Tag Archives: Irbid

Moscow and Um Khalid’s dream

Part I – Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?

Part II – From Russia with Love

Part III – Moscow and Um Khalid’s dream

Like any parents, Abu Khalid and Um Khalid wanted the best for their children. Although, they both did not attend universities but they learned it is very important for their children’s future. Fatmeh, the eldest child, did not attend a university as well because of her low grades in Tawjihi (the General Secondary Examination). Luckily, she was able to attend a college in Irbid, 20 minutes by bus from their village.

The second child, Khalid, received 57% in his Tawjihi, a much lower score than his sister. Yet, Khalid’s low score was not a big issue because he is a boy and so he can go study somewhere else outside Jordan. Back then (circa 1950 to 1990) it was more common to invest in the sons’ education more than the daughters’ education because boys will become the breadwinners. And daughters will marry.

The parents wanted Khalid to become an Engineer, at least that is what Um Khalid wanted more than anyone else in the family did. Her neighbor Um Abdel Baset has an Engineer son so why cannot her son be an Engineer as well. Through Abdel Baset’s father connections he managed to admit his son to Damascus University, one of the oldest and toughest universities in the region. Abu Abdel Baset knows someone who knows someone in the Baath Party in Syria.

Back to Khalid’s family. Khalid’s grades were not enough to let him study Engineering at Damascus University nor Aleppo University. Besides, they do not have the connection Abu Abdel Bast has in Syria.

Khalid’s family heard of boys going to Moscow to study. Backed by his mother, Khalid managed to confess his father that he should go to Moscow. He told his father how when he becomes an Engineer he would get a good job in Irbid with a very good salary. The father agreed although that meant selling couple of lands that were with the family for three generations.

Khalid travels to Moscow.

To be continued …

Picture Jordan: Gadara (Umm Qais)

On December 2012, I went to Gadara (known in Jordan as Umm Qais). Luckily, the weather was so nice and sunny.

Umm Qais
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Click on any of the pictures below to see a slideshow with some pictures captioned.

Segregation in Jordan

Some countries like India and Mexico started the service of “women-only” buses to solve the problem of sexual harassment from male passengers. I think this is a good idea especially in crowded cities were passengers in public transportations are crushed together while standing. In such cases men and women may be too close and it becomes inevitable for their bodies not to rub against each others. And the worst could happen.

Some people living in ِNorth America or Europe may think this is ridiculous. But we should never judge a solution unless we experience the problem.

Jordan is not as crowded as India and Mexico hence we don’t have such problem in the public transportations. But we still have cases of sexual harassments in the streets. The worst is of course when there is touching but the common one is verbal. To solve verbal abuse restaurants in Jordan have two sections; one ‘for families only*’ and another for single men.

Most restaurants in Jordan have a section that is limited to families only. The purpose of such segregation is to eliminate the looks and the bad mouthing from single men sitting near by. This segregation is not religious gender segregation but a culture thing.

I don’t like such thing because it can be very stupid. Here are a few examples why “For Families Only” is a bad idea:

Story #1:

I entered a coffee shop in Irbid called “Friends”. There was no sign that says “For Families only” or “Wait to be seated.” So, I pulled my laptop from my bag and put it on the table while three staffs were looking at me. When I was ready to sit, one of the staff came to me and told me this section is “for families only” and he pointed to a coffee table near the entrance that I can sit on. I didn’t care much because I understand the culture but when I was ready to sit on the other table I found it is very close to the entrance door and whenever the door opens a cold drift is going to hit my face so I decided to change the coffee shop.

Now, the section that is according to the staff is dedicated to families only was occupied with girls. My shock was when I found that all girls there were smoking hookah not because they were smoking but because it was 11 in the morning. Who smokes hookah in the morning?

I am 39 years old who has 15 years of experience teaching college students yet the coffee shop denied to serve me some respect in favor of college students who smoke hookah at 11 am.

Story #2:

My cousin (he is my age) traveled from Irbid to Amman (90 km) to return an item his wife bought from a mall in Amman. The security guard at the door refused to let him in because that day the mall is limited to families only. My cousin tried to explain to the security that he traveled 90 km just to return this item but his pledge met only with denial. My cousin is an optometrist and a father of  two daughters.

Story #3:

Three 30 something men (two optometrists and one medical doctor) and their 45 year-old Jordanian friend who is visiting Jordan from Italy for the first time after 12 years decided to go to the Dead Sea only to find that they were denied entrance to one of the beaches because entry is for families only. Traveling 173.8 km from Irbid, being 30 something and married, and having a 40 something tourist from Italy with them were not enough reasons for these poor men to enjoy seeing the Dead Sea beach.

This shows how hard it is for single men in Jordan to be treated with respect. Regardless of age or status, men are treated with no dignity or respect if they are not accompanied with a female. Maybe it is time for a business man in Jordan to invest in opening an escort sevice**. How else would a single man be treated with respect in malls and restaurants?

*’For Families only’ sign means a man or men not accompanied by a female regardless of her age are not allowed in.
** I am being sarcastic of course I don’t agree with such line of service.

Picture Jordan: Dar As-Saraya

My hometown is called Irbid, located in the northwestern part of the kingdom. “The archaeological research and excavations have shown that human has settled there about 200,000 years ago. Irbid played an important role during the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods. Irbid has 4 of the Decapolis cities: Jadara, Pella, Guelbeh and Capitolias.” [Jordan Archaeological Heritage]

To see some of these civilizations’ history I recently visited Dar Al-Saraya Museum. The building of the museum was originally a castle built by the Ottomans in 1886. Its plan resembles castles and caravansaries founded by the Ottomans. Saraya means government building. This particular building was the governor’s house.

After the Ottomans, Irbid city used the building as a prison until 1994
Dar Al-Saray Museum Entrance

The location of Irbid on a crossroad junction connecting the north with the south and Palestinian coast attracted people from Syria and Palestine, especially merchants… In Irbid there are Armenians and Kurds, as reflected by some Irbidean family names, but also families originated from Palestine who came to the city from early times.