One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: this is how I feel about Jordan sometimes when I read the news. Sometimes it is a bit of a tango with reform and combating poverty, unemployment, crime et cetera. We make some minor development here and there and then something sets us back, and it seems the set backs are more than the forward movement.
Case in Point…
[PLUS] When I read the news today I saw one major piece standing out and this was HM King Abdullah’s laying the stone for a mega housing project, the largest in Jordan’s recent history. Believe it or not there are Jordanians who do not live in West Amman and have to face the horrors of makeshift homes which are at times litterally pieces of zinco and wood. Al Mafraq, arguably one of Jordan’s biggest poverty pockets, will benefit from the first phase the King just initiated, which includes a $7 million plan to start building about 600 homes on government land. 78 houses are being built in Mafraq and the second stage will begin early next year.
These housing complexes are 33 to 188 units depending on the needs of each area.
[MINUS] One man is about to be sentenced to death for killing two people and another man has just been set free after serving 15 months in jail for killing his married sister. In the former case it was basically about money, the second case is an “honor” crime. Here you gave a girl who had an affair with a taxi driver and got pregnant, so the administrative governor put her in detention for her own safety while she gave birth to a baby boy. The administrative governor then secured her release after arranging for her to marry the taxi driver and getting a written and signed statement from her family gaurenting her safety.
A day later her her brothers followed her to a friend’s house to confront her and after shooting her with a machine gun and having all the bullets missed their target he chases his sister into the street and with the butt of his gun bashes in her skull.
Her family, including her husband, claim she had affairs with many men for money.
Now here’s the part where I get really angry…
The tribunal also decided on Wednesday to amend the premeditated murder charges originally pressed against Mohammad to a misdemeanour as stipulated in Article 98 of the Penal Code because the defendant committed his crime in a fit of fury.
Ã¢??The victim’s unlawful and dangerous acts caused mental disturbance and great anger for the defendant and he no longer was able to control his emotions because she hurt his feelings and tarnished her family’s honour and reputation with her dishonourable acts,Ã¢?Â the court said.
[MINUS] The SAME tibunal convicted a 63 year old man to only 3 years in prison after killing his daughter. The daughter had opened the doors for an Egyptian worker who asked for a glass of water and grabbed her upon recieving it. She kicked him out of the house but the father became suspicious after hearing about the incident.
So what does he do? He ties his daughter up and starts to beat her with a water hose as he questions her. Hours later she admits to having an affair.
The father leaves her in the room.
She dies by next morning of internal bleeding.
Postmortem: she had no sexual activity.
Who do you blame? The brother? The grandfather? The victims? The tribunal? The individual judges? The Penal Code? The Parliament’s refusal to pass a law against honor crimes? Society?
Can Political and Economic reform happen without Social Reform first? Which one is more important? Can Economic reform bring about Social reform? Is it on the government or the people to change? Who shifts the paradigm?
One Step Forward…Two Steps Back