Is it the absolute death of freedom of speech and expression in Jordan?

The headline might imply that there was freedom of speech in Jordan to begin with.

There never was complete freedom and you would be in denial to think that you have/had freedom of speech.

Self censorship is so ingrained in us Jordanians that we don’t even notice it anymore.

 Take the Jordanian blogspehre as an example; there is a chronic case of self censorship where bloggers are not really voicing their full opinions about the government in fear of government retaliation, a prime example is the removal of Abu Shreeks blog from the biggest Jordanian aggregator.

Instead of being able to practice freedom of speech freely on blogs or online media outlets you see Jordanians only commenting anonymously as the only way to be heard and not be hurt.

So what can we do to be heard? What can we do to stop the government from going down a slippery slope that is only going to lead to more oppression and to even less freedom of speech? Why is the government so worried about self image abroad? If you do your job like you should in the first place then you need not worry.

Who will hold the government accountable if people continue to be silenced?

I think that the more people practice freedom of speech the harder it’s going to be for the government to silence them. If one person practiced freedom of speech it is easy to silence him/her, if more people did, it will become more and more difficult for the voices to be silenced.

Shutting up one hundred voices is not like Shutting up one.

Speak up, express yourself and point a wrong if you see one. Don’t stay silent and say, I don’t care, it does not affect me. IT DOES affect you, you improve your country if not for you maybe for your children and their children.

When some people speak up their minds and criticize the government you benefit.

The bottom line is even if they choose to monitor and eventually shut up some voices, it will lead to more angry voices that are not in the reach of the hands of the government.

It is truly a sad day.


Some qoutes In support of free speech

  • “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing as S. G. Tallentyre in 1906 (commonly attributed to Voltaire, of whom Hall wrote a biography).
  • “…if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.” John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859).
  • “In a free state, tongues too should be free.” Erasmus, The Education of a Christian Prince (1516).  
  • “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell, Preface to Animal Farm (1946)
  • Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.” Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992).
  • “I have fought censorship all of my adult life. To me, the most precious of all rights in this marvelous country called the United States of America is the freedom to think, write and say whatever is on your mind… That freedom also extends to thoughts that are stupid, ignorant or incendiary. No one needs a First Amendment to write about how cute newborn babies are or to publish a recipe for strawberry shortcake. Nobody needs a First Amendment for innocuous or popular points of view. That’s point one. Point two is that the majority-you and I-must always protect the right of a minority-even a minority of one-to express the most outrageous and offensive ideas. Only then is total freedom of expression guaranteed.” Lyle Stuart in his introduction to The Turner Diaries
  • “The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish.” Robert H. Jackson
  • “The principle of free thought is not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate.” US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in United States v. Schwimmer (1929).
  • “He wrote something stupid, a bunch of words that say something we don’t agree with. It’s only words and ideas, it’s not like he beat someone up, he’s not committing violence or hurting people, he’s simply saying something offensive that we do not want to hear because we don’t like it. If we suppress ideas we don’t like, the proponents of those ideas will probably fester in secret societies and explode in double-plus ungood ways and we will like those results even less. If we allow people to see their ideas, and we ignore them, they’ve had their chance and they don’t have to feel cheated about not getting exposure. Or if we really don’t like their ideas and really need to keep them from convincing other people to believe in them, the answer is to tell people why and they’ll learn. But you can’t just beat people up because you dislike their stupid opinion. If we go that route, then anyone who is willing to use force can suppress any opinion they don’t like, and maybe support opinions we don’t like. Then what you get is a society of brutality where it isn’t the best ideas that are seen by others, it’s only the ideas that have the most vicious thugs to back them up. And it becomes very hard for people to be willing to express any opinion if someone can just pop them one because they say something someone else doesn’t like.” – Supervisor 246 in Paul Robinson’s Instrument of God.

11 Responses

  1. ِAnd you know what, we have a ministry named “The Ministry of Political Development”. weird, no?

    I think this is your first political post, and when, after limiting our freedom. weird too, no? 😉

  2. You know the pressure cooker, right? You know that what keeps it from exploding is that small hole that lets some of the pressure get out, if that hole gets jammed, you will have a period of slience and false calm, while actually the pressure is building inside. But at the end there will be an explosion.

    History can’t lie, and karma is a bitch.

    Yalla salam! Oh before I go, lets give it some hashmi hashmi..


  3. 7aki…you are my blogofriend and I like you and I’ve been in agreement with you

    till now…

    let’s face it… You live in Canada so no matter what you say about Government of Jordan, you’ll never be held liable.

    and I think that’s why you don’t care much like the local jordanian bloggers.

    Sorry for twisting your arm there. I know you were expecting someone to point that out but maybe from Mr. annonymous. 😛

    yalla I’ll let you and the other jordanian bloggers and 7aki fans assault me with their bashing.


  4. Hamza: Yes I live in Canada but I am a Jordanian too.

    You are not twisting my arm Hamza, what you’re saying is true, it makes it easier for me to express my opinion because:

    a) I live in Canada which makes it even more important for me to speak since I can’t be silenced.
    b) I am anonymous myself.

    The Jordanian people have to start working hard for freedom because freedom IS NOT FREE. You have to earn it and work hard to achieve it.

    Again, if all Jordanians speak it will be harder to silence them the problem is that people are afraid to unite and do something.

  5. Ahmad: kulloh wala il freedom, for real, this is one of the issues that makes me tick, we will never get anywhere if we don’t have freedom of speech

    muhannad: This is what I am saying, you silence the people and all they do is they join secret organizations that in most cases does more harm than good.

    It is better and safer for everyone that opposition be heard and be legal

    Karma IS a bitch.

    and lol at hashmi hashmi, wallah shar al balyaet ma yod7ek.

  6. Salam 7aki

    The thing is with the term “free speech” is that it is an abstract concept and its interpretation depends on the culture and society. Our form of free speech is different from those of Americans and there is even a difference in the term across generations of the same culture.

    With that in mind, you can’t always express yourself without eventually hurting someone in the process. If the government gets pissed off, it will hold your responsible and then would imprison you like what happened with numerous bloggers before.

    You are in a better position of course because you are Canadian, and therefore you can express your free speech in Canadian terminology and be shielded from the rest of the world.

    Everyone likes to voice their opinion but it is always the fear of the government that keeps everyone silent. Fear of propaganda, revolutions and given the political situation in the Middle East, governments don’t like to take chances.

  7. Well said 7aki!

    If we all refused to shut up, they can’t stop us.

    So here we go, we have a cause

    and all seem to be ready to fight for it

  8. ok..masheee mashee 😛

  9. Well that goes to show that the government have come to realize the influence of online media as opposed to our traditional and usual media outlets.

    Online news services are lenient towards the articles sent by journalists or contributors and blogs have no boundaries. All that puts pressure on the authorities who want criticism to be limited to the archaic methods.

  10. nice look, the best of all. but do you change the layout seasonally? ya3ne moving from yellowish green to white is like moving from autamn to winter. is it winter in Canada now? only snakes and you change colors this often 🙂

  11. KJ: But this is the problem, people fearing the government.
    When will the government realise that most people are trying to criticise not to cause a revolution but to enhance basic services the people are entitled for?
    If I stand up and say this minister is corrupt or this hospital is crap how am I causing instability or a revolution?
    We speak up to improve our country.

    who-sane: Yes, the less exposure the better for them.

    Ozz: Well I don’t change it seasonally , I change depending on my mood. That green background was my worst I have to say, every time I looked at it I totally blanked.
    And hey, I like snakes 😛 , I am at this moment wearing a snake leather watch…heehhe
    Thanks for liking the new look 😀

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