Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Friday, June 20, 2014

More Sweden in Jordan

For Midsummer's day...

I went to a conference at the Dead Sea, and there was a man from the Swedish Embassy there. I was so happy.

We were making a video about the conference, and so of course, I asked the Swedish man if he wanted to be on the video. He said yes! His part in the video was so nice, especially when he smiled and said 'marhaba' and 'shukren'.

A Jordanian man at the conference mentioned how Sweden helps Jordan all the time. So of course I asked him to be part of the video, too. He talked about environmental projects he is part of, and he wrapped up his bit by repeating on camera all the nice things he'd said about Sweden. It was so nice.

The conference ended. Just my luck, after we spent a week or two editing the footage and making a polished film, or as polished as you get with mobile phones and iMovie, our higher-ups decided to cancel all our efforts. They were afraid our film would generate negative publicity, because the conference had hosted Palestinians, Israelis, and Jordanians. This makes some people very angry. Even though the conference attendees are not working together for an evil purpose, and no one is trying to be traitor to their homeland, still some people got mad.

The theme of the conference was how to live in a region of the world where water is scarce. The conference had lots of workshops where Palestinians, Jordanians, and Israelis were trying to teach each other and learn from each other how to protect water resources.

But because some people got mad, the film was canceled. So no one gets to see the man from the Swedish embassy, nor does anyone get to see the Jordanian man who said nice things about Sweden.

So I thought, okay, I'll write a reflection on the conference. That way I could mention the Swedish Embassy man. And I even mentioned the environmental projects of the Jordanian man, and I wrote all about a Palestinian mayor who has done neat things with rainwater harvesting barrels, home composting, helping farmers use cleaner and cheaper fertilizers, and raising awareness with schools.

I wrote it and now they told me: ah, that's too bad, the conference is now so long ago that we can't post any reflection about it anymore.

Every time I try to do or write anything nice about Sweden, it is always cut down, and if it isn't, no one watches anyways. I don't even know why I bother.

Then, a lady at the office told me to proofread a 60 page long article. I thought, okay, for sure this will be useful and won't be a waste of time. I sat for several hours proof-reading, and got halfway done. Then I noticed the lady was leaving the office. She didn't even come to talk to me! I had to flag her down and ask what to do, because she's said she wanted the editing done that day. She said: fine, finish over the weekend and then send me an email with all the edits.

First of all, how are you supposed to send edits by email for a hard-copy article? How the heck is she supposed to know what the context of the edits are? Besides which, the internet was out at home. So she finally took the half-finished edited article home with her. Otherwise, I suppose all my editing would have been for naught. I wouldn't be surprised if she tosses my edits in the back of her car and forgets about them anyways.

Enough complaining, here's more about Sweden in Jordan:

There is a Palestinian-Jordan man at the office who lived 25 years in Finland and whose kids learned Swedish in school. He still speaks Finnish. I liked that!

The other day, my taxi driver gave me a big, happy smile with crinkly eyes when I said I'm from Sweden, and he said: Sweden is a Heaven, no? He used a word that means Heaven and beautiful all at once.

One time, I actually had a Swedish speaking taxi driver. Well, he just knew "hur mår du?" "måndag," "tisdag," etc, and I think he knew "vad heter du?" You can imagine my shock. He was a Jordanian man who had lived with a Swedish lady in Greece for a couple of years. They spoke English together, but he'd used to hear her talking on the phone to her parents and friends. So now you know: do not impersonate countries that you actually have no clue of, because you never know when the taxi driver will find you out.

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