Jordan

Independence from what?

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Today 25th May 2015 Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan turns 69 and celebrates it’s Independence Day but what is it independent from?

Jordan cooks up the world’s largest falafel

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Jordan is now a proud owner of the title ‘world’s largest falafel’, a titled endorsed by the Guinness Book of World Records. The falafel was made by 10 chefs at the Landmark hotel and weighed at 74.75kg.

Jordan very proudly beat the previous title which was set in the US weighing in at 23.95kg at the Jewish Food and Cultural Festival.

Annabel Lawady, an adjudication manager at Guinness said that “This is a great achievement and a difficult record to beat for years to come. We welcome everyone who successfully took part in the family of Guinness World Record holders.”

An achievement is an achievement no matter what the target was or is and I suppose it is something to be proud of if as a nation you set your targets low. I don’t mean to be party pooper here but if Jordan or any other Arab or Muslim nation had discovered a cure for a disease or managed to eradicate poverty or brought peace to the world, then surely there is something to be proud of. Cooking up the largest falafel just doesn’t cut it for me.

Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein becomes new FIFA vice-president

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HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein is elected as vice-president of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) on the it’s executive committee. At the age of 35, Prince Ali becomes the youngest member on the current FIFA board.

Qatar having won the FIFA World Cup 2022 bid late last year and now coupled with this new move of ousting the out going vice-president Chung Mong-Joon, will only strengthen FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter bid for re-election later on this year.

I am an advocate of fair play and transparency. My only concern with the new changes are that they seem to be more politically and economically motivated rather then a ‘passion for football’.

Mr Blatter has confirmed support for his presidential bid from the 25 that voted for Prince Ali including Sheikh Ahmad Ali Fahad Al Sabah, Head of Kuwait’s Football Federation. The Middle East is an untapped market for Fifa and I am sure both parties will set to become rich over the next decade or so.

It is nice to rejoice during the current successes but being cautious about the new changes does not go unwarranted.

Why Ramadhan in the Middle East means overeating and Dramas on TV

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I recently read an article which was forwarded by an Egyptian colleague about over eating and watching TV during the month of Ramadhan in Egypt. The full article can be read here. I have lived 2 years of my life in Jordan and have spent the past 2 years in Egypt. I can safely say that this is not an Egyptian phenomenon.

Jordan:

Schools finish earlier at around 13:00ish because everyone is fasting, so people can go home and either sleep or think about eating. Once people have eaten, either at families house which is either on invitation or they have invited. It is well known that the stomachs grow smaller over the  month but we will still make and eat food like there is no tomorrow. Once everyone has eaten, mostly the men of the family will go to the mosque to pray the Tarweeh prayer, which are the recommended prayers only for Ramadhan. These prayers will be cut short because people are eager to go home to watch the latest Drama imported from Syria or Turkey such as Bab Al Hara. If your not at home watching these Dramas, you’re in the cafes watching.

Egypt:

Clocks are brought back an hour just for Ramadhan; Schools and businesses are closed at around 14:30ish. People generally work less. Time is spent either thinking about food, preparing food for large feasts for family members they have not seen the whole year around or  thinking about what you’re going to make the next day and who you’re going to invite. Once the food is eaten and consumed on an extra large proportion, then people head to the mosques for a quick recommended prayer, which is either so long that it puts off people ever coming back again or so short so people can go home or to the cafes to watch Egyptian dramas.

Ramadhan is time for reflection, for working harder, being more aware of your actions in accordance to the book (the Quran) and example of the Prophet. How can it be that some people do not pray all year long and yet they fast during the month of Ramadhan. How can it be that women do not cover, and yet they will fast during the month of Ramadhan. The Muslim community must throw away this ‘pick and choose’ mentality and use the month of Ramadhan is a reflection and purification time so that it can impact the other remaining months in a positive manner.

No one is perfect so lets make this month a spring board for change in the right direction. It is not all about eating and watching Dramas.