the recent two posts by Iraqi bloggers describing their experiences at the Jordanian airport has caused a flurry of activity little seen in the Arab blogosphere,the first post was by Omar at Iraq The Model, and the second and more detailed one involves Last of Iraqis as he tries to spend a little vacation there with his wife, both posts revolve around the rejection, but most importantly humilitation, they receive as they spend the day waiting for a flight back in a room Iraqis dub 'the jail' (pictures available at LastIraqis's post, as well as a video on Zeyad's).
This was soon followed by all sorts of reactions from both sides of the British Sykos-Picot divide, in addition to others from the Arab world, ranging everywhere from apologetic to extreme far-right, I have collected the ones I could find here, there might be others:
Arguing for Iraq: Catholic Sunni Shia, Silly Bahraini
Arguing for Jordan: Black Iris( has the most interesting discussions in its comments),
Moey , Bakkouz(now removed).
Balanced: Mkilany , Qwaider,
Interestingly, further research revealed a Jordanian Facebook group called We Hate Iraqis.
Aimed at expelling the '1)smelly, 2)suddenly rich Iraqis 3)who've been less than 10 years in Jordan', I constitutionally violate the 2nd clause, but obviously i am (3) and I am sure as shit smelly, I'm sorry folks but I sweat a lot and your water is scarce. So i thought i'd save it to you and rot for the sake of keeping your natural resources.
All jokes aside, the treatment of Iraqis in Jordanian airport is certainly unacceptable as a lot of Jordanians have pointed out, but some Jordanians (and Iraqis) have quickly descended into a name game, let us look at some of the arguments:
Jordanian: If you don't like it, get out. This happens everywhere...
Iraqis: We're giving you oil for (10, 20, 100) years and this is how you repay us? We built you.
Jordanian: Who killed Saddam Hussein? You bastards! (few Pan-Arab tears shed here)
Iraqi: You traitors! We are all Arab (national pan-Arab anthem plays here, but the happy commercial does not end on good terms...)
Jordanian: Shut up, ya balad al-Shiqaq wa Nifaq (Land of Discord & Hypocrisy, the favorite Arab slander of Iraqis, thank you Mr. Hajaj)
Iraqi: Shut up, Qawm Lot (the infamous anicent butt-sex freaks people of the Prophet Lot, unfortunately situated near the Dead Sea.)
The thing is, while abuse of Iraqis in Jordan is an issue, I don't think Iraqis have that much of a right to complain, considering the complaints issued by the blogs i listed above, and the soccer-celebration incident I posted about before, one fact must be emphasized:
a) WE ARE ALL ARAB. and most importantly
b) ARABS BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER ALL THE TIME.
Yes, it's a mighty true shame ; but it's true, if Jordanians were in Iraq, I'm sure we'd kick their asses if they were celebaring the national team winning in our country and causing massive traffic jams we don't need. Maybe if Saddam Hussein was in power, he'd make use of the event to showcase his prowess as a Pan-Arab leader, but the people themselves wouldn't feel that happy, to quote the saying "A crow tells a crow, your face is black."
We're not much better than Jordanians, even before I got into Jordan, I was warned by many friends that Jordanians 'hate our guts', judging from personal experience, my homeland (and all Arabs, as I found out) exaggerate in terms of racism, so while I tried hard to shrug this off, I nevertheless embraced Jordan with a huge feeling of self-conciousness, eventually I found out that you basically can get your way around here pretty much okay in terms of day-to-day interaction if you respect people and be pleasant with them. It's hard to exactly describe the love-hate relationship between Arabs of different countries, but it's best summarized by the Bedouin saying: 'Me and my brother on my cousin, me and my cousin on the enemy.', sure, there are stone-faced racists who will never change the way they think, and it is my regret that I actually managed to make friends with one, but there are a lot of decent and generous people as well, the last time I entered Jordan was September 2006 with my grandparents, for the first time I was nervous because of the many rejection stories I have heard, amazingly, it wasn't me who was the problem but my 84-year old grandfather, who had a FAKE passport, my grandfather's passport was done in Iraq through a connection, who brought it to him with somebody else's fingerprints on it, being a stalwart man of principle, Grandpa insisted that he get a clean passport so he can put his own print on it, sure enough, the passport comes a week later, what we didn't know is that the man who did it (either the connection or the passport officer) had simply ripped the page and replaced it with a new one. Anyway, after being held by intelligence officers for about 15 minutes, they gave him a two-weeks admission notice based on his old age, another thing which might have helped was his serving in the Palestine 1948 war, anyway, my grandfather said that the Jordanian officials were 'very respectful' and a few months later he said that they were 'doing a very good job.' My grandmother, a naturally racist person like many others, stranglely agreed.
There is a sizable amount of unjustified racism and blame, but it's hard for me to point any finger because both sides are equally selective in perceiving each other's *virtues*, and this is my way of trying to show Jordanians that there are some Iraqis like me who are certainly thankful for all that they are doing but equally hopeful that they can accept criticism with an open heart. I know some of the words posted at those blogs are needlessly harsh but I would suppose that under the circumstances they were projected to it's somewhat reasonable, have a bad experience with a country at its borders, you're going to label the whole country altogether...we are not asking to be received by open arms, and we are aware of the economic problems caused by a sizable refugee group, but there are also benefits in exchange for those.
While those words are somehow unrelalistic given the circumstances, but in the larger world, we are all insignificant if we continue to squabble like this. I hope there would be one improbable day when Iraqis, Jordanians, Kuwaitis, Palestinians and all realize that those phony classifications are drawn by a map based on a British-French treaty held in 1916.