Anti-Jordan ad runs in The Washington Post

Anti-Jordan advert in the Washington Post

While the world’s eyes are focused on Jordan these days, I was shocked to find a quarter page anti-Jordan ad in The Washington Post yesterday [image enlarges on click]. The ad, entitled Highlighting intimidation by the Jordanian authorities was signed by a New York-based businessman named Omar Karsou.

In the ad, Karsou alleges that his son was intimated and harassed by the Jordanian authorities due to the father’s dealings with some Jordanian businessmen. Karsou concluded his ad with the following:

This to me looks more like a move away from basic human values towards a police state more akin to those hated regimes that exist in certain parts of the Middle East.

I never heard of this case or this businessman before reading this ad. Karsou obviously has a grudge, as he was wailing to pay big money to broadcast his case to the world and try to put Jordanian authorities to shame.

Of course, we are only hearing one side of the story. We really do not know what happened. Nor do we know if his allegations are accurate. Regardless, I believe Jordanian authorities should reply to his ad and publish a rebuttal ad — one that offers some explanations — in the same spot in the Post, if possible. Those, like myself, that read the ad yesterday, need to hear an official Jordanian response to such serious allegations, ones which seemed primarily aimed at tarnishing the image of Jordan.

Update: Omar Karsou left a comment on this blog with a bit more detail, saying:

Natasha,
I do not have a personal grudge against Jordan, or the majority of
Jordanians. I love that country, I spent the better part of life in it.
But I happen to love my Son just as much, if not more.. Anyway, before
I placed the ad, I contacted the Jordanian Embassy in Washington,
pleaded with them to help out, even sent them a draft of the ad, to no
avail. Again, I am pleading with the Jordanian authorities to let
justice take it’s course, clamp down on corrupt officials. Only then
will I have achieved my "objective", which I believe, is yours too.
Omar

34 Comments

  1. lynne December 1, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    If his claims are true, it is extremely terrible. He does not say whether he removed his son from the university and had him return to the US. If any of those things happened to my son, that is the first thing that I would do. We do not, however, know the real facts in this case. If untrue, the businessman can be sued. The government should respond. The kind of behavior that he describes is very unfortunately common in third world countries, and Jordan seeks to separate from that identity apparently. If true, the officials in Jordan should pursue justice in this man’s case. If not, they should issue a rebuttal.

    Reply
  2. Hamzeh N. December 1, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    The name sounds familiar.

    I think this scenario is not impossible in Jordan. As a matter of fact, it is almost more likely that this story is true than not. We all know that there is corruption in Jordan and that there are corrupt individuals in high places, and it is extremely easy for them to find a group of thugs and have them go blackmail someone or intimidate them. If Jordanians intimidate each other at soccer games, in schools, and in airports, would it be impossible to imagine someone hiring thugs to do this if money was involved?

    This stuff happens in a lot of countries actually. A couple of weeks ago I heard a story from a Russian businessman who had the same experience when he went back home to Russia to start his business there. Individuals who establish businesses outside their home countries and then try to move their businesses back home run into these individuals who “want in” on the profits of the new businesses without necessarily giving in much and they sort of force themselves on these new people. So the people who came back to invest their money in their home countries usually end up taking their money, closing their businesses, and regretting that they ever decided to go back home. It’s sad!!!

    This is a big problem, it carries a much greater risk if true than the risk of tarnishing Jordan’s image if flase. Therefore, I was hoping that the response would be a lot more than just outright skepticism that the aim is to simply tarnish the country’s image.

    What if this was true, then this wouldn’t really be a tarnishing to Jordan’s image, it would be something close to bringing closer the reality of Jordan to the eyes of the American public, wouldn’t it?

    I’m waiting for the response like you are, and I’m hoping that it would be a lot more serious than simple denial of allegations, which is the most likely response right now, but who knows? I’m always ready to be pleasantly surprised, and we have not always disapointed in that regard in the past.

    Reply
  3. hatem abunimeh December 1, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    If you do a simple Yahoo search on Omar’s name you will find a lot of information about him. I’m not going to comment on the ad until I hear both sides of the story.At this point we only heard one sided version, so until we hear from the other side we will continue to give the unheard vesion the benefit of the doubt.

    Reply
  4. The Informer December 1, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    More on Karsou here at Command Post and here at The Wall Street Journal’s “Opinion Journal”. He certainly has a track record and a very vocal one at that, but without a proper rebuttal reponse from those called into question, all we hae are acusations. And while we may rightly raise an eyebrow over them, without any real proof, it’s only an advertisement.

    Reply
  5. lynne December 1, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    I agree that these kinds of things — and worse—happen in some countries. My son is a computer scientist, and he hired a small Russian computer company to do work for his company. He found out that the company there had no office, no visible business existed there due to the many problems facing small businesses in Russia. If this poor . Russian man were known to have a business, he would have to pay “protection money” and also to be in constant danger of being robbed or victimized in other ways. This is completely terrible that people in the world have to live like this. It’s heart-breaking really. I am more than sick of evil people having so much control over others who are just trying to live their lives in a normal way. However, we do not know about the situation in Jordan. I hope that the truth will come out eventually.

    Reply
  6. Feel free to join us in the real world anytime now December 1, 2006 at 11:28 pm

    “Ones which seemed primarily aimed at tarnishing the image of Jordan.”
    COME on Natasha. SERIOUSLY now. Given the fact that you are someone who is “well-informed”, How come you are only concerned about the IMAGE, while constantly ignoring what is really going on.
    I am not suggesting that this particular incident is true, but it is well known and documented that there are serious problems of that variety and other ones at the highest level which you are always either defending or ignoring. Didn’t they teach you at journalism school that your duty is to uncover things not retouch them and make them “look” better in the typical pretentious way that we deal with almost everything we do? Or is it the fact that your relationship towards Jordan now has became more of the “tourist” type of connection that make you choose to keep that kind of image in your head, and make you feel better?

    Reply
  7. Follow us or we will bring Democracy to your land! December 2, 2006 at 5:24 am

    Mr. Karsou is the Palestinian Karzai.
    In the war on terror and bringing Democracy to the Arab world, Mr. Karsou was supposedly to succeed Arafat, which was Bush’s Administration plan anyways.

    Reply
  8. abu_amal December 2, 2006 at 7:04 am

    Re: Anti-Jordan ad runs in The Washington Post

    Lots of talk has been generated by an Anti-Jordan ad that ran in the washington post.
    Mental Mayhems Natasha Tynes published this post about it:
    While the worlds eyes are focused on Jordan these days, I was shocked to find a quarter page …

    Reply
  9. Sid Vicious December 2, 2006 at 11:53 am

    Well nothing is impossible, besides it’s the same here as in america; u got connections, u get things done the way u want them done. If u know a couple of guys on a lower level, the guys on the upper dont have to know a thing, kteer ishi 3adi the police aren’t all angels but that doesnt mean jordan is a police state or anything, drugs are nowhere near as widespread in jordan as in the states does that mean america is run by potheads and junkies ?

    Reply
  10. Omar Karsou December 2, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    Natasha,
    I do not have a personal grudge against Jordan, or the majority of Jordanians. I love that country, I spent the better part of life in it. But I happen to love my Son just as much, if not more.. Anyway, before I placed the ad, I contacted the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, pleaded with them to help out, even sent them a draft of the ad, to no avail. Again, I am pleading with the Jordanian authorities to let justice take it’s course, clamp down on corrupt officials. Only then will I have achieved my “objective”, which I believe, is yours too.
    Omar

    Reply
  11. natasha December 2, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    Mr Karsou,
    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here and further explain your dilemma. I do hope that the Jordanian authorities follow-up on your case and work to resolve it. I was wondering if there was there any official response to your ad? It’d be nice to know if you get some resolution.

    Reply
  12. OmAr December 3, 2006 at 6:53 am

    Well Natasha, it’s extremely weird that you assume (that’s what I felt) that these things can’t happen in Jordan, maybe this individual incident has its own circumstances and side facts, though, the Utopian version of Jordan is really really far-off.

    btw, I can write a nice official reply in two minutes 🙂

    Reply
  13. natasha December 3, 2006 at 9:15 am

    Omar,
    I really do not know what in my post made you assume that I think these things do not happen in Jordan. Asking for the other side of the story along with an official response doesn’t mean I ruled out the possibility of this story happening in Jordan.

    Reply
  14. Amal December 3, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    I am really not surprised to hear this from Mr.Karsou. Now, the only reason I would expect the Jordanian authorities to respond, is due to the “leakage” (if you will), of information into US press and to the US/Western public. This is really the last thing Jordan needs to be seen as, given it’s attempts at trying to “fit in” to the Western part of the world. Again, although we really do not know what happened, I am still not surprised to hear this. The comment posted by “Feel free to join us in the real world…” makes you think, however. And on the other hand, I would not be surprised to hear such actions being taken by other governments, particularily, the largest terrorist state, USA.

    Reply
  15. jareer December 3, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    The best nation under the sun, USA. God Bless America. If you don’t like it,dont come here .

    Reply
  16. Hindi December 3, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    if Karsou’s claims are accurate, this is a grave miscarriage of justice and it should be corrected. the judiciary is the last bastion of hope in Jordan and if corruption erodes our confidence in the Jordanian justice system then I am afraid there is not much that we can do to make Jordanians believe in their country’s future. Karsou might be a low-life and a Karazi wannabe, according to his Palestinian compatriots, but justice must be blind or else may god have mercy on all of us in Jordan. toady it’s the scum Karsou, tomorrow it could be any one of us.

    Reply
  17. 3ogla December 3, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    Jareer

    You have a lot of class taxi driver

    Reply
  18. jareer December 3, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    3ogla,
    It looks like your skin is scratching you asking for “bahdaleh”.
    Admin, should I respond to him ?

    Reply
  19. 3okal December 3, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    This blog is titled “anti-jordan ad” but I don’t see anything anti-jordan. this ad is critical of the regime, which is not Jordan. only in a true democracy can we say the government is inseparable from the people who chose it.

    Reply
  20. The Informer December 3, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    3okal, that is ridiculous. The title “Jordan” refers to the Jordanian regime. The words “Jordanian” would refer to the people of Jordan. When someone refers to anti-US sentiment, do you think they mean that they have negative feelings about the people of the US, or perhaps the US history. Or, more logically, don’t you think they are referring to the government/regime of the USA. Let’s not be an absoutle idiot, what say?

    This ad is clearly aimed at tweaking the Jordanian government and this man has his reasons. Are they valid? Maybe. But is it noteworthly to point out that this advertisement was run? Bloody well yes! This news. This inidividual is notable and his battle with the government is notable. Even if this individual was not notable, taking an action like this would merit notice.

    Will Jordan respond publicly? Of course not. Why would they? It’ll only create greater embarassment. Was this gentleman right to run such an ad? Well, it’s his right in the USA. And perhaps it will bring him movement. He’s obviously frustrated. But that doesn’t make his accusations accurate, though surely they are from his perspective.

    We’ll likely never know how this plays out unless he decides to return here and tell us. Or, far less likely, he runs an ad in the Post citing the wonderful westernized treatment the Jordanian regime provided. It’s ridiculous and strikes anyone who reads words like “why post this” or suggests this blogger is naive to think these things don’t happen as real ignorance.

    It’s clear why this posted. This is a notable action and if the actions suggested in the advert did take place, as they likely did, highlighting it here is just one more way to perhaps put an end to this kind of crap. I’m sure this blogger like most from Jordan are aware of the problems of the regime. Choosing a politically savvy way to highlight that, like I’d suggest this, is real interest here. How do you go about critizing such a regime? Very carefully.

    Reply
  21. GubGab December 4, 2006 at 4:35 am

    “When someone refers to anti-US sentiment, do you think they mean that they have negative feelings about the people of the US”

    When the majority of Americans voted for Bush after the lies have been exposed, they are responsible for his actions. Citizens of a democratic super power bear ultimate responsibility for their elected government’s conduct, good or bad. What’s the point of democracy if people don’t take responsibility for their elected leader’s decisions. Same in Israel. For over half a century, the majority of Israelis voted to expand jewish-only enclaves in occupied Arab territories, to pursue repressive policies that drive an average of 20 thousand non-Jews out of the land, and to kill any non-jew who resists. Democracy = culpability of citizens.

    Reply
  22. OmAr December 4, 2006 at 8:09 am

    I read a post entitled as “anti-Jordan ad” only to find that an accusation of corruption against the Jordanian regime (an unquestionable fact!)is considered as anti-Jordan publicity according to you. This is what gave me that impression, well, plus a number of other previous posts of yours. Have a nice day.

    Reply
  23. Scott Scott December 4, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    Honestly, GubGab you’re naiveté is galling. Is that honestly how you think democracy works? You think that the elected official equates to the whole of the people, so the actions of he or his administration should serve to damn the nation?Think about that in the context of Charles Taylor, Kim Jong Il, Margaret Thatcher and Hosni Mubarak. Does it apply in all cases equally?

    Sorry, these leaders represent the winning side. And that’s primarily when you view democracy in a vacuum. US democracy does not operate in a vacuum. Remember, in an election, there’s the winner and then there’s the opposition. Both represent the people of the state. Sometimes it’s a dead heat, meaning fully half of the people actually do not support the victor. And that’s forgetting the fact that only a sorry percentage of people the world over actually turn out and vote, so their views on things aren’t even represented.

    But, as an example, let’s consider the US situation. In the first election Bush did not win the popular vote; more Americans voted for Gore than Bush. How did Bush win? Do some research, then perhaps revise your treatise on “damning the whole.” The second time round, again, while he won, it was a squeaker: nearly half the country voted against him. And, of additional note, is that two years later, that 50% grew and the new majority soon to take control of the legislative branch are Democrats, the opposition.

    So now you want to say that the all Americans should be damned for letting Bush win? That’s just ridiculous. Take a poll of your friends and neighbors in all phases of global development: developing world to those living through the machinations of western development. See if they think their government represents the full and total will of the people. Did Arafat? Does Putin? How about Blair or Chavez? Of course they don’t. Ideally, they represent a polled majority, who may full well change their mind later.

    So should you hold the whole of the people accountable for the decisions of the winning percentage? No. And fortunately for the world, few do. Should the Tutsis have paid? And now, should all the Hutus? Your irrational exuberance suggests so: damn them all. It’s ludicrous. Nations are comprised of individuals. Their government/leaders are representative at best, and that representation has limits.

    In diplomacy referring to Jordan, for example, refers to the government of Jordan and not the people, called Jordanians. Recognize that although there are flaws in democracy it’s a hell of a lot better than anything else out there. And recognize that the leaders, be they good or bad men, still operate in a system that can shackle their decision-making. Democracy is an ugly beast of a system, but it’s the best thing out there.

    Although the above applies, with regard to the Israel and democracy issue, you just cannot accurately compare US democracy to Israeli “democracy”, though I understand the desire to do so.

    Israel is not a true democracy. If you are not Jewish, you do not enjoy the full rights of the state; there is discrimination based upon religion. I’m sure there are those that would argue, but it’s simply not a democracy. And even if some want to say it is, its actions work much as above: they represent the winning percentage of the electorate; often the most vocal part of that percentage as well. In the case of Israel, the most vocal are often settlers. They are those that think quite the opposite, even in Israel. Should they all be made to pay?

    BTW should the US be seen as a shining example of democracy? No. Maybe India will prove better. Iraq has clearly proven that you cannot import and impose democracy. Time has shown that democracy means and develops into different things for different people. For lack of a better term, democracy has “versions.” And it is something that must come from within.

    In summary: Suggestions about damning the whole of a people because they elect an idiot is simply ignorant. Broaden your mind, or do us all a favor and stay in your cave.

    Reply
  24. GubGab December 5, 2006 at 6:10 am

    Honestly, ScottScott, you’re insensitivity is disgusting. You did not have to waste so much time on a post that at the end does not advance the discussion. the answer is simple: with democracy comes accountability. When the armed forces of one nation kill the people of another nation, either the people of the murderous nation take to the street and overthrow their elected government, or they decide that their TV and beer drinking time is more valuable than saving the lives of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

    Where are the martial courts for Olmert, Blair and Bush? Where are the impeachments? Where is the day-and-night mass protests in Israel UK and US? When terrorists struck London and NY, Islam and the Muslims world was held accountable. Muslims were put under a microscope, activists were rounded up, Islam and Arabs were defamed in the Western and Israeli press and continue to be subject to a non-stop vilification campaign, even though the terrorists were not elected by Muslims but acted alone.

    But when the elected governments of Israel UK and US kill and invade tens of thousands of innocent Arabs you still want to be absolved from responsibility and you want your religion and culture to be exempt from the moral responsibly of breeding so much violence and so much hate and so much deception.

    This is hypocritical. You don’t like Olmert, Bush and Blair, impeach them, overthrow them, do whatever you have to do to save the lives of innocents who are suffering because the majority of Israelis, Americans, Brits have voted for murderous regimes. Don’t play victim because you are not and don’t come and whine to us about how you are not responsible. In US, UK, Israel murder is a majority decision. that’s the mother of all culpability.

    Reply
  25. GubGub December 5, 2006 at 6:23 am

    And ScottScott, lets not forget how the Palestinians, after electing Hamas, are being starved and brutalized. As you can see, US, UK, Israel make the rules, we use the rules to apply them back to you. It’s only fair.

    Reply
  26. 3ogla December 5, 2006 at 10:25 am

    I’m afraid I have to agree with GubGub. The people of a nation should take responsiblity for the imature and poor decisions of their elected leaders. Isn’t this what democracy is all about.

    If you argue the opposite then all these democratic countries might as well have leaders like Saddam Hussein.

    Hell the West are holding people in the non democractic Arab world responsible for their leaders actions, and they want to run away from it themselves.

    This is not about democracy or non democracy. Its about who has the power and they’ll use it.

    Reply
  27. Skye December 7, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    “This is hypocritical. You don’t like Olmert, Bush and Blair, impeach them, overthrow them, do whatever you have to do to save the lives of innocents who are suffering because the majority of Israelis, Americans, Brits have voted for murderous regimes. Don’t play victim because you are not and don’t come and whine to us about how you are not responsible. In US, UK, Israel murder is a majority decision. that’s the mother of all culpability”.

    It doesn’t work that way GubGab. We elect our leaders in the west and we don’t overthrow them. All we can do is hope that Amercians and Brits will wake up and vote better in future elections. And just becasue you don’t like our system doesn’t mean you should blame all Americans, Israelis and Brits for the actions of their governments.

    Reply
  28. GunGab December 8, 2006 at 6:22 am

    “All we can do is hope that Amercians and Brits will wake up and vote better in future elections.”

    is that it? Saddam gets a death penalty for killing Iraqis. Bush, Blair, Olmert get nothing for killing hundreds of thousands of Arabs? Is this how it works in civilized countries? no court martials? no impeachments? just an electoral slap on the hands as consolation to the loved ones of the hundreds of thousands of Arabs you have killed, maimed, and starved for no fault of their own? Is that white/zionist justice? I am afraid justice will find its way to you.

    Reply
  29. Skye December 8, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    “I am afraid justice will find its way to you”.

    And this means what exactly. That you’re hoping for the death of innocent American and Brits because of the messed up policies of our government?

    Reply
  30. Azzam December 9, 2006 at 8:57 am

    So you get to be murderers and victims to those you have harmed at the same time? sick Zionist bastards.

    Reply
  31. Craig January 2, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Mr. Karsou is the Palestinian Karzai.

    What’s wrong with Karzai? He has resurrected a failed state from the grave.

    You wish there was a Palestinian Karzai. But, there isn’t.

    Reply
  32. Craig January 2, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    GunGab,

    is that it? Saddam gets a death penalty for killing Iraqis. Bush, Blair, Olmert get nothing for killing hundreds of thousands of Arabs? Is this how it works in civilized countries?

    In civilized countries, we know the difference between “killing” and “murder” – when you get that straitened out, let us know and we’ll review your request for membership.

    Reply
  33. bani adam February 5, 2007 at 11:27 am

    natasha you said “Of course, we are only hearing one side of the story. We really do not know what happened. Nor do we know if his allegations are accurate”. I love it when ppl do this…you have time to write articles complaining that the Islamic representatives in the government are trying to ban the sale of alcohol in jordan and thus impinging on ur freedom (ya Allah 3alal sakhafeh) but when another citizen writes about his qualms with the way his son was treated by jordanian authorities (we all know this is not unheard of) all of you start rebuking it and shedding doubts on his claims.
    Ikhs, ikhs (shame, shame). want for others what you want for yourself, don’t be a hypocrite.

    Reply
  34. Concerned Democrat November 9, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Hi,
    Does anyone know what’s behind setting up military courts to try foreign exchange traders in Jordan.
    Last I checked, those people’s “crime” did not amount to espionage, or national security breach?
    If anyone knows any better, please let us know….
    Thank you

    Reply

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