You are here

Turning protests into an opportunity to introduce aspired change

Jun 06,2018 - Last updated at Jun 06,2018

Over the past week, Jordan has been witnessing protests against fuel and electricity price hikes as well as an income tax draft law. The idea of having protests in an Arab country is frightening for many, but it is not for the Jordanian people, and particularly for His Majesty King Abdullah, who expressed pride in protesters, as well as in the security forces which were deployed to ensure peace and security for all.

During a meeting on Monday with media leaders, the King said that he was closely following up on protests and was feeling with the people, supporting their right to express themselves peacefully.

“What I have seen during the past few days has made me happy and proud to be Jordanian,” the King told chief editors and columnists, shortly after accepting the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Hani Mulki, which was one of the protesters’ demands.

His Majesty, who on Tuesday entrusted outgoing education minister Omar Razzaz with forming a new government, said that from time to time there is a need for a reminder “to make us adjust our path”, which this time came in the form of anti-government protests by mostly young people, who are decrying economic measures and demanding a change in the course that the government was taking.

The King said there were mistakes committed by the former Cabinet with the way it handled the income tax draft law, but most importantly in its failure to connect with the people, to communicate the difficult economic situation to them and to involve them in coming up with solutions. He complained that at certain times, he had to do part of the job of the government instead of carrying out his role as the guarantor of the Constitution and the one who ensures balance between the authorities.

The King expressed anger at officials failing to carry out their responsibilities, saying they should step down and give others the chance to do the job,  while also expecting the new Cabinet to do a better job in opening up to citizens, starting a national dialogue over economic and other issues as well as involving the youth and benefitting from their great potential in the economic and political reform processes.

The King’s talk was frank and full of hope for a better future for the country. And indeed it was a chance to see the full half of the glass, to think of ways to turn challenges into opportunities. For the King, the protests were an opportunity to correct whatever needs to be corrected, and to have a new beginning.

Now, this new beginning will be with a new Cabinet that is being formed. The new Cabinet faces the daunting task of rising up to people’s expectations in the manner that it will be formed and in the persons that will be chosen to serve as ministers. And more importantly it faces the more difficult challenge of meeting protesters’ demands, some of which are difficult to achieve, particularly those represented in reducing electricity and fuel prices, scrapping the income tax draft law and reinstating bread subsidies. These demands might not be achievable in view of the tough economic situation that Jordan has been facing, particularly over the past years, along with the tough regional situation that is adding more burdens on the country.

The new government should be able to communicate this situation to the people and ask for their input, act in a transparent manner and, in accordance with the King’s directives, open the way for new blood and talents.

It will not be an easy task for Razzaz, who enjoys a great deal of respect on the streets of Jordan — particularly in view of his efforts as education minister to develop the educational process and win over teachers, students and parents — to appease those protesting and meet their economic demands.

But he certainly deserves to be given a chance and to be supported in his endeavours.

People have to realize that he does not have a magical solution to all their problems, nor that his government will not be taking tough economic measures. This is something that no prime minister can promise. There will still have to be a new income tax law that has to be introduced in fulfilment of Jordan’s commitment to a fiscal reform programme brokered with the International Monetary Fund  and there will be fuel price adjustments, up or down, in accordance with the international market prices.

But political activists and the public as a whole can work to ensure that the government rises up to their expectations by enabling it to work within the available resources to provide better services for them, fight corruption, cut red tape, work to push forward the democratisation process, support the youth, work for justice and equality, empower women, and meet any other demands with the objective of overcoming the current crisis and marching forward toward a better future for the country and its people.

People who were demanding a change in the way things are being run in their country now have a chance not only to support this change, but also to be part of it.

up
74 users have voted.

Comments

Great analysis and beautifully written

WELL WRITTEN ARTICLE THAT POINTS OUT ALL THE MULTIPLE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC PROBLEMS IN JORDAN. AS THE WRITER STATED, THERE ARE NO EASY OR MIRACLE SOLUTIONS BUT PATIENT AND COLABORATIONS OF ALL JORDANIANS. ALTHOUGH THE JORDAN TIMES SENT OUT FLASHING RED SIGNALS IN VARIOUS EDITORIALS AND OPEN COMMENTS NONE OF WHICH WAS ACTED UPON AND SO WE ARE WHERE WE ARE TODAY AND NEED THE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ALL PARTIES TO RE-START THE ENGINE OF GROWTH IN JORDAN. THIS WILL NEED A TUNE UP JOB IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS;
1) IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT JORDAN CAN NO LONGER DEPEND ON FOREIGN AIDS, GRANTS, LOANS OR THE SILLY REMITANCES RATHER THAN PRODUCTIVITY FROM JORDANIAN FIRST CLASS BRAINS.
2) THE DECLINE IN FOREING AIDS HAS MANY CAUSES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITTED TO PAY TO PLAY IN WARS. SYRIA IS LOST SO PAY PLAY IN SYRIA IS GONE UNLESS ANOTHER WAR CAN BE FABRICATED WHICH NO ONE WANTS EXCEEPT ARMS MARCHANTS OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTIONS. THIS DOES NOT IMPLY THAT FOREIGN AIDS SHOULD BE OUT OF THE EQUATION IF DONE IN THE USUAL NORMAL WAYS. THE FACT THAT THE AMOUNT OF AIDS MOST COUNTRIES RECEIVE FROM THE WEST ARE ALL THE FUNCTIONS OF THE LOBBING POWERS AMONG ETHNIC GROUPS WHICH CAN BE STRATIFIED BY RACE, ETHNICITY, RELIGION AND ASSOCIATIONS. YOUR CITIZENS MATTERS BUT I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY STATISTICS THAT SUGGEST THAT THERE ARE JORDANIAN AMERICANS THAT ARE ACTIVE IN POLITICS IN USA. HOW MUCH THE STATE OF ISRAEL GETS ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE PARTICIPATIONS OF THE DUAL ISRAELI CITIZENS IN THE US POLITICS. WE USE TO SAY THAT A TREE CAN NOT MAKE A FOREST BUT IT DOES THROUGH THE CASCADE EFFECT. EACH STATE IN US HAS REPRESENTATIVES IN THE CONGRESS. HAW MANY JORDANIAN AMERICAN HAS EVER CALLED THEIR CONGRESS MEN OR WOMEN TO REMIND THEM THAT JORDAN IS IMPORTANT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AND THEREFORE STRATEGICALLY QUALIFY FOR OUR SUPPORT. AS THE PRESENT MELT DOWN UNFOLDED, I DID REACH OUT TO MANY JORDANIAN IN USA AND NONE OF THEM WANTS EVEN TO HEAR IT BECAUSE THEY COMPLAIN THAT JORDAN DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THEM. MOSTLY JORDANIAN WOMEN MARRIED TO NON JORDANIAN MEN HAS BEEN RULLED OUT. THEY COMPLAIN TO ME THAT JORDAN EVEN REFUSED TO RENEW THEIR PASSPORTS THAT THEY HAVE HAD FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS FOR WHAT EVER REASON(S) AND THESE ARE FAMILIES THAT ARE HIGHLY EDUCATED WITH MOST OF THESE WOMEN MARRIED TO UK, ITALIAN AND OTHER EUROPEAN MEN. IN FACT ONE OF THEM ASKED ME YESTERDAY WHY I AM CONCERND AND TRYING TO HELP WHEN THEY DO NOT EVEN CARE ABOUT ME AND MY SON. HONESTLY, I FOUND MYSELF AND FAMILY AS OUTLIER IN THIS STRATA OF THOSE WITH VESTED INTEREST IN JORDAN. IT IS TIME FOR JORADN TO KEEP TRACK OF THEIR CITIZENS ALL OVER THE WORLD AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO INVEST AND CONTRIBUTE. JORDAN SHOULD SHOW THEM SIGNS THAT THEY ARE NEEDED ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. THEY CAN ENCOURAGE OR BRING BUSINESSES, THEY VOTE AND THEREFORE CAN TELL POLITICIANS HERE THAT THEIR VOTES ARE TIED TO HELP FOR JORDAN BUT THEY DONT BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT YOUR BEST AND FIRST AMBASSADOR FOR ANY COUNTRY ARE YOUR OWN CITIZENS AND FAMILIES IN THE SAID COUNTRIES. THEY KNOW THAT JORDAN IS THEIR HOME HOME AND HAVE EVERYTHING TO LOOSE IF THE COUNTRY IS NOT DOING WELL. REMEMBER THE SAYING THAT " MINE IS MINE AND OURS IS OURS". AS HIS MAJESTY SAID, THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO BE A TRUE JORDANIAN.
IN SUMMARY, THE SITUATION WHILE SERIOUS CAN BE CORRECTED IF ALL JORDANIANS CAN JOIN HANDS, MAKE SACRIFICES AND RALLY AROUND HIS MAJESTY TO MOVE AHEAD IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
15 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Newsletter

Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.