Sunday, December 16, 2007

Travel, Teddy Bears.

We just got back from Amman, Jordan. I love that place. We went for a wedding, and a mini holiday, and so that Stone could have a swim in the dead sea, something he has never done before. A few thoughts about Jordan, as usual in no particular order.

  • Security was tighter than in the past. We took full advantage of the presence of armed guards everywhere and took pictures of the baby being cuddled by tough men wearing sub machine guns. The pictures are hysterical, but have frightened the grandparents.

  • Stone said the driving was reminiscent of being a pin ball. If you have ever driven in Amman, you'll know what I mean. The driving was the same as always, crazy, but friendly. They have built more tunnels, and a gorgeous giant bridge.

  • Three years ago I discovered that the only thing that doesn't float in the dead sea are rental car keys. No such tragedy this time.

  • The Baby hated the dead sea. She screamed like we were killing her as soon as we stuck her toe in. Stone liked the dead sea, but felt it wasn't "floatey" enough. He had the bouyancy of mercury in mind.

  • There was lots of Christmas related excitement everywhere. The Marriott had a giant tree decorated with glazed ginger bread cookies, each of which a member of staff had signed with thier name. It was cute.

  • Having a cute baby in Amman is a little like being the personal assistant to someone very famous. the Baby's cheeks were chapped from all the unsolicited kisses and pinches she received.

  • Upon leaving Amman, I used the toilet in the airport. Having thanked the attendant while leaving the washroom, the elderly lady jumped up and kissed each of my cheeks twice. How awesome is that? And how come I don't' get kisses from the attendants here in Muscat? (says Stone, because there are no attendants in the Seeb bathrooms)

Has anyone been following the Shit-storm that was whipped up about the teacher in Sudan who was jailed for allowing her (Muslim) students to chose Mohammad as the name for thier class teddy bear? There were people in the streets of Sudan protesting and calling for the death penalty. For the teacher.

Amjad blogged about it, as did quite a few other folks, but Amjad's blog got a lot of traffic because it was linked to from the BBC website. A few of us locals commented, but to be honest, I didn't hear a single ringing condemnation regarding actions the Sudanese government from anybody local. In fact, with the exception of myself and Amjad, most of the local commentary was critical of the teacher.

  • Petite For Life said...
    Her ignorance about Islam costed her, God help her.
  • Um Khalid said...
    Stupid from both sides really. -The teacher should know this would provoke anger among Muslims. -And the there Muslims are overreacting.I think something has to be done, but lashes?! - I'm thinking something like teaching her to respect the culture she's living in.

Ladies, That is totally fucking pathetic. I expected better of the Oman blogging community. I sort of thought that at least one other person would speak up, and to be honest, I kind of thought that other Muslim governments would speak up as well, if for no other reason than this sort of stuff is really really bad PR.

But the comments were mostly from elsewhere, (some of them so angry and crazy that the Sudanese government and the Saudi courts look sane by comparison) and poor Amjad got a lot of shit rained down on him, personally. Which is a bit of a shame, since he had the balls to speak out and say what nobody else, Muslim governments included, was willing to say.

Can I just add that I suspect this was whipped up further by the Saudis to draw international attention away from the Qatif rape case. I suspected something similar with the Danish cartoon thing after the stampede during the Haj and or Red Sea Ferry disaster a few years ago. Coincidence? I think not.

More tomorrow. We are still trying to find the prostitutes. Maybe they have all gone away? Not possible I think.


Per Your Request said...

Thank you, I also think its cooked up, but not sure if its to cover the rape case....only!

Undercover Dragon said...

I think the absence of comments shows the depth of fear that there is in moderate Muslim intellectual circles. While in private there was a lot of disagreement of the verdict and its craziness, no-one wants to risk being labled 'anti-Islam' or, even more problematically for your health, blasphemous or Apostate.

Just being accused of such things by some long beard could get you killed.

Suburban said...

PYR- whewe're not being economists of the everyday we could be conspiracy theorists extroidinare! We would kick ass at that.

D, I couldn't agree more.

Guys, Thank you!

Um Khalid said...

Ohh! My name's here!

Well, when I left the comment, I thought, as many, that it was another intended insult to the Prophet Peace be upon him.

Lesson: Never rely on forward messages for info.

Suburban said...

Um Khalid,

Thanks for commenting! I hated to have singled you out, but your original quote underlined the attitude that hurts the moderate muslims. I read your blog occasionally, and enjoy it a lot.

The thing is, as with the danish cartoons, most of the people getting outraged didn't know what exactly they were getting outraged over. THere were forwarded emails in both cases that purported to be the truth, and made everything out to be worse that it was.

I genuinely belive that there are elements out there with a vested interest in keeping the moderate majority silent. Spreading disinformation is a great way to whip things up and obfuscate the real issue at hand, making it impossible for the thinking folks to speak out against whatever the perceived insult or offense is.