The Atlantic Interview

The unspeakable has happened, an interviewer went rouge and published a series of attacks by King Abdullah on so many fronts that for a few seconds, I checked to see if April's fools day came earlier this year.

The series of interviews published by The Atlantic have echoed through all the political scene in Jordan. His attacks have ranged from attacking his own family to attacking Assad, Erdogan and Morsi. He attacked his own GID better know as mokhabarat. He said they conspired to keep west bankers from being represented. He diverged to the loyal tribes of east bankers, the term dinosaur was used to refer to tribal elders and it already caused a mass wave of social media comedy and contention.

The most affluent and well-to-do were also served a dishing when he attacked residents of West-Amman -where he and I both live- and said they spread rumors to undermine him. The Muslim brotherhood was also in the cross-hairs, he even went as far as saying that he was for constitutional democracy, as long as didn't hand over power to people who will do the duty of swearing on the Quran but will internally have ulterior motives.

This argument is very disturbing because the westernized soldier-made-king believes that he can judge the intentions of the people and not their words and sayings. He was also worried about his blood pressure -ask Rania- when he keeps changing governments, it goes through the roof. Well, I have a solution, let the people decide and you can keep your blood pressure under check.

He managed to also give the population the recipe for change, he said Hashemites won't shoot their people and if half the population were to swarm to the streets, he would leave. I say someone pretty soon is going to call his bluff, but that's just me.

I believe the interviewer did a fine job of presenting an uncensored interview. He came later on record to tell us that he has tapes of all these instances and that the Royal Court can't just shrug off the interviews.

Thanks for giving me an interesting birthday!


Smoke Away!

Jordan is the only country I know that voluntarily reduces duty on cigarettes. Recently, lobbyists for the tobacco industry sat with government officials to reduce duty on cigarettes, citing REDUCED SALES as a reason to get government  to agree.

The ploy used by tobacco lobbyists used is to presume that trafficking of illegal, not taxed cigarettes is main reason why the sales dropped. They even had figures on hand to cite for the officials about how much trafficking was going on.

I believe if the problem is so statistically provable then either there is corruption on the border control customs teams, or maybe the tobacco factories or importers themselves know they are selling behind the backs of the customs which is more probable in my eyes.

If, however, there is a genuine drop in sales of tobacco, not just the taxed or tariffed packs then the long term results in reduced costs of medical care and productivity of the general populace will out-way the cost of lower revenue. This government is however obsessed with raising the revenue that they will buy anything private sector will feed them.

The pack of the major best-selling brand is now at 1.40 JOD which is almost exactly 2.00 USD, that should teach more kids to smoke and make it even harder to quit for those who want to. Financial cost has been proven to be a major way to allow people to cut down on their habit. I have a feeling that since smoking is a revenue generator, officials are quick to dismiss way to make it harder for people to start smoking or to quit.

P.S. I am a smoker but I want the general good not just saving 10 JOD a month on my smoking bill.

Happy Trails,


Trip down memory lane (1)

I have spent a great deal of my free time trying to explore new areas while travelling, yet I haven't found a land so underutilized as Jordan's nature reserves. At the risk of repeating myself, RSCN do a fine job of maintaining Jordan's reserves, while Wild Jordan -their business arm- maintain a number of facilities where people can stay and enjoy those reserves.
Jordan has maintained that it has the largest percentage of any country dedicated as nature reserves (4%) and I wouldn't argue. I was looking through my digital photo album and found these amazing pictures taken on site in Azraq Nature Reserve.

Many people won't believe these locations are in Jordan, but I was there and I enjoyed it I will be talking about these trips further here on my website. Till then feel free to explore their website and book a stay at one of their many sites.

Happy Trails,