Political satire in the Middle East: Is this Jordan's answer to The Onion?


Published: 2017-12-24 16:15

Last Updated: 2017-12-24 23:07

Editor: Abeer Ayyoub

Political satire in the Middle East: Is this Jordan's answer to The Onion?
Political satire in the Middle East: Is this Jordan's answer to The Onion?
Roya News Source

"I can’t believe we don’t have something like the Onion website in the Middle East, we have so many things to make fun of,” said Khaled* in 2013, while sitting with his friends.

And this is how the story of their satire website “Al-Hodoud” began.

“Before that day ended, we had divided the work between us, we wrote 14 articles for our official launch, and after three months we were online,” Khaled told Roya in a phone interview from London.

And behind the expectations, the website found its way quickly to readers for its funny way of criticizing the stereotypes in the Middle East, especially those related to women rights.

Here some of the headlines posted on the website:

-Iran cancels pilgrim from Islam five bases, because it’s done only in Saudi Arabia.

- The United States puts an answer machine to veto any draft related to Israel

- Study: “His decent daughter” is most common female name in Jordan

The website has a page on Facebook with more than 300 000 followers, and this is where most people access the articles, many of them interacting with the posts and saying they can easily relate to it. However some others are not as accepting of the content.

Khaled told Roya that he didn’t expect this level of success for the website, but they are glad their mission was accomplished, with the team growing from three to ten members. “We love what we are doing, it’s so much fun.”

He said that each story they write takes more than seven hours to be completed, with three of them working on the title just to make sure none of the material will be offensive to anybody, especially when it comes to religious issues.

Hussam Assal, 30, a journalist based in Amman, said that he is following “Al-Hodoud” because they address interesting topics, especially about the Arab community and woman issues. However, he added that there are some topics that he doesn’t like, especially those related to religion.

“Sometimes they annoy me with speaking about religious issues, which is considered unjustified to me,” Assal said,

Khaled said that he thinks making fun of society’s problem can be a part of the solution, and this is why they are doing the work they are doing. “We know what we can make a change, but we don’t know to what extent it can be a real change.”

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the interviewee.