Campaigning


It’s that time again in Jordan when the streets are littered with those photoshoped pictures of middle aged men with mustaches peppered with the occasional female face and salted with the younger faces of men who have inherited the desire to run for a parliamentary seat. But what they all share are the tired old slogans that include nationalism, Palestine, freedom and some sort of economic mumbo jumbo.  What irks me the most is the complete lack of respect for the voters’ intellect and our ability to see right through these slogans.

 

 

For example you have a slogan that reads “نعم, الوطن لجميع’ this translates into “Yes, the homeland is for all”. So what does that really mean? Does that mean as a Jordanian woman I can pass on my nationality to anyone even my Palestinian kids? Does that mean a Jordanian with Palestinian ID no longer has to worry about the arbitrary withdrawal of Jordanian nationality and citizenship? Does that mean a migrant that has been in Jordan for over 20 years, has paid taxes and become part of the Jordanian fabric they can now become a Jordanian citizen and actually vote? What does a homeland for all mean, really mean, on practical terms?

 

 

 

OK let’s move on to another slogan that is about إصلاح or in English reform. Hmmm this guy among others does not say much else on the issue of reform. So my question is with the government already reforming and privatizing so much of its institutions what reform is he talking about? Political reform? I mean some of our biggest problems stem from the fact that as people we do not have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and don’t get me started on the freedom to associate and the new Associations’ Law. Does he want to tackle these issues or is this not reform worth working for?

 
What about the one that calls for a “فلسطين حرة” a free Palestine. Seriously, how will you as an MP work to free Palestine? Will you call for a state boycott on Israeli goods? Will you work to revoke and amend the “negotiated” Peace treaty and create more just and more equitable terms for Jordanians and Palestinians? Or will we wage war? What will you do as an elected MP to Free Palestine?

 

 

 

Another slogan that is interesting and at some level honest “بلا شعارات”  translates into “Without Slogans”. At least this candidate had the decency not to insult us with empty slogans and lofty statements. But even a no slogans campaign is condescending and arrogant for it doesn’t convey the true essence of this candidate’s campaign. When discussing her background it turns out this candidate is a hard core capitalist with a history and track record of working for the Jordan Investment Board and the Chamber Of Commerce which to me are red flags. What agenda will the person who is promising no slogans be pushing and will it be one of social justice and engagement or an elitist, capitalist agenda that will be pushing Jordan further towards a “global economy” whatever that may be?

 

 

 

And don’t get me started on the slogan that drips with religiosity and how it is our religious duty to vote and vote for the right man otherwise condemnation and eternal hell await us!

 

 

 

We as voters need to look critically at these slogans and read, question, and critic the agendas and manifestos of these candidates if we truly want change. Voting for the same mustache, same slogan, and same tired old parliament will bring us nothing but the status quo.  And it is this status quo that got us to disband the parliament we last elected and has us come back to this same place again where we as a nation get to “choose” our representatives.

 

 

 

I would really like to find a candidate that has engaged with the street, the public, on a grassroots level. Someone who has not just intellectually masturbated in political salons about what this country “needs”. I would love to see the day come when I don’t have to try and sift through names I don’t know and read through empty slogans and agendas but engage with an MP that shares my politics, values and beliefs and is able to represent the people and what they desire rather than the will of the government masked as the “voice of the people”. I would love to find a candidate that has started working on issues for the people, is from the people way before election campaigns start. I want a candidate that has tried to instigate positive change within our communities and societies because it’s the right thing to do, and is a way of life for them, not because they aspire to be and Member of Parliament or Cabinet one day.

 

 

 

 

Until that day comes I will vote because it is my political right to vote. As engaged responsible citizens it is our duty to go and vote. Because I count, you count and you count and you count… we all count and when we are counted our voices can be heard. Members of Parliament are our representatives in government. They are the voice of the people. Today we have a choice to make, remain silent and take the day off come Election Day, or go to a polling station and vote. And when we vote we also make a choice we can either choose to make a difference and keep the status quo by voting for someone, anyone even if they don’t carry our message or ideals or desires for a society, a better Jordan, because they are the lesser of all evils present or we can choose change.  But how if we don’t choose a candidate you ask? By voting blank.

 

 
If change doesn’t manifest it’s self in the form of a candidate then you can choose change by voting blank. Write in NO CONFIDENCE, I DON’T WANT ANY OF YOU, Captain Majed from Abtal Al Mala3eb or your own name even, just make sure you have a ballot and you use it. That ballot may or may not be counted in the results but you as voter will be counted towards voter turnout and THAT is a significant message rather than the one of apathy sent by sipping a coffee from the comfort of your home or favorite café. It is a strong message of a politically engaged and aware citizenship that is tired of the same old crap over and over and over again. Because voting for the lesser of all evils is voting for the status quo, and the status quo just won’t do anymore.

 

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This is being circulated around the web and came into my inbox. We need to be vocal we need to be visible we need to use logical rhetoric. I am reposting their email that calls all of us to action. View their work so far and see how you can help!

 

Thanks.

S.

 

Dear friends,


We are a group of Arab women from Jordan who have come together in
response to the vicious attacks by Israel on Gaza. Our aim is to spread awareness across the globe on the atrocities and encourage all responsible citizens to act in the name of humanity. Help us give voice to those who have been silenced by doing the following: 

 1. Visit our YouTube links and rate us positively!

We need your views so we can become the first Arab youtube clip to get onto the most viewed page
The YouTube clips address the following:
On the Humanitarian Situation

On Israel’s Violations of Humanitarian Law
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxZoiYvNuqw&NR=1

On the Media Spin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-8GqHL2J-I&feature=related

Our Call to Action
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAonLJHEuak

 

2. Forward this message to all your friends and encourage them to do the same! Make sure everyone you know watches these videos!

 3. Join our Facebook group and share our videos with your friends!

4.  Add our links on your website and/or blogs.

5.  View our Call to Action episode on You Tube on the 30th of January 2009 so that we may reach our goal of becoming the most viewed clip on YouTube so as to give the crisis in Gaza the exposure it desperately needs.

 

We need your support! Please help us! For more information, please
email at
voicesforpalestine@gmail.com

In solidarity,
Voices for Palestine
www.voicesforpalestine.com

 

The idea has caught on and The Palestinian Cultural Center (PCC), a centre that works to raise funds and send to Palestine, is having a souq. The souq is similar in style to the AID Gaza Souq that ran a couple of weekends ago (or was it last weekend?). The will be selling various items from food to table cloths, runners, cushions, ornaments, accessories… etc. They will also sell items donated by you the public in a garage sale.

 

So if you have anything around the house you don’t need, don’t want, or can spare and it is in good condition then donate to them. All donations and proceeds will go to Aiding Gaza in its huge reconstruction efforts.

 

When: February 3rd but please send your donations before then.

Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Where: The PCC in Rabieh

Contact info: 06 551 47 51

 

The struggle is not over and emergency relief is only part of the battle. Help Gaza today donate your items and go shop at the souq. Make a difference in someone else’s life!

On Saturday January 17 2009 a community got together and donated time, effort and goods to Gaza. When I arrived I expected to see a few stalls and a few people instead I saw every possible space at the YWCA filled with stalls goods and people.

 

Young and old had volunteered to do various roles from setting up the shoe throwing game, to selling raffle tickets, young musicians had volunteered their voices for a concert and the stalls were filled with various wares from used books to handmade jewelry and such. Stall proceeds were pledged to the cause and they ranged from 100% to 10% of profits and proceeds going to Gaza. The goal was to raise JD 1000 to use for medical supplies and goods.

 

After seven hours of giving and taking, after a lot of running around, people started to tidy up and put away their wares. Happily tired volunteers were packing what little was left of the donations that came through for sale. And as the money was being counted we quickly realized we had exceeded our expectations of JD 1000. Slowly we counted 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 5555 Jordanian Dinars (USD7845) in sales, proceeds, and donations ALL GOING TO GAZA.

 

Well done, one and all! Well done to every one that pitched in, to everyone that brought or made something to sell and to everyone that brought their wallets and emptied them out.  I would also like to thank the women behind this event (this event was initiated and run and 90% manned by women from the community).

 

In my opinion, what we saw that day was amazing and worth much more in human spirit and generosity. The community came together and it didn’t matter where they were from, what religion they were, what color or creed, what nationality. That day we were all humans out to help other humans in need. Thank you for reaffirming to me that humanity still exists in this ever growing and alienating city.

I got this in my inbox recently and I thought it will be helpful to those in Jordan. I do not have contact info so try the website in the poster or go to the event on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=54389778063

 

 

Souq Gaza on Sat 17th from 10am – 3pm.

Souq for Gaza: People have been calling and asking

How they can help and what they can donate?

So here’s an initial response

 

First, it’s easiest to start with what will NOT sell  

Please do NOT donate clothes / shoes  / blankets etc we cannot handle it at the souq

 

What will sell, what should you donate?

The best GUIDELINE is: Would YOU buy it?  Would someone you know buy it?

 

After discussions here’s a list of things we think might sell and that YOU might donate  We will group them to sell:

·         Unwanted gifts / Handcrafts  (JD5 upwards)

·         Books:  recent, interesting (JD2 upwards)

·         Movies / Music CDs DVDs ¡V but NOT pirated please  

·         Food:  Bottles / tins  /jars / packets  (eg local olive oil)  (JD3 upwards )

·         Cakes, cookies ¡V homemade for our coffee shop

·         Household goods / used but still desirable: pots, dishes, pans, vases, framed pictures, lamps

 

We will try to get the most money possible for your item. So give us a guideline price. At the end of the day, whatever is not sold, we will sort and decide: what to keep for the next sale (there will be a re-launch of souq soon we hope) and what to hand over to Entity Green Training for recycling.

 

Tasks you can take on

  • Walking round the souq collecting money in buckets
  • Running the raffle / tombola
  • Helping us pack up the souq at the end of the day (3:00- 4.30)
  • Organizing your friends and YOU run a stall

 

Institutions

If you work for an institution, then please mobilize ¡V you have huge networks of influence. Get you staff to run a stall: treat it as a team-building, management training exercise.


“How you spend your money is how you vote on what exists in the world.”

 

 

 

aid-gaza-performance

My body aches for Gaza and in a good way. Last night I was one of the lucky few who went to the ARAMEX warehouse in Qastal to help with the donations campaign for Gaza. There were nearly a hundred volunteers working last night. We prepared packages of food for our brethren in Gaza.

What amazes me is how tirelessly everyone worked pitching in with a smile working as a team. Many of us came as strangers and we left as strangers, but throughout we worked as one family… a team. Helping each other, working together, knowing that at the end of this day we have helped many.

Last night when I spoke to organizers of the group we had unloaded between 12-15 truckloads of donations and packed upwards of 900 boxes of aid, and yet we were a handful of volunteers.

The warehouse is massive to say the least, it is full with donations ranging from medical supplies, food, hygiene products, clothing, blankets and tents and every other random item you can think of. Children, youth and adults, men and women were all there. No one is too young or too old to help. Everyone can make a difference. There is so much work to do that I am calling out again to each and every one I know and don’t know.

If you have to go to the gym, this is defiantly a work out. If you want meet friends, then bring them here for an hour or two. If you have a family engagement then ask them to donate too. That argileh can wait, that meal, that coffee wont miss you as much as the children will miss warmth, and food.

Each one of us makes choices everyday on what to do, where to go, what to eat… we are privileged. Use that privilege; make that choice come help us sort out donations today, tomorrow, and everyday until we are done. Does Palestine, does Gaza not deserve two or three hours of your time? Come and let your body ache too and in a good way!

For more information go to 7iber.com where you can see pictures, videos and get directions of all the good work we are doing.

For those of you that want to protest but are not into demonstrations or want to do more than donate here are a few media and art initiatives that are alternatives you may want to explore. Please note that I am only aggregating these and do not have more information than is posted. Please contact the persons indicated for more information.

 


Initiative 1: Compass To Palestine

Person: Inas Bseiso

Contacts:

email- inasbseiso@gmail.com

facebook: Inas H Bseiso

 

As a response to the continuous suffering of the Palestinian people, I am initiating a project titled Compass to Palestine.

 

Monument, art installation, expression, contribution- these are just some of the words that I can use to describe it.

 

Please read the brief excerpt below and forward to your contacts.

 

Waiting for your feedback,

 

Best,

Inas Bseiso

 

 

Compass To Palestine

 

We honor our dead

Our dead are not numbers, they had stories.

Put a face to every number

Tell a story for every number

All photos and stories will be mounted on a compass

The arrow of the compass leads to Palestine

This compass will be designed and sculpted by volunteering artists and designers

The compass will be built on a piece of land in Jordan

The compass will be a living commemoration of the heroic sacrifices of the people of GAZA on the path to Palestine

The compass will be a living commemoration of the hope of freedom for people under occupation

Preserve the dignified memory of our dead

Your help is needed

 

*******

Send pictures and stories to inasbseiso@gmail.com or Inas H Bseiso on Facebook

 

Initiative 2: Media Initiative for GAZA

Person: Huda Shashaa

Contact: huda_shashaa@jrf.org.jo

 

A group of 4 Jordanian women have come together in response to the appalling attacks of Israel against Gaza, to give voice to the victims of this war and speak of the atrocities so hesitantly covered by western media channels. To date, the world remains silent as both Western and Arab leaders complacently watch another Israeli attack against the starving and imprisoned population of 1.5 million Gazans. 

 

The objective of this weekly discussion will be to reflect on the week’s atrocities against Gazans and work to debunk many of the lies and rhetoric used to justify Israel’s aggression and subsequently deflect attention from the real issues at hand. 

 

Each discussion will be 10-15 minutes, once a week, and will be structured to reach the largest number of people in the western world. 

 

We have had enough and we will no longer be silenced.

 

What it takes:

 

  • 5 dedicated women willing to discuss the topic in an educated manner. These women must be well-read and capable of expressing themselves in English in a captivating and passionate way.
  • Researchers to compile numbers of casualties, news and relevant articles. 
  • Producer to develop the program for each episode (the flow) 
  • Guest speakers
  • Dedicated camera crew

 

 

Initiative 3: Video Messages

Person:

Contacts:

Dear Friends,

 

Due to the ongoing Israeli aggression on Palestinian in Gaza, a group of activists in Jordan have come up with an idea to produce video testimonials or messages of people’s opinions on what’s happening in Gaza.

 

Instead of writing our opinions, we want to give faces and names to our voices, and break the stereotype of Arabs by showing people of all ages and classes speak their mind eloquently and directly to the camera.


Our target audience is the Western public. This can be achieved through sending these video messages to the western and international political and media figures such as President-elect Barak Obama‘s, the British PM , the French President, the head of the EU, the chairperson of the CNN and BBC and uploading these messages on their websites. We’re also aiming to upload these testimonials on websites such as U-Tube, TV channels.

 

Our goal is to saturate this medium with enough messages to create an audio-visual database of our voices. 


Each testimonial should not exceed 1 minute, with the content being every person’s name and nationality (city), their opinions in regards to what’s going on in Gaza, to demand a solution, or their interference to stop the Israeli aggression and/or the Israeli occupation. 

 

Of course every person is entitled to his/her opinion, but I urge you to take a look at the articles below and get an idea of the language used in order for us to speak the language that the West understands, and therefore create more powerful messages.

 

Since the duration of the testimonials is short please pick one thought and express it well.

 

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4933.shtml


http://www.mepeace.org/forum/topics/the-true-story-behind-this-war


http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/sheets.html


http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10055.shtml


http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10056.shtml


http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/boycott-divestment-sanctions.shtml

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/02/israelandthepalestinians-barackobama


http://bit.ly/1zCC

 

If you are interested please get in touch with Salwa to facilitate your participation.

 

There are many more ways in which you can contribute. I will be more than happy to post these various initiatives if you send them my way. The killing must stop. People have to know we can not remain silent.

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