Red Suits You!

Who would have imaged, even for a moment, some years back, that youths from the remote village of Shakriyah south of Jordan, will walk the Red Carpet to compete with big time Hollywood stars for the global Oscars award? Whoever thought, out of fantasy, that a Jordanian film would get selected, as Theeb did, to candidate for the Oscars, and rival cinema industry top-gun international movies like The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian, among others? Who? However, it is imperative that we overcome our surprise and joy with this film, its stars, and the makers of this achievement, primarily with scenarist Basel Ghandour and Director Naji Abu Nuwar, and consider the phases “post” and “pre” Theeb! This film that took the Jordanian story and presented it to the world, is beyond what some call a “success story”, it is a story of creativity on one side, and a story that tells the failures of official institutions —of all scales and varieties, including civil societies, in regards to the creation of an environment with the capacity to incubate creativity, excellence, and achievement. This failure is not in arts, culture, education, investment, and industry, alone but is also in terms of appreciating such brilliance and nurturing it. Accordingly, you may see this dismissal of creativity, skill, and achievement in aspects of the government’s reactions, so far, towards the inventors of Theeb, who deserved an official and popular departure ceremony on the occasion of them leaving to Los Angeles, or their arrival back from having made such an achievement within the tight financial limitations that confined their work, and the efforts of the young cast who were eager to venture with heads held high and such creativity as the government and respective organisations and institutions remained fast asleep! “Theeb”, gentlemen, gives rise to an essential question; the question of creativity, brilliance, and achievement. This film didn’t receive any official attention until the initial footages came out when the King Abdullah Development Fund stepped in for this movie to become an international film with minimal capabilities. This in turn means that there is real fertile grounds for creativity, but consequentially this creativity requires an “incubator”; legally, administratively, culturally, and societally. Governments and policies over the years, day in day out, have successfully created environments that gave rise to extremism. These policies have also transformed Jordan from a transit stop for drugs into a “social host” for them. But they utterly failed to create a suitable hosting environment for creativity; not only artistically, but culturally, academically, scientifically… etc. So much Jordanian human capabilities migrate! So many Jordanians achieved enormously for themselves abroad; from media people to academics, scientists, and professionals! We haven’t a problem with the “seeds of creativity”, they are readily available. The problem is the “environment” that suffocates them! And saying it is a matter of shortage in funds is far from true, “Theeb” was made with a budget one tenth of any one of the movies and films it rivalled, and by local expertise and the brilliance of a youths! Along these lines, education is steeping and universities are crumbling; Jordanian drama has been destroyed, and the Jordanian Football League gives much less now that it once did years ago. The national basketball team has declined in performance, an in terms of theatre; Mousa Hijazin has to pay out of his own pockets due to lack of real sponsorship for theatricals, as Jordanian stars of drama pass away in grieving financial situations whilst some like Mohammad Al Qabbani have over a hundred pieces of work published. So, instead of moving forward, we take a wide step back!?! But who said we suffer the managerial inadequacies, policies, and immaturities of Officials? Whoever said the State suffocates brilliance and creativity?