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June 02, 2008


Amos Fernanades-Rabinowitz

Yeah, I love Books&Cafe too. 10 years ago it was the only decent place in Ammna to look for books, magazines and good ambiance! Nice to hear, that it stiil goes strong.
I love Ammna - one of too few remaining decent places in the Middle East. And if it goes down the drain I am going to lament it. The "in your face" behavior of "western Ammanis" is bound to bring problems. But... Troubles and serious troubles there are possible, although I can not see the development of Tehran-79 type of the situation. The Us and regional won't let it happen, Jordan is way smaller then Iran ant thus easier to contain.


That space age bridge over the wadi connecting 4th circle with Abdun (I think) -- has absolutely no pedestrian access. Some of my friends were convinced when I visited in January that that was intentional, designed to prevent protest circulation before it even can begin...

nur al-cubicle

Some of my friends were convinced when I visited in January that that was intentional, designed to prevent protest circulation before it even can begin...

It is surely intentional. Get this: my local state university campus (USA) is build without a quad and very narrow walkways set away from buildings so that police can get off a good shot from the building rooftops in the event of...a protest. and that was during the pre-Homeland Security days.

That's a sign of an aspirational middle class being wiped out.

Now that's a damned shame. Gee, wasn't French royalty creating just such a situation prior to 1789?
I also read that unemployment is around 40%.


I was just in Amman this past weekend. I certainly noticed the affluence of Jabal Amman on Rainbow street and the Mecca Mall was no push over as well. Quite impressive. Yet the overall religiosity of the population appears to be on the rise, from Quran recitations in the cabs to the bookstores and the number of people wearing Islamic dress on the streets and sporting big beards. While you mentioned that pictures of the King are ubiquitous, the numbers didn't really strike me as odd, but the government motto of "Jordan First" was new as far as I know. Jordan has always battled with Jordanizing its Palestinians, something that has met with mediocre success as many second and third generation Jordanian born Palestinians cite their family's former towns in Palestine as their "hometown." I met some interesting and free thinking young Jordanian professionals along the way, they expressed that they sometimes had difficulties in the public sphere due to their 'Western' mentalities and outlooks on religion, Israel, etc. yet they were most adamant that democracy in Jordan would only worsen things for people like them and that they supported the King and what he is doing.

Mohammad Azraq

It was our absolute pleasure to have you Professor Lynch, thank you very much for accepting the invitation, and I hope we will meet again.

Batir Wardam

I am glad you enjoyed your stay. I would have liked to talk to you If I knew you were in Amman. Maybe in another visit.


"In my experience, there is an inverse relationship between the numbers of pictures of an Arab leader hanging in the capital city and said leader’s legitimacy."

Haha, so true.

Maybe we can expect this with monarchies, where the king/emir embodies both nation and state in the public imagination, but in republics it's especially unsettling. You can't walk 10 yards in downtown Tunis without coming across Ben Ali's grinning face... and they've gotten creative with the pics... in one, he's dutifully hunched over an Apple Powerbook typing with Prada glasses and some random MP3 player laying there on the desk. Since when have 72-year old dictators been down with the hipness of Steve Jobs??!?!? Wicked product placement though.


I spent last spring in Amman on SIT's Jordan program, and it was changing by the day. It was truly an unbelievable thing to watch. I've been back a few times since, and it's a little alarming how quickly the face of a city is changing. As for the posters of Abdallah, I noticed them starting to show in greater frequency after Bashar Assad's "election" last Spring in Syria. I was in Damascus at the time, and my friends and I who were there still talk about it. I think I might be able to dig up my blog posts from that time in Syria. The pictures speak for themselves.

Ahmad Humeid

It was good to see you again in Amman. Would have liked to spend more time talking, especially about the convergence of religion and shopping :-)

Little spelling correction: It's Ahmad Humeid not Ahmed Humaid :-)

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