Horror at Prince Hamza Hospital and the power of the blogosphere

As are the majority of bloggers in the Jordanian blogosphere, I was shocked and dismayed by the treatment of the father of a fellow blogger at Prince Hamza Hospital. It really beggars belief. However, this is not the main reason for this post. I’m blogging about this to highlight the effect of the blogosphere in a country that has been used to government-dominated media outlets for the last few decades. You see, word spread about this inhumane treatment through the blogosphere and it has already found its way into traditional media. Addustour daily published the story and it was picked up on a news website called Rum. Hopefully, this will bring still more attention and prompt concerned officials to act.

When I was growing up in Jordan, I never had such an outlet. We heard of similar heart-wrenching stories occurring to friends and family but we felt completely helpless. There were instances when we could not do anything to highlight the predicaments caused by an inefficient public system or institution. Things are no longer the same. There is now a way to spread the word even if traditional media outlets shy away from reporting what they may regard as "daring" stories or incidents that might air the country’s dirty laundry.

I’m glad that I’m witnessing this first-hand. The effect of the blogging phenomenon should never be underestimated. After all, bloggers are getting international recognition. Just last week, outspoken Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas was named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Knight International Journalism Award. Yes the blogs are here to stay, despite what others might think.

Update: Blogger Who Sane reports that he has been contacted by officials from the Health Ministry following his post and the reactions that followed.

Upon republishing the story in Addustour Daily, (Batir, I owe you my life), senior officials at the Ministry of Health contacted me yesterday and confirmed that the newly appointed Minister of Health, Dr. Salah Al Mawajdeh, sends his regards and is personally very concerned about this issue and has given direct orders to start an investigation lead by the Head of Internal Auditing Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Azmi Al Hadidi, who called me and visited my dad at the hospital yesterday (September 5th, 2007) and assured us that the investigation will prosecute those who have caused this ordeal.

By Natasha Tynes

I’m a Jordanian-American journalist, writer, and media development professional based in Washington, DC.


  1. Natasha, enjoy the fruit as you were part of making it happen…remember when Issam Bayazidi called you the “Mother of Jordan Planet”?

  2. Interesting way of looking at things… and now I know one of the “Godmother’s” of the JO-blogosphere, Kinzi was refereing to…

  3. There is something funny about Jordanians who have blog. A group of people who use Arabic language to write in their blog, do NOT talk about any issues about governments or politics. Other group use English language in their blog, they dare to talk about governments.
    I am wondering why do we have the difference in blog society in Jordan

  4. when will this ever stop? i dont think so as long as jordan has people like that in our governmnet who do nothing but make things bad 🙁

  5. i am not too hopeful, judging by the outcome of Batir’s Addustor article.

    the envoy sent by the ministry of “hell” in response to Batir’s article was not interested in problem-solving or customer satisfaction, so to speak; they were interested in damage control and to find holes in the victim’s story to undermine him.

    When they failed to do so, they attempted to shame him into silence under the guise of protecting jordan’s image, as if the victim is to blame for harming jordan’s image. of course to them this is not the fault of the incompetent, corrupt hospital officials, who probably have done this many times before, which will eventually erode Jordan’s image and reputation over time and no one will know why until its too late. so Who-Sane did Jordan a great service by exposing the criminal incompetence. The wrong person in the wrong place in a sensative sector such as health will have serious consequences to jordan’s prestige in this field. Whether this will translate into lessons learned for the ministry of hell, i doubt it.

    on a more hopeful note, i was surprised to learn that the victim had decided to take his father to Jordan University Hospital. may be they got their act together. for those who still remember, JUH was subjected to a similar campaign last year for delivering sub-standard health care to one of the bloggers. some of the doctors showed up on one of the blogs also to offer excuses but not to take responsibility. fine, who cares, so long as they fix it before someone loses a leg or a kidney.

    It seems jordanian bloggers are becoming another voice of the Jordanian grassroots, those who typically opt to keep a low profile and suffer quietly. a couple of radio talk shows have done an admirable job thus far of putting the spotlight on incompetence an corruption, albeit at the lower levels of government, leaving the fatter, more glutenous fish far from the people’s grill, for now.

    But I think the bloggers will be effective so long as they exercises care to report the truth, nothing but the truth, and only after “normal” means have been exhausted to deal with the situation at hand.

    Who-Sane has done a superb job in documenting his family’s ordeal and that’s why his case is bulletproof, despite the ministry of hell’s men in black trying to undermine his credibility or shame him into silence.

    It’s possible Jordanian bloggers are at a crossroads. I wonder if in a year or so will we be able to be as courageous as Who-Sane, or will there be consequences to brave and outspoken blogging and Jordan will regress like many Arab countries.

  6. I suggest we lobby for a law that strips any corrupt or criminally incompetent Jordanian public official from the Jordanian citizenship so they will no longer be counted as Jordanians and continue to drag jordan’s image in the mud. instead, we should give them the US citizenship and send them to iraq with the other criminally incompetents.

  7. The question that begs it’s self,if the king get sick or somebody in higher up in the eschelon ,will they face the same treatment as Hussien’s father received?
    The ansewer to thar question is off course they will not receive this kind of pathetic treatment.
    لنه نضام مبني علي كل من أيده ألوا،نضام سياسي وهيكلي هزيل لا يعير أي أهتمام الي أغلبيه الشعب المقهور،ما حصل في هذا المستشفي ،يحصل يوميا في كل مستشفايات الاردن الي متي سنظل مغيبين عن واقعنا المؤلم والكارثي،اصحوا علي حالكوا أيها المدونون والمدونات الاردنيون،بكفي هبل وعدم الأكتراث ،كل شخص منكو يجب أن ينخمس في السياسه لنها فن الحياه

  8. I know this guys sons 🙁 i just the story from his daughter-in-law on Friday – very sad – very very sad

    makes me livid!!

    miss you teesh

  9. I suggest we lobby for a law that strips any corrupt or criminally incompetent Jordanian public official from the Jordanian citizenship so they will no longer be counted as Jordanians and continue to drag jordan’s image in the mud. instead, we should give them the US citizenship and send them to iraq with the other criminally incompetents.

    Fahmanji, get a friggen life! What the hell does the U.S. in Iraq have to do with this post? Are you that obsessed with the U.S. that you will twist something that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the U.S., its policies, or its involvement in Iraq and turn it into propaganda to meet your own political agenda? How pathetic man!

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