Obama and McCain Through Jordanian Eyes

Writing for 7iber, Jordanian Rana Sweis goes to downtown Amman asking people their views about the Democratic candidate Barack Obama. In the post titled Jordanians Weigh In On Obama’s Candidacy, she writes:

On a bustling street in downtown Amman, Farah Al Sayyad, 24, stares at a magazine showing American democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama walking up a flight of stairs while gazing at the sky.

“For me it’s not about if he will be good or great,” she says. “It’s about not doing something negative to us, like waging another war in the region.”

Suddenly her friend Eman Buraile, 23, turns around. “Wake up, Farah!” she interrupts. “I don’t really know who Obama is, but they are all the same.”

The Democratic candidate shocked many Arabs in a speech to AIPAC, a pro-Israeli lobby, in which he promised his full support to Israel. Obama also called Jerusalem the “undivided capital” of Israel. He later clarified his comments, saying it was up to both Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate any final settlement.

Others are simply not paying attention. They are concerned with the notion that meat and chicken prices have risen 30 percent in less than a year, this in a country where 14 percent of its citizens already live under the poverty line, according to official estimates.

“Poor people in the Middle East don’t care about Obama’s character, all they are concerned about is someone saving them from their misery,” says Ahmad Al Hindawi, one of the founders of We Are All Jordan Youth Commission, an initiative launched by HM King Abdullah two years ago to enhance young people’s role in socio-economic and political plans. “I don’t blame them for tuning out on the details of American elections because they are busy struggling to put food on the table.”

Naseem Tarawneh stayed up late on October 7th to watch the second presidential debate, as it was live at 4:00am Jordan local time. He had this to say about it :

Already behind in the polls, I think McCain put up a pretty good fight and kept Obama constantly on the defensive. He did nothing short of pour lighter fluid on him, yet, Obama kept his cool, which is also telling. When he wasn’t wasting most of his allotted time defending himself, Obama was able to get his solutions across more clearly than McCain who spent most of the time pointing to his record in an attempt to demonstrate the contrast of the two candidates (a strategy that isn’t so bad with the undecided votes up for grab one month out). However, if the last debates demonstrated anything, I’m not so sure political aggression is the best way to score points with either the undecideds or the general electorate sitting at home.

Most interesting question of the night: how would each candidate react to Iran attacking Israel? Would they wait for a UN resolution? More dancing around the answer but I think the beneath the rhetoric and campaign poetry there was a “no” to that last question. For me, it conjured up the ancient old wondering of whether the average American voter has actually thought about why Israel is so important in the first place?

More on Nassem's opinion here.

And Fares (Hareega), directs his criticism towards the undecided voters in the US:

There is a bunch of Americans who claim to be still undecided who they want to vote for. Every election this group of attention-seeking morons with subnormal IQs emerge claiming to be still thinking who should they vote for. This long campaign has been going on for more than one year. There's nothing the two candidates will say, I guarantee you, in the next 30 days that they haven't already said a million times before. Those idiots who are still thinking should stay home on election day and watch re-runs of some reality show.

More on Fares’ opinion here.

1 comment

  • Before we in the US make a choice we may regret for the next four years, the accusations against Barack Obama should be carefully considered, as they are here.

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