A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: July 2012 (Page 1 of 4)

People Who Rock the Boat are Traitors and Should be Ostracized or Killed

Honey, you rock the boat and you’ll be ostracized. We will forever deem you as “strange” with your actions and your ideas, but we’re smart and pacifist enough to at least give you some ounce of pretend freedom to be who you are, you and your friends like you. You can create little bubbles that will keep the rest of society safe from your thoughts and ideas. Here, have a few cafes where you can spend time together, you strange people, you. The rest of society will carefully build a web of negative publicity, to ensure that only those who already think like you can access your ideas.

Don’t get too safe and comfortable though. Just when you want to start increasing the boundaries of the walls we’ve placed upon you, society will attack. We will curse you and your family honor for not wearing the veil. We will ridicule you and turn you into a sick, sick joke, with six million fingers pointing and yelling “TRAITOR!”

You traitor you, you who rock the boat.

Leave us be. Keep your ideas away from us. We’re happy, we’re safe. Yeah, sure, we might not live the most comfortable lives. We might get cold sometimes and hungry at other times, but for the most part, no one is really starving. Everyone is busy enough trying to live.

Most of us have bad experiences, you see. We were prosecuted in Russia. We were kicked out of Palestine. We were tricked out of Iraq. Even Kuwait, my dear, although it was never home, sent us crying for help.

We don’t want that to happen again. We’ve learned. Yes, we’ve learned the hard way, so stay away, we warn you. Don’t rock the boat.

We’re fine just the way we are. Keep those ideas away from our children, especially our children.

You immoral boat rocker. Stay away.

Stay away.

Go Jordan

Best of luck to our team competing at this year’s Olympics. I’m especially proud of my Jo women: go Nadine, Talita, Raya, and Rima, you make us proud, wins or not.

Best of luck to all other Arab countries participating too. We’re all Arab, a medal for any Arab country will make us all happy. Double cheers to Lebanese athletes Zain and Mona Shaito.

Samsung Photography Competition: Go to South Korea

So, Samsung Middle East is running a photography competition and you may win a chance to visit South Korea. All you have to do is upload a picture and share your story on their Facebook “WOW Traveler” app.

The competition is only open till the 31st, so get snapping.

Can you guess who one of the bloggers is? ;)

Diaries of an Image Collector

Images I collected this week, for your weekend pleasure.

Previous diary entries:
Collection 10
Collection 9
Collection 8
Collection 7
Collection 6
Collection 5
Collection 4
Collection 3
Collection 2
Collection 1

sticker cats



know everything


red yellow


mohammad ali

sparkle shoes

the media lies


Via the always-awesome XKCD

بث بياخة – الحرب العالمية الثانية

Human life in the mirror

This French short film, Le Miroir (The Mirror) manages to tug at the heart strings. Directed by Ramon and Pedro, it takes you through the entire life of a boy in that bathroom mirror.

بث بياخة – أبو الحروف

El Morabba3: Painfully Genius Jordanian Music That Hurts Where It Hurts Most

El Morabba3 seem to specialize in uncomfortable comfort music. Intense melodies submerged in haunting sounds and satiated emotions make the debut album of this Jordanian band truly different from most other sounds coming from the region.

The bulk of the tracks are nightmares, the tough realities of a world that is corrupt, polluted, and seemingly hopeless. In the third track of the album “Tahet Al Ard” (Beneath the Ground), Tareq Abu Kwaik sings: “I’ve been standing on the ground for two weeks, I’ve been talking and complaining… Refineries and energy laws and science… Don’t go up there, It’s a crazy world… I’m coming down, I’m digging… If only a car would take me far away from here!”

In another song called “Tarweej” (Promotion), written and sung by Mohammad Abdullah, the bassist croons with burning questions: “Where am I supposed to revolt? Where am I supposed to revolt? Who will change the scene when the one responsible is sitting like stone counting cash?”

With every note so tasty and rich you just can’t possibly do anything else as you listen. Even upbeat tracks like “Asheek” (On the Fence) unveil the album’s powerful, mind-reeling nature. It isn’t often that an Arab and Arabic band has the grapes to go for something so intensely prophetic.

With a sharp lack of negative space in the tracks, the occasional de-layering of sound always has a surprising effect. Sahar Khalifeh often fills in the other spaces with her responsive vocals. The effect is that you feel like you’re sinking then suddenly taking a gulp of much-needed air, although you had no idea you were sinking in the first place. Here’s a great example in the track “Tarweej” (the air arrives as marked by comment from shadiadwan):

El Morabba3’s debut album is nervy and self-contained, the product of thinking a lot harder than we’re accustomed to (and not just in thinking in music, but thinking in general). Haunting melodies, meticulously arranged lyrics, and an overwhelming sense of epicness are emotionally draining to the listener. Indeed, this album is a painful telling of the hopelessness of our lives, and the urgent need to face our complacency.

With El Morabba3, there’s not much to do but sit back and enjoy it as you “take it”.

Related: Other Music from the Arab World
Jordanian Band Torabyeh: Ghorbah
Alaa Wardi: Gash3arteeni Lama 7akeiti…
JadaL – Bye Bye 3azizi جدل – باي باي عزيزي
Alaa Wardi’s Latest: Wenti Mastaneti
Akher Zapheer: The end of it is a melancholy tune – اخرتو لحن حزين
Risalet Salam – JEEL (Music Video) رسالة سلام – جيل
Bath Bayakha: Ahlan Ramadan
Good Jordanian Musician: Alaa Wardi
Tareq Abu Kwaik and Alfar3i
Toot Ard
El-Fer3i: Asafir Al Houla
El-Morabba3: Painfully Genius Jordanian Music That Hurts Where it Hurts Most
Brilliant and Uplifting Performance That Makes You Feel Like Not All Hope is Lost


I had two realizations this week:

1. I hate vanity and vain individuals.
I always assumed I have no issue with it, but I realized that I get really agitated by the vain. I don’t particularly mind arrogance though; as long as you have a good reason to be arrogant.

2. I don’t like reading fiction at all, and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a work of fiction in my life. Don’t get me wrong… I love science fiction and I love fantasy, but regular fiction bores me to death.

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