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  • January 2020
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Jordan Weekend Headlines

250 fils.
That may sound like a lot for the Sunday Paper – but it’s really not.   It only comes to about 35 cents.  And it’s not really the Sunday paper – it’s the Friday Paper!  The Friday/Saturday Weekend with Sunday being the first day of the work week is taking some time to get used to. But purchasing a local English-language Friday paper is something I look forward to each week.  I’m currently reading The Jordan Times (website here) because it’s the only one I know of that I see widely available.  (There may be other English language papers here – if so, someone let me know).

I’ve been pretty fascinated not just by the stories but to see what actually makes the front page here in our new home away from home.  Believe it or not – the Middle East does get a lot of press coverage here, just like home. However, the stories have a bit of a different flavor.  So I have decided to share 3 or 4 front-page headlines and would welcome any interaction on them.   So here goes:

Headlines in Jordan, Weekend of August 22-23, 2008 (from Jordan Times)

King Starts Russia Visit – This is the top headline with an accompanying picture of King Abdullah being greeted by Russian officials in Moscow. His Majesty will also visit Turkmenistan and France.  With Russia’s international rumblings of late it will be interesting to see how various countries will relate to them.  The purpose of King Abdullah’s visit was stated as discussing “regional developments.”  I wonder what that means.  The most interesting thing to me was the very last line of the article, “HRH Prince Hashem was sworn in as Regent.”  I’m not exactly sure what this means.  As far as I know there are two Prince Hashem’s – King Abdullah’s 3 year old son and King Abdullah’s 27 year old half-brother.  I’m not sure which one they are referring to but I was glad that there is a plan for when the King is out of the country.  Here’s a pic of the King in case you haven’t seen him before:

HM King Abdullah of Jordan c. 2008

HM King Abdullah of Jordan c. 2008

Coping With the Two-Shift System: It has been a rough start this fall in Jordan’s public schools. The system of 3,300 schools has absorbed an extra 31,000 students that were unable to attend private schools this year due to worsening economic conditions.  So over 250 schools have adopted a two shift system with the first shift starting at 6:45 AM and going till midday.  The second shift goes to 5:00 AM.  (note: that should read 5 PM!  Thanks to Melissa for catching my error!) Children in the same family have found themselves on different shifts causing problems with childcare for many families.  Education is a guaranteed right in the constitution and the government has built additional schools and is trying to hire additional teachers to handle the increased student population.

Israel Declares Navy Drills to Deny Activists Passage to Gaza: I could write about this one for awhile.  But I won’t.  The long and the short of it – waaaaaaay back in 1993 (in the Billy Clinton era) this little secretly negotiated, supposedly earth-moving Peace Accord was signed between Israel and Palestine.  Remember the famous handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat?  Well part of the Oslo agreement guaranteed the Palestinians the right to open a port in Gaza.   In reality the Israeli government never allowed it to happen and has run a long-standing naval blockade preventing any entrance or exit from Gaza by sea.  All (“legal”) international trade in and out is directly controlled by Israel.  Anyway – this is getting longer than shorter – this past week two boats from Europe decided to run the blockade to deliver some humanitarian supplies, but more importantly to make a point.  This article reported that the Israeli navy intended to stop the ships. The report online today indicated that they didn’t and the ships made landfall in Gaza.   A small and pragmatically meaningless victory – but a symbolic one nonetheless.

SS Free Gaza and Liberty

SS Free Gaza and Liberty

As you can see these are a couple of very dangerous looking ships!   The Jordan Times reported that the Liberty was named for a the USS Liberty that was attacked by Israeli aircraft in 1967, killing 34 and injuring 172 US seamen.  Boy – there’s a peice of history you don’t here much about.  Anyways Jordan is very much involved in Palestinian politics and I’mnot surprised that this story made front page news.

Ok – there you have it – a few headlines from Jordan.  Hope all is well for you wherever your journey is currently taking you!