Al-Rai, Jordan’s biggest selling daily (partially government owned), has announced today that it will start publishing a ‘Reform and Enlightenment’ weekly supplement as a contribution to “achieve a clarity of vision against the various forms of extremism and bigotry and takfir, and to raise the flag of enlightenment in the Arab world, allowing reason to be the judge and reference.., and to make moderation the prevailing feature in thought, politics and society.”
I can only hope that Al-Rai follows through with this announcement and invites the many Arab and international writers and thinkers who can credibly give a voice to true reform and the culture of enlightenment. This is desperately needed. It is EXTREMELY important that such a supplement does not become overtly philosophical. We cannot only talk to the 10 intellectuals in Jordan but to everyone.
It is a huge challenge to be able to communicate the concepts of modernity, human rights, democracy, reason, social change and a deep understanding of our history to general readers. It will not be very useful if this supplement only prints long, complex articles that almost no one will be able to understand (although such articles can be part of the mix of course).
Maybe this is a belated effort. Although there have been efforts in this direction before, we shouldn’t have waited until we are have been hit to strongly confront the ideology of extremism and terror. The difference this time should be that this effort should be primarily exerted at the popular level. For example schools should become a focal point of any enlightenment effort, despite the expected resistance from some teachers.
Our response to the bombing in the coming few weeks is of extreme importance. It will set our local agenda and be an example for others in this part of the world. Stressing the need for deep political and cultural reforms and enlightenment should be key components of our response.
Read these related posts on 360east:
- Jordan Times Weekender to be published Thursdays
- Al-Ghad newspaper turns 5 (and what Al-Rai is doing in the meantime)..
- The Jordan Times turns 30..
- Orignally published in the Jordan Times
- Al Ghad tech editor responds..
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