Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My news

Yes. I am back. And I'm just going to go ahead and say it: I'm pregnant. Been feeling pretty subhuman for the past month and still have another month of it to go. Can hardly wait.

It's getting hot and miserable here in Amman, my work's pretty much all finished up and I have a feeling I'm going to be hanging out in the A/C as much as possible these days. Which means I have no real excuse (besides my continuous need to barf) to be as offline as I have been.

So for starters, I'm going to pop up the Seattle Times article Samer just sent my way that mentions my film, "In the Land of the Free?" which screened at the Folklife Festival over the weekend. The writer called it "superb," which I think is a bit much--and I'm also questioning his judgment since he didn't say a single thing about Samer's art that was hanging up as part of the festival exhibit. Oh well, I'll take a compliment when I can get one, I suppose.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Whiteman

No posts from here of late, since I'm trying to just get through the days. I'm oh so tired, generally feeling yikky (for reasons I'll decline to disclose) and work has started up again. Plus, Samer's gone and left us for Seattle.

I came across a Salon.com review of a PeaceCorps-volunteer-in-Africa novel that looks (unlike most of them) like it's worth a read.

Here's an excerpt from the review of Whiteman:

It's not that Adama ever believes he can become one of the villagers -- even if he thought he could, they keep reminding him otherwise -- but he is given a place among them. The witch doctor teaches him how to hunt wild chickens, and he earns a reputation for his prowess in this department. He plows and sows his own little plot of land in the forest with the other men. And, most of all, Adama gets embroiled in the neighborhood soap opera that unfolds raucously around him.

Sure sounds familiar--and like territory I'd like to revisit.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Colorblindedness

Have you seen the full report by the National Labor Committee on the treatment of workers here in Jordan's free trade zones? Someone sent it to me earlier today and I can barely get through it--I'm seething with anger and nearly in tears at the unbelievable situations these poor people have been in.

It's even more shocking than I imagined--and not that I couldn't have imagined much. After living here for 7 years, I'm very well aware of the horrifying situation of most of the country's foreign workers.

Why is it generally acceptable here that these people don't deserve the same rights as everyone else? Why are they so looked down upon? Why do many of the homes I know of who have maids keep them working from 7 am until 10 pm, with no days off during the week?

When I lived in Cameroon, most of the people in my village were Muslim. Most of them yearned to go to Mecca and to visit the Middle East, where the "true Islam," as they called it, was practiced. I also remember how I began to learn about Islam and how I was so blown away by its message of equality and racial colorblindedness. In those years, I truly had a sense that my Muslim friends in Cameroon were part of a global Islamic community in which they could always feel at home.

If only that were true here in the Middle East. I'm just glad that most of my Cameroonian friends have no clue that their idea of Islam doesn't exist here and that, despite everything, they're more likely to be defined by their color than anything else should they make their way to this part of the world.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Wadi Rum

I just popped up a bunch of pictures from our weekend camping trip at Wadi Rum. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Film screening tonight

Just a reminder that my film "In the Land of the Free?" screens tonight at Makan at 7:30.

Anyone who wants to come is welcome. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Jordan's Reaganomics

So listen up, all you elites here in Amman: I'm getting more and more evidence that all this cash flowing into the country hasn't yet even started thinking about trickling down to the have nots. Honestly, I'm getting really tired of people saying that this is the only way for things to move ahead, blah, blah, blah.

I've been taking taxis quite regularly over the past week or so as well as talking to lots of people and I keep hearing the same stuff: prices are astronomical, nobody cares about the poor and that the situation is out of control.

Meanwhile, many of the people I know are living the big life and are happy with the way things are going. The poor? Things will be getting better for everyone eventually, they say.

It kind of reminds me of a huge debate I had with some friends a few years ago about the ability of the uneducated and poor to choose their political leaders here in Jordan. Many of my Jordanian friends shocked me by saying that democracy is too dangerous for Jordan--the majority of the population, in their opinion, is too "stupid" to choose their leaders and/or make beneficial choices for everyone.

Better to be comfortable with the status quo. It certainly doesn't threaten the elites' way of life.

More slavery in Jordan

The New York Times reports on what we all probably had a feeling about already--the abuse of foreign workers in Jordan's Free Trade Zones (source).

Check this one out soon (and weep) before they archive it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More on "The Israel Lobby"

I'm working all hours these days and am not doing a great job keeping up, but I did manage to ready a lovely article in The Nation that discusses the recent Mearsheimer-Walt paper on the pro-Israel lobby that's been making waves over the past few months.

Check it out--it's a great read.