On June 25, 2012 more than 200 people created a human chain in the streets of Amman to raise awareness for some of the most controversial women's rights issues in Jordan. They held signs protesting against issues such as harassment, crimes in the name of honor, the “rape-marriage” law, and citizenship discrimination.
The “human chain” of protesters – male and female, old and young – was seen to be a success by many, who felt that an outcry about the discrimination of women in Jordanian society was long overdue. However, the reaction by readers of news websites in the following days reflected how unprepared Jordan was for this type of protest.
A similar protest took place in Cairo some weeks later.
These are some the slogans on signs held by protesters (translations and all images by Roba Al-Assi from the And Far Away blog, under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0):
Reactions from those who saw the protest were mixed. Many drivers laughed, heckled, or harassed the demonstrators. “Go home!” was a common call.
Some of those who saw or heard about the protest went online in the following days to discuss how disappointed and ashamed they were. Comments ranged from how they felt that the demonstration was a disgrace to Islam, to how they felt the dress of many of the protesters was unacceptable (as many of the women were unveiled).
Below are some of the comments posted on a story about the protest on Ammon News, a local news website.
Commenter “R” (June 25):
البسوا و استروا حالكم الي بتلبس البنطلون بالكرته يعني…. بتخاف على حالها تسمع كلمه ؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟
و الشباب الي طالعين معهم حرام فيهم …
الي بتلبس شفاف أو ضيق أو بدي الله لا يردها و بتستاهل
و الحق على أهلها …
Commenter “مستغرب من هالاعتصام” [Surprised by this protest] (June 26):
روحوا اتفقهوا بدينكم صح
بعدين اطلعوا واعتصموا
امة تركت دينها وركضت وراء شهواتها ضحك عليكم ابليس
والله هذا الاعتصام حجة عليكم والله انكم ظلمتم انفسكم
ناس فارغة وبدها تلفت نظر
The lack of awareness.
Go learn about your religion correctly and then go out on protests. A community which has left its religion and chased after pleasures is one which has been tricked by Satan. This protest will be taken against you. You have done injustice to yourselves. You have no cause and just wanted to draw attention. You are a lost generation.
Commenter “Roba” (June 26):
Commenter “مساكين” [Poor things] (June 27):
Commenter “أردني غترب” [Jordanian Expatriate] (June 25):