Saturday, January 21, 2006

The human rights report: when will we grow up?

The Human rights watch report is out again, and as usual it criticizes Jordan. Of course, it criticizes the US, Israel, and the EU too.

The main difference between these countries and Jordan is how they react to this report. In Jordan, Petra put together a juvenile response, in which all people surveyed agreed that the level of freedom of expression in Jordan is "advanced". The head of the journalists syndicate, Tareq Momani, blamed "certain centers and ill-willed parties for supplying international organizations with unrealistic reports for selfish reasons in an effort to disrupt the ideal picture of democracy in Jordan". I'm not making this up. Honest.

Too bad that Momani didn't read the Al Ghad complaint, which cited official interference in editorial decisions (unless Al Ghad is an ill-willed party). He apparantly also doesn't realize that providing an open space for free speech requires changing 24 different laws.

Now, I am not saying that the human rights situation in Jordan is bad. Human Rights Watch doesn't say that either. The report simply points out some things that we should think about. But this isn't my point. My point is that this orchestrated upwelling of indignation is amateurish, and actually gives a worse impression than the HRW report does. I would have hoped that such a report would be an opportunity to objectively discuss shortcomings, not to instinctively become so defensive. I am looking for a similar response by American journalists to the criticism of HRW, but I still haven't found one.


At 7:04 PM, Blogger Ala'a Ibrahim said...

Well from a management point of view, if the management is too weak to solve some part of the problem, it would just ignore that it even exists.
if you take Microsoft for an example, in the early Windows 95 stage, if anybody claimed that there is some kind of a security bug, they would claim that that is not true, and that their system is perfect, now a days if somebody noticed some bug in any of thier products, Microsoft would admit it, and try to as quickly as possible to solve it.
That's it here in Jordan, here we cannot handle human rights, if somebody said that he doesn't have all the rights he deserve as a living creature, everybody would just ignore it.
Man, we are living in the best country in the world, all people have more than the rights they need, EU and USA just cannot be as good as us. :P
Man I'm sick of this mentality, if you criticize something, this means that you are ill-minded, or you are some kind of a spy to some enemy, and the only thing you care about is destroying the community.

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that we have never taught critical thinking skills in our schools. So people like El momni and other government officals are not really familiar with others asking questions or raising concerns. Besides most of these officals really do not know what is their job describtion. SO they play it safe and do what those before them did in the past to respond to similar reports. This mentality Ala' is learned by conditioning and I think that it will take ages to get rid of its existance.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Batir Wardam said...

The points Khalaf raised are so true. The funny thing is that the government and its "journslists" will celebrate any internatioanl report with excitement if it proves a good point for the government. They always praise the IMF reports and the World bank report, although the information are given by the same "ill-minded" research centers. This is the obvious double standards of our mentality.
You can check my blog to download the section on Jordan from

At 9:08 PM, Blogger Ala'a Ibrahim said...

Hay Man, I really like your blog, so I've tagged you, check it here


Post a Comment

<< Home