>Okay, so MommaBean’s a tad hot under the collar just now. I’ve spent days hearing from presumably well-meaning family members (and that’s not even talking about all of the pundits) about the situation in the Middle East. MimiBean’s been advised by numerous friends and relatives to hurry home. After all, Jordan is just about to fall. And, if she doesn’t agree she must be naive. After all, certainly Glenn Beck and his ilk of ill-informed fear-mongers certainly understand the situation in Jordan better than people, say, actually in Jordan, right?
One of these wonderful well-wishers informed her she’d be better off “reading the situation” at a demonstration than going to a girls’ night party we attended on a recent evening. Because Jordan now has night-time demonstrations? Because we’re in the middle of Tahrir Square here and I’m unaware? I mean really! What a boneheaded thing to suggest. Of course, I make it a practice of avoiding (by as many miles as I can) any and all protests here. After all, blond hair makes an easy target and mob mentalities around the world rarely bring out the best in people.
And, as if it’s not bad enough that the family is alarmist and poorly informed, there are people out there like this woman at some website called Politico who cuts and pastes valid information (the King of Jordan did kick out his government) and misinterprets it (he did not dissolve Parliament). I mean really, can’t you take the time to understand a system of government before adding your (clearly truly valueless) opinion? Please? Because conservative bloggers all over have started following her lead.
I just love being told that people who have never even visited Jordan understand the situation more clearly than I do. You know, I live here… by choice. And while we may, very well, suffer from the frog in the cold pot syndrome, I really don’t think so. In pretty much all cases, there was some inkling on the street before the situation flipped. Even in Egypt, this has been a steady build-up. We have seen this clearly watching the American Embassy in Egypt’s response. They started by sending home families and non-essential personnel. The next day they sent additional people to “reduce the diplomatic footprint”. The following day, they “evacuated non-emergency personnel.” It was a day-by-day change.
So, are we foolish for thinking that Jordan is different? Well, the Embassy here, which sends messages to alert Americans to celebrations for the annual high-school grade issuance (I’m not kidding here) has been conspicuously silent. So it seems to me that cautious observance of the situation is a better and more measured response than rushing out to spend thousands on a flight to the US. After all, the King has been taking many steps to help ensure that the situation here remains calm.
And, contrary to the relative who tells us that these regional issues are “part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda” which he “knows all about” (and is apparently centered around establishing Sharia law), I see a different viewpoint. Tunisia and Egypt are people’s cries against abuses that have simply gone on too long. They are also an indictment of the global financial situation which was authored not in Egypt or Tunisia, but in the “democratic” US. And as for people in the US “knowing the Brotherhood’s agenda”, I’d love to know how they do it. I live here and I have no idea what their agenda might be. But I do know that since most of the governments in the region have legal codes that take their foundation from Sharia law that it is silly to spout that as the reason. They may be French or British or whatever trappings, but underneath the cultural values that make the legal system run are Islamic. So, the MB may want many things, but somehow I expect these gentlemen are smart enough to be looking for something farther out of reach than this. For a better understanding of the MB here in Jordan and its internal challenges, check out this very interesting post by the Black Iris, who is Muslim and much more in the know about the MB than I.
So, I guess my bottom line is this request… those of you who have no idea what you’re talking about… button your flapping lips. No one in Egypt really cares how the US, Israel, or even Europe feel about their demonstrations. They aren’t demonstrating for the world. And, to those family members who know more than I do…
All I can say is welcome. Come to Jordan. See my home. And once you’ve been here and seen it we’ll see if your all-encompassing knowledge is still all-encompassing. Once you have first-hand knowledge of this amazingly rich part of the world. Once you’ve seen the treasures that abound here, both physical and human, maybe you’ll understand that the political blowhards who get paid to scare you know nothing – and I do mean nothing – about Jordan. I once went to a lecture where the fellow talking said that he spent the four years of his Harvard education going from cock-sure ignorance to thoughtful uncertainty and considered it the best money he’d ever spent. I wish political pundits, on both sides of the aisle, would make the same trip… it’d make the world a better place.