King Abdullah of Jordan has added to the growing pressure on Syrian president Bashar Al Assad to resign from his post over the continuing violent and brutal crackdown on civilians in Syria. This comes amidst recent decisions by the Arab League to suspend Syria’s membership this Wednesday. King Abdullah of Jordan stated that “if I were in his shoes, I would step down,”.
Category Archives: Jordan
Never heard of it? I wouldn’t be surprised, not many people have. Though I have a feeling that if I was to show you a picture of our Queen it might help jog a few memories. This is simply because Queen Rania is well-known figure abroad for her humanitarian and development work, inside and outside of Jordan. Plus…as countless guys have pointed out, she is good looking. But that isn’t what this article is going to be about.
I’m writing to you in the shadow of a saddening event that has recently transpired. A Jordanian man named Mohammed Abdul Karim recently set himself on fire in front of the Jordanian prime ministers office in an act of defiance and desperation. Let us not belittle the event, regardless of whether or not you agree with the man’s motives, setting yourself on fire or taking one’s life is never an easy matter. But this act of protest eerily echo’s those of Mohamed Bouazizi the young Tunisian fruit seller who initially spurred the recent revolutionary currents we see occurring in the Middle East. This act started off by stirring the hearts and minds of the Tunisian people and like an unstoppable domino effect has spread throughout the prevailing region. But it is important to note that Mohamed Bouazizi hasn’t been the only man to have set himself alight to get things moving in his country, there have been countless other victims.
But the point is that it shouldn’t have to lead to this…we shouldn’t have to wait for someone to carry out such a heart-wrenching act for us to acknowledge the despair or turmoil within a country and for us to pay it due attention and heed. But surprisingly enough, this event in Jordan has not really been covered adequately enough by the media. This has left many people none the wiser.
Jordan is a small country, it’s rarely in the world news, and that is something which has been highlighted once again by the protests that have occurred in Jordan. The March 24th protests was Jordan’s answer to the movements that have swept up the Middle East in progressive fervor. It’s a current that demands it’s people’s voices be heard, acknowledged and respected. A demand for democracy, an end to corruption and a drastic movement towards freedom, free speech and an end to governmental censorship. These protests had also even at their inception already cost the life of a protester.
I am a proud Jordanian, though I was born and raised in London I visit Jordan yearly. I see the stark differences between there and here, some good and some bad. But what strikes me most is how little the majority of people know about their own country. I don’t mean the day to day runnings of their lives but what I mean by that is what goes on in the echelons of Power. When I was younger, I remember carelessly chatting or airing a view of the politics of the country. I remember distinctly being hushed and told to be mindful of what I say. This confused me, as living in London I had never been asked to censor my views on what I think of the politics of the country, or of the leaders. But here was I, being told that what I wanted to express, though temperamental in the light of what I know now, should be kept to myself for fear of being overheard by the dreaded ‘mukhabarat’ aka the secret police.
The fact I can sit here and express my views on Jordan is something I used to take for granted living in Britain. But especially ever since I have witnessed the backlash of Middle Eastern governments towards their people over the minimalist of demands, I am reminded how lucky I am to live where I do.
Many people accuse me of hating the King or Queen, or even worse, hating my country. These points are not only wrong but absurd and offensive to say the least. Hate is a strong word which I, like any other person, do not toss around lightly. Instead I say to them they are wrong, I love my country, its people, BUT I simply disagree with the people in power. I disagree with the fact that we as a people are censored on monitoring what or governments do or don’t do. That the simple demand of a handful of protests for minimalist reform was met with a barrage of rocks and misunderstood hate.
Things like for example, the fact that the FBI view the dreaded security police in Jordan as their own personal torture chamber upsets me. This was highlighted in a quote expressed by a senior FBI agent about how its institution and agents largely view the Jordanian secret police. The quote centered over the fact that after Israel and Egypt, Jordan is the third largest receiver of American monetary aid with a segment of that aid getting pumped into its security apparatus. His view was that the US practically ‘owned it’. It was in other words, an extension of their force, a place much like Guantanamo bay, where they could get away with torture through simply delegating it to the morally lax but cruel security force.
This upsets me as I don’t want my country to simply be remembered in all the wrong circles or manners. I want it to truly represent what it claims to be, that is a free, open, liberal and democratic country. We need to shed this perpetual cloak of secrecy, corruption and nepotism within our governments and state, and move our country forward progressively rather than continue to stagnate in a field of complicity. Jordan is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and this will be a hard fact to alter if we are not allowed to demand accountability, transparency and honesty from our governments and reliable information from our media.
And on this last note I would like to remind people that blind and utter subservience to those in power is NOT patriotism. Jordan is not made or defined through its governments; no rather, Jordan is made and defined by its nation’s people. Jordan is your homeland and not merely a land bestowed upon to the rich and powerful. It’s soil, earth and land belongs to you and to you alone as a nation. The sooner we acknowledge this basic and pivotal fact the brighter and more prosperous our futures will be.
And let us not allow the plethora of diverging views in our society to divide instead of bind us in healthy & progressive debates.
Till Next Time,