Beware the social swirl

You may say I think a lot about anything, when you read this, you might criticise my inability to see ‘humour’, or my complete lack of understanding of how the world functions. But when I see something that should be addressed, thought about and discussed, I cannot really help it. This piece is to discuss the footage, which went viral (compared to other videos released by the same channel) during the Eid holiday. The footage drowned my Facebook timeline; twitter was filled with ‘quotations’ and jokes about it, and was shared more than 200 times when a random guy published it. I read some of the comments before clicking on play, and the amount of mockery and bullying was so intense that I was intrigued to see what made my society so happy and so smiling!

A young male, probably in his late teens or early twenties, rocking a specific hair style and wearing a unique outfit (its Eid!!!), looks very simple and genuinely happy, was expressing how thrilled he is to be in “Abdoun” (he lives in Madaba) and that he was just with the person he loves, while pointing to a red bag that he said was a gift from his girlfriend. That is it. Yes, you heard me. The hundreds of comments were directed at him, and why? Because he was happy. There may be a dozen of issues, which would provoke any reasonable thinker as to why the whole footage and the comments are controversial. I will discuss, and pose questions I have no answers to, to two of them: The invisible social disaster that is ruling our communities and cyber bullying.

If you reside in Amman, you’ll be aware that Abdoun has been for a while now stereotypically known as ‘the’ place for the youth. With restaurants, coffee shops, game arcades and a shopping mall, the area is designed to be a destination for those who want to hangout. It is also known that it is not cheap. One needs a 10JD budget to only sit in a coffee shop and drink something (yes Amman is becoming that expensive). Hence, Abdoun started to be identified as the place to spend Thursday nights (the chaotic traffic would serve as evidence). Beware I am not trying to encourage stereotypes; I am just trying to make a point while explaining to you what Abdoun has transitioned to in the eyes of a Jordanian. This young man seems to be especially happy to be there, just enjoying his time with friends and family. However, some people found it appropriate to comment ‘is this the people who go to Abdoun?’ ‘ha-ha look at that hairstyle, he did it only because he is in Western Amman’. OK. So, just because someone is wearing a specific thing, or doing his/her hair in a way that you do not find ‘suitable’ to your standards does not really mean that he is trying to fit in ANYWHERE. Putting hair gel, leaving your hair long, short or whatever should not dictate the places you belong to. Seeing his ‘girlfriend’, or “AlHabeebe” as he called her, does not also make him desperate or allows you to backlash his every word. It saddens me that the people who mocked this, did not even come close to cruelly commenting on the guy who sexually assaulted a female, or the criminal who raped and married a young girl. The young man, probably reading your comments now, is a joke because he loves someone? Since when is that a place of mockery? Or is it because he did not do it in a way, which was ‘modern’, or fit into the picture the Westerns drew for us when it comes to love? I have seen videos of American/British/European men expressing their love and affection for their significant others, but I have not seen you commenting with such hate and cruelty on it.

I don’t know what the guy was feeling, does he see Abdoun as the place you need to be to fit into these stereotypical roles that define who is cool or not? If yes, then I blame the government, schools and us. We have widened the gap between Amman, Western Amman in specific, and other areas around Jordan. The relationship of both people here, there and everywhere is going backwards, and as we keep neglecting the issue, it will increase and eventually sabotage the whole construction of our society.

This is cyber bulling at its worst form. Imagine him reading your comments; is it really necessary that you spread your mocking laughs? Can’t you laugh within you? There should be laws to regulate this behaviour, because as I know it, your freedom to speak/judge stops when it overlaps with someone else’s right to a dignified life. The responses on the video may cause serious implications on the lives involved.

I personally salute him; he looks to me as sentimentally honest and proud that he is in love. Such a unique person in a society that is growing to prefer hate and violence to love and acceptance!

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One thought on “Beware the social swirl

  1. This is such a minefield in MENA countries.Well done to you for addressing this sensitive subject as usual you have thought deeply before putting pen to paper (or tapping the keyboard) I enjoy reading you blogs emensely. Shukran

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