A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: June 2012 (Page 1 of 4)

Autostrad and Akher Zapheer tonight

Enjoy the music and help a Syrian family. 100% of proceeds are used to help our displaced Syrian brothers and sisters in Jordan.


Nude Art

Six out of 10 Arab citizens support government censorship of the arts, especially when it comes to nudity or profane language [1].

The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci (1487)

Michelangelo (1504)

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (Early Renaissance 15th century)

Venus and Adonis by Peter Paul Rubens (Baroque 1600 – 1725)

La Maja Desnuda by Francisco Goya (Romanticism 1750 – 1850)

Olympia by Edouard Manet (1863)

Nude in the Sunlight by Pierre Auguste Renoir (Impressionism 1863 – 1900)

Blue Nude 1 by Henri Matisse (Fauvism 1905 – 1908)

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso (Analytical Cubism 1907 – 1912)

Le Viol by René Magritte (Surrealism 1910 – 1930)

Nude with Blue Hair by Roy Lichtenstein (Pop Art 1950 – 1980)

Nawal Abdullah (Jordan, 1951)

Jalal Ariqat

Ismael Shammout

“Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed.”
—William Blake

Why I’m Boycotting Cirque Du Soleil

A few notes on tonight’s Cirque Du Soleil Boycott, and why I — a person who deeply respects and appreciate culture — am boycotting.

– Boycott is a strategy (a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim), not a principle (a fundamental truth that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning).

– It’s okay to disagree, that’s what civil society is about.

– Cultural, academic and economic boycotts or sanctions have been part of our human rights history for the longest time. They are effective tools for exerting pressure to bring about change.

– Culture does not operate in some special, apolitical space – just like academic institutions in Israel are also not removed from complicity in systematic human rights abuses.

– The Israeli government and advocacy groups are deliberately seeking to use culture as a means of ‘rebranding’. In 2008, Israel’s Foreign Ministry hired a British firm to “craft” a “new image” for the country based on “Israel’s scientific and cultural achievements”. After the Gaza massacre in 2009, Israel announced more money for ‘cultural diplomacy’, with an official declaring a plan to “send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits” to “show Israel’s prettier face”.

– The cultural boycott of Israel is bringing about discourse, and discourse is good.

– The cultural boycott of Israel is “troubling” senior Israeli politicians: a law passed by the Knesset last year means that people who call for a boycott could be sued in court. The Israeli government has also set up a committee to look at how to compensate Israeli promoters in the cases of “politically motivated cancellations”.

– Calls for a boycott are supported by hundreds of artists around the world, from the film director Ken Loach to former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and the author Alice Walker. Artists such as Carlos Santana and Elvis Costello have cancelled shows after pressure from campaigners in recent years; Coldplay, U2 and Bruce Springsteen have declined invitations to play in Israel without supporting the boycott publicly.

Slogans of “There is No Difference Between You and I” زيّي زيّك

Let me remind you that in our country, the system legally allows a man to go rape any little girl on the street and then get away with his crime by marrying her.

Let me remind you that in our country, over 112 Jordanian women were brutally murdered by their own families for “honor” in the past 10 years. Of course, our penal law happily condones this.

Let me remind you that in our country, the laws are sexist, unjust, and greedy, so my children cannot take on my nationality just because I happen to be a woman.

Let me remind you that in our country, as women, articles 97, 98, 100, 340, and 345 affect our safety and our well-being in our own country.

Let me remind you that in our country, people have turned the word “honor” into blasphemy.

Why do I have to go to the grocery store instead of her?

Catcalling isn’t manliness

My wife just had a baby. Paternity leave is my right.

I am as strong as life.

Excuse me, law, you’re here to protect, not to “cover”.

What do you care what she’s wearing?

I don’t harass.

Your rib isn’t straight? Your problem.

I am Rahaf’s father

Why are you ashamed of your mother’s name?

There is no difference between you and I… I work too.

What are you staring at?

Rape has become a national duty

Stop saying nothing to sexual harassment

There is no difference between you and I… I want to give my children my nationality

Rape her and marry her for free

There is no difference between you and I… I can also live by myself

There is no difference between you and I… I know how to drive

I want to be safe in the streets

My mother is called Fatimah

“Your mother” and “your sister” aren’t disses!

No one has ever said to me: What will people say?

My life is more important than the family’s honor

My mother is Jordanian and her nationality is my right

All Jordanians are the same in the eyes of the law

You’re killing us with your honor

Xenocide :)

From xkcd, of course.

Diaries of an Image Collector, 9

Images I collected this week, for your weekend pleasure.

Previous diary entries:
Collection 8
Collection 7
Collection 6
Collection 5
Collection 4
Collection 3
Collection 2
Collection 1

Say no

Andy Warhol Suffocated


vocab lesson

Gorgeous man with beard

Arabic newspaper

Beer goggles

i want to run away

Cinderella Heels

gay guy from glee

Life is temporary

Johnny and Tim

glitter pills

Restaurant Business Trends in Amman 2012: What We’re Eating These Days and Where


I’ve become boring. I basically frequent only four places in Amman, over and over and over again. So when I took a look at BeAmman’s archives for “What’s new in Amman“, the first thought that crossed my mind was “Shit, I haven’t heard of 99% of these places.”

But that’s awesome, because with a mass of sudden discoveries, my brain automatically goes into patterns mode.

The trends of 2012 in Amman:

Burger Places 3a Gafa Meen Isheel
So, you know how there was a cupcake trend in the world a few years back? Well, a similar thing is happening in Amman, except with burgers. Honestly, I’m having a hard time comprehending this trend. First of all, West Amman is like what, 500,000 people or something? Why do you need a million burger places? Secondly, most of these burger places opening up are SO. DAMN. EXPENSIVE. I don’t get it.

But I guess business is doing well. So far. I’m betting that most of them won’t still be open in a few years’ time, especially the ones in Abdoun. Stay away from opening burger restaurants though. Maybe a taco place? Turkish pastries?  
1. Volks Burger

2. Burger Joint

3. Fatty Dab’s

4.Firefly Burgers and Things


Others I can think of: Feel Burger, Burger Boutique.






The Rainbow is Dying, Slowly but Surely

This is after all, Amman, and you know how our city rapes everything that is cool. It’s cyclical. There’s a “spark” somewhere. The artists, rebels, rich kids, or merchants turn this spark into something cool. Then mass culture rapes it, and it becomes REALLY uncool. The Rainbow is at its peak, and thus is on the brink of death. Hear my words.

If you want a kick ass business for the next few years, Rainbow is good, but it won’t last for long. You can see the impending death of Rainbow in how it loses the soul that made it cool in the first place: super-massive restaurants and cafes that are no different from one another. Rainbow, I will miss you.

Ararat Armenian Cuisine

2. Sangaria

3. Sliceh Pizza

4. Jareedeh Cafe

5. Firefly Burgers and Things




Our Roots Are Now Cool: Bil 3arabi

This is one of my favorite trends. You can see it in everything in Amman: in the art, the music, the restaurants, the conversations. Post-colonization is ending. Being Arab is cool again. In restaurants, this is reflecting on cutesy names like “Sliceh” and Arabic-food-serving eateries.  

1. Sho Hal Ayam Restaurant in Jabal Amman

2. Sub O Ighli

3. Isteakan

4. 3arabayeh

5. Sawsan’s Cuisine

6. Mama Ghanouj

7. Sliceh Pizza

8. Jareedeh Cafe


9. 7awooz






l’Weibdeh is the Next Big Thing

I’ve already said this a year ago, and my forecast is coming to life: l’Weibdeh is set. There’s so much soul, spirit, change and life in l’Weibdeh these days. It’s awesome. If you have a very cool idea, don’t waste it on Jabal Amman. Weibdeh is where people will be flocking during the next ten years.
1. Kepi Restaurant & Café

2. Garo’s

3. Grafitti

4. 7awooz

5. Volks Burger in Jabal Al Weibdeh




Retail Experience, Brands and Design are Finally Improving Locally

Thank goodness that design is finally improving on a retail level. Not often, and not everywhere, but a start is good, right?

1. No. 6

2. UR

3. The Meat Master

4. Philosophi

5. Balconies:

6. Easy Storage

7. Kedi:

8. Ararat:

So there, you have it. A very modest forecast of what’s going to be cool and what’s not going to be cool in Amman.


How to go WAY underdressed to a Saudi-people wedding

By Saudi people, I mean the Palestinian community that lives in Saudi Arabia, of which I knew little else until 9 short years ago.

Here is how to look like a Ammani girl in a Saudi-people wedding:

– Wear a dress that doesn’t trail behind you as you walk

– Do your own hair

– Wear flats

– Avoid sequins, crystals, and beads

– Not be the proud owner of long, beautiful, dark and flowing hair

– Wear a dress that isn’t made of chiffon, silk, satin, or any other kind of shiny material

– Do your own make up in under 5 minutes

– Wear glasses

You see, the summer is mating season, and all these Saudi people I spent the first two-thirds of my life with are around for the weddings.

Summers are my markers. They signify that another year has passed. And every year I realize how much I’ve changed, but towards the other side of the spectrum from the static life of the Saudi people.

Nothing in common. Nothing to discuss. We don’t even have our childhood memories anymore. There are blocks: mental, emotional, financial, conceptual.

You, collectively, are you. I, individually, am I. You can now stop pretending to be so happpyyyy to see me.


I can’t see your face

I first realized that I have a serious issue with faces was when I watched “The Departed” a few years ago. I was so confused throughout the entire movie, completely unable to grasp the plot line: how is the good guy the bad guy the good guy the bad guy?

It was only after the movie was over that my brothers told me that Roba, you idiot, that’s two characters acted out by two actors.

Oops. I spent the entire 151 minutes completely unaware of the fact that DiCaprio and Damon are two different people, two different characters, and two different actors. In my mind, they were the same person.

It was a little later that I realized I have the same issue with people not on my TV screen as well. It just never occurred to me before.

I once was at the same getaway wedding as an acquaintance. It was years later, when I ran into him at a restaurant, that I said, “Hey, I haven’t seen you since that wedding!” He looked me and said, “What wedding?” Oops. I spent three days with him in the Dead Sea thinking that he is someone else.

Today, I realized that this one girl I constantly run into is actually two different girls. It was a shocking discovery, because I’ve known them “both” for years, see them “both” around a lot, and they’re “both” Facebook friends of mine. Yet, I somehow had absolutely NO IDEA that they were two different people until an hour ago.

It’s really creepy.

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