December 11, 2004: Headlines: COS - Jordan: Internet: Blogs - Jordan: Personal Web Site: Ryan in Jordan

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Jordan: Peace Corps Jordan : The Peace Corps in Jordan: December 11, 2004: Headlines: COS - Jordan: Internet: Blogs - Jordan: Personal Web Site: Ryan in Jordan

By Admin1 (admin) ( on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 12:10 pm: Edit Post

Ryan in Jordan

Ryan in Jordan

Ryan in Jordan

Reading Material to Date

So, I thought you would all find it funny to know how much I have read! Not having a TV has definitely been a big improvement in my life. My village doesn't understand it much cause ALL they do is watch TV, but I have enjoyed my reading (plus, all TV is in Arabic anyway).

So, here is a list of what I have read so far... smile

The Watchers- Dean Koontz

Tick Tock - Dean Koontz

The Face - Dean Koontz

Hideaway - Dean Koontz

Shadowfires - Dean Koontz

A Case of Need- Michael Crichton

Riding the bus with my sister

Series of Unfortunate events- Lemony Snicket

Serious of Unfortunate Events #2- Lemony Snicket

The Five People you Meet In Heaven- Mitch Albom

Digital Fortress- Dan Brown

Angels and Demons- Dan Brown

Kiss the Girls- James Patterson

Along Came a Spider- James Patterson

Rising Son- Michael Crichton

Poisonwood Bible- Barbara Kingslover

M is for Malice- Sue Grafton

Lightning- Dean Koontz

Outbreak- Robin Cook

Veronika Decides to Die- Paul Coelho

Atlas Shrugged- Ayn Rand

The Cider House Rules- John Irving

Good Wives- Louisa May Alcott

My Life (abridged)- Bill Clinton (audiobook)

Airframe (unabridged) - Michael Crichton (audiobook)

Its not about the bike- Lance Armstrong

Deception Point- Dan Brown (audiobook)

Insomnia- Stephen King

Round Ireland with a Fridge- Tony Hawks

Dancing on my Grave- Gelsey Kirkland

Not without My Daughter- Betty Mahmoody

Rule of Four- Ian Caldwell (audiobook)

House of Sand and Fog- Andre Dubois III

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime- Mark Haddon (audiobook)

Understanding Arabs- Margaret K. Nydell

Angels Flight- Michael Connoly

Pop Goes the Weasel- James Patterson

Time Travelers Wife- Audry Nefenneger (audiobook)

posted by Ryan | 2:05 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Middle East Information


This morning was pretty eventful. I had to take the bus to Ma'an to pick up a package of christmas gifts from mom. Ma'an is a fairly conservative town and they do not post volunteers because of it. So I was a bit nervous, dressed as conservatively as possible, and trekked out.

I arrived at the post office where everyone not only welcomed me, but knew the volunteer in Shobak by name, the other volunteer Josh in Rajef, and the volunteer who had lived in my village 3 years ago and asked how all of them were.

Then we went to customs where, although I didn't have to pay duties, they wanted me to unwrap all my christmas gifts. I told them they were for christmas and they settled with just having me describe everything on the customs list (so much for a surprise... smile... but I still wont open them till christmas).

Then I sat down and, while waiting for the return taxi, had chai (tea) will all the men who work in customs. Very nice individuals.

So, now this brings me to the point of this message. I have heard from several friends that, flamed by all the news reports in the states, have a very negative image of Muslims. So, I am going to attempt to clarify a bit.

First, not all people that live in the middle east are Muslim. True, a majority are, but not all. The nationality is Arab, the religion is Muslim. So just as there are American Christians, American Jews, American Buddhists, etc.

Muslims, by definition of faith, are a very passive people. There are two types of Muslims, Shiite's and Sunni's and, while not totally clear on the differences, it has to do with following leaders who are direct descendants of Mohammed or leaders who are not.

Now, the violence stems (in my opinion only) from several reasons. First, just like there are extremists in the United States (KKK members who kill are Christian after all... but they do not represent a majority) there are extremists in every group. Many in the middle east do not support their actions.

Secondly you have to remember that, compared to the united states, the middle east is a relatively poor country. Yes, they have oil but considering there is not democracy like we know it, the money is controlled by the very few sometimes legally, sometimes not. So there is an extreme frustration in things like lack of jobs, funds, education, etc. Desparate times sometimes produce desparate actions.

To give you an example of finances. I get the equivilent of $200 per month. That is actually more than many people in my village have. And I am just supporting myself while often $150-$200 month goes to support a family of 5! I think any of us would feel a bit frusterated of that after years and years.

I hope that this comes across as a bit of education. While I am here in Jordan, I do a lot of explaining. Recently the discussion has been why soldiers are killing people in Iraq. I have mentioned that just as the army here is controlled by the King, if the king told the Jordanian soldiers to do somthing, they could not say no even if they disagreed. I explained this to the people in my village who had, until then, been blaming the soldiers for many deaths. I explained that the soldiers were, in essence, children and that they often joined the army for many different reasons. My village is taking time processing this but I hope to have succeeded in changing them from being against the "soldiers" that they see on television, to being against the policies of the war (if they disagree).

Likewise, I hope that this will help educate people back home about the differences between militants, Muslim's, and Arabs.... feel free to email me any questions.

When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.
Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes
Take our new poll. NPCA members begin voting this week on bylaw changes to streamline NPCA's Board of Directors. NPCA Chair Ken Hill, the President's Forum and other RPCVs endorse the changes. Mail in your ballot or vote online (after Dec 1), then see on how RPCVs are voting.
Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.
Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers
The Kerry campaign wants the RPCV vote. Read our interview with Dave Magnani, Massachusetts State Senator and Founder of "RPCVs for Kerry," and his answers to our questions about Kerry's plan to triple the size of the Peace Corps, should the next PC Director be an RPCV, and Safety and Security issues. Then read the "RPCVs for Kerry" statement of support and statements by Dr. Robert Pastor, Ambassador Parker Borg, and Paul Oostburg Sanz made at the "RPCVs for Kerry" Press Conference.

RPCV Carl Pope says the key to winning this election is not swaying undecided voters, but persuading those already willing to vote for your candidate to actually go to the polls.

Take our poll and tell us what you are doing to support your candidate.

Finally read our wrap-up of the eight RPCVs in Senate and House races around the country and where the candidates are in their races.
Director Gaddi Vasquez:  The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

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