Monday, January 16, 2006

It's a nice Butt

WORDS Saleem Haddad JO Magazine

There's no denying that the clip is somewhat entertaining. Nonetheless, it is important to ask ourselves why we laugh at the expense of another Jordanian. I can't help but feel that by laughing at Mr. Hassan Ahmad's mispronunciation of the word iPod, we are only laughing at ourselves as an Arab society


Well said Mr. Saleem Haddad, I can't agree more.

[tags] schizophrenia, confused, arab, world, cultural, Jo, Magazine[/tags]

42 comments:

  1. I guess it is true after all that if you judge people on anything, then you are pointing out a weakness in your own self ... I believe that
    We were not born educated or English speakers or any language speakers for that matter ... so I guess we should think before we mock any one for who they are or how they look or what they do or say ...

    Thank you for this thought Jad ... really triggered my mind ;)

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  2. English is a second language for most of us, our pronunciation & spelling and grammar in a second language depends on many factors and involves many other people who were teaching us English throughout our education.

    I didn?t go to an American school nor did I live in the States, so I didn?t get the accent but from local teachers, yes, I can?t deny I tried to work on it but!

    I agree with you that we shouldn?t laugh on others accent, but if we did we are not laughing on our community as Arabs!!! Have you hared how French people speak English?! Don?t they use that accent in some broadcasted comedies?!

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  3. Even if the writer has some point and good intentions, that does not give him the right to publish the name of Mr. Hassan

    Second I think Mr. Hassan should sue play 99,6 radio station for leaking that Audio file to the public via email...

    Third instead of laughing at our people who cannot speak English well... we should laugh at Arab people who cannot read Arabic...

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  4. Jad,

    Thanks for bringing our attention to this. Saleem Haddad is a friend of mine and he is an excellent writer. When he told me about the incident and his decision to write an article about it, I was most thrilled. There is nothing we need to do more as a Jordanian society than begin to understand our own complicity in the privileging of western modes of knowing, thinking, and even speech.

    Best,
    Dana

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  5. Guys, I don't really agree with you, although I didn't see anything funny in that clip, but the point is all about sarcasm, a lot of people feel offended about it, but actually, a lot of people wont try to evolve until they really hear some offence, and if they didn't feel that way will then they are on the right track, and they would try to evolve.
    A lot of sarcastic writers where involved in a lot of revolutions, as they are an important part of the development, the thing that they do is that they point to a certain problem, in an ironical way.
    This guy in the clip really has a problem with his English language which really need to be fixed, and I don't think that anybody could help him in it if he didn't want to, or if he didn't know that this problem really exists, and as he volunteered to be part of that show, I guess that he should handle what came out of it, and I guess he is really lucky, and he shouldn't feel offended.
    And this part of that if some Arab is offended for not being well educated, that doesn't mean that this is an offence to all the Arabs. The Arab world is a full society, it has cultured people, and uncultured in many of the fields, as any other society, e.g. not all the American people are smart though.
    Also a lot of Arab people make fun of foreigners speaking Arabic, I don't think that offends these foreigners, they know that they have a problem in Arabic, and it's their choice to improve it or not.
    Sorry for this long comment :p

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  6. Dear Ala'a,

    I do not agree with your brand of tough love. At a most basic level, it ignores what Saleem Haddad alludes to in his article as a colonizing and uncontested hegemony of the English language which needs to be addressed and challenged. The fact that we laugh (or even get nervous) when we hear this clip signifies that we have incorporated an appreciation for false standards of who can and should speak English.

    Also, it is important to note that this event did not take place in a classroom where the speaker's language and his use of English would need to be evaluated, or set at the right track as you mention. It is not the job of the hosts of this FM channel to educate Jordanian speakers as to the proper ways of speaking English and uttering English letters and syllables.

    In terms of your notion that the speaker volunteered to take part in this show, I respectfully doubt that he knew that he would soon become the laughing stock of an entire nation of elitist Jordanians (of whom I am also one) who presume to know better English as well as a number of foreign individuals who actually see no problem in what they have done. Again, the ostensible benevolence of their actions is what Haddad?s article is calling into question.

    On a final note, I am painfully aware of my complicity in this matter as I am writing in English and would probably be unable to write this very same comment in my mother tongue of Arabic.

    Best,

    Dana

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  7. Wael, I definitely agree and I would like to quote from my colleague blog

    This is so unprofessional from Play 99.6 (and now JO magazine) I think they should officially apologize for doing this. This is just unacceptable!

    Disappointing Jordanian media!

    However if I were him I would exclude Jo magazine because of my personal opinion below.

    What I can add about including the guy name is that Mr. Saleem was trying to defend the guy and he wanted to raise up the issue and make it as serious as possible, honestly if I didn't know about that clip before reading his article I might say it's just another tall story by Jordanian media, including the name added seriousness to the article as he was like saying Guys joke aside we have got a problem here and we have to solve it, in my opinion it's value add to the article and I see no problem in repeating rather than including the guy name.


    My friend Ala'a I think Dana gave you a better answer than the one I was thinking of, However I'll be triggering you for any mistake next JoPHP meeting :p

    Finally, if I were that guy I would give Play a good reason to sue me rather than suing them.

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  8. Now, I'm probably one of the most militantly (or rather passively) socialist people in the world, but I do have a problem with everyone slinging accusations of elitism at those who laugh at the Ipod incident.

    Yes, the man's English is terrible. And yes, I do find it hilariously funny. It's become a part of our pop culture. Why should I feel bad about laughing at his appalling English? I'm not teasing the bloke to his face! I'm not ridiculing him. And why should I care if people get offended by the fact that he's being laughed at? If anyone should be offended, it's the "elitists", or whatever you wish to call the people who hate this image of the Ignorant Arab.

    When did our society become a welfare state that wants to apologise for mediocrity instead of aiming for self-betterment?

    I realise that both sides of this argument can and should go hand-in-hand, but I felt it necessary to play devil's advocate.

    It's just not nice to laugh at the failings of others, and I can only imagine how badly Mr Nice Pod's friends are ripping the piss out of (teasing) him. Nevertheless, I feel it is also unjustified to blanket as elitists those who appreciate the societal self-mocking nature of that incident. So there you go.

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  9. Hmmm. I kind of feel like Hassan Ahmed should just profit off off this incident as much as he can. Just throw himself out there, and be like, "yeah, biatch, that's me, now buy my t-shirt," or something along those lines. I'd buy it, at the very least.

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  10. Well, this is rather interesting. Dana pointed me here and it's really cool reading everyone's thoughts on what I wrote.

    I don't have much more to add that I hadn't already included in my article. I must say that I am really glad that this issue is being discussed. The truth is, whether one agrees with me or not is unimportant, I am just extremely happy that I was able to create some dialogue on an issue, which, in my opinion, can be analyzed from a variety of approaches (culture, political economy, class, language, inequality).

    Just to clarify regarding one thing: The reason I had no qualms about including the guy's name was because it was already public on the clip itself, so I was not revealing anything that was not public knowledge in the first place. Plus, it's important that people refer to him using his name (as opposed to the "nice butt dude" perhaps?), it humanizes him to some degree.

    Salamaat folks, your site is incredible and a lot of fun to read! Continue these great discussions!

    Saleem Haddad

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  11. When I lived in Jordan, (I'm an American) I did my best to learn Arabic - and I won't even bother listing all the embarrassing mistakes I made, probably on a daily basis. I shudder to think what would have happened if anyone had had a tape recorder around. It's easy to mock someone for speaking less than perfect English, but at least this guy made an effort - think about all the ajaneb running around Jordan who don't speak a word of Arabic, or even bother to try and learn. And yet I never received so much as a chuckle, or anything but kind encouragement for making the effort.

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  12. Empirical Rule, If you Don't know English, don't try to speak it in public.
    And excuse me after he saw that this FM guy is talking in English and recording his words, how about "Sorry, but I'm not good at english".
    And for example, if I saw a web page that is buggy, I would say what a stupid Designer, or a Web Developer made this page, if I met that guy and he told me that I'm not that experienced, or this was my first page, I would tell him if you are not good enough, don't expose your stupidity on line.
    And if you don't know English, don't expose that you suck at it on a local radio.
    And by the way, if you are in a class room, then your words shouldn't be exposed in public, (unless you are the teacher, or Mr. I know everything) as you are trying to solve your problem.
    Also, if I lighted a cigarette, and it burned the house, well I didn't know that it would, so I shouldn't pay for the damages, is that the proper way...?

    Sorry if didn't really agree with you, but people are different.

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  13. anonymous indeed encouragement would help to make your language better and I'm sure the encouragements that you received had helped to make a progress.

    Ala'a: First lesson of learning any language is You can produce what you can understand, you just need to clean up the rust.

    If you didn't practice Arabic and English when you were child you would not be speaking them at all, and if you tried to practice it and people tried to make fun of you then either you will stop learning or you will be be a shy person.

    Please allow me to ask what do you mean by If you don't know English, don't expose that you suck at it on a local radio

    did you say a local radio?

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  14. OK I guess I made my point clear, so did you...
    I still didn't change my mind...

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  15. Dear Ala'a: The man was forced to say it in English because the radio station speaks English...

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  16. Hello,
    I honestly do not see the need for a big fuss about this.
    People, just take things at par and get on with your lives.

    American Idol's William Hung became a public figure because of an act similar to Hassan Ahmad's. With all do respect, but all of sudden I see a plethora of socially conscious critics full of moral and ethical awareness. Where did that come from?

    Last time I checked, there were far more important subjects to worry about in Jordan: Security, Iraqis, Rising cost of living, Cabinet instability, Unemployement - to name a few...

    On another note - JO please give credit to our intelligence and try to deviate from the mind-humiliating content path many publications have adopted.

    Thank you.

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  17. With all do respect, Anonymous, I think you are missing the point.

    In my opinion it is a very important issue that should be addressed. The example of American Idol is completely different: the guy was not a native English speaker, but his audience was American, and therefore they WERE native English speakers. With the IPod incident, it was a different scenario: while Mr. Ahmad did not speak English, technically, his audience were Arabs, and so why would the issue of bad grammer/ accents make a difference. You are forgetting an important point: us Arabs are different from Americans, in at least one major thing: LANGUAGE.

    This difference is disappearing slowly, but unfortunately it is our language that is on the losing side. The IPod incident reflects this [in my opinion] very important dilemma.

    Now, on the subject of relevance. To you it may not be important that i) our language is slowly dying, and ii) the majority of elite Jordanians are not only openly embracing English in favour of Arabic, but are mocking those who still hold onto Arabic (whether or not they do so consciously).

    Unfortuantely, some view this as a stupid issue, but when you look at what dialogue surrounds the current Jordanian public sphere, you will notice the issue of language is something a lot of people find important (for instance: just take a look at the buzz and hype that followed the documentary "Arabizi").

    Whether or not you agree is beside the point. But stifling discussion by brushing off dialogue will not help anyone. But then again, you labelled one of your so-called "Jordanian problems" as the issue of "Iraqis"...

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  18. Last night, while studying and surfing my PC (I have too many un organized stuff on My PC since I was extensively using my PC in the past 4 months or so for Work and nothing but work, so the only Organized thing was my Work on focus,,, too many files are missing or in different new locations since then, and being My Finals Period, I'm having the chance to bring back everything on the right track in this PC,,, aren't finals just the best opportunity to do anything but study ;) el mohem, malna o tolet el solafeh!)

    anyway, Now my Radio was on Play 99.6 when their freshest British DJ "DANY" had the "Century Cinemas Guide": listing the movies now showing he pronounced the Arabic movie "LAYLAT SUQOUT BAGHDAD" like that: (LAYLA SUQ AT BEG DAD)!!!!! ((I wouldnt have known what he said if i didnt know that Century are having this Movie ON actually!)) Now I guess This is more Embarrassing than a Poor guy being happy while winning and getting surprised for having "Oh, It's a nice butt"!!!!

    Now both incidents related to a Jordanian Radio Station (That is Play), both were recorded (none were broadcasted life, since this cinema guide is a recorded promo played on each and every hour), why is it that Hasan Ahmad's "ice BOD" is concedered an embarrassment, and is dealed in such away, while Dany's "LAYLA in the SUQ" is let on the air, no body making fun of it , and no body caring about the mistake, despite the fact that Dany is in a profession, while Hasan was just an excited listener, or rather winner.
    why is it that Hasan Ahmad needs to repeat what he is saying 10s of times in order for his skit to be appropriate to be aired, while Dany might have repeated it a couple of time but, well, who gives a damn, it will get it on the air anyway.......

    Now whose situation is more embarrassing for a Local radio station, a Local excited winner, that was asked to make a certain "ACT OF WINNING" in order for the Promo to be "Attractive", making his "Way of desired acting" combined with his Limited English Language skills Funny for Dj Lee and later to the people that got their hand to the full recording (JUST LIKE ME AND YOU DEAR READER).... or a DJ OF PROFESSION working in a JORDANIAN radio Station, broadcasting FROM JORDAN, FOR JORDANIANS INSIDE JORDAN, that couldn't really make up a couple of minutes of effort to practice and read that arabic phrase before recording the promo he will air it in ?!!!!!??

    That was Just a Question!

    and by the way, couldnt Lee just give the price for Hasan Ahmad where he would say Just: "Oh, It's Nice, Thank You!" and Lee to complete it with : "And remember you can still when more iPODs if you have you car sticker on" ?!!!! It would have been simpler since it's not Hasan Ahmed fault neither for not really being a good english speaker, nor for him being a winner!
    AM I RIGHT OR WHAT PEOPLE OF JORDAN!

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  19. In the final analysis it's really an inferiority complex. No matter how one approaches this issue, inferiority stares at us in the mirror everyday. I've met countless young 100 percent Arab Jordanians who take pride in NOT speaking or writing any Arabic, blabber mouths who babble endlessly about anything just to prove their otherwise worthless tongues. And hey, wake up and smell the macchiato, the trend is on the up curve and the signs slap us in the face every time we drive in Amman's streets. Check out the neon signs, the brands, the menus, the taglines, sms or mms, satTV... to get an idea. Or you could also travel to Dubai.

    If you don't speak Ingleezi, you can't work anywhere.. If you don't, you will not be writing or reading here. If you don't you haven't heard of this issue altogether. If you do not, soon you will not be able to order food in some W amman restaurants. We share this loss of pride with Indians by the way, who have their own bastard version of English. But they can argue that they have a zillion other languages and English is a unifying tongue. What do we argue?

    Our universities teach in English. Our business community now speaks it or is owned by those who speak it . And if it's not English it's Arablish among W amman's wanna beez.

    Our problem is that we as an Arab nation are vanishing, but someone is yet to tell us that. Who's fault is it? Well, it's our collective state of being comfortably numb as a nation enslaved to easy petrodollars and white skin, he he he he.

    Pity the nation!

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  20. After reading this forum and listening to the clip, I felt compelled to respond, even though one could argue that a foreigner (sitting in Canada) really has no place in this debate. First, I get how the clip is funny, and is far less malicious than I expected after reading Mr. Haddad's article and the responses to it. The most amusing part of the clip is how the radio DJ attempts to explain the 'correct' pronounciation to the guy 800 times, who (very cutely, I might add), and presumably quite innocently, repeatedly says Ibutt.
    Now, having said that, I agree with Mr. Haddad that the joke clip has a much darker side, and that to suggest (as one person did) that language has little relevance in national debates (as compared to issues of security, Iraquis, rising cost of living, etc.) is to ignore the power that language has in controlling national identity and culture. Coming from a country that is still torn over language issues (French vs. English) I know very well the issues of national unity that can and will emerge if one colonial tongue humiliates and degrades another. My advice would be to take language issues seriously, discuss and debate them, because, mark my words, these seemingly latent issues can and will come back to haunt Jordan in the future.

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  21. Well well well, Hey all ;)

    * i think that the british DJ " Presenter " has nothin to do with it all.

    * The track was Remixed by a Jordanian DJ " DJ Flava " that works with Play 99.6, i fall on the floor laughing when i heard the interview And the Remix`s !

    * I think that the Jordanian dj .. dj flava is talented, how he could make a song out of few words adding beats to it and making it sound more funny !

    * LOOK at YOU people ! its an ENGLISH forum, And i can see ENGLISH TEXT everywhere ! English is an International Language, i didn't say that everyone has to speak english Perfectly ! but since you're writting in english, DONT COMPLAIN ! ;)

    nasimjo said,
    nasimjo's comment
    January 24, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

    --REPLY

    How are you so sure that they dont make fun of british Djs when they say " Al safara bel emarah " Or " laylat sqout bag-dad " ???
    THEY DO !!! i get phone calls from best friends laughing thier ass off sayin " DID YOU HEAR THAT ? HAHAHAHA AL SAFAAAA-RAAAA- BAIL- IMAAA-RAH

    A Funny Clip Is A Funny CLIP !!! NO MATTER WHERE IT CAME FROM, WHAT NATIONALITY THE GUY IN THE CLIP BELONGS TO !!! BUT...

    * A radio is sorted under " ENTERTAINMENT " category, so YES they r doin a gr8 job, i am really entertained... BUT a MAGAZINE is not SOrted UNDER " ENTERTAINMENT " category, so that saleem guy is lame ! trying to use a popular subject to draw attention to his lame magazine that i wont bother reading because all thier SUBJECTS are lame and NOT worth reading.People are dying every min. in arab countries ! and what your doin saleem? complaining about the i bod ? GET REAL !

    For the guy @ JO MAGAZINE " go to www.djflava.us ... The Jordanian Dj's website, go to the download section and you shall find all his remix`s on the i-bod guy, download the NEW REMIX for the i-bod guy ...

    LET IT BE THE CONTENT OF YOUR NEXT ISSUE ;)
    since you are no good at writing somethin that shows intellegence and all u can do is bringing up or let me say " Stealing " subjects from other people to get attention... !!!

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  22. Nuha, if I can sit here and make fun of your English Grammar and we can all share a couple of laughs at your expense, would you tell me to get real or would you tell me 'a funny joke is a funny joke'?

    I bet there are some people in Denmark saying 'a funny joke is a funny joke' just as you did, and the only argument I have which hasn't already been said several times already is something that a comedian once said "You can laugh about everything, but not with everyone." I believe it was completely irresponsible of the media to joke at other people's expense.

    I am glad that there are people such as Mr. Haddad to speak up when they see there is something wrong. Rather than sit idly by, or complain to their friends at a coffee shop, or join a random mass protest once every year or two.

    Before you ask Saleem what he is doing, you should ask yourself.

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  23. el. said,
    the guy hassan ahmad is gettin a skit show on play soon, that means that he is aware of his funny accent, and he's ok with it, and that saleem guy stuck his nose in a place where he shouldnt, its non of his business since the guy is ok with it.
    and dont compare what happened in Denmark with the ice bod joke, cuz there is a big difference. " u cant fuckin compare religion with other crap " ;)

    before u start defending someone, get the real story!

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  24. I am not defending someone, I am defending a principal which I hold. This isn't about one individual person, or two or three. This is about the media targetting a group, culture or class of people to get a laugh or two at their expense. In my view, it is unacceptable.

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  25. Oh, and who are u to say that its un-acceptable smarty?
    since its in your view, keep it to your self.

    the media is not targeting anyone ! they are giving people
    money, i-pods, dvds, mobiles for free ! they're helping people !
    Plus all the entertainment on air for free.

    Do you give that to people ?

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  26. Dear Nuha, Seems u didnt hear about freedom of speach!
    When a Person says that in his/her view sth is not acceptable, he is free and welcomed to say it as far as he is a human being, and as far as he/she doesnt get into some else's "Aura" of views and thoughts!

    This view can be published on a blog, in front of a bunch of people, on TV, on Radio, in the deep inside mind, or in Raghadan Bus Terminal!!!

    And by the way, "Media" is not really that fancy nice thing as u describe it, coz I worked and still with media my self (Hint Hint: Radio industry!) and got deep inside of it for years now... and by the way, qouting you:

    "the media is not targeting anyone ! they are giving people money, i-pods, dvds, mobiles for free ! they?re helping people ! Plus all the entertainment on air for free."

    It's not really that simple my friend! I wont open a station, hire people, that some of which are brought from abroad and give 10 000s of JDs on technical equipment and License of broadcasting, and pay yearly for the government to keep my station's frequencies on the air protected just for you to get entertained and when i-pods and DVDs!

    Believe me, If u'll get into the industry you'll gonna hate Media ;)

    Besides, a radio is not only this vision you are thinking off, Radio is a mession! well, for those who have one!

    And why is it that a magazine is not considered entertainment, it may not be for you, but for many others "Reading" and "Overlapping views" is the best and most enjoyable entertainment, and a way of life even. Thus, dont speak in a general form when u are talking about a strict view please.

    and By the way, The Clip has been around and about much older than you think my dear, much before Dj Flavas got it remixed.

    and about making fun of the british Dj, I'm not and didnt urge to make fun of him, an ironic expression was used for a purpose in my post, It was to bring the light to the fact of the way different people in 2 different positions are dealed with for similar "issues".

    and finally about the "Stealing" issue, noting you that I've worked with an Intellectual Property Agency, I'd reply on your expression nuha: that this is called "Legal Patent dependaple on facts" in case you are all that legal about it. and in a mediatic view I'd reply on it that this is professionally called "Pressing the Issue" in the media terminology.

    Thanx! and sorry for the geeky touch, but i had to clear some stuff out!

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  27. wow people, you taking the issue on high standards .. :P chill ..

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  28. Just don't ask him to say "peanuts". I had a friend attempt that one in mixed company and the room went silent as jaws dropped to the floor (we were eating at the time and he was describing what we were eating).

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  29. [...] Today I woke up at 5.30 AM and as usual open the window to get some fresh morning air and Oohh it’s an Ice butt! [...]

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  30. What idiot can't pronounce a word properly?!!!! I mean for crying out loud! The radio guy tried to simplify the word I-Pod for Mr. Hassan Ahmed.It's not "3eb or 7aram" not Being able to speak English, but to pronounce a word! A single word! I am Speechless! : x

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  31. Oops i posted in the wrong place :/, it's all good

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  32. :D just wanted to make sure i was heard...Ooooh sneaky

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  33. Heard yes, and probably ignored... Ooooh bluntly

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  34. Why thank you! How sweet of you! haha

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  35. Nina, I wonder if you can pronounce pronounce any of Jordanian accents you idiot, or if you can pronounce any of Arabic accents?

    Nina, Language is just a tool to communicate and sure you have to be fluent if you want to communicate on hight level and Mr. Hassan's accent was pretty good enough for that interview level.

    I wish all Jordanian can be fluent in English and I know it's the way to go but again there are levels of communications and educational level and one should never laugh at people in lower level because once s/he was one of them.

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  36. It's not about superiority Mr."Justice", it's about intelligence, one should be smart enough to survive because it's a cold world out there, and 7assan a7mad seems to be the victim he created, once he saw the radio guy speaking in English " and knew his English wouldn?t help him" he could have saved himself a lot of embarrassment and just refused to go along with the interview! After all, the weak are there to justify the strong, and one should be aware enough not to put her/himself in a weak position, people talk! And Mr. Hassan's accent was pretty good enough for that interview level?! Oh please, you wouldn't have started this whole blog topic if it hadn't been for his accent! Wake up! ?.Double standard?.Be consistent....who's the idiot now?
    And btw i can pronounce all jordanian and arabic accents Even foreign

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  37. love ya Nina !!! lol

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  38. Hey!

    Its been a long debate about this clip and i think thats really interesting. People can choose to listen or not listen to the clip. Likewise people can choose to be offended or not offended. In my opinion I enoy the clip cause it makes me smile. Dont get me wrong when i listen to it and laugh i send no negative thoughts or emotions to Hassan or to the Dj. On the contrary they are both part of a wonderful Universe that we all belong to. As long as we dont wish any ill will on anyone I think its great to laugh. The diversity is amazing. I think if someone feels offended by the clip it is because they are holding on to a victim identity of some sort or another. Hassan is not a victim of anything. and he sounds happy enough at that. If the Dj was trying to talk arabic and he sounded funny I would laugh at that. and Why not? If people felt less guilty about laughing at situations they would no dobt be happier. its just a bit of fun for me....

    Peace and Love to all...

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  39. Rishi please tell me how I can choose to not be offended at something. I don't like being offended and I wish to be able to switch it on and off as I please. Mind you that is different than ignoring something that is offensive.

    There is nothing wrong with laughing at the funny clip and as Saleem Haddad's article pointed out - in the end we are laughing at ourselves and that's fine with me. But who is this DJ, and who is Play FM that they can get away with turning one individual into a public debacle as they have?

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  40. people... i think you all need a chill pill ;) its only a clip, and its funny ok? lol u dont find it funny? fine, dont listen to it... end of discussion

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