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المادة ٣٠٨ الجديدة للمرأة الأردنية: ازني وتزوجي!


بعد عمل حقوقي مجتمعي لعدة سنوات وازدياد الأصوات المطالبة بإلغاء المادة ٣٠٨ من قانون العقوبات التي كانت تسمح بإسقاط عقوبة الإغتصاب عن الجاني إن تزوج من ضحيته، قام المشرّع الأردني بتعديل المادة لتلغي اسقاط العقوبة عن المغتصب. وهذا انجاز جيد نفرح له. ولكن المادة، وللأسف، تتمسك بالعقوبة في حالة “الرضا” ، أي بحالة الجنس خارج إطار الزواج (الزنا).

وهنا يكون المشرع قد أبدع في تحويل مادة قانونية ظالمة للمرأة إلى واحدة ظالمة للرجل. فما على المرأة الأردنية اليوم، إن أرادت الزواج من رجل أعجبها، سوى إغرائه وممارسة الجنس معه لليلة واحدة، تطالبه من بعدها بالزواج. إن رفض، فعقوبة السجن بانتظاره (اعتقد أنها ٣ سنوات ).

 المشرّع وبظلمه للرجل في هذه الحالة، لم ينصف المرأة أيضاً، فالعقلية الذكورية في سن القوانين سائدة هنا، وفي هذه الحالة هنالك تعامل مع المرأة على أنها قاصر، وعلى أن القانون واجب عليه حمايتها حتى ولو تم الفعل الجنسي برضاها. كذلك فإن القانون يغفل عن ذكر حقيقة أن هنالك مادة أخرى في القانون تعاقب المرأة في حالة الزنا. وهنا سؤال للمشرع، هل تسقط عقوبة المرأة إن تزوجت الرجل الذي زنت معه؟ أم أن المرأة يجب أن تعاقب في كلتا الحالتين، تزوجت أم لم تتزوج؟

للأسف هنالك جهل تام بالحقوق الجسدية والحريات الجنسية عند المشرع الأردني. فالرهاب الجنسي السائد اجتماعيا يقودنا نحو قوانين مجحفة في حق كلا الجنسين.

توضيح وزيرالإعلام في مؤتمر صحفي تم اليوم بخصوص التعديل

اعلن وزير الدولة لشؤون الإعلام الناطق الرسمي باسم الحكومة الدكتور محمد المومني أنه تم الغاء المادة (308) من مشروع قانون العقوبات.

وبين الوزير في مؤتمر صحفي مشترك مع وزير العدل بسام التلهوني أن مجلس الوزراء ناقش باستفاضة هذه المادة وأخذ الاراء كافة حول هذه المادة.

وقال ” حاولنا أن نواءم بين الآراء، وقد نرى هنالك ردود فعل ايجابية وأخرى سلبية حول المادة”.

والمادة 308 كانت تعفي المغتصب من العقوبة في حال زواجه من الضحية، وظلّت محط انتقادات المنظمات الدولية ومؤسسات المجتمع المدني.

وبموجب التعديل، تم إقرار العقوبة إذا تمت مواقعة الأنثى بالإكراه حتى لو تم جى زواج بين الطرفين لاحقاً، في حين أوقف تنفيذ العقوبة على مواقعة الأنثى التي بلغت 15 عاما ولم تكمل الثامنة عشرة من عمرها، إذا كان الأمر برضاها.

من جهته قال الوزير التلهوني أن أي افعال ناتجة عن العنف والاغتصاب او عدم الرضا اصبحت  مجرمة حتى لو كان الزواج صحيحاً.

واضاف ” لكي نبقي مساحة للاستفادة من النص اذا كان هنالك تراض، بحيث يطبق النص في حالة عدم الرضا، أما في حالة الرضا فاذا كان هنالك عقد زواج وكان الزواج مستمر لمدة 3 سنوات وحافظ عليها في حالة الجنحة، و5 سنوات في حالة الجناية وهو في حالة الرضا وليس الاكراه”.

وقال الوزير ” يحقق هذا النص الردعين العام والخاص، فالخاص نتيجة ما قام به الفاعل، وهنا الردع العام يحصل نتيجة العقوبة التي تطبق نتيجة مواجهة ذلك الشخص”، موضحا”لذلك هنالك تجريم الاغتصاب وأفعال العنف وعدم الرضا”.

وفي رده على أسئلة الصحفيين حول المادة 308 وموضوع الرضا وان كان الزواج سيوقف تنفيذ العقوبة وامكانية اضفاء صبغة الرضا على الافعال، قال ” حتى لو تم الزواج يبقى الفعل مجرما، والجريمة ارتكبت ولكن كل ما هنالك أن الزواج يوقف العقوبة، ولو وقع اي خلل في احكام نص القانون تستعيد النيابة العامة حقها في الملاحقة”.

وعن وقف ملاحقة تنفيذ العقوبة قال هي “الناجمة عن حالات الزنا،ومواقعة انثى اكملت 15 سنة ولم تكمل 18 سنة برضاها حيث تخضع لاحكام المادة 308 بحيث يمكن توقيف تنفيذ العقوبة، وكذلك ارتكاب افعال هتك عرض بغير تهديد او عنف”.

واوضح ” هي افعال من الممكن توقيف العقوبة خلافا لاحكام المادة 308″، وكذلك “فض البكارة مع الوعد بالزواج اذا ثبت عنصر الرضا سيؤدي الى وقف تنفيذ العقوبة وذلك اذا جرى الزواج بعقد صحيح لمدة 3 سنوات او 5 سنوات ويعتمد ذلك على طبيعة الفعل”.

ولفت حول ما يقال ان السيدة او اهلها يرغبون بالاستفادة من النص حيث لا تكون هنالك رضا “اذا ارتكب فعل وتم النقاش لاحقا بانه كان برضاها فان النيابة العامة تستشف من القرائن والدلائل.

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Theeb is off to the Oscars: Interviewing Producer Nadine Toukan


When they announced the short list of The Best Foreign Film for Oscars this year, a national euphoria hit Facebook. It was one of those moments, when everyone felt proud. “Theeb” reached the Oscars, a Jordanian film that has been gaining praise world wide, winning awards here and there and demonstrating how far the film industry in Jordan has gone.

We can make quality films, Nadine Toukan believed, and she delivered. Jordan’s film industry is still in its infantile stage. It was started merely 10 years ago with a governmental plan to establish “The Royal Film Commission”, which was part of a national strategic plan to create a creative industry that would build on the energy of the young population in the Kingdom. Nadine joined “The Royal Film Commission” at the time with a mandate to search and develop local talents in the film industry and she did an amazing job; Today there are hundreds of Jordanian talents carving their way in an industry that is yet to mature. Nadine didn’t only that, but also topped herself by showing everyone that it is possible to make a Jordanian film and pioneered the scene by producing the much loved “Captain Abu Raed” in 2008, followed up by “When Monaliza Smiled” in 2012, and finally the globally celebrated Oscar nominated “Theeb”.

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I am so proud of have the chance of interviewing Nadine and ask her the following:

Fadi: You are going to the Oscars! How does it feel?

 

Nadine: Theeb is off to the Oscars. And don’t forget the BAFTAs tomorrow in London. Exciting. Rewarding. Confusing. So what. How cool. A melange of many feelings, and a good time for deep reflection and taking stock. 

 

Fadi: You believed and you delivered. I remember that you once told me that what triggered you to produce “Captain Abu Raed” is that you wanted to show people in the film industry at the time that we can. Today, you are proving that we can’t only make films but we can also make quality films that can be admired worldwide. I would like to know more about what motivates you? was it your passion for storytelling or your love to your country and your people?

 

quotes3Nadine: I’m generally fed up with a few things: “We can’t, it won’t work, there’s no money, who cares…” Having our stories owned by others, and us almost always bothered at how they end up being told. Defeatist attitudes. Entitlement. Waiting for Godot. I’ve always lived to the tune of, “you want it, go will it into existence”. So in part, the power of imagination pull. Not driven by a major strategic plan, rather through a series of serendipitous events and situations.

 

 

Fadi: I have met you for few times only, but I have always read a side of you that I can’t help not to admire and point out, which is your willingness to help people realize their dreams. I don’t forget the time you tried to help me find a new job in order to be able to publish “The Bride of Amman”, and I remember when I first approached you for an interview on my blog, you wanted to give the spotlight to other people on the crew, like the first assistant director, Yanal Kassay.

 

quotes1Nadine: Listening to your plan for the book and that you needed a job, and reacting in trying to connect you with opportunities, is the result of my built in producer skills. That’s just how I’m wired. Filmmaking is one of the most collaborative industries. There’s no industry without the tribe. We’re used to having directors, actors, producers, and at times cinematographers, front it, but none of us would get far without line producers, ADs, PAs, coordinators, art directors, and the long list of people needed to be able to go the distance, including our generous backers and investors. It’s easy to get caught up in the hero syndrome. I find that scary, and it stops us from understanding through the necessary wider lens. In this industry, there are no heroes, there are heroic collaborations. On Theeb, Naji stood on the shoulders of giants to be able to direct the film this way. We are indebted to each and every single person who said yes at any given stage of this production. Theeb is possible thanks to many people who came together to raise the bar, and simply didn’t settle.

 

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Nadine Toukan with the star Jacir Eid

Fadi: Looking at Theeb’s cast, you gave the starring role to the young bedouin Jacir; that in itself is a fairytale story. You are taking this young man to the Oscars! How rewarding it is being the person behind the success of many others?

 

Nadine: Jacir owes this big break to his father, Eid, whose lazy planning led Bassel and Naji to find Jacir in front of their camera. And then there was magic. I don’t agree with the notion that anyone is behind the success of others. Rather, it’s our continuous motion, and intersections of people and their actions. Speaking of serendipity: One evening while camping at the Ammarin Bedouin Camp in Beidha, a visitor from the area stopped by and sat with us over tea and small talk. Half way through, he stood up and gave me a piece of his mind: “You, all of you with your cameras, the makers of these bedouin TV series we see on the satellites, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Year after year you make one series after the other about our bedouin culture and stories. None of them are accurate, we don’t live that way, nor speak that way, nor do we socialise the way you fantasise. Yet you keep making them about us. And here we are. Still alive. Still living here, but you never come by to do your research right, nor do you speak to us. And you still keep making those silly bedouin series”. While I had never been involved in any of these productions, I knew very well what he was referring to. It was painful, and a much needed wake up call. Representation was broken, and that had to stop.

 

Back between 2003-5, I served on the committee working on Jordan’s submission to the UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity program, under the title: The Cultural Space of the Bedu in Petra and Wadi Rum. It was a challenging feat that ended up being proclaimed in 2005 and ratified in 2006. One of the recommendations of the action plan was to create programs that would support the communities in these areas own their culture and oral heritage in their own way, in their voice. Then one day, some of the least likely suspects collaborated on the making of Theeb. A story owned and performed by the community itself, simply because we were open to listening to the situations we found ourselves in, and decided to break free from anything that had been before us. We followed our instinct, and paid attention to opportunities that presented themselves to us. Then took a series of risks and leaps of faith.

 

Fadi: I watched “Theeb” at Abu Dhabi Film Festival last year, and had goose-bumps seeing the theatre full of people who all stood up at the end and clapped. Did you foresee its success?
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Nadine Toukan and Naji Abu Nowar

Nadine: A lot of hard, good work went into the film by a large group of extraordinary people. I knew we had something special. The backstory of which is even more special. When Bassel pitched the project to me back in 2010, it was “a bedouin short film”. I remember looking at him curiously, smiling, wondering where this may go. Then he said he had passed it on to Naji for script notes. Bigger smile. Two remarkably talented and interesting people were about to collaborate. The beginning of an excellent equation. And when we started making creative decisions on how we were going to approach the production, it was clear we had something authentic.

 

Fadi: As you know, the Jordanian film industry is still in its infantile stages. There are many challenges that we have to overcome. Having a Jordanian film showing in cinemas in other countries is a challenge in itself. How did you do that?

 

Nadine: Through expensive sales agents and distributors.

 

Fadi: What are the biggest challenges that you think is facing the Jordanian film industry?

 

Nadine: Writing. Waiting. Distribution.

 

Fadi: Making films usually requires big budgets. There are only few cinemas in Amman and I would say, like the publishing industry, distribution channels are limited. How did you overcome that? Did you make profits for “Theeb” yet?

 

Nadine: No. Sales agents and distributors take a huge cut for the work they do. We’ve had limited distribution. We are back in some theatres around the Arab world this month post the nominations, and we hope the long tail of the life of the production may eventually pay off. I think I’ve heard the questions: “Is it on YouTube or any of the torrents?” and “When will Hammoudeh be selling it?” more than: “When can I buy a cinema ticket?”

 

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Fadi: The Royal Film Commission has done an amazing job in training young Jordanian talents in the past decade and facilitating and help funding local films but it was hit by the global financial crisis and the tough situation that Jordan has been facing after the Arab Spring. It is still playing an active role in helping the industry but not as strong as it used to be. How do you see the RFC support for the industry?

 

 
quotes4Nadine: The RFC has done some excellent work over instances, but no where near enough. I say this as someone who once worked there when it first started, and say it with a lot of love. I don’t think the global financial crisis is a valid excuse. Sounds like a good cover. This is the time to be brave and aggressive, and think of new types of collaborations for growth. I’m grateful to the RFC for giving us a loan from a modest fund they had, to make Fadi Haddad’s feature, When Monaliza Smiled, the year we planned. That enabled us to get on with it without delays. It was produced on a shoestring budget, and ended up resonating with diverse local audiences. Prime Cinema, Amman, kept the film showing for over 9 weeks. The best kind of cinema partners a local film could hope for. Sometime ago, Ruba AlAyed (now with MBC) handled marketing for the RFC, and one of the slogan’s she worked within back then was: Anything’s possible in Jordan. I’d like them to deliver on that. It means getting unstuck. The RFC may have to step way out of its comfort zone, and radically change the way they’re doing the work.

 

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Nadine Toukan and Fadi Haddad

 

Fadi: You raised the bar so high, do you see other Jordanian films following Theeb’s steps and achieving such success in the near future?

 

Nadine: I hope they go ever further. No reason not to.

 

Fadi: What was your wildest dream at school?

 

Nadine: Depends what stage of school. I had many that changed a lot. Never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Still don’t. Next time we talk, ask me about my wildest dream tomorrow.

 

Fadi: What’s your next step after the Oscar?

 

Nadine: You mean after Theeb. Always on a quest towards identifying my next screen production. I’m also spending this year working with the Doha Film Institute on a wonderful program for emerging Qatari filmmakers. DFI is doing meaningful work, and in line with my own philosophies for the needs ahead for an Arab renaissance. It’s a place and program where a generation of Qataris are busting to see and tell things for themselves as they experiment with the cinematic arts. A beautiful exchange where I get to give of my experiences, and they give me of their dreams. What an honour.

 

Fadi: What’s your motto in life?

 

Nadine: Screw it. Let’s do this!

 

Fadi: Screw it. Let’s do this indeed! Let’s bring our stories to the world! Thank you Nadine.. best of luck tomorrow in the BAFTAs and later this month in the Oscars.. You make us proud! 

 

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The Arab Observer interviews Mutasem Subeih: “Ana 197” and the issue of identity


If there is one measurement that would predict the success of a person in a certain field, it would be his/her passion. Mutasem Subeih is one of those people, who along with his writing and creative talent, shows a strong passion and perseverance towards carving a career as a writer. We met first time last year in Sharja’s book fair at the launch of “Janna Ala Al Ard”. He came to support me for my second book, and told me about his ambition (a work-in-progress at the time), a promising story titled “Ana 197” of a young man going through out of body experiences in his dreams.11079615_1066278080056966_42229702336390685_n-2

The book came out few months ago, and I had the chance to get my copy in a book signing Mutasem organized in Dubai. It was published by Arab Scientific Publishers who won Sheikh’s Zayed Award as the best Arab Publisher earlier in the year and it shows a beautiful cover of a man trapped in a bottle. The concept is creative, and the story is crafted well.

I had the chance to interview Mutasem and ask him the following:

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Fadi: I have experienced it myself, it is not easy to find a decent publisher for your first book, especially when you are a new writer. How did you manage to secure a publishing contract with the best publishing house in the Arab world?

quote2Mutasem: Indeed it’s quite a struggle to find a publisher as a new writer. However, I never gave up. I was persistent. I applied to somewhat 10 publishers and all of them refused publishing my book. Then luckily, three months later, ASP contacted me saying read and liked my book and hence approved to publish it.

 

Fadi: How was your experience with ASP? In terms of book quality, distribution, and publicity?  

Mutasem: I’ve had a pleasant experience with ASP up to date. They are genuine and have been helpful. I believe they are trying their best to help me get the publicity needed. They are also willing to participate my book in all upcoming book fairs in the region.

 Fadi: Why didn’t you publish your book with a Jordanian publisher?

quote3Mutasem: Unfortunately, Jordanian publishers didn’t believe in my book. I tried with two reputable Jordanian publishers, and yet both refused my book with invalid reasons, I believe. After ASP accepted to publish my book, one of them called back saying they were sorry that they have not actually read the book. They then mentioned that I could publish with them the book at any time. Of course, I have already have signed the contract with ASP back then. Six months later, I learned that the Jordanian publishers do not participate in all book fairs. For instance they have never participated in the Al-ayam Book that began in Bahrain on the 2nd of October.

Fadi: I know what it feels like holding the first copy of your book when it first arrives. It is quite an accomplishment. How did it feel?

Mutasem: Super exciting!  I cannot put it down in words. I’m very grateful.

Fadi: I read the book two months ago and loved the concept of it. The idea of coming out of your body and living the lives of others is intriguing. How did the idea come to you?

Mustasem: Funny enough,  I was actually playing this game on PlayStation and I was quite astound by the main character of the game. I found myself wondering what it would be like if my soul travelled into his body and lived by his experiences? How would that feel? The idea captivated me and triggered me to write about it.

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Fadi: There are interesting moments in the book where the soul of the main character argues with him. It fights with him, conspires on him, and terrifies him. The idea poses some important questions about identity, thus the name of the book has the pronoun “Ana”, correct? But what do you think really form our identities? Who am I? Am I my soul, my body, my nationality, my sexuality, my experiences, a sum of all of that? or what?

Mutasem: Precisely. You’ve summed it up pretty much! I think everyone has a different interpretation for that. Personally I think we are the sum of everything you mentioned combined.

Fadi: You have certainly wanted to explore the issue of identity in the book. There is another dimension where you tackle that in setting Malik (the main character) who is Jordanian in London. How did that helped you in shaping your story and developing the storyline?  

Mutasem: As you mentioned, Malik’s mother is Arab, his father is a mystery but he was born and raised in London.  Like many Arabs that live in the west, they find themselves lost between the east and west. Malik too is unsure where he stands, he goes on many journeys to discover who he really is physically mentally and spiritually..

Fadi: I liked the amount of the imaginations in the book where you can’t predict whose the next person Malik’s soul is gonna live in? That required a good research from your part taking us into different times and culture. But I can also see the issue of gender identity here, especially when Malik finds himself in a woman’s body. Knowing the importance and sensitivity of the matter to the Arab reader, you must have terrified your audience! What would you do if you wake up one day in a female body?  

quote4Mutasem: Funny that I have thought about this often! I always try to put myself in a woman’s shoe to try and see her perspective. I feel many women suffer vastly when trying to express their inner emotions and thoughts to men. I think it will be an embarking journey if I woke up in a woman’s body! They are so fragile emotionally and yet  so patient and they can be stronger than a mountain.

Fadi: I don’t think that women are fragile emotionally but anyway. The book has been out for several months now, how was the reactions to it?

Mustasem:  I’m quite grateful from all the feedback I am getting so far. It definitely is more than I ever expected. Ilhamdilah.

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Fadi: What did you do to promote it?

Mutasem: Its a struggle to promote books in the Arab world general.  However I have to admit that I am blessed to be working in the media field. My colleagues have generously helped me reach out my voice.

Fadi: Where is it available?

Mutasem: In Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, KSA, Bahrain, and soon in UAE and rest of GCC. It can also be found in every Arabic book fair.

Fadi: Are you working on your second book? What is it about?

Mutasem: I began writing a novel for a few months about the future. However I couldn’t presume with it as I felt there was so many unspoken issues are going on now.  So I am still working on the idea, but the idea revolves around a Jordanian girl suffering with endless obstacles in her hard life.

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Fadi: I love seeing Jordanian talents emerging in all creative fields. Unfortunately, we barely have established industries that support such talents and help refining them and lifting them. The publishing industry has never been strong in Jordan, same for Film, Drama, Art, etc. Yet, we see young Jordanians carving their way into these industries trying to position themselves and the country in the map of the Arabic world. How do you see the state of the industry in Jordan? and what do you advise writers who are looking into entering this field and publishing their first book?  

quote1Mutasem: Honestly, I see a bright future for our and the coming generations.  We are on the right track. We are trying our best to catch up with developed countries. We have so many hidden talents and I feel they are starting to raise their voices.  My advise for new writers, is never to give up on hope. If one is truly passionate about writing, then they will keep writing and never give up on getting it published.  The world is big enough, there’s so much room for new writers.

Fadi: Thank you Mutasem. I wish you the best of luck. And I look forward to reading more for you. It is always good to see a young Jordanian talent determined to succeed.. 

London launch for The Bride of Amman

Starting off as a Jordanian blogger, I never dreamt of the day I will be launching my book in UK. And It just happened!


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With Brian Whitaker in Waterstones Brighton

On my way back to Dubai after a week of touring UK to launch “The Bride of Amman”. I have to admit, when I first wrote the novel, this hasn’t been in my wildest dreams. Getting published in Arabic is a hassle, having a successful book is a feat, getting it translated into English is a dream, and running book signing events in 5 different cities in the UK is something else. On top of all of that, I was honored to have the chance to speak at The Middle East Center of St. Anthony College in Oxford University and also in one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the UK, Eton College, and and and, I was joined in the last two events (in London and Brighton) with a writer I have admired and read his book few years ago, a guardian journalist and author of “Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East” and “Arabs Without Gods: Atheism and Freedom of Belief in the Arab WorldBrian Whitaker.

me and Ruth talking at Oxford University

me and Ruth talking at Oxford University

Of course, nothing of that would have happened without Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp. She is such a lovely person, full of energy and kindness. She hosted me in her beautiful house. Ruth has been organizing this trip for a while now, setting up book signings and talks in 5 different UK cities: Cheltenham, Bristol, Oxford, Brighton and London. She didn’t stop there, but also squeezed in a lovely visit to the British Library where Dan Lowe (it was a pleasure meeting you Dan) showed us old Arabic manuscripts that addresses sexuality. And also Eton’s college visit where we met Haroon Shirwani head of Arabic departmen who also showed us their own priceless collection of Arabic manuscripts (thank you Haroon). Ruth has also succeeded in setting us up for a radio interview in ShoutOut radio station in Bristol (thank you Evan).

with Eton's students

with Eton’s students

When Ruth contacting me via Twitter in 2013 after getting a hold on “Arous Amman” (the Arabic version of The Bride of Amman) while visiting Jordan, I didn’t realize how lucky I am that she popped up in my life. At the time she wanted to translate an except from the book and submit to “Words Without Borders” Literary Magazine, and I was happy to accept. Few months down the line, when I signed a contract with Signal8Press to get the book in English, I knew who I should ask. Gladly, she was on board. But even then, I never anticipated that such tour would be in my horizon. Looking back 10 years ago, when I published my first blog, I’d say that I am more than happy to reach where I am today. It wasn’t only the joy of writing every word and sentence, on my blog, and in my books, but also the wonderful journey of debating my ideas and getting to meet successful and wonderful people all around. I have to admit that I do enjoy doing all of the public relations activities: running interviews, being in book discussions and debates around my writings, getting readers’ feedback and building relations with people in the field. It is such a joy!

Window view for the suffolks bookshop in Cheltenham

Window view for the suffolks bookshop in Cheltenham

Event announcement in Oxford Uni

Event announcement in Oxford Uni

Funny, things aren’t usually as rosy as it is when the book is out. The process of writing a book is long, and it is not easy. It requires discipline and commitment. And I can’t deny that like anyone else in the creative industry, it is always a worry to maintain and overdo previous success and assure that your future work is as good or even better than your previous one. I was too worried before my second book “Janna Ala Al Ard’ was released. It was the second step that would establish me as a writer. The topic itself was tricky, siding off gender and sexuality where I have all of the support and delving into speculative fiction of a story from the future. That has also happened at a time I was back to school for my MA. I remember when I was done with my degree and where back in Jordan looking for a job again. It was a tough period where I was too worried about the little savings that had left with me at the time, and not knowing what will come next. I focused on the book, and even after I secured a job (3 months later), I still was committed to the book till I completed it in April 2014. It was a tough period as well as a month later I was moving to a job in Ajman in a totally new environment. I remember my first few days in Ajman sitting in a cafe at the cornish with the whole text printed out, reviewing every word and doing my last edits. The work on Janna had just started, not finished, I needed to secure a publisher, and having a successful first book didn’t actually give me a passing card to get publishers interested in the second. I sent the text to couple of them and was hoping, really hoping, that Dar Al Adab would show interest. On their website, they say that they have a committee of avid readers who assess submitted books and write a report accordingly. They told that they need 2 months to review it, and it took them 3. When the report hit my email, I was flying with joy! I couldn’t believe my eyes, reading it over and over again, their acknowledgment of the book as worthy enough to be one of theirs.

The Arts Cafe in Bristol

The Arts Cafe in Bristol

We then set a launch date in November, and now, a year after, I am more than happy with the reactions. People has been loving it and acknowledging it as a quality work of speculative fiction that is rare in the arab world. I have also secured another publishing contract with Signal8Press to get the book out in English in early 2017. I hoped that Ruth will be with us on this project but she has a full plate of books to translate next year. She has thankfully introduced me to another brilliant translator Sawad Hussain whom I look forward to work with. (on a side note, I am loving the world of the translators community).

The Bride of Amman on display during the launch event at Gay's the word bookshop in London

The Bride of Amman on display during the launch event at Gay’s the word bookshop in London

The year has been good to me in terms of my writing career. Alef’s conference and launch of Janna in Amman was beyond my expectations. It is something that I will always remember. It was also wonderful to run some important TV interviews during the year on Roya TV, MBC, MTV Lebanon, and OSN (to be aired soon), as well as two magazine interviews in both Living Well and Layali Amman Magazines.

All of this is a reminder that I need to get back to the same discipline and commitment and continue working on my third book which I started early in the year. Hard work do pay off, and I look forward to seeing what the years are hiding ahead.

Cheers everyone!

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The Bride of Amman – upcoming UK tour!


UK trip schedule is ready.. we are having events in London, Oxford, Bristol, Cheltenham and Brighton to launch “The Bride of Amman” Join me and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

The Bride of Amman: Sexual freedoms and body rights in the Middle East

Join Fadi Zaghmout as he discusses civil rights and gender politics in the Arab world and reads from his new novel, out now in English translation.

With Brian Whitaker, Guardian journalist and author of Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East (London and Brighton)

The Suffolk Anthology bookshop, Cheltenham – 7pm, Mon 9 November

The Middle East Centre, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford – 5pm, Tuesday 10 November

The Arts House Café, Bristol – 7pm, Wed 11 November

Gay’s the Word bookshop, London, with Brian Whitaker – 7pm, Thurs 12 November

Waterstones, Brighton, with Brian Whitaker – 7.30pm, Fri 13 November

Thank you to all our hosts, and thank you everyone for helping to spread the word!

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رؤيا لم تخطيء.. التوعية الجنسية مطلوبة ولو في برامج فكاهية ساخرة


من المحزن أن يؤدي الرهاب الجنسي في الأردن إلى قتل كل ما هو جميل وناجح في هذا البلد. نتفهم الخوف من الجنس في ظل غياب توعية جنسية في المدارس، سياسة فصل الجنسين في المدارس، وثقافة شعبية تربطه بالشرف. ولكن الهوس في تحديد جنسانية الفرد وتجنّب الخوض في الأمور الجنسية في النطاق العام (للبالغين) تضخمت لتطال كافة جوانب الحياة الطبيعية الأخرى، وأضحت حجة لقمع أبسط أشكال التعبير من فنون وموسيقى وطريقة ارتداء الأفراد لملابسهم ولهجتهم وطريقتهم بالكلام والحركة. ومن الطبيعي، في مجتمع تضخمت فيه الذكورية، أن تدفع المرأة والأقليات ثمن التراجع الثقافي والبلطجة الشعبية.

فالفيديو الذي تم عرضه على قناة رؤيا، وفيه ايحاءات جنسية، مطلوبة في سياق نقد الرسائل الجنسية في برامج الأطفال، لم يكن ليقابل بمثل هذا الغضب الشعبي لو لم تكن مقدمة البرنامج فتاة. فترسيخ المرأة على أنها سلعة جنسية في كافة البرامج التلفزيونية والدعايات والأغاني العربية والأجنبية منع المتلقي من رؤية الرسالة النقدية من خلف البرنامج، ليقرأها على أنها مقدمة كإثارة جنسية من قبل مقدمته. فلو كان المقدم رجل، لما هبّ من هب ليدافع عن محافظة المجتمع المزعومة. فالرجل مسموح له بالتعبير عن جنسانيته، كان ذلك في الشارع، أو البيت، أو أية مساحة خاصة أو عامة، ومجتمعنا يجب أن يعرف بأنه مجتمع ذكوري لا مجتمع محافظ. حجة أنه مجتمع محافظ تستعمل فقط لتقنين جنسانية المرأة وتحديد حرياتها وحركتها. كذلك فإن الأصوات الطائفية التي ربطت مقاطعة القناة ب”الإسلام” ونعتت مالكها بأنه “نصراني” (لا يوجد نصرانيين في الأردن، هنالك مسيحيين). تدل على دفع الأقليات ثمن التراجع الإجتماعي والتضخم الذكوري.

وبالعودة إلى البرنامج موضوع الطرح، ونقده الموضوعي، ووجود ايحاءات جنسية به. ما هي طبيعة الإيحاءات الجنسية التي وجدت في البرنامج؟ المقدمة لم تقم بأي تمثيل يدل على إغراء أو أي حركة في وجهها أو جسدها أو حتى في لباسها تدل على رغبتها في إثارة المشاهد جنسيا. كل ما قدمته هو قراءة لقصة تهدف إلى توعية المشاهد إلى وجود بعض الإيحاءات الجنسية في المواد المقدمة إلى أطفالنا. فالبرنامج لم يقدم “ايحاءات جنسية” كما زعمت الصحافة، بل قدم نقدا مباشر لتلك الإيحاءات الجنسية في قصص الأطفال. فلو قدم البرنامج “ايحاءات جنسية” حقيقية، بمعنى لو قلدت المقدمة هيفاء وهبي مثلا في فيديو كليب “بوس الواو” لما كانت ردة الفعل بهذه القوة. وذلك يذكرني بردة الفعل الشارع “المحافط” (اقصد الذكوري) لحملات التوعية بمرض نقص المناعة، فالتوعية بطرق الوقاية من المرض مرفوضة ولكن تجاهل انتشار الجنس غير الآمن مسموح! وهذا يدل على تناقد صارخ في الفكر الذكوري يغطي عن تفشي آفات اجتماعية عميقة طالمة قشرة “المحافظة” براقة وتحمي الميزات التي ينالها الذكر في هكذا مجتمع.

ولكني أتساءل هنا، متى سيتصالح الأردنيون مع جنسانيتهم؟ ومنى تكف تلك الحساسية في التعامل مع احدى أهم الصفات التي تعرف الإنسان؟ متى سننضج ونحسن التعامل مع الإنسان؟ اليست الايحاءات الجنسية اليوم أفضل من ايحاءات العنف والكراهية والقتل؟ وأين المشكلة إن كانت تلك الايحاءات تقدم لكبار بالغين متصالحين مع أنفسهم ومع طبيعتهم وهويتهم الجنسية؟

لم يكن على رؤيا الإعتذار، بل كان عليها أن تنتهز الفرصة وتقدم لنا برامج أخرى ترفع من الوعي الجنسي وتصالح المجتمع مع الجنس، ولو قدمت هذه البرامج بشكل فكاهي ساخر أو ترفيهي.

نحتاج اليوم إلى ثورة جنسية تعيد الحيوية إلى المجتمعات العربية، فقمع الحقوق الجسدية والحريات الجنسية يعد من أكبر الأبواب اليوم التي تستغل لقمع الفرد العربي. وصحية المجتمعات تبدأ بتصالح المرأة مع الرجل وتصالح الإنسان مع جسده.