Friday, 15 July 2011

On The "Re" In Reform

I have to admit, in the beginning, that I've been quiet for a long while for more than one reason, but mainly out of the void of something useful to say; Having said that, I imagine that today's events in Amman, are as about useful of a reason to speak as one could have.

I also have to admit, that despite my being a critic to many government policies throughout my not so brief adulthood, bearing in mind my on and off government service, I'm not entirely certain that the objective sought by those who take to the streets every Friday, and for the sake of the argument I'll call them the callers for reform is the same objective for all, and whether they're all calling for the same reform.

We acknowledge the need for Political and Economic reform, and as far as I'm concerned, all the elements of reaching an enlightened, fair and unanimously agreed upon form of government are on the table; Corruption has become pandemic in Jordan, and there has to be -and I'm not taking a shot in the dark if I assume that there really is- a genuine will in cutting the pipelines of corruption, as far as the system allows, bearing in mind the particularities of the Jordanian political and economic interdependant nature of relationship.

The center of Amman isn't the courtyard of the Bastille, and storming it like storming the infamous prison one day after the former's anniversary has to be one of the most dramatically orchestrated and least politically wise moves the opposition ever made, not because of the timing, but because the call for the protests didn't have a single specific demand shared by all the opposition, if; that is, we can call whomever was in the streets today an opposition. There seems to be a phantom of multiple interest groups with different economic and social claims: from those who are stating their claims in what's called واجهات عشائرية or tribal lands, to those who are looking to better their retirements, to teachers seeking the formation of a syndicate, to fading political parties and movements looking to return into the spotlight by riding the waves of all of the above. A rainbow of crossing interests with the least kind of interest in actual reform rather than economic gain for a certain few, however rightful their claims may be. Taking to streets every week is not going to change the facts, or the speed with which any reform is being achieved, nor will it change the fact that it wouldn't make a difference whether or not the political will towards reform is indeed genuine.

The Jordanian model of government isn't Plato's Utopia, and I'd be the first to admit it, but throughout the 90 years since the establishment of an Emirate East of the river Jordan, the term "Jordanian Refugee" has never been used, and that, to me -and to anyone who has any sense of justice- has to be the Apodictic proof of the benign nature of the Jordanian system of government. We've had Palestinian, Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Yemeni precede the term refugee in the past months and years, and almost all of the above refer to lands where government is irrelevant to the historical continuity of the social belonging to the lands they refer to, but that civilizational certainty hasn't saved their peoples from being displaced and become refugees -even briefly- as a result of a man-made circumstance dictated by the wisdom -or lack thereof- of the political system.

I'm not, neither will I claim to be more monarchist than the monarch, but to me, the respect of human dignity is first and foremost in any relationship, especially when it comes to the relationship between the ruler and the ruled. The social contract between any people and their government gives away rights as well as gains others, the protection of the human dignity is probably the single most important of all rights. Keeping in mind the style of government we've seen across the Arab World in the past 50 years; one cannot stress enough the importance of this little detail when one see's images of people being stepped on, kicked in the face and shot at by regime thugs bearing all sorts of lethal weapons and orders to use them at will in Syria, an hour away from Amman, for example.

The bottom line is that, despite the shortcomings of the political, economic and social policies, as well as the misuse of power against protesters we saw today and several times before, one has to be fair to one's own nature and acknowledge the fact that these abuses are not systemic, nor are they an integral part of the political system's composition and character, which makes it even more important not to underestimate the value of being a citizen of Jordan in 2011, and not a citizen of any other country where human dignity can easily be waived, misused and abused, for the sake of the continuity of one person's malignant political regime.

Update: There needs to be a clear definition of authority, particularly over the Police and the security apparatus, the removal of weapons only to be replaced by sticks, stones and barbecue grills to face-off protesters isn't a an exercise to restore order, it's official hooliganism under the pretext of keeping law and order. Not having control over anti-riot police voids the word authority from its meaning, it makes us a borderline Police state.