Parliament’s “Iron Fist”

Every now and then the Parliament does something which I consider to be “good”. It’s a rare event but it’s something.

Case in point, the Lower House endorsed the temporary juvenileâ??s law of 2001 that bans the sale of alcohol, cigarettes and controlled drugs to citizens under 18. The punishment to facilities that serve alcohol and nargileh (water pipe, hubbly bubbly, another way to die) to underage citizens is imprisonment of up to 6 months in jail or a fine of 200 JDs, or both.

What was interesting was the amendment which was introduced concerning nightclubs. The penalty for nightclub owners who allow underage citizens into their clubs has now increased from a one month closure to permanent closure.

Very bold I must say.

Some MPs had trouble with the law and the amendment stating that it’s unrealistic. “Fathers still send their sons to purchase cigarettes. We cannot punish shop owners so severely for such a simple matter” said Deputy Mustafa Shneikat. Other deputies felt the punishment for nightclubs was “too harsh”. While others said the parliament needs to take a more “iron fist policy” approach.

In my opinion the punishment is just right. If they’re going to have nightclubs in the country there need to be protective measures taken for under age citizens who make up the majority of the population.

As for the law being unrealistic given the realities of today’s society, well to that I say realities change. All social paradigms shift and laws are a good way to make that happen when it comes to changing negative realities. People should not be sending their kids to buy cigarettes for them and that reality has to be changed.

But like all laws that came before it and all laws that will come after the problem remains with one thing: implementation.


  • Devil’s Mind, please mind the language, i dont like to edit comments.

    as for your question, the answer is i am a citizen who feels it’s despicable to see half his country wasted on drugs and alcohol.


  • “i am a citizen who feels …”; and why should EVERYBODY give up their freedom to make u feel comfortable? Are you a God or something?
    Remmember, you are not the center of the world!!!

    Sorry for my agressive tone, but thats a serious issue…

  • Devil’s Mind, who is “everybody”? We are talking about under age people here.

    Also, of course I am not God, and this isn’t being done to make me comfortable. This is a national issue voted on by parliament. It concerns an entire population. Freedoms are defined within the boundries of law and cilization; it is the reason we have both.

    Thank you for reminding me I am not the center of the world. I tend to forget that fact these days. 😀

  • I say “everybody” because first, everybody is at one point an under age; so this kind of law will affect everybody at some point of time…

    Now, that u are reminded that u’r not the center of the world, maybe u can understand why u should not be bossing other people around!! U are not better, wiser, self-aware than under aged… Under age have rights AS MUCH AS above age have!! Thats the issue here! Its not ur right to boss others, even if they are less than your self-proclaimed adult age….

  • I agree, it all depends on whether this law gets enforced properly or not.

    Devil’s mind, if a 4 year old walks into a store and asks for that thing that people sometimes put in their mouths to make smoke and that smells a little funny, do you suggest that the store owner sell the kid a pack of cigarrettes?

    Can a 7 year old drive a car? They can probably “operate it in some way”, but can they drive it safely and responsibly? Would you feel the same if on the street you saw a bunch of 15 year old drivers zooming by at 100 km/h? How well do you think a teenager can abide by the no drinking and driving law?

    Should people under 18 be allowed to vote too? If so then we’ve more than doubled the number of eligible voters, but what will these new voters vote based on? Their knowledge of their country’s politics (which not even adults in Jordan have in good standing)? Or based on their parents’ and families’ preferences?

    There has to be a line drawn somewhere. People say “why 18? why not 16? Why not 17?” but if it was 17 or 16, it’ll only take a short period of time before some people start asking “why not 15?”

  • Yes, why does an under age not have the right to elect?

    First of all, for driving, there is a driving test; and if an under age performs well in that test i see no good reason not allow them to drive… and if they speed, there are always tickets!!

    Although i might agree with you a little bit on the driving issue because it has the possibility to hurt others (but i dont think its age, i know many above age who drive unsafely, so its actually a week arguement to relate safe driving with age)!!

    But, yes, if an under age wants to smoke, thats their choice… and no-one is hurt by that choice but themselves… All smoke packs have a label that says: “smoking is a major cause of lung cancer” written in both english and arabic, so if they were ignorant of its negative side effects (but i think most of them are aware of that), then that warning should enlighten them… beside that, u have no right to enforce a pre-determined choice upon them…

    And they have equal right to vote… why do u think that an under age doesnt have the right to have a political opinion about the world around them? I am sick of those people who think that young people “cant have a voice or an opinion” simply because they are young… Why do u give urself such right and ban it from others? Isnt that an ultimate unequality and discrimination?

  • ” Should people under 18 be allowed to vote too? If so then weâ??ve more than doubled the number of eligible voters, but what will these new voters vote based on? Their knowledge of their countryâ??s politics (which not even adults in Jordan have in good standing)? Or based on their parentsâ?? and familiesâ?? preferences? ”

    hasnt this exact argument been made against women voting?

    i will only replace the word: “people under 18” with ‘women’ , “adults” with “men” and the word “parents” with “husbands”;
    lets see now how the sentence reads:

    ” Should women be allowed to vote too? If so then weâ??ve more than doubled the number of eligible voters, but what will these new voters vote based on? Their knowledge of their countryâ??s politics (which not even men in Jordan have in good standing)? Or based on their husbandsâ?? and familiesâ?? preferences? ”

    thank you for being so much of a considerate person!!!

  • I can’t stop laughing on you ‘Devil’s mind’ 😀 … such a teenager! man! stop the rebellious attitude, it’s not good for your health.

    But let me talk some sense… imagine yourself having a young daughter, let’s say a 12-year-old, for teenagers, it is scientifically agreed on that they have hormones they can’t control, now, you are at work, returned home, opened the door, oops! your girl is having a party, she is drinking! smokin’ marijuana!and ofcourse, she invited some friends, but no, according to your laws, you can’t blaim her, she did nothin against the law! the gang decides to move the party outside…with some cars(ofcourse it’s forbidden according to you)… I can go on for ever…

    Now, you might say this can happen to anyone no matter what his age is, this is true, but, the possibility with teenagers is almost a 100 times greater! the possibility of them getting loose is way much bigger than elder people! both scientific-wise and experience-wise. Now, about political views, I guess that during my life, I had many political views even when I was 10 years old, but now when I look back, I see that those views were nothing but a duplicate of my father’s, or when I was mad of hem, they were an exact anti-duplicate!

    Trying to prevent under-aged from smoking is caring, not a a “pre-determined choice upon themâ?¦”

  • And last thing, i think a parent who doesnt respect his child’s choices doesnt deserve to be a parent…. I would protect my then daughter by KNOWLEDGE NOT PROHIBITION… But sure enough, you are people who find it hard to respect other people’s opinions and choices, and u’r probably gonna “canâ??t stop laughing” on me and those other stupid “rebellious” people because obviously they are so ridiculous…

    Anyways, i think i already made my point clear,,, no need for more arguments from my side…..

  • lol, you’re comparing adult women to children? You want children to vote because we let women vote too? Don’t you think that’s going a little bit too far.

    About driving again, if everybody under 18 (and I mean everybody down to infants and babies) is allowed by law to take the driving test, then you’ve just increased the number of test takers, AND you’ve decreased the percentage of those who pass. What are your suggestions about solving the new problem of lack of resources to cope with the sudden increase of people showing up to take the test? What do you think someone who’s say 16 or 18 years old who can drive perfectly and only wants to get his driver’s license is gonna feel when he learns that he’s on a 6 month waiting list behind people who 60% of them are less than his age and who can’t even see beyond the steering wheel and who are just there because their parents want to see what they will do in the driving test?

    Also, what are kids gonna do with cars? By doing this you’ve increased the number of people who can drive at any given moment and therefore you’ve increased the demand on personal vehicles. We’re supposed to be solving the problem of pollution in the country by trying to encourage car pooling and the use of public transportation, and you’ve just made it worse by encouraging kids to own their own cars if their families can afford them.

    What you’re saying might sound perfect in a world that is perfect, but our world is far from that and we need to ask what’s practical, what guarantees the best quality of living for most people, and it just doesn’t happen to be the idealistic kind of solution that you’re suggesting. Yes, some kids know how to drive and are responsible enough to drive, but it’s just too bad they can’t, they have to live with it and wait like everyone else until they are over 18.

    You said it yourself, you said “everybody” because everybody is under age at one point in their life, and in the same way, I say everybody has to wait and in that sense, everybody is treated the same.

  • ” because we let women vote too? ” : i am not sure what kind of ideas you have, but women vote because its their right, not because “u let” them out of your uncomparable generosity….

  • Once again the meddlign hand of the state.

    This is ineffeicient for a number of reasons I wish I had more time to comment but I dont right now,
    suffice to say in some respects I agree with Devils mind.

    I don’t like the idea of the nanny state. The power of letting kids smoke or drink should rest with shopkeepers and parents. If someone is opposed to alchohol then their children should be raised to avoid it and not let the state take on that role, same thing with cigarettes.

    Plus, I really don’t think t this actually reduces the number of smokers to any degree as people will always find waysof purchasing contraband.

  • In spain, they officially have prohibited smoking and drinking almost entirely, this move was greatly approved by the European Union in major, that’s just a view from outside…

    “Devil’s mind”, I couldn’t help it! I smiled again 🙂 “a parent who doesnt respect his childâ??s choices doesnt deserve to be a parent” have you ever been a child?! never mind, have you ever watched a mother and her child in the market, near a candy shop! and why on earth do you think that “PROHIBITION” is against “KNOWLEDGE”??

    I also take my words back, you’re not rebellious, because rebellious often comes in a positive way, and I can’t entitle that honor to someone who defends the right of children to get high! please man, it’s not about argument, it’s a simple question; do you want kids to get high whenever they like it or not?

    People like those who are trying to force that law, and people like naseem who reminds us of that, are people who really care, not the teenager’s “Robin Hood’s”…

  • anyways, i hope you enjoy drug dealers giving drugs to under age kids… because weather you aprove it or not: its gonna get there!!
    Gosh, i didnt use to like Robin Hood, but now you are making me start to like him! But i dont think its me who is Robbin Hood, but the drug dealers are because they provide the “circular justice”!

  • In most night clubs and cafes in the US and Europe it is forbidden to sell cigarretes and alcohol to underaged and I think the Jordanian law is fair enough. Cigarrettes, nargilah, alcohol and nightclubs are causes of death and health deterioration let alone moral and ethical decay. I strongly support the Parliament with this issue.

  • I strongly support this law. I’m tired of seeing Jordanian kids waste their money and their health on something that has become such a common scene in Jordan–smoking that is. I hope they will make as much of an effort to make sure that this law is enforced; that’s the real hard part like you mentioned Nas.

    Devil’s Mind– have you not realized that the majority of the civilized world has age limits for smoking, drinking, and driving, among other things?
    Here in the US, individuals under 18 cannot buy cigaretts, under 21 cannot buy alcohol. This is something very common and widely accepted as a precautionary measure as well as for health reasons. Teenagers are simply not responsible enough, even if you consider that there are some who are mature, we cannot rely on that. And there is no test that measures “maturity” or “level of responsiblity”.

    It is true that even adults above 21 can act immature and irresponsible, but when it comes to breaking the law, they have to face the courts. If you allow children to drink and drive, they they will have to face murder charges when they drive under the influence and kill someone. Do we want our courts to be filled with children being involved in such things? Our resources are already lacking, they don’t need more trouble. With privilege comes responsibilty, and with responsibilty comes accountability, and with that comes an understanding that the law will apply to everyone who is entitled to a certain right. Therefore, they will have to face the same consequences that a 30 year old has to face.

    I personally think that the drinking age should be raised to 21, and that no individual under 21 be admitted to night clubs. That’s how it is in the US, a country not particularly bound by religious ideology, but at least some awareness of the dangers of drinking, smoking, and drugs (and the prevalence of all these things at clubs).

    Devil’s Mind– I am sure that this law will be widely accepted in Jordan, and I doubt that you will be able to find more than 1% of Jordanians (above 21) who will agree with your view point.

Your Two Piasters: