amman).

Then I discovered that his inspiration for Rock N’Roll isn’t John Jett or AC/DC, but rather, Micheal Jackson at the peak of his Thriller moonwalking career or John Travolta in shaking struttin’ his stuff in Grease.

Damn it.

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