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December 01, 2004

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the aardvark

A very interesting response from the above savvy Jordan watcher via email, reproduced with identifying info taken out:

"I don't deny that [Jordanian chauvinism] exists, I merely point out that there are several different kinds of Jordanian chauvinism and that it's not easy to know exactly how chauvinistic someone is unless they've written about it a lot. If Trans-Jordan is really for Trans-Jordanians, for example, then
the Hijazis need to go home as much as the West Bankers do, perhaps even more so given the marriage habits of the palace."

Aardvark's note: indeed, this is what got ethnic nationalists in trouble in the first place - when they started pointing out that the Hashemites were late-comers to the kingdom compared to "real" Jordanian tribes.

SJW: "I respect that there is chauvinism in the press, but I wonder how widespread that feeling is shared among Trans-Jordanians and what material conditions, if any, lend anti-Palestinian prejudice a hand? I have never heard of a strike, boycott, or riot against an organization or corporation because it wouldn't hire TJs or promote them - TJ labor seems confined to government employment or state-sponsored contracting. TJs have the run of Jordanian schools and universities now, both as students and faculty. On the current subject of citizenship rights, is
it so hard for a TJ woman to find a TJ man for marriage? We are told that there is widespread intermarriage between TJ women and Palestinian
men, yet apparently not enough of them to create an uproar in the street. The chauvinism against Palestinians that I have seen, thus far, is an invention of the press and a tool of the regime, not a
popular demand from TJs in Jordan.... Perhaps someone more fair minded among Jordanian liberals should write a book, with due respect to Thomas Frank, entitled "What's the Matter with Ma'an?""

Aardvark: excellent point about the top-down character of the ethnic chauvinism - I agree with a lot of this, although I think there is more real animosity than this comment suggests. If you look back over the 90s, you'll see some pretty nasty spats in the universities, at soccer matches, etc. But a lot of it is driven by media and politicians for their own advantage... but then, as we see in the former Yugoslavia, that can be just as deadly.

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