"It is against our culture" – Another red card.


“It is against our culture” – Another red card.

How many of us has been faced with this simple sentence when presenting an argument or behavior that is considered outside of the norms of the perspective of the person holding this card?

My intention of this post is to try to address the validity of this argument and its relationship with what we call cultural conflict. I honestly want to debate here my intake on this issue and how I see it more of a social progression rather then a cultural imperialism as some other people see it. I will also try my best not to be as provocative as I have been in other posts.

Let us start by defining culture itself. I went over its definition over wickipedia and picked up the following:

Culture can be “understood as systems of symbols and meanings that even their creators contest, that lack fixed boundaries, that are constantly in flux, and that interact and compete with one another”

The entire Wickipedia page about culture is interesting. It isn’t just the lack of fixed boundaries and the constant flux but also the dynamic nature of cultures is what is really important.

For a lot of us, and for me at a previous stage of my awareness, I used to perceive culture as a static entity, where when anyone referred to *our* culture, I used to think of it as an Arabic Islamic Culture that has been always been the same through out our history and that doesn’t differenciate between the different Arabic and Islamic countries. The general notion of *our* culture is a static projection of our current perception of this culture to cover the entire time and space.

In reality that is very far from truth.

A culture is a dynamic entity – This is very important to understand -. What we call Arabic Islamic Culture these days is different than what Arabic Islamic Culture represented 100 years ago. The nature of cultures is based on the collective sum of all the ways of life at a specified point of time. I added the specified point of time because we all know that “all ways of life” change as we progress in time. It isn’t just that people’s awareness change, but also technological and scientific inventions do have a deep impact on the way people live their lives and thus reflected on the current cultural attributes.

Cultures do as well influence each other. This has been happening through the entire timeline of history. What we call now Arabic Islamic Culture has been influenced by other cultures at different time intervals and has also influenced other cultures as well in the same matter. For instance, what we call Arabic world today used to enjoy more sexual freedom in the 18th century that is has today. The shift of moral codes has been influenced by the European values of the Victorian age.

West and East have never been two separate worlds as the media tries to present it today (especially after 9/11). Cultures from every part of the world have always managed to influence each other. The world culture is more different if you look at it in terms of different historical intervals rather than different point of space. A scientific invention takes no time of spreading all over the world and affecting the different cultures.

Having said that, and looking back to the civil rights people around the world have been able to achieve in the past decades. Gender equality, sexual liberation, and social tolerance have all been part of the progression of the human perception rather than a static cultural attribute that is meant to eat out our own static culture.

I would really want to build a seperation between real social progression and real cultural conflict. I would want to highlight how cultures have been used as much as religions for political agendas and power plays. I would want to erase the inherited fear of colonization that blocks our way. I would want people to realize what is really meant when someone says ‘It is against our culture’!

Action Alert | Ramadan Food Drive


Source

So it’s that time of the year again folks and hopefully we can rally together to make a difference in the lives of a few citizens. The Action Committee has started its food drive for Ramadan and your help is needed! The Ramadan food package is going to cost 20JDs and will contain:

3 kg Rice
3 kg Sugar
2 kg Beans
2 kg Lentils
6 Packs of Pasta
2 Cans Tomato Paste
1 kg Tea
2 A’mar Eldin
1 Oil
½ kg Dates
12 packs Maggie

The drive is underway and will last for the next week or so, depending on the donations. The Action Committee is targeting the last 10 days of Ramadan for distribution.

So tell a friend, tell a family member, tell the neighbor, tell the people at work, even the weird guy who sits in the corner of the office and who no one talks to; this could be your chance.

For bloggers: Forward this message. Post about it. Spread it. Mobilize!

Just like last time, when we went from this, to this. It’ll be interesting to see the extent to which blogs can make a social impact in Jordan.

You can contact Sara at 079-5154498

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Social movements and the Arab leaders


Social movements in the Arab world have been plagued by the political power play of the Arab leaders and their regimes. Military coups left them wary of any social movement that would gain ground in the street and threaten their leadership. They have been short sighted, and for the fear of their chairs, they ended up destroying social communities, suppressing freedom of speech and killing the dreams of many Arab people who were merely looking for a better future.

Is everyone after the helm? I don’t think so. People would be happy and content having a wise leader taking them forward. Ofcourse, there should be some security measurement to guarantee the stability of a state, after all we all don’t want an insane person to take the lead, do we? But at the same time people need a space to work in, people need freedom to express their opinions and the ability to work for imporving their communities. Good leaders are the one who build on that and support it rather than suppress it.

For ages, Jordanian social communities have been wary of forming any kind of movement, but today things are different. There is a leadership awarnace of the importance of social communities for the progress of the country. There is some kind of support and encouragement for people to get in and help in the development of their sub communities. I guess that we have reached a level of maturity that allows us to gain some social grounds.

Jesus Crist has been the person who had the greatest impact on my thinking and personal beliefs, and while I am not a religious person and don’t really care about his holy nature. I do admire him as a man with a mission of love.

It is the method of his social mission that I value the most. His way of preaching for social change without residing to building power and taking over authority. Something we desperatly need to learn in our societies today.

Real social activits are the ones looking for real social change and not leadership.

Romance never fades off


It is not the perception of people that romance has disappeared at this age of time that is true, but it is the real romantic love stories that are magical and beyond even the imagination of the most brilliant writers that stand up for the simple emotion of life. The emotion of love that never and would never fade off.

It has been 7 months since Sallamah lost her husband. He has battled with Al Zehaimer disease for more than 15 years, and she had been beside him all that time, taking care of him and nurturing him till his time come.

Since his departure she is witnessing a burst of emotions and memories that find their way into a blog that she dedicates for her loved husband. Her words are tender, her emotions are tense, and her descriptions are lively. She celebrates today his 63 birthday regardless of his absence with this message:

“I put a white rose in you garden, and carry it with a baggage of the scent of around a year of passionate longing to you, and I try to convince its petals to draw our kisses on your cheeks”

It has been 7 months as well for the departure of my grand mother. My grand father couldn’t cope with the reality of her absence. His health deteriorated suddenly and he passed away two weeks ago to be at her side. It was around 70 years ago when they got married, and they have been happily living together since then.

There is something that prevented me from feeling deep sadness for the departure of my grand father, maybe it has to do with the picture of my grand mother in their house at the very day he died. I was sitting there with other people mourning our loss, and I had my eyes of this picture that has been hanging there since the day she left us. I could suddenly see a glow in the picture, and could suddenly see a smile on her face. Maybe it was just me, but I felt my grand mother happiness for having her husband back. I am sure they are in each other arms right now.

It is for my aunt that I dedicate this post. She is in deep pain for losing both of her parents in the same year while she is living far away (in the USA). She wrote me an email saying:

“My dad is gone Fedo, My dad is gone. It is so very hard loosing both Mom and Dad in the same freaking year. It seems like a very slow slow slow movie. Can’t describe exactly the sadness in my heart at this time…. I tried to read you blog and nothing about grandpa yet?”

I tried to comfort her with my witness of the happy picture of her mother. Then she said:

“I wish that I can rib my heart out to stop it from aching this bad. I do know that they must be happy together, but forgive me for being selfish and wanting both of them back together here with me again. I do regret all those years away from my family, away from my parents and away from home. Possibly, if my heart, my emotions were made to be made from ice, looking like an ice sculpture, I wouldn’t be hurting this much. The problem is that, I thought I was very strong, only to find out that all my strength crushed by the death of my daddy. I loved him much you know and he simply was my rock. To loose both of them in one year is just unfair.”

Yes, I can never comprehend the fairness of death. It hits me hard of its unfairness, and the pain it carries into people’s hearts. But yet, there is a slight ray of light that one can see of the enormous amount of beautiful love emotions that death triggers in our hearts. The picture of Sallamah brining out her emotions for her lost husband while sitting in front of her computer screen, and the picture of my grand parents smiling in an eternal embrace give us a realization of the power of love and the nature of us as a loving creatures.