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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "Freud and the Middle East": Islands of Decency?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Freud and the Middle East," Thomas Friedman concludes:

"In sum, there are so many conflicting dreams and nightmares playing out among our Middle East allies in the war on ISIS that Freud would not have been able to keep them straight. If you listen closely, of those dreams, ours — 'pluralistic democracy' — is not high on the list. We need to protect the islands of decency out here — Jordan, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman — from ISIS, in hopes that their best examples might one day spread. But I am skeptical that our fractious allies, with all their different dreams, can agree on new power-sharing arrangements for Iraq or Syria, even if ISIS is defeated."

"Islands of decency"? An interesting premise. Let's examine the first of the countries listed by Friedman - Jordan.

Created by the British in 1931 for the benefit of the Hashemite King Abdullah, Jordan comprised some 77 percent of the original Palestinian Mandate. Today, some 70 percent of Jordan's population consists of Palestinians, although the country's rulers provide a smaller figure. As stated in a 2012 Gatestone Institute article entitled "Anti-Palestinian Discrimination in Jordan" by Khaled Abu Toameh:

"In a daring and unprecedented move, Jordanian politicians, academics, political activists and media figures have sent a letter to King Abdullah [II] urging him to end discrimination against Jordanians of Palestinian origin.

. . . .

The letter that was sent to him notes that the Jordanian authorities have been revoking the [Jordanian] citizenship of many Palestinians.

The letter reveals that Jordanians of Palestinian origin suffer from discrimination in many walks of life, including when they are held in prison. Discrimination is also employed against Palestinians when they seek to enroll in Jordanian universities, where priority is given to Jordanians with no Palestinian roots.

The letter also expressed concern over King Abdullah's ongoing effort to limit the number of Palestinians in parliament, adding that such a move would be in violation of the constitution."

The rights of women in Jordan? As reported in a 2013 Daily News article entitled "'Honor killing' victim stabbed to death by her brother in Jordan: cops" by Lee Moran:

"A woman was brutally stabbed to death by her own brother for daring to leave her house alone, police in Jordan said.

Her throat was slit, and she was knifed more than 20 times in the horrific 'honor killing' reportedly carried out "to cleanse the family honor."

Cops say the victim, 20, was murdered at her Duleil home on Sunday before being dumped on waste ground some 500 yards away.

The alleged 25-year-old killer, who has not been named, reportedly flew into a rage because his sister spent 'too little time at home.'"

In Jordan, the law effectively exonerates those who perpetrate honor killings.

Jordan, according to Friedman, is an "island of decency"? Yeah, right.




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