Developing Jordan's Political Parties

Posted on: October 29th, 2007 by Lina 24 Comments

Written By: Marwan Asmar

Its election time! As a good non-totalitarian democrat I love the elections, when they happen that is. What I really love about the elections is the time leading up to their finale when voters go up to the polling stations and vote. Although I’ve never voted in my life, I’ve always carefully watched election campaigns, right from start to finish. They are exciting days, of banners hoisted, constituency meets, mini-rallies and all the rest of it.

Prospective candidates, some running for the very first time and of which we are expected to know and vote for, hoist their banners across streets and roundabouts, screaming at the electorate to vote for them because they are the best candidates.

This is the 15th elections for the 15th Lower House, and parliament in Jordan has consistently been in session since 1989, after a long absence of parliamentary life in the country. I am proud to say I covered the 1993 elections, the 1997 ones, and just about missed the 2003 elections because of being away from Jordan.

Election Watch | Registration, Polls And The IAF

Posted on: October 23rd, 2007 by Lina 9 Comments

Written By: Naseem Tarawnah

Parliamentary elections are officially up and running now. The first two days of candidate registration saw 916 names and as Lina points out, 15.8% of which are women. That’s a pretty decent percentage in my case, considering that the majority of that number are from fairly conservative cities like Irbid and Kerak. Although it’s yet to be seen, I’m betting that the voters are really going to get shortchanged this time around with the unnecessary women’s quota.

In a survey conducted by Al-Ghad shows that voter turnout is expected to be at around 70% of which 76.5% claim to be voting for an independent candidate and 8.0% hoping to vote for a party candidate. These results are very similar to that of a similar poll conducted back in June for the municipal elections. Parliamentary elections of 2003 saw voter turnout some where around 57%. While voter turnout has increased over the years, the government is launching various workshops and campaigns to push people to vote. I’d be interested to see where such campaigns are focused geographically.

Interview: The Avant-Garde Blouzaat Crew

Posted on: October 22nd, 2007 by Ramsey 8 Comments

Interview by Omar Z of Fann 3arabi

Whether it’s an innocent Chihuahua staring at you, three generic red bodies with white face masks, a cat who’s promoting a coke can or a rather balloon-like girl asking to switch places it’s all in the new store of Blouzaat. You’re probably wondering that none of these subjects might not completely make sense, but you when you see them visually or actually get to wear them you’ll realise it’s a different experience.

Blouzaat is a new t-shirt/urban art store that is about to open in Jabal Amman. Behind it are 4 members that believe in grunge, details, random inspirations and non-coherency in Art but they also like Cats, Bulldogs, Chihuahuas and characters that do not particularly abide to general beauty standards. Ahmad Sabbagh, a Jordanian designer and type-enthusiast had given the privilege to get to the store-in-the-making and he was kind enough to participate in the little interview. (more…)

Tiptoeing Through Luweibdeh's Cultural Maze

Posted on: October 20th, 2007 by Lina No Comments

Reviewed by Dr. Marwan Asmar

The latest offering by Saleem Ayoub Quna, Cultural Guide to Jabal Luweibdeh, is designed for locals, foreigners living in Jordan and international visitors aware of the diversity of this Amman neighborhood.

The author, a long-term resident of Luweibdeh, describes the book as a necessary cultural guide, to highlight the richness of the Jabal that is right in the downtown yet has its special system, local economy and societal rhythm.

Quna starts the guide with a specially-drawn map of Jabal Luweibdeh, highlighting its cultural centers, churches, mosques, public buildings, political parties, associations, embassies and much more. He says the Jabal is a mesh-mash of activity comprising a living society of schools, medical centers, a hospital, hotels, pharmacies, galleries, restaurants a well-known theater and a library frequented by the people of Luweibdeh, professionals, workers, artists and novelists who fall in love with the architecture of the place.

The cultural guide is divided into short anecdotal stories by different well Jordanian faces who lived and frequented the Jabal at one time or another and who came to love it for its serenity and experience. It also highlights international figures and personalities who came to visit the Jabal, which left an indelible mark on their memories.

Skating for Self Expression

Posted on: October 15th, 2007 by Ramsey 66 Comments

Written by Ahmad Sahli

Shari3 Thqafeh (Cultural Street in Shmesani) is a very unique street. I go there almost daily, and this street means a lot to me and many other people. Skateboarders, rollerbladers, foreigners, tourists, art galleries, families – there’s something special about it that gives it reason to be named “culture street.”

To some it may be overlooked as just another business area, but for Ammanis it means much more.

I’m one of the skateboarders often seen there; I can’t go more than two days without going to Culture Street. Skateboarding is an activity that is growing quickly in Amman, mainly influenced by the overall development and growth of Amman as a society, and its increasing exposure to a Western lifestyle. Despite this perceived acceptance of Western culture, pedestrians and Ammani citizens in general still look down on skateboarding, some even relating it to Satanism. (more…)