Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Speaking of the Arab awakening, when are we going to wake up?

Nariman works in business development in Jordan and is on a mission to a gulf country. Throughout her trip, she would complain about the number Indians there were, and how it is difficult to understand them (once to an Indian expecting empathy), or how everything smells when they're around. At some point, she just blurts out "Look. I can't stand them. OK?" In one of the business meetings she had with a local, she started asking about the reasons for the competitive edge some companies have over others and then deduced "Yeah it's maybe cause they have so many Indians". The local business owner said "But we all employ many Indian engineers. You know they get paid more than Arabs. They don't need to come here, there's a boom in their country."

You'd expect Nariman to have been shocked to the core by this piece of info. But no. She made a derogatory remark and brushed it off. We are Arabs. Of course we are better.

True story.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The debate of the decade

Something interesting is happening in Jordan. People want to discuss issues, and they are finding more and more forums to do so. A few weeks ago, I attended two such events. The first was the "Debate on Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy" organized by Edama and held on the 28th of June at the Landmark Hotel. The second was a lecture by Minister of Energy Khaled Touqan on "Nuclear Energy" at Shoman Cultural Center on July 4, which was followed by questions from the audience. I have to be honest that until then, I had not formed a definitive position on nuclear energy and it was in that frame of mind that I attended both debates, hoping to come out leaning one way or the other.