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Arabeyes: Palestinian Jordanian Anyone?

Jordanian blogger Hareega is furious that people avoid discussing racism in his society. He is particularly angry about the discrimination Jordanians of Palestinian origin go through in a country he claims they have helped build and project to the level it is today.

يبدو أن الناس بشكل عام تتفادى الخوض في موضوع أردني فلسطيني رغم أنها تتعرض لمواقف محزنة و مغيظة تجعلها تشعر بالقرف والتفرقة و تزيد من نار العنصرية التي بصراحة أراها تتحسن
أحياناُ أحب أن أتوهم أن العنصرية في تلاشي وأنه مع مرور جيل أو جيلين سوف تختفي، لكن من الواضح أن هناك الكثير من الحقد الدفين والكراهية التي تصل إلى حد التعصب الاعمى وأتذكر أني لما خضت بموضوع أيلول الاسود سمعت الكثيرين ، غالبا عن رغبة في تفادي فتح صفحات تاريخنا الاسود، سمعتهم يطلبون مني السكوت ونسيان الماضي وكأن ما حصل لا صلة له بنا
It seems that people in general avoid discussing the topic of Jordanian Palestinian despite it resulting in sad and frustrating situations which make you feel disgusted and discriminated against and add to the fuel of racism which I frankly think is improving. Sometimes, I try and fantasize that racism is disappearing and in a generation or two will be totally wiped out. But it is obvious that there is a lot of deep hate and envy which sometimes leads to blinding intolerance. When I started discussing Black September I got calls from many people urging me to close that chapter of our black history, keep quiet and forget the past as if it naver took place.

Hareega calls on people to be more realistic when discussing this situation of racial prejudice in Jordan.

يجب أن نكون واقعيين و منطقببن بعض الشيء عند مناقشة الامور. فمجرد كونك أردنيا من أصل أردني لا يعطيك أي أفضلية على أي أردني من أصل فلسطيني. أنتو الجوز عايشين بالاردن وعليكم حقوق وواجبات مثل بعض
.الفلسطيني كثيرا ما يعامل كمواطن من الدرجة العاشرة واللي مش مصدق ينزله عمخفر شرطة أو دائرة جوازات وراح يكتشف أن اسم العائلة كثيراُ ما يكون اهم من الشكوى المقدمة او المخالفة المرتكبة
We should be realistic and logical in discussing such matters. Being a Jordanian of Jordanian origin does not give you any preference over any Jordanian of Palestinian origin. You two are living in Jordan and have similar rights and obligations. Palestinians are however often treated like 10th class citizens and who doesn't believe me can visit a police station or the Department of Passports to see for himself that the family name is much more important than the complaint being made or even the crime committed.

He then cites examples of how Jordanians of Palestinian origin are treated in his country.

لو تم إجراء دراسة موضوعية لاكتشفنا ان الفلسطيني عرضة اكثر لاكل الكفوف في المخافر والشلاليط في الزنازن ومخالفات السير التي بلا طعم ، ولا أعتقد أن أي أردني من أصل فلسطيني لم يتعرض للموقف المعتاد الذي يتم فيه إشعاره بأنه ضيف ثقيل الدم غير مرغوب وكأنه هو السبب فيما يواجهه الاردن من مشاكل، يعني باختصار حتى الفلسطيني المولود في الأردن والذي يعتبر نفسه ابن البلد ولا يعرف وطنا كما يعرف الاردن بيجي واحد بسأله من وين الأخ ويس يقله يافا و لا نابلس بصير يتطلع عليه وكأنه من كوكب آخر وليس كأنه مواطن مثله مثلك ونحنا كلا معروفين أنه راسمالها موقف واحد سمج مثل هيك يكفي لايقاد مشاعر العنصرية والتفرقة التي مرت و أخالها ستمر عبر عدة أجيال لاحق
If we conduct an objective study, we will discover that a Palestinian (in Jordan) is more prone to be smacked and whipped in prison cells and for committing traffic violations. I don't think there is a single Jordanian of Palestinian origin who hasn't been exposed to the common situation of being made to feel like a heavy guest who is no longer welcome as if he was the cause of the peoblems Jordan is facing at present. In short, this means that even Palestinians born in Jordan and who consider themselves citizens and know no other country than Jordan are subjected to discrimination when asked by Jordanians where they are originally from. If the answer is Jaffa or Nablus, the Jordanian looks at the person as though he had come from a different planet and not as an equal citizen. And we all realise that it takes such an encounter to awake the feelings of racial prejudice and discrimination which we have witnessed and will recur again over generations.

Jordan's rich history, argues Hareega, is based in tribalism but it's future is only possible by recognising the impact Palestinians have had on it.

الأردن مرت عليه حضارات قديمة جداً لكنه لم يتأسس بالشكل الذي هو عليه الآن إلا عام ستة وأربعين أو قبل ذلك بقليل. نعم الأردنيون أصلهم عشائري والعشائر يعود تاريخها لمئات بل آلاف السنين لكن الأردن اليوم هو وطن وليس مجرد تجمع للعشائر ومنذ بداية تاريخ هذا الوطن بدأ الفلسطنيون يهاجرون إليه رغما عنهم بعد حلول المصيبة تلو الاخرى وهكذا أصبح الاردن مزيج بين شعبين أصلهم واحد فرقت بينهم حدود رسمت على ورق
Jordan, which has witnessed ancient civilisations, was not formed in the way it stands today until 1946 or before that by a very short while. Yes, Jordanians are of tribal origins, which go back to hundreds or even thousands of years but the Jordan of today is a nation and not a gathering of tribes. Since the beginning of the history of this nation, Palestinians started migrating here despite themselves after the repeated catastrophes they have been subjected to. This is how Jordan became a blend of those two people whose origin is one and who have been divided by a boundary drawn on paper.

Young people, says Hareega, are in particular prone to calling Palestinians names and questioning their loyalty when they raise issues of public concern.

وللأسف نرى بعض المواطنين الكثير منهم شباب موبؤون بالعنصرية فنرى بعض الأردنيين يخونون الفلسطيني إذا ما اشتكى من الحكومة أو البطالة أو رفع الاسعار والاقساط وكأننا واجبنا الوطني هو دعم الحكومة بغض النظر عما تفعله، وإذا ما اشتكى الفلسطيني من أي شيء في البلد فقد أصبح هو عنصرياُ حاقداً غيوراً … وبعد كل ذلك نتوقع من الفلسطيني أن يشعر بأقصى درجات الوطنية… وهاذي شوي صعبة خاصة بعد أن هُتف لشارون في عَمان كما لم يهتف له في تل أبيب و شُتم محمد الدرة بعد جنازته بأيام وحتى العائلة المالكة التي لا يسترجي أحد بالتخنفس عنها أعطى بعض الأردنيين الحق لأنفسهم بالتعرض لجلالة الملكة فقط بسبب أصلها رغم أن تمثل الأردن بصورة متميزة في العال
It is unfortunate that some citizens, particularly youth, are prejudiced. We see some Jordanians questioning the loyalty of Palestinians when they complain about the government, unemployment levels, price hikes and loan installments as if our national duty is to back the government no matter what it does. If a Palestinian complains about anything in this country he becomes an envious jealous prejudiced person. After all this, we expect Palestinians to feel the highest levels of nationalism. This could be a bit difficult especially after the Jordanians chanted for Sharon more than he was chanted for in Tel Aviv; Mohammed Al Durra was insulted here after his funeral by a few days and the right was given to some Jordanians to insult the Queen (Rania Al Abdullah) in a country in which no one dares speak ill of the Royal Family just because of her (Palestinian) origins despite the fact that she represents Jordan internationally.

Some of the blame, he adds, could be because of Palestinians who refuse to blend into Jordanian society and prefer to live apart from it.

و ما يدعو للأسف أيضا رؤية البعض من الأردنيين من أصل فلسطيني ممن لجؤوا إلى الأردن او ولدوا فيه يرفضون اي صلة تربطهم بالاردن وكانهم يشعرون بالإهانة إذا ما نوديوا بالاردنيين وإذا ما خرجوا خارج الوطن ينتهزون أية فرصة للطعن في الأردن كدولة وشعب وكيان لكنهم في الوقت ذاته يطالبون بأن يُعاملوا كأردنيين داخل الأردن. ولا يبخل البعض في اتهام الأردن كلها ببيع القضية وإعطاء فلسطين هدية لليهود ناسين الدم الأردني والمسيرات والاعتقالات واساور الذهب التي يجب ان يفتخر بها أي أردني بأنها ذهبت فداء لفلسطين، أو أنه يصعب لأي فلسطيني أن يجد وطنا عربيا يعامله كمواطن كالاردن او يشعر فيه بأنه ابن البلد كالأردن
What is unfortunate too is seeing some Jordanians of Palestinian origins who are living and have been born in Jordan refusing to foster any links with Jordan as if the association of them being called Jordanians causes them humiliation. When those people go abroad they grasp any opportunity to insult Jordan as a nation as well as its people and entity while at the same time calling for being treated equally in Jordan. Some also don't have problems with accusing Jordan of selling the cause and giving Palestine as a gift to the Jews, ignoring the Jordanian blood, rallies, arrests and golden bracelets which any Jordanian should be proud of and which have all been sacrificed for Palestine. It is also difficult of any Palestinian to find an Arab country which will treat him like a citizen as in Jordan.

Hareega's last words are:

عيش و خلي الناس تعيش
Live and let others live.

6 comments

  • Christian Jordanian

    Dear Ms Al Husseini,

    You are illinformed in what you have written:

    “Jordan, which has witnessed ancient civilisations, was not formed in the way it stands today until 1946 or before that by a very short while.”

    This is sheer ignorance. Besides, you tell me when modern Iraq was formed, and Suadi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE . . . etc.

    What Jordanians do not like about some Palestinians is that they harp on being Palestinians as if it is a shame to embrace Jordan and Jordaniansim. You think yourselves are way better than Jordanians, and that’s funny. Where did most present day Palestinians living in Jordan were born? Where were they brought up and educated? To tell you the truth, we are fed up with this: you either love Jordan or leave it!

  • Dear Christian Jordanian,
    Thank you for showing me my place. I would like to draw your attention that this is a ‘translated’ article which does not express my opinion but that of Jordanian blogger Hareega. The aim of the weekly translations of Arabic language blogs into English is to expose readers to some of the conversations going on in blogs of different languages.

  • tobasi

    Dear All,

    we both Palestinians & Jordanian are the Same, we’ve come from the same family background,
    the only Fact that we cannot ignore is that the Creation of Jordan & Isreal was done due to palestine & thru the british mandate.therefore there was no Jordan except of the River………………………….thank you

  • zeeman

    Yes the deep feelings are there. No one can deny them, but we cannot engage in piblic debate about them. It is not always a “healthy” thing to do, unlike what modern psychiatry tells us. I think that Jordan today faces a new challenge! The IRAQIS over a million of them, depriving us of economic opportunities, spurring a real estate bubble that made every middle class citizen’s dream of owning a home or buy a ‘dunum’ of land virtually impossible, and crowding mecca mall on the weekends. I hate to ADMIT IT, but it IS true. I DO feel that they are heavy unwanted guests. Racist.. yes, perhaps. But I love my country and I feel my country betrayed me. How’s that for raw honesty.

  • salem

    well personally, i don’t really believe in the common origin of jordanians or even arabs, it is well known in history that the region of jordan and palestine had inhabitants of several ethnic groups. for example some original semite arabs , settling crusaders from all over europe, not to mention mediterranean merchants from places like cyprus, malta sicily and genoa. not to mention of course the circassian and armenian immigrants. so in my opinion , we jordanians are the outcome of all these inter-racial marriages. and it is really hard for anyone from this region to trace back his ethnicity.
    the bottom line is there is no need to keep arguing who is the pure jordanian n who isn’t. jordanians now are the ones who have got the jordanian citizenship regardless of origin and they should be treated the same

  • shujaa

    bsaraa7ah lessa laazem tkoni daarsa aktar 3ashaan eseer 3andek bo3d nazar aktar o 5alleke wage3eyaah shwae ente 3am ta3te sorah kteer sooda 3an el ordon wel ordoneyen wa ka2enno el falasteneyeen mala2eka wel ordoneyeen maaklenhom kone aktar mawdo3eyah o 5alleke ejaabeyah ne7med allah 3ala baladna lazem tsaafri barah 3ashan t7esi b geemet baladna . ibn el ordon

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