Author Archives: Peter Speetjens

A man of change?

A man of change?

King Abdullah of Jordan continues to rule in all shapes and sizes. The country is filled with images of Abdullah as a pilot, student, family man and Bedouin. In Amman, there is even one poster of him cheering in a football jersey next to the smiling face of Ronaldo. The message is clear. King Abdullah

Juggling discontent in Jordan

Jordan likes to promote itself as an island of stability in a region in turmoil, and in 2011 the country largely lived up to that reputation. While elsewhere the winds of change shook or toppled one regime after another, Jordan’s King Abdullah II managed to weather the storm and today sits as firmly as ever

“We are the 99 percent”

Occupy Wall Street and the Egyptian uprising have more in common than it may seem, and surely much more than Washington wished for. Egypt seems a la mode in New York. For example, the protests were partly inspired by Adbusters magazine, which in July encouraged its readers to flood Manhattan with the battle cry: “Are

Commemoration and conformity

Perhaps, if on another planet, one may have missed the 10-year anniversary of the day when September 11 became “9/11”. Virtually every self-respecting media outlet in the world dedicated time and space to the terrorist attack which, among other things, saw two planes torpedo New York’s Twin Towers. Television channels repeated the explosion again and

Israel’s eroding democracy

One of the inherent ironies of a proper democracy is that a parliamentary majority can vote to temper or even topple the tenets upon which a country’s democratic qualities are founded. In that sense, no one can disagree that Israel is a true democracy. On July 11, the Knesset passed a Boycott Law, which penalizes

Bob, the bane of Bahrain

If silence is golden then Bahrain would have been basking in fortune if it were not for the scandalous commentaries of Robert Fisk. In a May 14 piece for The Independent, the award-winning British journalist shamed both politicians and media for not speaking out against the violence employed by Bahrain’s ruling al-Khalifa family to suppress

The great nuclear silence

Obsessed with all things ‘now’ and ‘today’, the media are distinguished by a hopelessly short memory. Yesterday is ages ago, and anything that occurred last month might as well have happened in 1837, or not at all. When the news is no longer new the circus leaves town and a deep silence sets in. This

No queen for the tribes

    These are not the easiest of days for Jordan‘s King Abdullah II. The “Arab Spring” has reached Amman and is putting his throne under pressure from two sides. Every Friday, which has been dubbed the national “day of rage,” thousands of leftists and Islamists of mainly Palestinian descent take to the streets to

Big Oil’s polluted profits

    The mainstream media reported it rather matter-of-factly, no questions asked: Due to the soaring oil price, the world’s leading energy firms in 2010 recorded sky-rocketing profits. Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and Shell, for example, reported annual profits of $30.5 billion, $19 billion and $18.6billion respectively. BP would normally also rank among the big rollers, but

Democracy going to the dogs

  Israel is often heralded as the only democracy in the Middle East, which unfortunately says more about the deplorable state of people power in the region than about the liberal character of the Jewish state. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 2010Democracy Index, there are worldwide only 26 “full democracies.” Defined as a