Thursday, July 26, 2007

A friend in Jordan sent me this. "Attached is a photograph I took of the two buildings in Amman belonging to Talal Abu Ghazaleh that have now been forcibly expropriated by the Amman municipality on behalf of Hariri in order to build an access road to the Solidere-style Abdali development. As you recall, Abu Ghazaleh resisted all attempts at intimidation to force him to sell. His son told Baha al-Hariri: 'if you sell me your father's house in Quraytim, then I will sell you my father's headquarters in Amman."As is now typical in Jordan, the state authorities were mobilized on behalf of private interests, and expropriation orders have now been issued for the buildings. He can appeal after sixty days. Abu Ghazaleh is planning to fight to the last, as you can see from the signs. Government workers have removed the signs more than once, and Abu Ghazaleh has put them back up. He is planning to keep people in the buildings night and day in case the bulldozers come. Abu Ghazaleh, originally from Jaffa (and expelled in 1948), is a self-made business man with the most highly respected accounting firm in the Middle East. He employs hundreds of people in Jordan alone and I know for a fact that he employs many people from poor backgrounds strictly on merit. In 1991 he was forced out of Kuwait, and now he is fighting again in Amman. You can imagine that if this is the struggle a prominent and wealthy businessman must put up, with no guarantee of success, then what chance does the ordinary citizen ever have to defend her rights?"