Queen Rania's Interview with Gala Magazine

March 21, 2006

... Jordan is a country where you solve all the problems, the problems are everywhere in the world, in every country but you accept them and you are trying to find the solutions.

Queen Rania: It took a while to get there I mean I think we're in Jordan naturally very self critical, we always talk about how we should fix things, how we should make them better but I think when it comes to (abuse), problems with regards to women and children. people were very shy at the very beginning they didn't want to talk about it. I think they become embarrassed, they didn't want to say that there is child abuse or that there is women abuse because it's something I think close to the family and touches the culture and the societal attitudes and things like this, so it was a barrier that we had to overcome at the beginning, which wasn't very easy but now after seven or eight years of talking about it, people are open and they are saying yes this is the issue with children we have to do something about it. This what is happening with women, there are certain problems that we face, there are certain things that need to be proved and like you said it's now we're talking about it so we can start to work on it. Before hand people used to say, "no there is no problem everything is fine", so I think when people deny a problem then it's very frustrating because you know that nothing would happen to fix it, once you acknowledge that there is a problem, then you know that you are on the way to find steps to make it better.

I was interested because I think between France and Jordan the relation is better and better, when I came to Jordan all my friends, all my family said "ah yes it is a good thing", we like this country and they don't know exactly why. Perhaps it's (because of) you, Jordanians, your husband and you are doing a positive picture of Jordanians

Queen Rania: I think it is the same also here. People in Jordan have very positive feelings towards France and also France is the number one investor here in Jordan. The French people in nature have a very strong interest in other cultures, so they come here and they appreciate whether they go to Petra or they see all the different things that Jordan has, the heritage and all that. I think they really like it, but I think we still need to do a lot more work to bring more tourists to Jordan and more Jordanian tourists to France. I think we still need to do that.

Is it (easy) to be the queen of a country like Jordan and to be a mother and to be in your family? How do you conciliate? It is very difficult.

Queen Rania: ...I think, every step of the way, I always have to reorganize my priorities to really say (okay) that this is the time we want to focus on education in Jordan this is the time we want to focus on women's issues and those kinds of things and try to do that with spending time with the children. The fact that every night I can spend one or two hours with them, doing homework, putting them to sleep… You know all that… it gives them a sense of security and it gives me a sense of security also not just for them it makes me feel very good. I don't have to spend all day with them to feel that I have the relationship and connection but I think it's being there at the critical times, like when they are not feeling very well, that there is something important happening in their lives and also being there, as I said, every night or on the weekends, spending some time together I think that makes a difference.

And do you have time to read books?

Queen Rania: Yes, it is how I relax especially before going to bed sometimes when I have a very long day and I start to read a book, five minutes latter I fall asleep...

Are there writers in Jordan?

Queen Rania: There are many writers in Jordan. I mean we have good literary movements here and I am also glad to see that there is some movement with children's literacy. I mean children's books are becoming very popular in Jordan. We have some writers who've won international prizes for I think children books, so it's moving... And, as you know, the literary movement in any country is a reflection of how developed a country is, how stable it is, how creative its people are, and to reach that level, you need to have all the other factors in place I mean the atmosphere (of success)… when you have a stable country; when you have a country where people have prosperity, you know, making a good living for themselves and have a good quality of life and they are comfortable, then you will find that you have a lot of movements in whether it is music, art or writing. Unfortunately, our part of the world, over the past few decades, has been so busy with wars and with catastrophes and disasters that this kind of thing has not been at the level it should be, as it was certainly centuries ago with Arab civilization or the literacy, so I hope that one day when peace in our region prevails and we will have people focusing on some of these very important aspects because once there are opportunities to feed the mind, we bring out the best in people.

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