Books · Culture · Jordan · Middle East · USA

Jordan’s Culture according to Lonely Planet

Jordanian people are extremely hospitable, with initial conversation inevitable leading to a heartfelt ‘welcome’. This traditional sense of hospitality is mixed with an easygoing modernity and wonderful sense of humour that make Jordanians fun to get along with.

… Islam dominates Jordanian views of the world, of course, as does the Palestinian experience, which is hardly surprising when you consider that 65% of Jordanians are Palestinian.

Being physically and ethnically close of Iraq, most Jordanians are often frustrated and at times angered by American policies towards Iraq but they are always able to differentiate a government from its people. You’ll never be greeted with animosity, regardless of your nationality, only a courtesy and hospitality that humbling. [from Middle East the lonely planet series, 2009]

A very normal scene in modern Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Being a Jordanian I like that we are hospitable and friendly people. I agree with the above excerpt but I have a comment about the cause of anger against American foreign policies.

Although it is true that “Jordanians are often frustrated and at times angered by American policies towards Iraq” but this frustration goes way back before the 90s. The main cause of this frustration and anger is of course not just because of Iraq it is because the United States foreign policy in general. The United States Always sided with Israel against the Palestinians and will continue to do so. And for this reason Arabs will always feel angered about USA continuous and unlimited support to Israel.

In his recent visit to Jerusalem, the US Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, calls Jerusalem ‘the capital’ of Israel and vows to move the American embassy to Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv. A decision that is against the United Nations recommendation and a proposal by the new candidate that will escalate the Middle East conflict instead of bringing peace.

The United Nations recommends that Jerusalem be placed under a special international regime, a corpus separatum, but envisions the city eventually becoming the capital of two states, Israel and Palestine. [Wikipedia]

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7 thoughts on “Jordan’s Culture according to Lonely Planet

  1. I’ve also learned this about Arabs’ anger, and it’s not surprising. Now I wonder, having lived in the US for a few years, have you asked Americans or come to learn more about WHY Americans tend to have this soft spot (or blind spot) for Israel? I’m curious if you’ve come to learn anything about *why* many are pro-Israel? I think understanding where people are coming from is helpful in many ways.

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    1. In general, students don’t like to talk about politics on campus. The couple of people I talked to about this issue were against this total support and sending million of dollars every year to Israel.
      I think I know where does this support come from. We have a proverb in the Middle East “I and my brother against my cousin and I and my cousin against the stranger.” But this is not right. If my brother is at fault I should not help him against my cousin. Rather, if I really like my brother I should help him know what is right and what is wrong.

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      1. Ah yes, that’s true. Many people don’t like talking politics. I really didn’t think of it as much as a political issue, but spiritual one. People in churches seem to like talking about it. But maybe not with just anyone.

        I like your proverb, but didn’t quite follow it. Do you think we believe we are cousins to the Israelis? Or brothers? I always hear of Arabs and Jews being cousins. Maybe you think Americans and Israelis are brothers in politics?

        “If my brother is at fault I should not help him against my cousin. Rather, if I really like my brother I should help him know what is right and what is wrong.”

        Definitely!

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      2. I meant Christians feel closer to Jewish people than to Muslims. Christians believe in the old testament but in the Quran.

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      3. Ah, got ya. Yes, that’s true for the most part. I am an exception because I happen to know Muslims and don’t know any Jews. But as a nameless, faceless group (meaning if we knew no one from either group), you are correct for most American Christians.

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