Letting Us Down


Tourists in Petra

Tourists in Petra

This is a response to an editorial published in the Jordan Times newspaper by a tourist who recently visited Jordan.

Dear A.H. Ekker,

First of all, thank you for sharing your opinion. I specifically appreciate the token “in Jordan people are very friendly and hospitable” as a introduction to your critique of exactly how Jordanian are not friendly and not hospitable.

Thanks for coming to our country and spending your valuable Euros in our hotels, tourist sites, and restaurants. We appreciate the financial support, especially during these difficult financial times.

Jordanians and Arabs in general are some of the most welcoming people in the world. Guests are treated as royalty. But there is a point when your welcome is over.

As for the rudeness, foul stench, and donkey races, we are very sorry that your experience wasn’t that of the other 100 sites you’ve been to. We sincerely apologize for ruining your Oriental view of Arabs, and their ability to entertain guests. We are sorry it didn’t live up to that article you read in some travel magazine about a Bedouin butchering a lamb in your honor as you arrived in Petra. We apologize that you stepped in some dung.

See, dearest Ekker, the problem isn’t the rudeness, the fragrances, or the animals – but rather the problem is the arrogance and imperialistic nature of which most European and American tourists tour around our land with. See, when hordes of tourists come everyday, the welcome starts to ware out. When the tourists come and use our precious water, drive prices through the roof, and push intelligent Jordanians into remedial jobs like cleaning your hotel rooms, your experience will most notably suffer.

Just because USAID pays for tourist projects, doesn’t mean that everyone wants water-wasting, energy-intensive, and environment-damaging groups poking through our ancient lands. Just because eco and tourism becomes eco-tourism, and sustainable gets tacked onto development, doesn’t make it true.

For those of us who live here and this is our home, we don’t welcome the damage you cause.

So next time someone ignores you, or doesn’t bow in your royal presences, think twice about why that is. And even if they do, it isn’t because they are welcoming you, but more likely that you’ve taught “those very young girls” who were “very hard to get rid of” that white, European tourist means one thing: money.

Thanks,
Rumzi Lyddawi

Read Ekker’s opinion below.

Let Down

My wife and I traveled to Jordan in May. Of course we considered visiting Petra, which, we thought, would become the highlight of our trip.

Although I first hesitated, I would like to share our experience in Petra with your readers.

First, I must tell you that both in Syria and in Jordan people are very friendly and hospitable. In Petra, however, everybody was behaving as if they were sick and tired of tourists. No smiles, no good mornings, etc.

End of season perhaps.

May 22 was a Friday, so a busy day, we thought. We started early. Bought two tickets from a silent man at the counter. Our Jordanian driver had told us that once there, one could hire a guide and that individuals (not groups) had to pay JD20 for that service. I went to the counter with my JD20 and asked for a guide, showing my money.

The man started to shout immediately: “Cannot you read”?

Not wearing my reading glasses, I told him what our driver had told us. He declared that both our driver and we were crazy, that the price was JD50.

We decided to go without a guide.

After the silent ticket vendor, we came immediately under the attack of donkey, horse and camel riders, who would inform us how far to the monastery or, on the way back, to the exit we were. It never stopped. Very young girls begged us to buy postcards. It was not easy to get rid of them.

Walking around in Petra is not a simple thing. You have to watch your step and to warn your companion constantly not to step in animal dung. The place is covered with it. If you close your eyes, you get the impression you are visiting a large cattle farm. The nasty smell of animal waste is all the time in your nostrils.

We were lucky to visit Petra on the final day of the donkey race championship. Groups of young boys were racing all over the place, trying to hit their animals as hard as possible, all the while shouting, ignoring tourists completely.

The traffic rules are simple: all animals and their drivers have priority. You have to get out of the way. A few times we were about to be run over.

After our five-hour visit, we realised that Petra was far from a highlight. I visited nearly 100 countries, many historical sites. Petra was a disappointment.

If the Nabataeans could see how guests are received in their glorious city, they would feel ashamed.

As I stated before, I hesitated before telling my story, but in the interest of Jordan, Petra and future tourists, I chose to share it.

Perhaps some changes will happen in Petra.

A.H. Ekker,
Rhoon,
Holland



  • Deena

    while i salute you for writing a reply to the tourist, i don’t think, for our own sakes, we should be making excuses for some of the behaviour of petra residents. Last time i went (summer 2007) while i was walking i noticed water running down a mountain accentuating the beautiful colours of the stone. Instinctively i shouted ‘nabe3’; after my whole family turned to see my nabe3 it turned out to be a 12 year old kid, on top of the mountain [not turning inward but showing everything he owns to the world], doing a number 1, and laughing his head off at our reaction.
    Yes the west continue to see us through imperialist eyes, but there is NO excuse for a man at a counter shouting at guests ‘Don’t you read’. Western imperialism isn’t an excuse, not liking tourists isn’t an excuse, thinking tourism isn’t eco-friendly isn’t an excuse either.
    So while i agree with your basic argument, regarding how the west continues to see us, i do not feel it is ok to be making excuses about our mistakes, as you seem to suggest. We need to get our act together – whether in the tourism sector, the economic sector, or socially (especially with regard to women). Time is running out.

  • Deena

    while i salute you for writing a reply to the tourist, i don’t think, for our own sakes, we should be making excuses for some of the behaviour of petra residents. Last time i went (summer 2007) while i was walking i noticed water running down a mountain accentuating the beautiful colours of the stone. Instinctively i shouted ‘nabe3’; after my whole family turned to see my nabe3 it turned out to be a 12 year old kid, on top of the mountain [not turning inward but showing everything he owns to the world], doing a number 1, and laughing his head off at our reaction.
    Yes the west continue to see us through imperialist eyes, but there is NO excuse for a man at a counter shouting at guests ‘Don’t you read’. Western imperialism isn’t an excuse, not liking tourists isn’t an excuse, thinking tourism isn’t eco-friendly isn’t an excuse either.
    So while i agree with your basic argument, regarding how the west continues to see us, i do not feel it is ok to be making excuses about our mistakes, as you seem to suggest. We need to get our act together – whether in the tourism sector, the economic sector, or socially (especially with regard to women). Time is running out.

  • http://www.7iber.com/ ramsey

    @Deena

    I was once on a boat tour in France and as we neared a bridge a guy yelled “Welcome to France” and then pulled up a kilt he was wearing. He wasn’t wearing anything under his kilt.

    I guess things like that happen in France. I didn’t write a letter to the Le Monde to complain.

    As soon as former imperial powers stop patronizing and governing us with their generous “support” of the great project to civilize the Arabs, and we are on an equal level we can begin to respect each other. Until then, they think they are better than us and will continue to try to civilize us.

    As we say about Palestine, “To coexist, Palestinians have to exist.”

    Time is running out on what exactly? Earth? Possibly one of the greatest inventions of industrial revolution: huge amounts of unusable waste.

  • http://www.7iber.com ramsey

    @Deena

    I was once on a boat tour in France and as we neared a bridge a guy yelled “Welcome to France” and then pulled up a kilt he was wearing. He wasn’t wearing anything under his kilt.

    I guess things like that happen in France. I didn’t write a letter to the Le Monde to complain.

    As soon as former imperial powers stop patronizing and governing us with their generous “support” of the great project to civilize the Arabs, and we are on an equal level we can begin to respect each other. Until then, they think they are better than us and will continue to try to civilize us.

    As we say about Palestine, “To coexist, Palestinians have to exist.”

    Time is running out on what exactly? Earth? Possibly one of the greatest inventions of industrial revolution: huge amounts of unusable waste.

  • Hadil

    Dear Rumzi,(and I’m really hoping you’re not one of 7iber Editors!)

    I’m sorry to say that your reply to Mr. Ekker who has used this ‘citizen-empowered’ means in voicing his disappointing experience in Petra was shockingly hideous to say the least.

    As a tourist who has probably visited most the world’s seven wonders, his expectations of Petra were preset accordingly.

    I’m pretty certain Mr. Ekker’s visit to Jordan was not intended to dignify and belittle our poor Jordanian workers. His visit, mind you, was supposed to augment the country’s economy. Something Jordan, along with its lethargic workforce, is in dire need of.

    Jordan, as a country that’s poor in natural, industrial, let alone competent human resources, is in need of every penny spent by visiting, and rightfully disappointed, tourists, so the patronization and sarcasm in your reply are uncalled for, let alone ironic.

    Allow me to tell you that the problem IS the infamous ‘discourtesy syndrome’ most people in our tourism and service sectors suffer from. And yes it is with the extremely low standards of hygiene almost all of our sites as well as onsite facilities have, and the poor treatment and utterly bad service we offer our guests!

    Arrogance and imperialistic nature of tourists? Oh please, give me a break!

    The tourism equation is downright simple: offer your guests who have picked Jordan, (a country barely visible on the world’s political, touristic, and economical map) to spend their precious vacations in, an interesting site, hygienic facilities, service-oriented workers, educated and informed guides. Give the original inhabitants of the site in question a real job, and equip them with the essential skills and knowledge to make productive, proud citizens out of them, instead of turning them into pathetically annoying beggars.

    As for ‘exceeding expectations’ and ‘going the extra mile to ensure the best quality of service offered’, I believe we still need many light years to reach that stage.

    The Jordanian “authentically” disappointing experience doesn’t start, alas, at the doorstep of the Rose City, it rather starts the moment your plane lands at QAIA. And unless Jordan takes serious and progressive steps towards transforming (it needs a metamorphosis really rather than mere transformation or “reform”) its tourism sector, elevating it to a humanly-acceptable level, our international as well as local tourism will suffer, creating a further burden on an economy already on its death bed.

    Reading Mr. Ekker’s reply again and again, I fail to see the haughtiness in his words or the demanded -or even expected- royal service you refer to in your reply.

    You wrote: “When the tourists come and use our precious water, drive prices through the roof, and push intelligent Jordanians into remedial jobs like cleaning your hotel rooms, your experience will most notably suffer”

    So now the tourists are our new scapegoats for our dire economic conditions, unjustifiably high prices, and unemployment? Wow. I would suggest revisiting Economy for Dummies, as it can probably help.

    I sympathize with Mr. Ekker, not only due to the non-surprisingly negative experience he got, but also because even when he decided to voice his dissatisfaction through a supposedly “revolutionized means”, his plight fell on prejudiced, uninformed, condemning ears!

  • Hadil

    Dear Rumzi,(and I’m really hoping you’re not one of 7iber Editors!)

    I’m sorry to say that your reply to Mr. Ekker who has used this ‘citizen-empowered’ means in voicing his disappointing experience in Petra was shockingly hideous to say the least.

    As a tourist who has probably visited most the world’s seven wonders, his expectations of Petra were preset accordingly.

    I’m pretty certain Mr. Ekker’s visit to Jordan was not intended to dignify and belittle our poor Jordanian workers. His visit, mind you, was supposed to augment the country’s economy. Something Jordan, along with its lethargic workforce, is in dire need of.

    Jordan, as a country that’s poor in natural, industrial, let alone competent human resources, is in need of every penny spent by visiting, and rightfully disappointed, tourists, so the patronization and sarcasm in your reply are uncalled for, let alone ironic.

    Allow me to tell you that the problem IS the infamous ‘discourtesy syndrome’ most people in our tourism and service sectors suffer from. And yes it is with the extremely low standards of hygiene almost all of our sites as well as onsite facilities have, and the poor treatment and utterly bad service we offer our guests!

    Arrogance and imperialistic nature of tourists? Oh please, give me a break!

    The tourism equation is downright simple: offer your guests who have picked Jordan, (a country barely visible on the world’s political, touristic, and economical map) to spend their precious vacations in, an interesting site, hygienic facilities, service-oriented workers, educated and informed guides. Give the original inhabitants of the site in question a real job, and equip them with the essential skills and knowledge to make productive, proud citizens out of them, instead of turning them into pathetically annoying beggars.

    As for ‘exceeding expectations’ and ‘going the extra mile to ensure the best quality of service offered’, I believe we still need many light years to reach that stage.

    The Jordanian “authentically” disappointing experience doesn’t start, alas, at the doorstep of the Rose City, it rather starts the moment your plane lands at QAIA. And unless Jordan takes serious and progressive steps towards transforming (it needs a metamorphosis really rather than mere transformation or “reform”) its tourism sector, elevating it to a humanly-acceptable level, our international as well as local tourism will suffer, creating a further burden on an economy already on its death bed.

    Reading Mr. Ekker’s reply again and again, I fail to see the haughtiness in his words or the demanded -or even expected- royal service you refer to in your reply.

    You wrote: “When the tourists come and use our precious water, drive prices through the roof, and push intelligent Jordanians into remedial jobs like cleaning your hotel rooms, your experience will most notably suffer”

    So now the tourists are our new scapegoats for our dire economic conditions, unjustifiably high prices, and unemployment? Wow. I would suggest revisiting Economy for Dummies, as it can probably help.

    I sympathize with Mr. Ekker, not only due to the non-surprisingly negative experience he got, but also because even when he decided to voice his dissatisfaction through a supposedly “revolutionized means”, his plight fell on prejudiced, uninformed, condemning ears!

  • Deena

    @ ramsey
    thanks for taking the time to respond. just to clarify, i did not disagree on the premise of both u or rumzi’s argument re the support and generosity of the west.

    what i do strongly disagree on in both ur posts is using that to excuse our own bad behaviour. i am sorry u had such an experience in france, but that still does not justify it happening in jordan. if it happens elsewhere doesn’t mean it is ok.

    this is the same argument used to excuse article 98 of our penal code (which allows men who committed so-called honour crimes to get short sentences) – apparently all western powers have a “crime of passion clause” so why should jordan remove its own?

    because it doesn’t make it right.

    and western imperialism doesn’t make it alright for a government employee employed for the purpose of talking to tourists to yell “don’t you read”.

    that’s my own reading of the situation anyway.

    ps. time is running out was meant to explain that we don’t have time to be making excuses for ourselves and should rather focus our energies on building brick houses less susceptible to thrown stones – whether from the west or anywhere else.

  • Deena

    @ ramsey
    thanks for taking the time to respond. just to clarify, i did not disagree on the premise of both u or rumzi’s argument re the support and generosity of the west.

    what i do strongly disagree on in both ur posts is using that to excuse our own bad behaviour. i am sorry u had such an experience in france, but that still does not justify it happening in jordan. if it happens elsewhere doesn’t mean it is ok.

    this is the same argument used to excuse article 98 of our penal code (which allows men who committed so-called honour crimes to get short sentences) – apparently all western powers have a “crime of passion clause” so why should jordan remove its own?

    because it doesn’t make it right.

    and western imperialism doesn’t make it alright for a government employee employed for the purpose of talking to tourists to yell “don’t you read”.

    that’s my own reading of the situation anyway.

    ps. time is running out was meant to explain that we don’t have time to be making excuses for ourselves and should rather focus our energies on building brick houses less susceptible to thrown stones – whether from the west or anywhere else.

  • Christian

    @Rumzi (aka. Ramsey?)

    I can only whole-heartedly agree with Hadil’s comment on your post, which was both extremely distasteful and out of place – and what more, guilty of the same patronizing attitute that you accuse Mr. Ekker of having. Hadil had many good points, which I won’t reiterate. Instead I’ll try to present the view of the arrogant, imperialistic white European = me.

    Having lived in Jordan and Syria for around two years in total I can honestly say that Petra is one of the worst places to visit as a “white European tourist”. Luckily, I am still not in my 50′s so I’m usually not considered a juicy target for the local entrepreneurs in Petra, but I can still relay the experience of those around me.

    As soon as I enter Petra I transform from a sentient human being into a big pile of money just asking to be alleviated of all my wealth. It does not matter if I am a staunch defender of the Palestinian cause, or the rights of Moslems or Arabs in my country, or that I am an anti-imperialist – in Petra all that is completely disregarded. Instead I am the one being patronized and stereotyped, and everyone has the right to try and trick me into paying them money. It doesn’t matter if I live in Jordan and call Jordan my home as well – my skin is white, my body language is Western, and my arrogant and imperialistic face just screams to be conned.

    In Petra any relationship I may have to the local community is commodified and commercialized, and that is not something I ever intended or wished for. Yet apparently that is my fault since I had the audacity to come to Jordan in the first place in order to puncture all the stereotypes about Arabs in the West. Apparently just by showing an interest in the region I am an Orientalist and a frontrunner of the new colonization. In the rare case when I am approached by a well-meaning, friendly local, I cannot help but suspect his/her motives – and that makes this white, European tourist feel terrible, despite my inherent arrogance and imperialistc nature.

    The worst part about Rumzi’s response to Ekker’s letter is how he mocks mr. Ekker for doing what 7iber.com is all about – making “people-powered journalism”. A person (in this case a foreigner) is voicing his opinion – and gets criticized for voicing his opinion in the first place. That is not only unreasonable – it’s against everything that 7iber stands for.

  • Christian

    @Rumzi (aka. Ramsey?)

    I can only whole-heartedly agree with Hadil’s comment on your post, which was both extremely distasteful and out of place – and what more, guilty of the same patronizing attitute that you accuse Mr. Ekker of having. Hadil had many good points, which I won’t reiterate. Instead I’ll try to present the view of the arrogant, imperialistic white European = me.

    Having lived in Jordan and Syria for around two years in total I can honestly say that Petra is one of the worst places to visit as a “white European tourist”. Luckily, I am still not in my 50′s so I’m usually not considered a juicy target for the local entrepreneurs in Petra, but I can still relay the experience of those around me.

    As soon as I enter Petra I transform from a sentient human being into a big pile of money just asking to be alleviated of all my wealth. It does not matter if I am a staunch defender of the Palestinian cause, or the rights of Moslems or Arabs in my country, or that I am an anti-imperialist – in Petra all that is completely disregarded. Instead I am the one being patronized and stereotyped, and everyone has the right to try and trick me into paying them money. It doesn’t matter if I live in Jordan and call Jordan my home as well – my skin is white, my body language is Western, and my arrogant and imperialistic face just screams to be conned.

    In Petra any relationship I may have to the local community is commodified and commercialized, and that is not something I ever intended or wished for. Yet apparently that is my fault since I had the audacity to come to Jordan in the first place in order to puncture all the stereotypes about Arabs in the West. Apparently just by showing an interest in the region I am an Orientalist and a frontrunner of the new colonization. In the rare case when I am approached by a well-meaning, friendly local, I cannot help but suspect his/her motives – and that makes this white, European tourist feel terrible, despite my inherent arrogance and imperialistc nature.

    The worst part about Rumzi’s response to Ekker’s letter is how he mocks mr. Ekker for doing what 7iber.com is all about – making “people-powered journalism”. A person (in this case a foreigner) is voicing his opinion – and gets criticized for voicing his opinion in the first place. That is not only unreasonable – it’s against everything that 7iber stands for.

  • Khaled

    The truth is, Petra needs to be organized better. The place should be cleaned, the little boys and girls there must not be allowed to project such a negative impression about the rest of us Jordanians to the world, because for tourists who only come to Petra, that’s what they think Jordan is. This has nothing to do with imperialism or arrogance. The man merely talked about his experience in our country, and we should respect and welcome his feedback. It’s better that he tells us this feedback so we know what others are thinking about us. He will surely share his experience with his friends and family in Holland, and they will immediately get this impression about Jordan forever. So, we must be really careful, and not just react with anger when someone tells us how he sees us.

  • Khaled

    The truth is, Petra needs to be organized better. The place should be cleaned, the little boys and girls there must not be allowed to project such a negative impression about the rest of us Jordanians to the world, because for tourists who only come to Petra, that’s what they think Jordan is. This has nothing to do with imperialism or arrogance. The man merely talked about his experience in our country, and we should respect and welcome his feedback. It’s better that he tells us this feedback so we know what others are thinking about us. He will surely share his experience with his friends and family in Holland, and they will immediately get this impression about Jordan forever. So, we must be really careful, and not just react with anger when someone tells us how he sees us.

  • admin

    Two quick clarifications:
    1) The letter was originally published in The Jordan Times, and REPUBLISHED on 7iber.
    2) By being republished on 7iber, its visibility was greatly increased.

    @Christian
    7iber is about voicing opinions and critically examining our environment. Here, one opinion was voiced, and another opinion voiced in response. This is exactly what 7iber is about.

    We, living in Jordan, have to face poor service, and a lack of even the concept of customer support (just call any company and try to complain or order a sandwich). Believe us, we know what poor service is; we deal with it constantly.

  • admin

    Two quick clarifications:
    1) The letter was originally published in The Jordan Times, and REPUBLISHED on 7iber.
    2) By being republished on 7iber, its visibility was greatly increased.

    @Christian
    7iber is about voicing opinions and critically examining our environment. Here, one opinion was voiced, and another opinion voiced in response. This is exactly what 7iber is about.

    We, living in Jordan, have to face poor service, and a lack of even the concept of customer support (just call any company and try to complain or order a sandwich). Believe us, we know what poor service is; we deal with it constantly.

  • RTS

    I am pleased to see the reasoned comments to this article.

    I am of European descent, and when I visited Petra, I had a very similar experience. In addition, children threw rocks and shot them at me using slingshots as I walked around the grounds. There was no security. It wasn’t just unpleasant, it was a dangerous situation for me.

    I later lived in Jordan for a few years and never once wanted to return and pay another JD20 for the experience. I loved the site, but the way it is managed is lacking.

    Mr. Ekker loved Jordan, Jordanians, and the site enough to take the time to make suggestions for improvement.

    Maybe too few people appreciate that an unhappy visitor will tell, on average, 22 other people, whereas a happy one will tell, on average, seven. I should think whoever manages Petra would be grateful for constructive feedback, considering that a lack of positive feedback doesn’t equal customer satisfaction.

  • RTS

    I am pleased to see the reasoned comments to this article.

    I am of European descent, and when I visited Petra, I had a very similar experience. In addition, children threw rocks and shot them at me using slingshots as I walked around the grounds. There was no security. It wasn’t just unpleasant, it was a dangerous situation for me.

    I later lived in Jordan for a few years and never once wanted to return and pay another JD20 for the experience. I loved the site, but the way it is managed is lacking.

    Mr. Ekker loved Jordan, Jordanians, and the site enough to take the time to make suggestions for improvement.

    Maybe too few people appreciate that an unhappy visitor will tell, on average, 22 other people, whereas a happy one will tell, on average, seven. I should think whoever manages Petra would be grateful for constructive feedback, considering that a lack of positive feedback doesn’t equal customer satisfaction.

  • http://www.ya3aibkom.com/ 3aib ya 7iber

    What I see here is arrogance ..7iber side of course..I like this site but this article Mr Rumzi is a disgrace.what the tourist said is 100% right and I visited petra once and I wish I hadn’t.Petra looks great in pictures only.donkeys beggars,no hygienic toilets,no decent restaurants and many many other things that makes me always advise people not to go there.

    you should have thanked the tourist instead of launching this attack on him,all he wanted was to correct what is wrong

  • http://www.ya3aibkom.com 3aib ya 7iber

    What I see here is arrogance ..7iber side of course..I like this site but this article Mr Rumzi is a disgrace.what the tourist said is 100% right and I visited petra once and I wish I hadn’t.Petra looks great in pictures only.donkeys beggars,no hygienic toilets,no decent restaurants and many many other things that makes me always advise people not to go there.

    you should have thanked the tourist instead of launching this attack on him,all he wanted was to correct what is wrong

  • Mish Ma32ool

    The reason why Jordan continues to suffer is because of such wanton disregard to the needs of enhancing Jordan’s own standing vis-a-vis where it should be. Allergies against correct criticism is another reason for under development. Further, such a reaction reinforces a negative stereotype as opposed to recogninzing the problem, apologizing, and dealing with it.

  • Mish Ma32ool

    The reason why Jordan continues to suffer is because of such wanton disregard to the needs of enhancing Jordan’s own standing vis-a-vis where it should be. Allergies against correct criticism is another reason for under development. Further, such a reaction reinforces a negative stereotype as opposed to recogninzing the problem, apologizing, and dealing with it.

  • http://www.kinziblogs.wordpress.com/ kinzi

    I love 7iber, you know it, but I feel Rumzi has bought into the myths that 7iber exists to dispel. I’m with Deena, Hadeel and Christian.

    Instead of attacking constructive criticism to vent anger, owning the issues and changing them is a much more productive use of creative energy.

  • http://www.kinziblogs.wordpress.com kinzi

    I love 7iber, you know it, but I feel Rumzi has bought into the myths that 7iber exists to dispel. I’m with Deena, Hadeel and Christian.

    Instead of attacking constructive criticism to vent anger, owning the issues and changing them is a much more productive use of creative energy.

  • Rumzi Lyddawi

    @Khaled
    Absolutely, Petra and Jordan’s tourists facilities in general need to be better organized, cleaner, and better taken care of. Just about everyone could agree with that. This opinion piece didn’t say they shouldn’t.

    @Everyone_else
    The point of writing this was to bring attention to the history of imperialism, and the current form of imperialism, which is “development grants” which builds a reliance on foreign monies and allow foreign governments to control – or at least heavily influence – how we build our country. Watch this: http://www.whatarewedoinghere.net/trailer

    By criticizing Ekker, the point was to remind him, and all other tourists that tourism isn’t the great business and economic opportunity that USAID claims it to be.

    By building economic reliance in the name of tourism capacity development, essentially, in my opinion amounts to a new form of imperialism. For me personally, this form of imperialism came out strongly in Ekkers statements about Petra.

    I have no doubt that services need to be improved in Petra and that service in general in Jordan is a poorly practiced art. Or non-existent.

    @kinzi
    what myths are you talking about exactly?

    I thought 7iber was about expressing ideas and being critical. That’s why you can comment on the piece as well; to express your ideas and exactly why I can submit my opinion too. Or should Jordan adopt a free speech model: you only have a right to free speech if you agree with ‘us.’

  • Rumzi Lyddawi

    @Khaled
    Absolutely, Petra and Jordan’s tourists facilities in general need to be better organized, cleaner, and better taken care of. Just about everyone could agree with that. This opinion piece didn’t say they shouldn’t.

    @Everyone_else
    The point of writing this was to bring attention to the history of imperialism, and the current form of imperialism, which is “development grants” which builds a reliance on foreign monies and allow foreign governments to control – or at least heavily influence – how we build our country. Watch this: http://www.whatarewedoinghere.net/trailer

    By criticizing Ekker, the point was to remind him, and all other tourists that tourism isn’t the great business and economic opportunity that USAID claims it to be.

    By building economic reliance in the name of tourism capacity development, essentially, in my opinion amounts to a new form of imperialism. For me personally, this form of imperialism came out strongly in Ekkers statements about Petra.

    I have no doubt that services need to be improved in Petra and that service in general in Jordan is a poorly practiced art. Or non-existent.

    @kinzi
    what myths are you talking about exactly?

    I thought 7iber was about expressing ideas and being critical. That’s why you can comment on the piece as well; to express your ideas and exactly why I can submit my opinion too. Or should Jordan adopt a free speech model: you only have a right to free speech if you agree with ‘us.’

  • finny bear

    ‘Rumzi’ is right – USAID stinks.

    But Rumzi is wrong, too – Petra stinks. It is a national disgrace. Jordan – and Jordanians (I’m not one) – should be embarrassed and outraged at the image that Petra gives to foreign visitors. Why is it only foreign institutions that work inside Petra? Why isn’t there a strong, active Jordanian body in place to get the kids in school, clean up a bit, regulate the horse mafia, and throw Wadi Musa’s corrupt hoteliers and tour “guides” in jail?

    Petra is so awful because the people there are basically powerless – and they know it. They can see that SO MUCH MONEY flows through Petra, but most of it ends up in very few pockets (not theirs).

    Tourism is very simple equation. People around the world – those who are living above basic subsistence levels anyway – want to buy experiences. Jordanians want to buy the experience of, say, taking the family to the seaside. Saudis want to buy the experience of cool weather in summer and a bit of racy alcohol-fuelled nightlife. Europeans want to buy the experience of visiting historical sites and seeing foreign cultures. It’s all tourism. It’s an economic exchange – I pay you money, you give me a good time.

    This works fine in most places in the world – but for complicated reasons, in the Arab world it has got mixed up with local issues of hospitality, pride and honour. Countries hosting tourism feel somehow humiliated by that economic exchange – which is how ‘Rumzi’ can come out with lines like: “The problem is the arrogance and imperialistic nature of which most European and American tourists tour around our land with”. Garbage! If Jordanians could get over the whole pride/honour thing and just once and for all grasp the idea that tourism is an economic exchange between equals, that would instantly ease the problems. Tourists would be able to sense the pride and deep-rooted security and identity which Jordanians draw from their culture – which is one of the main reasons why Europeans come to Jordan in the first place and which, in Petra at least, is totally obscured with corruption, fuelled by cultural and economic insecurity.

    If you wait for Europeans and Americans to lose an imperialist mindset, you’ll be waiting a long time… Fix yourselves first, and the rest will follow.

  • finny bear

    ‘Rumzi’ is right – USAID stinks.

    But Rumzi is wrong, too – Petra stinks. It is a national disgrace. Jordan – and Jordanians (I’m not one) – should be embarrassed and outraged at the image that Petra gives to foreign visitors. Why is it only foreign institutions that work inside Petra? Why isn’t there a strong, active Jordanian body in place to get the kids in school, clean up a bit, regulate the horse mafia, and throw Wadi Musa’s corrupt hoteliers and tour “guides” in jail?

    Petra is so awful because the people there are basically powerless – and they know it. They can see that SO MUCH MONEY flows through Petra, but most of it ends up in very few pockets (not theirs).

    Tourism is very simple equation. People around the world – those who are living above basic subsistence levels anyway – want to buy experiences. Jordanians want to buy the experience of, say, taking the family to the seaside. Saudis want to buy the experience of cool weather in summer and a bit of racy alcohol-fuelled nightlife. Europeans want to buy the experience of visiting historical sites and seeing foreign cultures. It’s all tourism. It’s an economic exchange – I pay you money, you give me a good time.

    This works fine in most places in the world – but for complicated reasons, in the Arab world it has got mixed up with local issues of hospitality, pride and honour. Countries hosting tourism feel somehow humiliated by that economic exchange – which is how ‘Rumzi’ can come out with lines like: “The problem is the arrogance and imperialistic nature of which most European and American tourists tour around our land with”. Garbage! If Jordanians could get over the whole pride/honour thing and just once and for all grasp the idea that tourism is an economic exchange between equals, that would instantly ease the problems. Tourists would be able to sense the pride and deep-rooted security and identity which Jordanians draw from their culture – which is one of the main reasons why Europeans come to Jordan in the first place and which, in Petra at least, is totally obscured with corruption, fuelled by cultural and economic insecurity.

    If you wait for Europeans and Americans to lose an imperialist mindset, you’ll be waiting a long time… Fix yourselves first, and the rest will follow.

  • http://www.kinziblogs.wordpress.com/ kinzi

    Rumzi, of course 7iber is all that. I am one of the most different and not ‘us’ contributors 7iber has.

    I am not against free speech, that isn’t even an issue here. Be careful of sidestepping the point. If your primary concern was USAID or imperialism, than make it more clear.

    The issue is that these tourists had legitimate complaints (the same ones I have as a long-term resident, and they never saw the garbage heaps in my neighborhood). Instead of taking it constructively, you responded as if it was a personal attack with no basis in reality.

    This comment was particularly difficult: “but rather the problem is the arrogance and imperialistic nature of which most European and American tourists tour around our land with.”

    “Myth” was not the best word to use. What I meant is your response seems to be what I often read from young Jordanians who seem to think they have no place in making changes.7iber is all about facilitating and owning change.

    Keep writing, Rumzi, I will look forward to more from you.

  • http://www.kinziblogs.wordpress.com kinzi

    Rumzi, of course 7iber is all that. I am one of the most different and not ‘us’ contributors 7iber has.

    I am not against free speech, that isn’t even an issue here. Be careful of sidestepping the point. If your primary concern was USAID or imperialism, than make it more clear.

    The issue is that these tourists had legitimate complaints (the same ones I have as a long-term resident, and they never saw the garbage heaps in my neighborhood). Instead of taking it constructively, you responded as if it was a personal attack with no basis in reality.

    This comment was particularly difficult: “but rather the problem is the arrogance and imperialistic nature of which most European and American tourists tour around our land with.”

    “Myth” was not the best word to use. What I meant is your response seems to be what I often read from young Jordanians who seem to think they have no place in making changes.7iber is all about facilitating and owning change.

    Keep writing, Rumzi, I will look forward to more from you.

  • http://7akifadi.com/ 7aki Fadi

    I completely agree with what all the commenter’s said.

    Ekker was commenting about the state of Petra and how it’s run and was answered with a completely irrelevant angry reply that is basically blaming him/tourists for the state of Petra.

    I really don’t think 7iber should have posted this article in my opinion since it achieves nothing.

  • http://7akifadi.com 7aki Fadi

    I completely agree with what all the commenter’s said.

    Ekker was commenting about the state of Petra and how it’s run and was answered with a completely irrelevant angry reply that is basically blaming him/tourists for the state of Petra.

    I really don’t think 7iber should have posted this article in my opinion since it achieves nothing.

  • madas

    Thank you for your comments… For those who voiced their criticism of 7iber, thank you, we appreciate your feedback. Please remeber, articles on 7iber only reflect the opinion of the people who wrote them.

    I believe Rumzi Lyddawi, has every right to express his opinions on this platform… if he feels that he would like to express anger, he is entitled to, just like anyone is entitled to agree and disagree…

  • madas

    Thank you for your comments… For those who voiced their criticism of 7iber, thank you, we appreciate your feedback. Please remeber, articles on 7iber only reflect the opinion of the people who wrote them.

    I believe Rumzi Lyddawi, has every right to express his opinions on this platform… if he feels that he would like to express anger, he is entitled to, just like anyone is entitled to agree and disagree…

  • http://mab3oos.blogspot.com/ mab3oos

    @Rumzi,
    you screwed up dude. big time.

    Without seeing what this lady went through, her experience has “Jordan” allover it. May be for next time you should thank her for bringing it up, and you could vent some steam at those incompetent government officials in charge.

  • http://mab3oos.blogspot.com mab3oos

    @Rumzi,
    you screwed up dude. big time.

    Without seeing what this lady went through, her experience has “Jordan” allover it. May be for next time you should thank her for bringing it up, and you could vent some steam at those incompetent government officials in charge.

  • http://thesugarcubes.net/ Shaden

    I think that rumzi is speaking from the inhabitants point of view and I completely understand why would anyone feel this way about visiting strangers who come with great expectations and much less knowledge about the place and the people who live or work there. However, I disagree that tourists must like what we have to offer!

    Petra is promoted as a tourists spot, and tourism is all about creating a pleasant, memorable experience for the tourists!.

    Customers have expectations and those expectations have to be met, it’s a business, and it’s all about customer satisfaction.

  • http://thesugarcubes.net Shaden

    I think that rumzi is speaking from the inhabitants point of view and I completely understand why would anyone feel this way about visiting strangers who come with great expectations and much less knowledge about the place and the people who live or work there. However, I disagree that tourists must like what we have to offer!

    Petra is promoted as a tourists spot, and tourism is all about creating a pleasant, memorable experience for the tourists!.

    Customers have expectations and those expectations have to be met, it’s a business, and it’s all about customer satisfaction.

  • Swedenluv

    I fully agree with A H Ekker in describing the experience or rather the malexperience had at Petra.
    Jordan Government and particularly the Tourism Ministry, if there is one, should train adequate people on how to treat and greet tourists. Furthermore, as Jordan is famous with its security apparatus, I fail to understand why no security force is there to prevent all these animal racers from entering the place! And whu should animal dung be all over the place, although as a good fertilizer, you fail to find a single blade of grass in the place!
    Finally, Rumzi’s Lyddawi has the full right to express his çonspiracy’opinion, that tourists waste water and energy, so may I suggest he writes to the Government of Jordan to stop promoting the country and stop wasting marketing budgets, and close Jordan’s borders so that only Jordanian can énjoy’the stink, the donkey races and the filthiness and unfriendliness experienced by AH Ekker at Petra!

  • Swedenluv

    I fully agree with A H Ekker in describing the experience or rather the malexperience had at Petra.
    Jordan Government and particularly the Tourism Ministry, if there is one, should train adequate people on how to treat and greet tourists. Furthermore, as Jordan is famous with its security apparatus, I fail to understand why no security force is there to prevent all these animal racers from entering the place! And whu should animal dung be all over the place, although as a good fertilizer, you fail to find a single blade of grass in the place!
    Finally, Rumzi’s Lyddawi has the full right to express his çonspiracy’opinion, that tourists waste water and energy, so may I suggest he writes to the Government of Jordan to stop promoting the country and stop wasting marketing budgets, and close Jordan’s borders so that only Jordanian can énjoy’the stink, the donkey races and the filthiness and unfriendliness experienced by AH Ekker at Petra!

  • http://xx Mohammad Hasanat

    am a resident of Petra. For sure I agree & feel with Ekker Family, and I think they have the right to express their impression about their experience in Petra. As matter to fact, I appreciate the feedback, it is helpful. If you say there is no problem in Petra, you are wrong. I, myself, experieced such problems in away is completely different from what Ekker had experienced.
    My experience, beside the point, that animal dungs create a huge number of flies in which could transmits illness to the local residence other than tourists.
    Animals, too, could ruin the steps leading to the dair( Monastery), and in fact the animals have already done their number over those 800 steps. I think by this time these steps need some remodeling??
    Beside the other points, the comentators came up with, I agree that Petra need a lot of work to be taken back from those people who hijacked it, and bring up to a level we can call it a tourist place! Or as it is expected to left it up to a place already called the second rank on the list of world 7 wonders.
    Before it escapes me, if I blame any one, I, first, blame the authority- the Tourism Ministry on top and the rest of the heirarachy goes down to the foremen who always hired to be the watchman over Petra.
    Please! I big the authority! to do their job right, and, I am sure thereafter, everything will fellow suite??? Becuse what you are doing now is not good enough.

  • Mohammad Hasanat

    am a resident of Petra. For sure I agree & feel with Ekker Family, and I think they have the right to express their impression about their experience in Petra. As matter to fact, I appreciate the feedback, it is helpful. If you say there is no problem in Petra, you are wrong. I, myself, experieced such problems in away is completely different from what Ekker had experienced.
    My experience, beside the point, that animal dungs create a huge number of flies in which could transmits illness to the local residence other than tourists.
    Animals, too, could ruin the steps leading to the dair( Monastery), and in fact the animals have already done their number over those 800 steps. I think by this time these steps need some remodeling??
    Beside the other points, the comentators came up with, I agree that Petra need a lot of work to be taken back from those people who hijacked it, and bring up to a level we can call it a tourist place! Or as it is expected to left it up to a place already called the second rank on the list of world 7 wonders.
    Before it escapes me, if I blame any one, I, first, blame the authority- the Tourism Ministry on top and the rest of the heirarachy goes down to the foremen who always hired to be the watchman over Petra.
    Please! I big the authority! to do their job right, and, I am sure thereafter, everything will fellow suite??? Becuse what you are doing now is not good enough.

  • http://www.jitours.com/ Sami Alhasanat

    Dear All,
    Thank you for your kind comments. We need to be more realistic and positive.

    All I can say in this context is that: there is no one perfect and nothing at all is perfect. There might be one or two negative behaviours in Petra in contrast, we have millions of positive behaviours that leave our imprints in our guests’ life.

    Petra and its people are still welcoming their guests and they protect them with their souls.

    I’m sure that all of your comments spring out of your love to Jordan and Petra in particular. This is something I highly appreciate and thank you all very much for. If you want to know more about the sociocultural impacts of tourism on the local community at Petra, Please see my thesis on the topic: http://www.jitours.com/Final_Sociocultural_impacts.pdf
    Thank you once again
    Respectfully yours,
    Sami Alhasanat

  • http://www.jitours.com Sami Alhasanat

    Dear All,
    Thank you for your kind comments. We need to be more realistic and positive.

    All I can say in this context is that: there is no one perfect and nothing at all is perfect. There might be one or two negative behaviours in Petra in contrast, we have millions of positive behaviours that leave our imprints in our guests’ life.

    Petra and its people are still welcoming their guests and they protect them with their souls.

    I’m sure that all of your comments spring out of your love to Jordan and Petra in particular. This is something I highly appreciate and thank you all very much for. If you want to know more about the sociocultural impacts of tourism on the local community at Petra, Please see my thesis on the topic: http://www.jitours.com/Final_Sociocultural_impacts.pdf
    Thank you once again
    Respectfully yours,
    Sami Alhasanat