Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sari Nasser

One interesting candidate in Amman’s third district is Professor Sari Nasser. Many graduates of the University of Jordan over a number of decades have taken his course, where he encouraged them to do community service as part of the course requirements. It is probably a safe bet to assume that if a significant percentage of his ex-students vote for him, then he would easily win.

Professor Nasser is interesting because he is a capable, urbane and enlightened sociologist.There are a number of professors running for parliament, but most of them are relatively young and have decided that being university lecturers is beneath their ambitions. If my estimates are right, Dr. Sari has reached the age of retirement (70 years) before starting his political career, and thus he is of a more altruistic breed.

I have been trying to figure out some of his views by surfing the web. I found this interview which somewhat troubled me.

Now, I have no problem with his characterization of the issue of so-called honor killings. What concerns me is the lack of any apparent moral indignation. His attitude is somewhat of a shrug of the shoulder and assurances that the problem will go away eventually by itself.

To be sure, the interview is not part of a political campaign. But still, there is no suggestion that laws allowing lenient sentences for murderers should be tightened as a part of the package of societal change. I would like to have heard that from him. The interview was conducted in May 2007, so running for parliament must have been on his mind back then.

Then there is this, where he complains about western influence on the structure of family in the Arab world, assigning many societal ills to this influence. I am not sure what the implications of these views would be for an MP, but is does strike me as being too conservative for my taste. However, I wish I could get a copy of his election manifesto. If anybody can get it for me, I would be grateful.

I hope that people would ask candidates point blank what they think about legislations related to “honor” killing. If anybody can clarify Nasser’s positions for me, I will gladly display them prominently. I would so much like to be wrong about my impressions.



At 3:20 AM, Blogger Mohanned said...

Is he the guy with the AFRO like hair?

If so then, I don't know what to say! I remember watching him on the TV when I was a kid and going like :" Meen hath el majnoon?"

El majles mbayyen mn 3enawno..
Keep us updated, you are our inside man ;)

At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thats easy you will get it today :)

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Mohanned: Yeah, that's him. I will try to keep things interesting :)

Malei7a: Thanks, I am looking forward.

At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well my opinion is that he was talking as a scientist from a sociological point of view when he said what troubled you "that it will change by itself=society develops habbits and blocks others". Where as the lady was talking about laws and regulations as being an activist.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sari is an interesting guy. I think he is generally liberal, but he does often reflect the attitudes of the neighborhood in which his center is located, Hayy Nazzal.

I think he'd be a good enough guy in parliament, but don't expect him to be a pioneer of social or political reform. From what I can tell he's a gradualist.

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was surprised to learn that your impression of the Riz Khan interview was that I condone honor killing. All through my teaching years I have always stressed to my students that killing women in the name of honor is inhumane and despicable.
My former students could testify to this including Rana Husseini who has become a champion in the fight against this horrid activity.

In the Riz Khan interview I tried to show that this phenomenon could not be targeted by the enactment of laws alone. The problem lies in customs and traditions that seem to be stronger than the law. The way to eliminate this horrid practice is through teaching, raising people's awareness and through
stronger penalties.

At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't judge whether the poster above is really Dr. Nasser, but I must say that I attended the conference where he was speaking on CSR in Jordan around last year. He was one of the few interesting people (besides Fadi Ghandour) who spoke on CSR. However, I didn't feel during the session that he has the charisma or the political stamina to maintain heated parliamentarian discussions. Oh, wait a second; do we even have heated parliamentarian discussions?

Having said all that, I think that it's good to have more MPs with an academia background; at least their discussions would be backed up with footnotes and logical deductions, instead of the mundane "Laweesh hatha" type of debates.

By the way, I commented a few days earlier but it never got to your page (I included a link as well) so it probably must've been banked as a spam comment?

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not Jordanian, but I've spent a lot of time there and care about what happens.

I don't know whether academics necessarily make the best politicians, but I would like to see well educated people in office (regardless of country) and more empirical data, logic, and reasoning applied to the decision-making process. Emotion and hunch rarely result in good decision-making outcomes.

Where "honor" killings are concerned, a lot of people are operating on what appear to be outdated assumptions. . .maybe true in the past, but no longer. If it is happening with this issue, it is probably happening with others, too.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"


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