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Jordan Culture and Mass Media

Culture

When the British began to withdraw from what was then Transjordan in the 1920s to 1940s, the national Jordanian culture came to life again. In the literature, lyric in particular came to play an important role, with poet Heidar Mahmoud, among others.

Among the strongest poets are Radi Saddouq and Samira al-Khatib, who are Israel-critical in their poems and express grief over the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Traditional art and music are part of the general Arab-Islamic cultural heritage. Nowadays, Jordanian music has taken the impression of Western influences, but in the Bedouin communities it is still possible to experience a lonely belly dancer, accompanied by traditional monotonous male song.

  • Countryaah: Latest population statistics of Jordan, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.

Several places in Jordan have been classified as a World Heritage by the UN organization Unesco. Most famous is the rock city of Petra, which is also a major tourist destination. Wadi Ramm (often spelled Wadi Rum) is a striking desert area in sandstone and granite used, among other things, for filming, for example the British "Laurence of Arabia" (1962). On UNESCO's waiting list are a number of archaeological sites, including the city of Jerash north of Amman, where there are ruins from both Roman and Greek times.

  • Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Jordan. Artists and albums are also included.

Culture of Jordan2020

June

Pandemic rules are eased

June 4th

Most restrictions imposed to limit the spread of covid-19 viral disease will be lifted on June 6, the government announces. Mosques, churches and restaurants are open as well as almost all business activities. Domestic travelers are allowed. Instructions for keeping physical distance and closing schools, cinemas and air traffic to and from abroad continue to apply. Only nine deaths have been confirmed in Jordan, and the number of new cases of infection per day is down to about that level.

May

Stronger warning to Israel

May 21

Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz warns that "all aspects" of Jordan's relations with Israel may be reconsidered if the newly-appointed Israeli government takes seriously its plans for annexing land on the West Bank after July 1. He accuses Israel of using the global corona pandemic to carry out "unilateral measures on the ground". Jordan's 1994 peace agreement with Israel has long been questioned, especially by Jordanians who are of Palestinian origin.

Extended crisis support from the IMF

May 20

The IMF notes that Jordan's crisis has deepened since the fund approved emergency loans to combat the corona crisis (see March 25). At the same time as the IMF commends Jordan for swift action on the spread of infection, the country is now getting the sign of another $ 396 million.

Royal anger against Israel's plans

15th of May

King Abdullah reacts sharply to Israel's new government plans to annex large parts of the occupied land on the West Bank. An agreement between the parties forming the unifying government states that annexation can take place after July 1, 2020. In an interview published by German news magazine Der Spiegel, the king says it would lead to a "massive conflict". In addition to Egypt, Jordan is the only Arab country to have a peace agreement with Israel. The Regent does not clarify whether Jordan would be ready to tear up the deal. The West Bank was ruled by Jordan for nearly 20 years and the king of the country was given an important role also in Israel's peace process with the Palestinians in the 1990s: as guardian of the holy sites in Jerusalem.

April

Israel leaves border border

April 30th

Israeli farmers leave the Ghumar enclave in Jordan (Tsofar in Hebrew) after a land lease agreement from the 1990s expired. In connection with the peace between the two countries in 1994, Israel was allowed to lease two previously occupied Jordanian border areas. The King of Jordan announced in 2018 that the rent would not be extended. The second Baqura enclave was evacuated by Israel in the fall of 2019 (see October 21, 2018 and November 10, 2019).

March

Clear sign of crisis package from the IMF

March 25th

The IMF approves a planned aid package for Jordan (see January 30). It is a four-year loan program that includes $ 1.3 billion, of which $ 140 million will be paid out immediately. The need for money has increased as a result of the spread of coronavirus, the fund notes.

Freedom of movement is restricted in the fight against viruses

March 20

Curfew is introduced with reference to the risk that the coronavirus pandemic will take hold in Jordan. Anyone who switches to the ban, which applies both day and night, risks one year in prison. Opening hours for stores are limited. The government has set up a system for home deliveries of supplies in collaboration between municipalities and transport companies in order to prevent citizens from avoiding public outcry. Already three days after the curfew was introduced, authorities state that 880 people have broken the ban. 112 cases of covid-19 disease have been confirmed, and no deaths are known.

February

Qatar promises jobs and pension money

February 23

Qatar's Head of State Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visits Jordan and promises 10,000 jobs for Jordanians in Qatar "in addition to as many as promised in 2018", according to the state news agency QNA. Almost every fifth Jordanian is unemployed and 15 percent are estimated to live in poverty. King Abdullah's visit is seen as a sign that relations have improved since Jordan cut its diplomatic presence when neighboring countries boycotted Qatar in 2017. Qatar also promises to contribute $ 30 million to pensions for Jordan's military personnel.

Tunnels under Old Jerusalem

February 17th

The Israeli Ministry of Transport announces that a new railway line has been approved for the high-speed train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The site is located in the central city, which Israel entered into war in 1967. Next to it are also Muslim and Christian shrines. Jordan, whose king has a role as the supreme protector of the holy places, condemns the plans.

January

Agreement on support loans from the IMF

30th of January

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Jordanian government have agreed on the terms of a four-year support package worth $ 1.3 billion to stabilize the Jordanian economy. The loans require Jordan to take a number of measures, including reducing government subsidies to the public so that they are only paid to households that really need them and to create a more favorable investment climate, for example through lower electricity costs for businesses. Priority is given to measures to get young people into work. According to forecasters, the Jordanian economy will grow by 2.1 percent in 2020.

Protests against gas deals with Israel

January 19

Parliament votes to stop purchases of natural gas from Israel. Imports have begun very recently, in connection with Israel's use of the Leviathan gas field. Both Egypt and Jordan have signed a 15-year agreement with Israel, but in Jordan the agreement has led to street protests. Although the country made peace with Israel in the 1990s, many see Israel as a hostile nation, especially as the occupation of Palestinian land continues. (Before Israel entered the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, the territories had Jordanian supremacy.) The bill that Parliament voted for must also be approved by the government in order to take effect. Jordan, which is poor in resources, imports 98 percent of its energy needs.

 

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