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When our country is described as frail

May 19,2018 - Last updated at May 19,2018

These last two weeks have taken us on a rollercoaster ride and left us reeling. 

Whether it is the government announcement that it intends to further tax citizens on their income, the leaked reports on exemptions given to senior officials, the systematic murder of Gaza-hostage Palestinian protesters by Israel, the decision of US President Donald Trump’s administration to open its embassy in Jerusalem in contravention of international consensus, the Arab leaders submission to Israeli will and the unexplained foray of Trump’s Senior Adviser Jared Kushner into Jordan’s guardianship of holy places in Jerusalem. 

There is no doubt that these successive quick events, against the backdrop of regional uncertainty and violent conflicts are draining the citizen of the will to hope or aspire. Doors appear to be closing and opportunities appear to be diminishing.

As if in collusion, the government appears to be committed to draining Jordanian citizens financially, politically and even individually. By subjugating citizens to a series of enforced dictates, policies and actions, it is systematically targeting their will, squeezing them out from the public space, mumming their voices and subjugating them.

Jordanians whisper that it appears that the world and the government have conspired against them.

Everyone I meet describes a form of resigned frustration and declares a decision to escape this environment and go it alone without looking back. If every Jordanian were to leave, immigrate, give up on trying, protesting and demanding, where would that leave the country?  

An international political expert in conversations recently described Jordan as “frail”. The expert pulled political analysis from all corners of the world: the US administration’s policies in blind support of Israel, the divisions in the Gulf, the conflicts around us fuelled by sectarianism and narrow interests, the refugee crises and the water shortage crises. They all boiled down to a key takeaway: these developments, in a single summation, add to a challenging political environment for Jordan and very little space for political maneuvering. 

Added to what the expert continued to describe internally: lack of credible systems fostering pluralism, weak political institutions, slow reform steps, policies hostage to “old guards”, inability to foster assimilation of diverse origins and ethnicities, gender inequality and youth marginalisation, the expert concluded that the country as a whole today appears “frail”.

This analysis’s absolute and dark conclusion may not be entirely correct since it does, in my opinion, ignore some lanterns of light. But today I don’t want to focus on the bright side but to pick on the elements of truth in that analysis and especially on the clear link between an empowered citizen and an empowered state. 

Do the architects of the apparently systematic disempowerment of the Jordanian citizen really understand that they are contributing to the apparent grander design to see Jordan double up, surrender and capitulate? Do they understand that by weakening the will and capacity of the citizen to stand proud and resilient, they feed directly into the state’s ability to also be resilient and stand up to the conspiracies against it?

There are important examples only in this past couple of weeks: the video of a relatively senior police official striding determinedly through a maze of apolitical protesters while brandishing a knife, only to cut the strings to a paper kite being flown by a child; the holy month of Ramadan being declared by the government in a series of threats to citizens promising them ominous and merciless punitive action if anyone ate or drank; the official refusal to celebrate the achievement of a Jordanian author — yes of Palestinian origin — who won the prestigious Booker Prize for literature; the shameful and damaging show around a family drama that made a mockery of our security authorities and drowned us in nonsensical tribal showmanship and with it all the farcical see-saw statements around the new tax directives. 

In all of those examples, the government essentially bullied the citizen, shut the citizen up, disregarded the will of that citizen, mocked the citizen and treated the citizen as a child without the capacity to think or decide. 

In the paper kite incident the state showcased its military authority to deny Jordanians the right to peacefully send a message to Palestinians that they share in their humanity and pain, the declaration about Ramadan rules reeks of superiority treating citizens as children who cannot be allowed to make decisions on their own by shaking the finger at the citizen and threatening to punish every act of individual will, a Jordanian winning the Booker prize is a huge national source of pride, but the government’s decision to officially ignore the achievement and then allow any attempt to celebrate it to become mixed with the ruinous narrative about origins, reinforces the state’s disdain for diversity among its citizens and mocking their individual success and finally the show around officials misusing their power to snoop on citizens is the ultimate reminder to citizens that their lives are not their own to live in privacy.

What we seem to forget is that every time a citizen is dishonoured, there is a chip being chiseled out of the rock that is the state. All may appear to be small and “insignificant” chips in the first instance, but collectively they are taking away from the whole structure that houses us all. 

What Jordanians privately say is that they have been stripped of their dignity, not only by the decisions of international and regional powers, which they understand is mostly outside their control, but even more importantly and painfully, by the actions and tone of the government that should have stepped up to protect them rather than take advantage of the global situation and Jordanians’ commitment to stability, to further humiliate and weaken them. 

The analyst’s prediction that Jordan is “frail” is not a totally accurate assessment of where we are today. But it can quickly become a reality if the government continues to undermine and chip away at what has made it withstand the global challenges over the many years since the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring: Jordanian citizens’ collective resilience and dignity, regardless of origin, political affiliation, religion, gender or ethnicity. 

 

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NERMEEN IS A UNIQUE AND ONE OF THE MORDERN WOMAN OF OUR TIME THAT HAS REFUSED TO TO GO WITH THE FLOW THAT REGARD ANY NATIONAL ISSUES AND PROBLEMS FACING SUCH ISSUES TO MEN AND MEN ONLY WHO BY THE WAY HAS ALWAYS KICKED THE CANS
DOWN THE ROAD WITH THEIR PATCH WORK FIXES. SHE IS AN WOMAN OF INTEGRITY, HONESTY, LOVE FOR JORDAN, AND EYES ON THE FUTURE OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF JORDANIANS AND WE SHOULD ALL BE GRATEFUL TO HER.
SHE IS SO SMART THAT SHE KNOWS HOW TO INTEGRATE THE PAST WITH THE PRESENT TO FIND THE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLES THAT WE ALL MORAL OBLIGATIONS TO FIND SOLUTIONS AND HELP JORDAN OUT OF IT. IN FACT, IT WILL BE FAIR TO SAY THAT SHE LISTENS AND TAKE ALL THAT HIS MAJESTY HAS BEEN SAYING AND DREAMING OF AND REPACKAGE THEM INTO A FORMAT THAT SHOULD STIMULATE PEOPLE INTO ACTIONS. UNFORTUNATELY NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE LISTINING BECAUSE EITHER BECAUSE JORDANIANS ARE ALL TIRED OF THE INPENDING FACTS OF THE EXPLOSSIVE PROBLEMS FACING THE COUNTRY. IT IS A FAIR GUESS
TO DESCRIBE THE COUNTRY AS BEING IN A STATE OF "FRAIL". THIS IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT BECAUSE OF THE SEEDS OF CHAOS BEING SPREAD ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST. WHILE MOST PEOPLE HAVE CONTINUED TO SLEEP AT THE WHEEL, SHE HAS CONTINUED TO CRY FOUL AT THE NEGLECTS, TURNING BLIND EYES AND PLAY WOMAN IN A COUNTRY FACING ALL SORTS OF OBSTACLES ON THE WAY.
1) HER OPENING IN THIS CURRENT SALVO WITH WHAT HAPPENED IN GAZA AND HOW IT IS RELATED TO THE PAST AND
PRESENT SPEAKS ELOQUENT OF THE FACT SHE HAS HER FACTS CORRECT AND IN SEQUENCE BUT NO ONE IS LISTINING.
2) FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO TUNE IN TO HER INTERPULATION AND EXTRAPULATIONS OF THE FACTS ARE EVEN MORE COMPLICATED
AND CONVOLUTED. FIRST, SHE IS A WOMAN WHO MUST HAVE NO SAY AND THE FACT THAT JORDAN IS DEEP INTO THE HANDS
AND DEPENDENCY ON OUR MASTERS AND THE DECIDERS TO THE POINT THAT ONE MAY INPLY THAT THE COUNTRY HAS LOST
CONTROL OF ITS DESTINY. I HOPE THAT I AM WRONG BECAUSE WITH A "U-TRURN", INCLUSION. NEW VISION AND
PARTICIPATION OF THE CITIZENS, SOME FORM OF BANDAGES CAN BE APPLIED TO THIS BLEEDING WOUND.
3) TAXING PEOPLE TO DEATH IS NOT A GOOD MEDICINE FOR STARVATION AND LOSS OF CONTROL WHEN THE BLEEDING IS RELATED
TO MISMANAGEMENT AND THE SURRENDER OF THE INTERNAL AND THE FOUNDATION OF AN INDEPENDENT NATION. JORDAN IS
UNDER THE RULE AND CONTROL OF THE IMF, FOREIGN CENTRAL BANKS AND OF COURSE THE NEW GEOPOLITICAL EQUATIONS
AND FOMULAS OF THE DIVIDED ARAB LEADERS. ARAB WORLD HAS FALLEN APART AND THEIR LEADERS ARE NO LONGER AT EASE
4) I DO NOT UNDERSTAN THE NEW RULES AND THE REASONS FOR WARNING CITIZENS NOT TO EAT DURING RAMADAN FASTING
TIMES. YES, THIS IS A RELIGIOUS EDIT AND NOT A CIVIL LAW BECAUSE RELIGION IS PRIVATE AMONG PEOPLE AND NO ONE
SHOULD BE FORCED TO PRAY, OBEY REGULATED EATING TIMES AND WHAT MORE NOT EVERY JORDANIANS OR PEOPLE LIVING IN
JORDAN ARE MUSLIMS OR PRACTICING AS DEVOTE MUSLIMS. MOST PEOPLE ENJOY RAMADAN AS WE CHRISTIANS CHRISTMASS
WITHOUT EVEN GOING TO CHURCH ON THE CHRISTMASS DAY. THIS IS ILL-ADVISED AND NOT JORDANIAN OR NEEDED.
5) THE FACT THAT THE LAND SCAPE IS SHIFTING IN THE ARAB WORLD SHOULD BE A REMINDER THAT EVERY COUNTRY AND
LEADERS IN THAT REGION MUST HAVE A PLAN "B" AND READY TO GO AS NEEDED. JORDAN CAN NO LONGER DEPEND ON THE
USUAL FOREIGN AIDS, REMITANCES, BLIND SUPPORTS OF ONE'S FOREIGN AND/OR DOMESTIC POLICY BECAUSE THEY CAN
PULL THE RUG OUT ASNEEDED.
6)THE JORDANIAN MILITARY AND SECURITY APPARATUS IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD IF NOT THE VERY BEST SO WHEN
THE SECURITY APPARATUS DESTROY THE KITE BEING FLOWN AND USED AS A SYMBOL OF SOLIDARITY IN SUPPORT OF THEIR
PALESTINIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THE GOVERNMENT HAS IN FACT SHACKLED ITS CITIZENS AND BECOME THE STRONG
MAN THAT RULES BY DECREES. HIS MAJESTY WILL NOT TOLORATE OR VIEW THIS AS A NATIONAL SECURITY. DONT JORDAN
HAVE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSIONS ANY MORE????
IN SUMMARY, WHAT JORDAN NEEDS MOST NOW IS A UNIFORM AND COHESSIVE PUBLIC POLICY POWERED BY " COLLECTIVE RESILIENCE AND DIGNITY, REGARDLESS OF ITS ORIGN, POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS, RELIGION, GENDER OR ETHNICITY AS STATE
BY NNERMEEN MURAD.

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