Monday, February 28, 2011

Jesus Was An Englishman

Or was he?
It never fails to blow my mind that what I consider to be general demographics is often completely alien to others. In saying this, I’m not trying to be pretentious at all – on the contrary, I am incredibly interested to find out why this kind of information is not widespread knowledge. Oh, wait, I’ll tell you why; because the media can be viciously biased and consumers have become comfortable in their classification of individuals, nations, religions, etc. We won’t go into that now for now though.

My Jordanian heritage allows me the luxury (yes, I do consider it as such) of extracting the best from both worlds – I am also Australian; I haven’t lived in either country for longer then a spell of eight years at one time. In social settings, I often use the irritating term ‘citizen of the world’ to describe myself when asked the inevitable question, “where are you from?” and often surprise said conversationalist when pressed to reveal my background (p.s. thank you Michael Bay for putting us on the map, albeit looking slightly dafter than we are).
Cue the list of nerve grating questions:
Scenario #1 – “But you speak English so well!” 
Response: “Err, you're joking, right?”
However, I bet you didn’t know that the entire Jordanian royal family are graduates of Sandhurst Military Academy? I bet you also didn’t know that the late King, Hussein bin Talal (one of the greatest military and political leaders of our time) was once married to an English woman, Toni Gardiner, who retains her title as a princess of the Hashemite Kingdom. How about the fact that His Highness, King Abdullah II, the reigning ruler of Jordan, is actually one of the four children Gardiner bore?
HH is a graduate of Oxford University, lived most of his life, up until his crowning in ’99 in the UK, speaks in a true blue English accent (much like his mother, naturally) and actually struggled through his first few months as King when addressing the public in the Arabic language, due to his Western upbringing (he is also a massive Star Trek fan and was cast in an episode – see pic). Still surprised I speak such good English for someone of Jordanian heritage?
Scenario #2 – “You were raised Christian?!” 
Response: “Now I know you're joking.. right?!”
Luke 2:4-7
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son."
Let’s all pretend we are believers for the sake of this argument (my beliefs are somewhat helter skelter at the moment); Jesus was born in what was then known as Palestine. Have you seen a map lately? The Hashemite Kingdom borders Palestine. Jesus was not from the Bronx, neither was he born in Buckingham palace. Jesus was from what is now widely – and geographically incorrectly – referred to as the ‘Middle East’.
Mark 1:9
"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptised him in the Jordan River."
Seriously? Still not ringing any bells for you? Furthermore, Jordan is an incredibly popular religious pilgrimage destination, with other Biblical sites such as Mount Nebo, where Moses was said to have viewed the Land of Canaan annually drawing a footfall in the thousands. In the early 1950′s the Christian Jordanian population stood at over 18% of a 6 million strong figure – a considerable number, relatively speaking. The number has now decreased to just under 4% due to the government’s kind approach to refugees with mixed backgrounds, entering the Kingdom from neighbouring countries.
I could go on really – I haven’t even told you where I currently live/work, but I’ll save that one for later and leave you to digest this for a while. I still don’t understand why I know more about everyone else than they do about me. I’m not smarter than you are, but clearly I invest more time with my curiousities. Give us a search, we really are an interesting people. However, try and base your judgements on facts rather than stereotypes. Better yet, ask someone, like me!
I’ll tell you all about Australia later, although somehow, I doubt you’ll need this much of an introduction. Strange, really.

CC licensed image: Flickr user EvelynGiggles

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