Licky Licious on JustJared, People.com, HuffingtonPost and OK! Magazine


It has been amazing the publicity generated around Licky Licious after the unexpected visit of Brad Pitt and Angelina Julie last Friday. It was Ihab Fakhoury, one of the Fakhoury family members whom I sublet the shop to earlier this year – in June -, who seized the chance, took a photo of the famous couple – and their two little babies – and post it to his facebook account.

In a social media world, it didn’t take much time before someone from the major celebrity websites to pick the story up. In no time, Jared End from Just Jared – the famous celebrity American website – was able to contact Ihab, get some information about the visit, and post the story along with the photo taken by Ihab, and other photos taken from Licky Licious facebook group and in which some friends of mine appear in (and some ad designs work done by Moey :)). The story generated around 500 comment in less than 24 hour, and 723 so far.

Few hours after the story hit Just Jared, it got picked up by other major American websites/blog, including The Huffington Post, People.com, and OK! Magazine, and at one point it was even on the home page of People.com (see pic above).

I was contacted by Jared End from JustJared and Samantha Miller from people.com on Facebook, and Maria DiGioia-Gumm from OK! Magazine on my yahoo email. I have forwarded them all to Ihab because he was the one presented during the visit and has the entire story.

A day later, Al Bawaba (an Arabic news website based in Jordan) picked up the story and published the first Arabic version of it. Ali Dahmash, a Jordanian blogger, has also covered it later on his Under My Olive Tree blog and added some new photos of the couple both in the shop and in Rainbow street (I wonder where did he get the extra photos from as people.com were asking for them).
I am sure that sooner or later, the story will hit our local newspapers especially after the huge buzz it generated online. I would also expect a decent spike in Licky Licious sales post the visit. It has been really exciting sequence of events! Way to go Licky Licious 🙂

Advertisements

Policemen in Jordan beating a helpless man: This is NOT acceptable


Update: I got this on Twitter:

silentempire @TheArabObserver this was in 2007, according to this post http://www.jordanzad.com/jordan/news/117/ARTICLE/22579/2009-09-04.html

The article says that the spokesman of the Public Security Department Major Mohammad Khatib pointed out that this video is an old one and has been taken on 2007 in an incident where the man being beaten up has provoked the policemen in the video! And that the security department makes sure to monitor policemen so not to break the law.

I, personally, don’t think this is enough. I want names of those policemen to be published and for us to know how they were punished exactly, and what measurment has the security department take in order to prevent such events to occur again.

I really can’t believe that this happened in Jordan! Policemen CANT be allowed to act this way. Those bunch of policemen should be punished for what they did.

Move this forward and raise your voice so that authorities take actions in this matter.

Jordan’s Tribal Heritage Shouldn’t Justify Death Sentence


Last week Batir Wardam, a Jordanian famous writer, blogger and human rights activist, published a post on his blog about death sentence in Jordan. What he said mainly is that he is a strong supporter for the international declaration of human rights and the associated covenants with it except for one thing he doesn’t completely agree with, which is the call to abolish death sentence absolutely.

Batir goes on in his article and try to justify his stand by pointing out Jordan’s specific cultural heritage of tribal laws where tribes are known of taking justice by their hands and kill the murderer – or any member of his family – in order to take revenge. He claims that if the law can give the victim its right by sentencing the murderer to death, then tribes don’t have to enforce their own version of justice.

I, personally, have a deep respect for Batir, and I do usually agree with most of his ideas and stands, but I found myself completely against the notion that he presents. I didn’t intend to write about this subject back when I read his post, but today I was reading July’s issues of Living Well magazine which features a comprehensive report addressing death sentence in Jordan, and was surprised to read that the same notion has been talked out by a Jordanian famous lawyer.

It seems that there is some pushing towards abolishing death sentence in Jordan (no death sentence applied since 2006), but it also seems that there is some pushing against it. Building a case on the particularity of the local social structure and heritage is a quite common approach that has historically been used in different occasions to fight the pressures of the global community to push human rights amendments in the country.

While it is true that tribes tend to take revenge, I don’t think that it justifies keeping the death sentence penalty. You don’t fix a mistake with another one. If we have a problem with our social heritage then we should come up with laws that enforce fixing the problem instead of building on it and violate human rights recommendations. If a member of a family murdered someone in retaliation of a murdered happened in his family, then an investigation should take place in order to find out who in his family supported and helped him to take his revenge. In the eyes of the law, associates and supporters of a crime are criminals as well and should be punished. That is what should be enforced in order to stop tribes from applying the law by their hands instead of supporting death sentence with all what it entails of violations of human rights recommendations.

Swine flu and pimping one’s sister!


I guess that it takes a disaster to reveal major issues of ignorance and intolerance in a society.

Few months ago, during the Israeli war of Gaza there was a circulation of emails, blogs, micro-blogs and text messages cheering up for Hitler’s holocaust against the Jews. As disturbing as it has been the massacre taking place in Gaza for me, it was even more disturbing the intolerance hate speech spread among people whom I considered to be well educated, tolerant and open minded. I couldn’t find any reasonable justification for cheering up to a racist dictator like Hitler who classified people’s nations into superior and inferior ones even if he mass murdered a group of people whom we consider their descendents to be an enemy for us.

Today, with the swine flu spreading, I learnt about another disturbing common belief between some Muslims in Jordan. It sadly came out of the tongue of a close friend of mine “Men who eat pork don’t feel jealousy towards their wives, that is why Christian men let their wives go out wearing revealing clothes!

I still can’t comprehend the amount of ingorance in this statement. Obviously it is built on an irrational common belief that eating pork copies some of the pigs characteristics to the one eating it. They claim that male pigs doesn’t react when watching his female having sex with another male and thus eating pork would make a man careless about his wife’s sexual affairs! (I am not an expert in animal matters, but would you people help pointing out which animals care and which don’t?). For Jordanian Christians, I know that such claim is very offensive. It steps on honor which is very sensitive cord that is common among both Muslims and Christians in Jordan. I won’t emphasize on the honor notion here as you know how I regard our cultural definition of honor, but the fact that this statment shows a general condescending moral attitude is disturbing.

The truth is that Islam forbades eating pork and requires Muslim women to wear veils while Christianity doesn’t forbade eating pork and doesn’t impose veils on Christian women. As a result of the veil Islamic restriction, Jordanian Christian women may have enjoyed less restrictions on clothes (which may not be true except for the veil part). On the other hand Muslims have always had a rational explanation of why Islam forbade eating pork – which is because it can cause serious health issues. They also state that pigs are filthy animals because they eat their shit. That is fine as well. But the claim of copied behaviour and linking it to jealousy is quite a stretch!

A doctor friend of mine told me a story about a mother who had her son in a very bad condition at the hospital. He needed a medication that contains some substances taken from pigs. The mother refused giving him the medication stating that if they give it to him, he would grow up pimping his sisters and that she won’t take that chance! We sadly value honor more than life, don’t we? I don’t know if the boy survived or not, but isn’t this a weird form of honor crimes?

Apparantly this common belief does have a religious base. I watched a video featuring a Sheikh on a religious channel talking about this matter. He claimed that people who eat pork acquire some pig’s characteristics. He even went further into claiming that people who eat a lot of pork do tend to look like pigs as they grow old! My friend claims that their is a hadith that says so, but I doubt it.

Islam is a religion of tolerance and knowledge, it helped in setting the grassroot for one of the most important civilization of the human history. Critical thinking has been one of its major pillars that provided a much needed catalyst for the development of human race at that point of time. I don’t know why people today ignore the importance of critical thinking and follow blindly rumors, lies and myths.

Inspite of our cultural perception of the dirtiness and ugliness of pigs, I happen to find them really cute creatures. They certainly look better than hens and sheeps, no?

Cross-dressers


There is no red line in our society that matches the one drawn to highlight the seperation of gender roles. Men and women, simple binary entities that simplifies all the diversity of humans nature into two templates. Only two that are hard to fit by many. It is even worse when it comes to the classification of these simple two templates; one is superior than the other. Men enjoy the upper hand. They ought to emphasize on different superior attributes (strength, intelligence, education, …etc) in order to fill their gender role.

So what happens when someone’s nature fail to fit with those guidlines? What happens when someone blurs the lines between between gender roles and mess up with one of the major parts of which we define our gender identities – our clothes?

Hell break loose! no?

What really happens is that most people fail to realize the natural diverse aspect of human beings and lump it under mental disorder category.

It is worth noting that I am not talking here about homosexuals who blur gender roles in a different way. I am emphasizing on another group of people who blur the line of gender roles based on their choice of clothes rather than their sexual orientation.

I know that we tend to lump everything that we are unfamiliar with under the same category – queerness -. Many people – falsely – percieve homosexuals as cross-dressers and cross dressers as homosexuals. In reality: The great majority of cross-dressers are biological males, most of whom are sexually attracted to women. (this is taken from the american psychological association website – read further here)

Now that we no that most cross-dressers are straight men, does that help in making them fit our unique men template?

Ofcourse not, they fail in one of the prerequisites.

While the american psychological association tells us as well that cross-dressing is not a mental disorder, a lot of people tend to maintain their constructed inherited structure of false rigidity of gender roles and judge cross dressers as mentally ill people.

We tend to play experts. It is no uncommon for us to judge any unfamiliar behaviour to be a mental illness. “He is sick, or she is sick” may be one of the most used Jordanian terms. People are sick – this is also common – in our own definition of equating sickness to weirdness.

Would we ever realize the diverse nature of human beings? and would we ever learn that being weird doesn’t necessary being bad? I know that the internet opened the door for us, we may find a hard time at the beginning to capture unfamiliar things, but we all know that with time weird things become normal.

BAJD – I love Jordan


It is the second year where the Jordanian blogshpere celebrate this beautiful country. It is like a national holiday where sentiments of nationality and patriotism are spread in the air, mostly with appreciation for the achievments and prospects Jordan has.

For me, and yes you all know that I am an optimistic person, I have never felt this good about Jordan, and never been as hopefull as I am today. I can point up success stories everywhere, I can smell creativity in the air, I can see young people with dreams and ambitions, I can feel real motivations for achieving and building for the bened of everyone.

In my humble opinion, there are 3 reasons behind this achievment spirit in the country:

1. The stability and safety Jordanians are benefit of since we signed our peace treaty with Israel. Now energy and money are invested in getting this country forward rather than enticing fear and waste it on military equipments.

2. The huge efforts King Abdulla II and Queen Rania are putting in managing the different sectors that build Jordanian economical and social structure. A lot of initiatives have been set in the past couple of years, and a lot of sectors have been supported and raised up to build industries that we didn’t have before – IT, tourism and film are at the top of my head.

3. The state of the world today, with the internet and communication evolution that made things easier for people to connect and work togather like never before. Today a Jordanian young man has the same chance to make it big the same way Mark Zuckerberg – the creator of the facebook – have done.

Creativity can do miracles in this world, and we certainly have built a frutile ground for it to grow.