The Sound Of One Hand Clapping

As we enter October, there is no doubt in my mind that 2007 has been an incredibly bad year for Jordan. The gap between the poor and the rich has increased to the point where you can see it as clear as day and night. The government has done little about that. Media reform is all but dead with the sad, sad demise of ATV, the first private Jordanian news channel. The government saw to that. Then of course we had a politician jailed. The government was responsible for that. Our corruption levels are up. Municipal elections were a joke that included a disposed opposition party and a government rigging the results. We’ve had several public health scares, that instead of being contained, were mishandled enormously. The GID (or mukhabarat) have never enjoyed such free exercise of authority. Inflation is on the rise. Still more honor killings; still no law.

And this is just touching the surface; barely.

I’m always astonished at the lack of coherent policy in Jordan.

It’s fairly easy to tell where parliament stands on the issues, after all, the people are responsible for electing them. The overwhelming majority are conservatives, traditionalists, and like to suck up to the government unless the latter is trying to pass anything related to reform, or a ‘changing of old ways’ that threatens their tribe’s position of power. The opposition is also conservative, traditionalist and to make things more fun, religious. Never missing an opportunity to be anti-government just for the sake of being anti-government. Ask them where they stand on the issues, ask them for alternatives, and they’ll offer you nothing but empty rhetoric.

But the state.

Now the state is a whole other different story.

On the one hand you have the King and various technocrats and reformists always pushing for some type of reform or another, and then on the other hand, you have this old guard undermining the direction of the state.

A recent example was the decision to monitor Jordanian websites (like blogs). I have no doubt in my mind that this decision was taken by the GID with the government happily obliging. It is a decision that made a few waves both online and offline, at least enough to question why the state was making such a move in light of the King who is always talking about media reform.

A few days later the King makes a speech and assures everyone that monitoring of websites will not happen.

If the King is disapproving of the policy to begin with, one has to wonder how it was approved to begin with. Either the GID is acting on its own accord in the post Amman bombing era, or the left hand of government does not know what the right hand is doing. These sort of situations usually involve someone, somewhere getting into a lot of trouble, mainly for making the King look bad, or at worse, a bit hypocritical.

But in the meantime, the people are getting mixed signals.

The relationship between national leadership and the support base is disconnected. A few weeks ago, the King gathered his cabinet members and essentially asked anyone who was not up to the task of carrying out his agenda, to resign. No one did of course.

But it is truly disconcerting to risk having that kind of message sent at a time like this. Which says to me that where there’s smoke there’s fire.

On the surface many would argue that this is all a charade being concocted to fool the people, specifically foreign donors and governments.

But those who are wiser know of this disconnect. They are aware of it.

It’s even apparent at the most fundamental level.

Let’s say for example, you have some sort of government-related procedure involving a lot of bureaucratic paperwork that needs to get done. You will be forced from department to department, from ministry to ministry. Everyone says “you’re in the wrong place, so and so is in charge of that”. But so-and-so tells you to go elsewhere.

You end up wasting an entire week due to bad directions. Eventually you find a short old guy in a dusty office, in the corner of some ministry, who is “in charge” of whatever it is you need to get done. He’ll probably give you a list of all the other places you need to visit to collect a series of signatures and stamps; philately has never been so fun.

Even on this level, it is apparent that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

From the moment the King makes a decision, it will get passed down the chain to various players. And it’s very much like a rumor that will start with one person, but by the time it gets to the last person in the chain, it’s completely different. Completely broken.

There is a breakdown in communication and one needs to only look at the way the most basic government employee operates in the most basic government-environment (such as a department or ministry), to understand the broken mechanism at play.

Would things be easier if the entire government was military? Just a bunch of soldiers following direct orders like their life depended on it, instead of aged-politicians with ancient-agendas?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that the Bakhit government has been the worse Jordanian government that I have ever had the misfortune of experiencing.

In the meantime, the people keep getting yanked around.

55 Comments

  • we all know the parliament does not represent all Jordanians and that’s why it has evaded accountability. either fix the parliament or abolish it. but to keep it as it is just to spite Jordanians and to leave them with one of two options, a sham democracy or absolute rule is unfair. what a cynical way to subvert a nation’s political evolution.

  • Naseem, I’m liking your posts more and more. It’s good to see more bloggers vested with a genuine interest in pushing reform forward.

    I agree that the Moukhabarat might have had a lot to do with the latest crackdown on online websites and blogs. They’re becoming more and more active, and frankly, I have to admit that it very much scares me and worries. Because it gives you this indication that perhaps something is simmering, or perhaps they just want to send out a very blunt message: You’re not only being watched, but also closely followed. One thing I wouldn’t want to see, is Jordan to become a police state.

    By the recognition of many Ministers and other prominent officials; there is a huge amount of informalities within the public sector. Informal processes breeds more nepotism and corruption and less regulation and monitoring. Informal processes, means that a decision by the Ministry will not be met with arms wide open. And I think that’s what happening. A decision is issued from on top of the hierarchy, and the more it goes down to lower officials, the more the decision actually dissolves: it loses momentum instead of picking up momentum. Which translates to ambitious plans being mapped out by faithful Ministers, but these plans are only being met by your average idiotic Jordanian employee who simply nods “7ader sidi” but without really putting much effort to implement or act on the decision. Of course, the Minister’s fault here lies in the fact that he didn’t follow up on the decision.

    Take for instance Zafer el Aalem (ex Minister of Water). He spoke to Al Ghad about 2 weeks before the water contamination in Manshiyyeh, on how he plans to increase efficiency in Miyahuna and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. He actually criticized employees at both companies for not being able to deal with complaints on broken pipes and water leaks properly, and he issued a circulation to take such complaints more vigorously. But of course, some idiotic low-ranked official in Manshiyyeh perhaps was the direct cause of the water contamination and Zafer El Aalem is the one to be blamed for it. True it was his responsibility to keep his staff on check, but really, how can you deal with them?

    So Naseem, even though we might have a couple of decent Ministers, we still have hundreds of incompetent low-ranked officials who just screw things up for us. Change needs to start from the bottom of hierarchy until it goes up, and not vice versa. Honestly, the King REALLY has got to stop rewarding military troops and mukhabarat forces. I still do not understand why do these people have special privileges when they are hardly contributing to any development in the country. I understand that rewarding policemen and civil defense troops is vital, but why reward mukhabarat public sector employees and military troops? If the rewards and privileges drop, watch how many Jordanians will actually start looking for “real jobs” and how the whole public sector will be restructured in a much more efficient way.

  • GID has other things to worry about other than blogs and online media outlets-because obvioulsy there are thing more serious than bloggers and ammonnews; their policy is to let people talk.

    Anyway, you can look at the government as an organization with 200,000 employees or even more, it has been there with its culture for the last 50-60 years, you have a king who took power accidently 8 years ago.The point is that the culture and the structure became so integrated that you can’t tell the difference between the two-as feisal el fayez once said: favouritism has become a part of our culture.

    Anyways ,”we”, have two governments in jordan, one led by awadalla-which pushes for reform- and the other government is the one that we see each day being incompetent and too old to function.

    The tunnel is getting longer and the light at the of it, is fading.

    Good day to you sir 🙂

  • don’t absolve anyone from responsibility. the decades old rotten system of patronage resulted in public institutions teeming with hordes of incompetent and corrupt sorts.

    i hate to point to the zionists for solutions, but when a number of arab cities failed to deliver services and ran unrealistic deficits, they were put under military control. why do I agree with this model? because in Israel and in Jordan, when you deny people the chance at a healthy, normal political empowerment and true democracy, you are better off taking full control and taking full responsibility. this way we stop blaming lowly officers and hapless ministers.

  • ” the King REALLY has got to stop rewarding military troops and mukhabarat forces. I still do not understand why do these people have special privileges when they are hardly contributing to any development in the country”

    I JUST read this! Are you serious? Do you read news or are you just dreaming? The army has done most of the development in jordan, they built most of the houses for the poor, they provide health services for half of jordan and they keep an eye on your borders while you sleep.

    As for the GID, cars are not exploding in your face at abdoun circle, and the terrorists from zarqa-a week ago they were on the BBC- are not robbing christians for the 3’ana2em-which happened two months ago, also the shia militias are still under control because of them who don’t deserve the rewards.

    And by the way, what kind of rewards are you talking about? the 250 jds that they get by the end of the month? or maybe the 6 days/week away from their families or maybe maybe the nights that they stay awake? Tell me, which privilages are you talking about, oh, you mean the duty free cars? or maybe the loan to build a house?

    This is an insult and I demand that you apologize, those people are jordan and jordan is them so please be careful about what you say, because there is no development without security.

    Shame on you, I never thought that this would come out of your mouth, especially you.

  • muhannad, i know real stories of the GID getting involved in silly blogger issues. yes they do monitor Jordanian blogs and they do make phone calls to bloggers. I know more than one jordanian blogger who got the GID call. and the cause behind the GID calls and threats were so frivolous it was shocking. not everyone at the GOD is buys fighting terrorism and ensuring our security, a few have nothing to do so they flex their muscles and intimidate law-abiding Jordanians. and the Jordanians they choose for their friendly calls are the connection-less type…get my drift 😉

  • Mohannad, I think that if Jordan’s army forces and moukhabarat start receiving less privileges, then only the truly loyal would join in to become part of the army forces and moukhabarat. See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about: The moukhabarat are interfering more in our lives, and are claiming new and tighter security procedures in the name of protecting and preserving the country’s peace (just like what America is doing in its war against “terrorism” but we only do it to a lesser extent). The country is slowly becoming a police-state, and we are actually allowing the moukhabarat to do so, just because we want to feel more safe. I think that until the government draws clear lines and roles for the Moukhabarat, then these people have to be kept on a tight leash. But reality is, that these moukharabat forces are simply locking up innocent people for the sake of preserving the country’s peace. I’ve heard many stories from people I trust, where the policeman actually cooperates with a hustler and a judge, in order to frame innocent women (especially women driving in nice, lavish cars) for felonies such as hit-and-run car accidents and other things of the sort. (The hustler is the “eye witness”, the policeman brings the lady into custody, and the judge forces her to pay a sum that the three will split between each other).

    All I’m saying is that a lot of corrupt people are joining the Moukhabarat and police just for the privileges (c’mon, don’t you remember the case where Battikhi, head of the Intelligence System was framed in a fraud case?). All I’m saying is that these very people, who are supposed to protect us, are running away with their crimes, incompetence, and yet we reward them for that.

    Sorry, but until a moukhabarat officer doesn’t have the right to ask me for my ID card, right in front of my house (at 11pm), I’m not going to back off. I really think that the government should control the moukhabarat, and not the other way around. I think that there should be clear roles and duties and responsibilities set for these forces. And you have to admit it, when you reward somebody, you’re trying to win them on your side. Doesn’t that indicate anything at all to you? And man, please, there aren’t any Shiite militias in Jordan, that is pure propaganda.

  • One final thing Mohanned, if the moukhabarat were so very efficient, then why not monitor the government itself for a change? Or will damage connections and mix up their “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” strategy? Ye3ni c’mon, they caught the terrorists that plotted for the three hotel blasts in Amman, and yet they cannot eradicate corruption?

    Why not watch the government, instead of watching the people? Why should we be afraid of the moukhabarat, when the government is supposed to be afraid of the moukhabarat? For one, the likelihood of a governmental official to commit a felony is far higher than a Jordanian committing a felony.

  • Pheras,
    I like this “story” approach that you have been using lately, you make it sound like it is the norm while it is an accident that maybe happened or not-depending on the imagination of the taxi driver!

    You have to understand that they have better things to worry about, and this “propaganda” claim that you made has no base at all, because the threat is real and I can direct you to the latest threat that has been sent to an iraqi in jordan where him and his wife has been beaten up. And mobs or militias have a history of taking revenge if you know what I mean, and baghdad-now “cleaned” of sunnies- is just an example. So you claiming that the threats are not real and it is just propoganda doesn’t make it fake! As for batikhi I don’t care if he rottens in hell-now he is in london I know! As for the 250 JDs security person I am ready to thank him every second, every minute and everyday for his services.

    As for watching the government, this is a complete different issue that involves many variables which are not as simple as you think. you can go back to my first comment here at this post to see what I think about this issue.

    Yes there is corruption and yes there is a long way for us to walk, but you blaming the security forces is just beyond what is acceptable.

    Anyways, I don’t what is wrong with you lately:) maybe you are pissed because of something they did to you;)

    I gotz to go now, I have a big a$$ midterm and my eyes are hurting..

    Don’t take it personal but I still demand and apology:)

  • Now you are talking Nas,,I said that many times about this pathetic government and it’s only function is to be parasitically depended on the exploitation of our people.
    we all know this government is a one man show,the king and his family are running Jordan as their property and that has been spilling disaster to the people,the cronies that he hired like Awadallah or the so called “reformists are nothing but advocate for the “free” market economy and that’s it,and since the king took over the only thing we witnessed changed in Jordan is the whole sale of our assets that was paid for ,financed and maintained by the hard working Jordanians poor.it is going to get alot worst and history and future will prove my point
    Nepotism and favoritism are the main stay of this pathetic ,parasitic and lazy government ,everything has been sold and privatised even our own meager water supplies.

  • Mohanned, I appreciate the fact that your argument remains polite – I actually thrive on these arguments. As for the apology, well, I’m sorry if I offended you personally, but that does mean that I won’t continue to make my point.

    I didn’t try to make this story as if it were widespread in the country; fabrication or exaggeration are just not my cup of tea. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m just not that kind of a person.

    I didn’t try to make this one story sound as if it were the norm, but here’s this: Next time you see a friend, or anybody that you know who gets involved in a car accident, or if that person happens to hit another person, just try and ask how long does a person need to be dragged to court, how much money do they have to pay (which sometimes becomes into a fully-fledged monthly stipend for the poor “victim”). And just watch how those amounts of money, and time consumed in courts hikes up if the person has no big family name to fall back on.

    Or explain this: How come is it, that when those very moukhabart people ask my 3idwani friend for their ID card, he gets to have an apology and a “7ader sidi” smacked right after each sentence. While I just snapped by a sleazy look. So now I’m the lowlife bloke that might cause some trouble?

    Give me a break man, my chances of getting arrested for maintaining a blog are much higher than yours. That’s exactly why I’d like to see those moukhabarat people getting stripped from their privileges. So that I become an equal to you, in their eyes. (Ye3ni let’s put it down bluntly). We all know how minorities here are being treated with injustice. You’re afraid of getting attacked by terrorists, and frankly, I am afraid of getting framed one day for something which I am completely innocent of.

    So as an answer to your question (if I’m pissed off or not), maybe I am. Frankly, why wouldn’t I be? Especially when I am supposed to feel afraid in my country? It’s the moukhabarat that scare me (and that scares just about every blogger here), and not some Shiite militia honestly.

    All I’m asking for, is to set limits for them. I abide by the law, I stick to the rules, I serve my country, why exactly shouldn’t I also benefit from such merits?

  • More than 10% of Jordanians work in the army. Mos of them belong to the lowest socioeconomic class in Jordan. If you cut funding to them you’re basically making the poor poorer.

    And by the way, the Parliament does represent the people. It does represent the Jordanian mentlality. It’s just hard for most people living in Amman to understand that. They think Jordan is a different country than the country in their heads.

  • did anyone pay attention to the Failed State Index for 2007?

    I can proudly announce that the Jordanian regime ranked 82 from 177 with 1 being the worst. our government came between Madagascar and Cameron.

    http://www.fundforpeace.org/web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=229&Itemid=366

    there are 4 ranks only. we are one above the lowest.

    for those who keep defending the regime, I hope you stop doing so and start defending jordan from disaster.

    DEMOCRACY NOW!

  • I do agree that by providing eqaul oppotunities you create good citizenship. But that doesn’t mean stripping “privilages” from the security forces. The solution for the problem you are presenting here is by integrating the community and basing citizenship on how much service you provide to your country, but to get to this point we must state our priorities, which I feel are some how contradictive. We want to focus on jordan but the propaganda wants to focus on everything but jordan, we care about kashmir more than we care about tafeeleh or bag3a, until we get to the point we all agree on our priorities we are just a bunch of lost people not knowing where they are headed.

    No united goals, no gains.

    salamz

  • Now that Mohanned, I agree with ;-).

    Hareega, Amman is home to a little under 2 million Jordanians. A voter in Mafrag, has over triple the power of my vote. How does that imply that I, as a resident in Amman, am properly represented in Parliament?

    You know what, I don’t care if the army has financial privileges. I just want to be treated as an equal. I really think that removing last names from ID cards and every other official document is a must for us to improve. We just need to learn to think beyond the scope of “my 3ashira” and “iben 3ammi”. Just try passing a bill to remove last names, and see who will oppose that bill in Parliament. That’s what I mean by injustice. In Jordan, you are either your bank statement, or your last name. Unfortunately, a huge chunk of Jordanians, including myself and a generous amount of bloggers, have neither. What’s more unjust now? Me being an equal to a member of the moukhabarat? Or them being equal to me?

  • more signs of decline and failure of human and political development in jordan. 2007 witnessed numerous tribal fights mostly triggered by almost childish reasons. this country is on auto-pilot.

    Al-Ghad.

    شجار بين طلبة جامعات في مادبا
    آخر تحديث قبل : 27 دقيقة

    مادبا – الغد – فضت شرطة مادبا مشاجرة اندلعت أمس بين العشرات من طلاب جامعات على خلفية مشاجرة سابقة بين عدد منهم. وكانت الشرطة استبقت اندلاع المشاجرة بضرب طوق أمني حول وسط المدينة ودوار البلدية.

    ولم يتسن معرفة ما إذا كانت المشاجرة أسفرت عن إصابات، بعد أن اشتبك الطلاب بالأيدي مستخدمين الحجارة، بينما منعت الشرطة تفاقم الشجار.

    وقال مصدر في محافظة مادبا إنه جرى إلقاء القبض على مسببي حوادث الشغب، الذين يجري التحقيق معهم لمعرفة ظروف وملابسات المشاجرة التي تجددت في ساعات المساء.

  • Muhannad:

    “I do agree that by providing eqaul oppotunities you create good citizenship.”

    – don’t forget equal access and equal power sharing. no taxation without representation. if you want to deny one group equality, tax them less. but to deny one group equality, and give another breaks and waivers and privileges the second group pays for. that does incredibly damage to any society. but I often think this is what’s intended: constant political tensions and divide and conquer. so we end up with a society that is divided along regional, tribal, and ideological lines. some feel more secure when Arab societies are divides.

    “The solution for the problem you are presenting here is by integrating the community and basing citizenship on how much service you provide to your country, ”

    who is the judge of that. those who are currently in power who are responsible for Jordan’s devastating failures? it takes more than shouting Jordan First and waving a 2 JD flag to prove loyalty. You don’t decide if I am serving Jordan more and I don’t decide. You have a citizenship and I have a citizenship. we are equal. that’s how it works in US, France, Sweden, India. don’t go around inventing patriotism criteria that you have already flunked.

    “We want to focus on jordan but the propaganda wants to focus on everything but jordan, we care about kashmir more than we care about tafeeleh or bag3a, ”

    Really? how ironic. again, those who guard the status quo are those who devastated Jordan. they have not earned the right to decide who is a good jordanian and who is not. only real democracy, not the sham version that we have, will be acceptable. this way Jordanians will have no one but themselves to blame when their country does not progress. Now, the only ones we hold responsible for ruining Jordan are those who run it exclusively.

    “until we get to the point we all agree on our priorities we are just a bunch of lost people not knowing where they are headed.”

    Again, poor excuse for subverting democracy. everything you say supports the status quo that brought Jordan to its sorry state. you have not earned the right to keep custodianship of Jordan. You have proven that you can destroy what was once a beautiful dream. now we are competing with Cameron and Mozambique.

    It takes people totally devoid of shame and honor to shout Jordan First while they rob Jordan blind.

  • Huh? Reading disability is more severe than I thought, it goes beyond litracy to reach new levels of mental illetracy..

    Just to make it clear, are you explaining my points or making counter arguments? because both ways you got it completly wrong..

    Salamz..

  • This is a great post, and the debate in the comments is wonderful too.

    ana bashajji3 Phiras 😀

    a very interesting point though: what do you think, muhanned and others, about the idea of removing last names from IDs?

    I mean for example me, spending most of my time in Karak these days, i am suffering from the fact that my last name isnt 6arawna or 7amayda etc, to be honest, i face little to no discrimination from people, y3ni people treat me so well being karakiyyih you would expect the good manners of 3arab and `9iyafa etc, but its when it comes to any paper work in university/govermental building, the thing is that its not that i get treated bad or denied rights, its that a 7ameeedi guy likely to get extra rights, `3a9 inna`6ar 3an passing a deadline, mashi il mo3amalih iza feeha majal without that certain missing paper, etc. which is also not fair of course and raises questions about the equality issue.

    I always feel like a second class citizen when it comes to governmental issues. specially that wherever you go they ask you: mnen 7ayyaka Allah?

    🙂

  • we talk so much about human development and political development but we have made zero progresses in jordan and most arab countries. i think those who are doing the development are not sincere. to them, these are great jobs where they go and deliver canned lectures they borrowed from some western country about liberal values, but they really have no conviction.

    thats’ why in Jordan and in the Arab world, there are two ways to salvation, and I think many jordanians understand that: 1) islamism, which is the great ethnic equalizer, hence the growth of the islamist movements in the Arab world and jordan in specific, not to mention its other virtues such as zero tolerance for corruption and imperialism. 2) liberalism, which is the superior solution but those in power have subverted it and reduced it into cheap campaigns for sex and booze, disguised under the banner of personal freedoms, after removing the most important pillars of liberalism such as freedom, equality, democracy.

    i am afraid, and as the result of the destruction of classic liberalism, the only realistic path that will end tribalism and will return Jordanian and Arab society into a more coherent entity is political islam. with all its backwardness and all its flaws, it’s a far better alternative than the ongoing fragmentation of arab societies. if we look at Turkey and Iran, we see much stronger states. in Palestine, lebanon, iraq, we see fierce resistance to colonialism and imperialism.

  • Great post from Nas that touched upon the main controversial issues in Jordan and sparked a lot of reactions which are all good intended and very articulate and thoughtful. I hope we will not derail into a path of insults. I just want to have a comment about the GID and army so-called privilages.
    Last month I wss in Egypt and while passing through the security check at the cairo airport the officer asked for some money. I gave him the extra 10 EJ i had but felt very unsecure and thought that if such a behaviour becomes common in Jordan it will be a disaster. Some of the high-esteem personalities at the GID and army may indeed enjoy privilages, but the majority of the young men and women who are enrolled and do a variety of tasks ranging from medical services to infilterating terrorist jihadi cells do not have such privilages except for social security measures like house loans and so on. When such people leave the GID or army they do not have much skills to enroll in the market and private sector and end up as the losing part of the equation.
    Such people should be always immune from financial attractions that may cause them to engage in illegitimate activities and keeping a low standard in their work. Thousands of people from army and GID are essential to the prosperity of the Jordanian economy and the flourishing of the private sector and I am all for providing all kinds of support for GID and army personnel, maybe extracting some of them from high ranking officials whose bellies have been full of national resources.
    As for the stories of misconduct from certain people from the GID and army they are not the norm and they can be really punished if proven guilty. Honestly I do not believe the story of the police officer and the judge establishing a web on young ladies. Any victim can report to the GID any misconduct and they have an anti-corruption department that is honest and clean.

  • Another reflection about the myth of high-education and awareness in urban areas vis-a-vis low awareness in rural areas based on the Zabi bani Irshaid rhetoric echoed here by Pheras. I really don’t get it when the supposidely politicised and aware majority of population of Plaestinian origins in the 1st and second district in Amman end up voting for the likes of Abu Zant, Hamadeh fara’neh, Khaleel Atiyyeh and Abdul Hafeez Al Heet. Any one to tell me where is the high-education and brightness in such election vote sweepers?

  • i sort of agree with Batir. better to feed the monster than to have it feed on us. we have rampant corruption as it is in jordan. amazing how we still manage to do many official transactions related to state security and not one official ever asked for money. my experience at least. in morocco and Egypt it’s fighting the level of open corruption. i have almost missed flights in egypt because i did not tip and my passport was held until the last moment. of course you can still speed your paperwork with a few gifts here and there in jordan, but rarely will your paperwork be stuck because you did not tip. but i am not sure this will continue to be the norm if the this rate of decline continues.

  • Batir, you dont decide whose a good candidate and who is not based on you ideological preferences. but my analysis is that people in many countries engage in what’s called a protest vote. and that’s when you are so pissed off at the status quo you chose someone simply because he is anti establishments. sort of like what happened in Gaza.

    second, when voters know that their votes don’t count and they will be canceled out by the cruel joke called Jordanian parliament and their political underrepresentation, they will try to sabotage the machine. this is passive aggressive behavior.

    but lets look at the other side of the story. we have a “parliament” that was elected based on the sham system of representation. where is Jordan today? have you checked the corruption index? failed state index? unemployment figures? inflation? erosion of public schools? suppression of media? is this what you propose we keep in place? is this your defence against ending the dysfunctional status quo? or do you propose we implement a system that punishes populations for electing opposition candidates by removing their voting rights?

  • mr. batir, mr qadi , the corruption you are alluding to where officials ask for a gift is far insignificant when compared to the legalized and institutionalized corruption plaguing Jordan where the powers that be hand out money, jobs, projects, scholarships and perks to loyalists and make it legal to do so. that’s what’s killing jordan. not the 1 JD kick back you pay to speed up your car registration.

  • Nas..

    I salute you for being a great writer

    I salute you for being a true Jordanian citizen

    I salute you for trying to push reform in Jordan through digital outlets.

    I salute you for making the black-iris my only gate to whats happening in my dear Jordan while am far away from it.

    I salute you for being outspoken and courageous.

    I wake up, I make coffee and check your blog. I come back from work, I check your blog, before I go to my college, I check your blog. I am addicted. Soon I will be coming back to Amman after years studying in the US.

    my brothers like pheras and others on here are totally right. and I would like to add something maybe you guys are not aware of. most of the problems in Jordan stem from our constitution. where are the amendments? where is our bill of rights that protects the Jordanian citizens from the tyranny of their government? why do we not respect our constitution like all these ‘civilized’ people do?

    maybe i am more exposed to the ‘constitution issue’ than most of Jordanians are because I live in the US, and I witness first hand how Americans -no matter how different they are- they all take pride in their constitution and respect it. In the UK they do not even have a constitution, but everybody including the queen herself respects whats known as the ‘common law’.

    where is our bill of rights that SHOULD be learnt by every Jordanian? some of our government officials are corrupt because either they do do not follow the constitution or simply are protected by it. when was our last constitutional amendment in an ever changing social and political system in Jordan?

    I do fully respect our Jordanian constitution because its our own legal document that should -supposedly- protect us from the tyranny of our own government. but some parts of it are out-dated. why do we STILL go by some laws that were vested early 1920s and represented by people far from what the people of Jordan are today?

    the constitution of the most powerful country in the world, the USA, has been amended more than 25 times.

    people should never be afraid of GID, or corrupt government officials, because our constitution should protect us. do we even have the right to challenge the GID in courts?

    ask any of our tawjehee students about our constitution, and thier faces become blank. thats our setback, thats our shame. do we even learn our constitution in our schools?

    its saddening to read a comment above from a brother, who brings in the issue of ‘the vote of Jordanians of Palestinian origin’ into this article! every body points a finger at everybody else. I bet this brother is like some of our government officials: they laugh at our ignorance of our own constitution.

  • How nice we Arabs are. Here is this case of blogger Kinzi. She receives an anonymous hate post from a moron claiming to be a Muslim. Fact is, it could have been from anyone. All evidence from the hate message leads to an intra-Christian hate. What does she do? She does what any person would do. Bring it to our attention. And what do fellow bloggers do? They come to the rescue. So far so good. Until she starts to engage in condescending Bushisms weaved within subtly unpleasant anti-Muslim diatribes. Now I am glad fellow bloggers came to her support, even though US media and blogs are full of hateful racist violent ant-arab and anti-muslim remarks that rarely get challenged.

    So what does Kinzi do when I raise this issue, she deletes my post. She is free to do so, but I am free to repost.

    http://kinziblogs.wordpress.com/2007/09/30/some-love-comments/

  • Batir:”Another reflection about the myth of high-education and awareness in urban areas vis-a-vis low awareness in rural areas based on the Zabi bani Irshaid rhetoric echoed here by Pheras.”

    Batir, you’re stuffing words in my mouth. I never associated the lack of education or awareness with low income levels. However, you made a blanket statement when you said that Jordanians of Palestinian origin especially in districts like the 1st and 2nd districts end up voting for members of the IAF. Again, I didn’t say that this story is in fact a “web of organized crime” as you alluded to, again, that’s how rumors are being fabricated. I offered a story, that a friend told me about their mother. Believe it or not, it happened. I just find it frustrating when people get hung up on specifics and miss the bigger picture.

    If intelligence units and police forces are so essential for the prosperity of any economy, then explain the fall of ex-USSR? Had the USSR gave more space and freedom for people to talk and criticize their governments in a CONSTRUCTIVE fashion, a lot of things would’ve been different. But that government opted to terrorize its own people with an over-abundance of intelligence units. You want more examples? Look up north (Syria).

    Again, I am calling for equal opportunities. That should be a birthright, and not a perk.

    Batir, I appreciate your comment, but what I would appreciate more, is for you to read my comments a bit more thoroughly.

  • Jarrar,
    I am with eliminating the last name from the ID, but I am also with setting priorities if you know what I mean…

    no actually mr neo con muhanned, would you pleas explain i am eager to hear it.

  • How do you define a neo con MR jarrar? I am also eager to hear what you have to say..

    Let me hear what “your” priorities are and let us all see if they fit with the jordanian agenda(If there is one). Many agendas we have here in jordan, o kol wa7ad be3’anni 3la mowallo.

    Salamz Mr I-know-everything-and-I-have-something-to-say-whatever-the-subject-is-because-I-know-it-all-etc..

    Salamz.

  • Oh, you know what the irony is?
    You use your family name, what do you think about that? You want to show us your proliferation? Or is it just a “mistake”? Or are you just proud of it?Or maybe to distiguish yourself from the other khalids by building a profile? Online life is interesting and that’s why I am studying psychology now:)

    Explain Khalid Jarrar:)

  • There are many interesting comments so far and I’m enjoying that various viewpoints even though I disagree with a lot of them

    HOWEVER: is it possible to continue this debate without resorting to any name calling or even insulting anyone?

    I think it is.

    So lets give it a try.

    Bilal: thanks for the kind words!

    Rola: I understand your frustration, but perhaps reposting your comments here isn’t really going to help you get your message across the way you think?

  • priorities?

    i happen to believe in this crazy concept of equality, you know? the concept where everyone is equal in the eyes of law? setting that is my priority, and that is my agenda! whats yours pleasE? you responded to my question with two comments and lots of questions but not an answer: what are the priorities you talked about when you said:

    “I am with eliminating the last name from the ID, but I am also with setting priorities if you know what I mean… ”

    i would like a straight answer, please.

  • My priority is something called jordan’s interests, as simple as that, you can load this with as much meanings as you want-unleash your wild imagination.

    Clear? Or do you need any more explanation, if so then I would suggest that others jump to help you understand what I mean.

    So whats up with you using your last name? is it one of the “choices” I gave you in the question before?

    Peace out.

  • jordan’s interests? 😀

    how is jordan’s interests interfering with the any of what i said? with calling for equality? you can play with words now the way you like! but its obvsious that this isnt what you meant, and if your real answer was this innocent and clear and simple, there wouldnt be a need to guess i will have other meanings to load it with, no?

    i guess your point is well taken and understood.

    why do i use my last name? why dont you?:)
    of course to distinguish me from other khalids, i am khalid jarrar just like he is naseem il 6awarna and she is roba il assi, where is the big mystery in that? 🙂

    and of course i am proud of it too, Jarrar happens to be a family with significat patriot history, full of names that are famous for fighting the israeli occupation by all means, since early 40s and till now. I am proud of it just like anyone has the right to be proud of their small or extended family.

    But it doesnt define me, i know more of 6arawna and `6moor, 7amayda and 7alal7ma than i know of the jarrars probably, because although i am proud of my family name, its only a small part of me, and it doesnt define me, i like to believe that there are enough skills and acievements in my life to define me, much more important to me than my last name, that i did no great acheivement to get it, just like everyone else in the world, other than getting born.

    I am for using last names in social life, it helps getting families together etc. but in the eyes of laws, we all should be equal, that in my eyes is justice, and justice and equality is for the best interest of Jordan.

  • Mr. Jarrar, I’m curious about the “equality” that you are calling for. Are you interested in having equal rights under the law? And or are you interested in having equal rights to pursue your endeavors? Once I hear your reply, I will let you know what I want to say.

  • is that a trick question? 😀

    dear Mr Hatem:

    i am talking about equal treatment for every Jordanian in terms of equal apportunities for everyone seeking progress, and equal punishment for anyone that commits whatever makes one deserve it. Equal chances in achieving legitimate goals and equal treatment by the law. To be treated as “jordanians” without being asked about my origin, to be identified as Jordanians in the eyes of the law, and as jordanians ONLY, everyone of us citizens enjoying the citizenship of this country, working for its good and respecting its rules: without “priorities” as someone put it.

    To be treated as Jordanians and then gain equal access to govermental offices. Equal apportunities to fill them too! to have equal chances to correct what we see wrong through legitimate chanels, and critisice who we see mistaken no matter how high we aim as long as the heart is in the right place and the ways are legitimate.

    To gain equal protection and the same level of trust in the eyes of mukhabarat in the boarders. to be considered innocent unless otherwise proven and not the other way around. to be considered a good loyal citizen unlee proven otherwise. to have equal rights in freedom of expression and..

    well, i guess you got the rhythim:)

    you shall speak now! 🙂

  • Okay, now that we understand what do you mean by being equal, can you cite some specific examples from your own personal experience or that of one of your siblings where you felt that you were treated unequally or you were hindered due to whatever reason which may include but not limited to your gender, age, faith, ethnicity, or whatever other reason that was omitted in this discourse. The reason I’m asking for this specification because I happen to loathe generalizations, I like to resolve issues one by one without overwhelming myself with vague generalizations.

  • fair enough!

    everytime i travel i get stopped at the borders and interrogated by mukhabarat and treated like a suspect for no reason, often asked about the names of people i met and places i visited, very often have my passport taken and sent to mukhabarat headquarted for further “tourtine” investigation.

    When dead lines of registering classes are passed, its next ti impossible to get the regesiteration people register any new classes for you. if you happen to be fromt he same tribe its possible though.

    cousin got rear ended by a car in salt, since both the guy that hit him from the back and the traffic police happened to be both ra7a7lih, he decided that it was my cousins fault! and then 3eni 3enak he told him: look if you take this to court i will repeat my story under qasam, and you know this is more than enough in front of any judge.

    its a ton of little stories like that. always, always asked: mnen 7ayyaka Allah? and then you see the frown when the answer is heard. or silence at best. a shy kind word rarely. ‘

    listen 🙂 i am not one of those people raising the slogan of “they hate us” at all. i am all for social integrity, i dont evaluate people based on their origin at all, i swear and God is my witness. and i am not saying that the country is full of discrimination on everyday bases and around every corner, it would be silly to say so, as i stated before, people treat you well in the south regardless of your origion, thats my experience, but its always that little extra when you are engaged with any governmental issue..

    my dad bought a rifle to hunt in our farm, it took weeks before the mukhabarat refusal came! they refused giving a 55 years old buisnesman a lisence to have a hunting rifle. Our good Friend from a famous local tribe managed to make us one in notime. just entered the makhfar screaming keefkom ya garaba and things worked like magic, couple of weeks later we had the lisence.

    other stories i dont want to tell here.

    its things like that, little stupid things, that make you feel always like a second class citezen, with questioned loyality and a little bit smaller chances in getting any legitimate reequest answered than if you were one of the people with “priority”.

    and that feeling totally sucks.

  • Now I understand what you mean but hey so what, why would it bother you to state your origins? Are you ashamed or something? Perhaps not. Consider it as any other question, the person that is asking you “is” merely doing his job. You are what you are, you can’t change your skin color, you can’t change your origins, and you can’t stop those people from asking you, so what is left, try to train yourself that you are going to learn how to deal with all of these little pesky nuisances. As far as the clout is concern, Jordan is very well know for the rampant clout that exists in there, sometimes it is used to benefit you like the case with hunting rife, and other times it is used to harm you like the case with the car accident. It is mutually exclusive, you just have to be a little more understanding and tolerant, even if you feel that the other side is not treating you well, you don’t have to reciprocate, why not be the good one, why not be the more tolerant one, why not be the more understanding one. People usually reciprocate, if you smile in their face they smile back, if you frown in their face they frown back. Just take it easy my friend and everything will be okay, you sound like a very mature young man, please don’t waste your time in these side issues and take your eyes off the main prize, always look at the big picture, you said it yourself that these are pity things, so just leave them like that and move on, you are smarter than to waste your time on pity stuff.

  • Mr Abunimeh

    thank you!
    but i assure you! i could never reciprocate, first because thats not who i am, and second because as i said, its not the people that do it on daily bases, the truth is that as i said also before, most my frineds are from karak. and of course i am not ashamed of my origion, i am annoyed about the frown that comes after my answer. and yes, little things, but accumilate to leave you feel that you are not a real citizen. and not like i go complain about it all the day, its the first time i ever talk about it online, and rarely ever brought it up in real life too.

    thanks for your words again.

  • My responce was not displayed for some reason. But here is a thought for Khalid: The call for equality has become a tool for political gains rather than being the goal.

    Do you also need elaborationa on this thought?

  • “If the King is disapproving of the policy to begin with, one has to wonder how it was approved to begin with.”…..well stated and exactly what I was wondering!!!

  • Mohanned,
    Let us assume for the sake of discussion that the so called request for equality is indeed a subtle call for more political gain [like you refer to it], so what is wrong with seeking political gains?!

  • Some calls for equality are genuine ones, and others are making the call for it a tool, which I think is wrong because of the dire consequences that this technique might carry.

    My Idea for equality begins with the economic and the social aspects and from there we can move to the political one, you might ask why? My answer is that we should do so to mitigate the risks of using propaganda to charge people with false emotions based on unattainable goals. And also because by providing socio-economic equality you build a good sense of citizenship that leads to more loyalty.

    As for what is wrong with using call for equality to gain political points, I leave you with the thought of arab “democracy”.

    Peace.

  • “and others are making the call [for equality] a tool”

    muhannad, tool for what? could this be a conspiracy to promote equality? or could it be a plot to undermine social injustice? or might this be a cover for a sneak attempt at developing a more just society? tool for what?

    or do you work for the ministry of health and you see a conspiracy to tarnish jordan’s image.

    the only thing you are afraid of is that a more inclusive democracy will put an end to the unchecked looting and incompetent policy making.

    you have not proven that you love jordan. talk is cheap, but the corruption index and failed state index are more proof of your patriotism than your chest-beating and sloganeering.

  • I find it interesting that in countries like Jordan (i.e. lacking true democracy) the government and the intelligence are masters and the people are slaves, whereas the only reason there should be a government and intelligence is to serve the needs the people. In the US the CIA and other security agencies capitalize on fear of terrorism to acquire privileges they should not have, similar to the way Muhannad is trying to justify. However, in Jordan they do not usually feel compelled to justify their privileges, they take them for granted.

  • أخ خالد جرار شكرأ لك علي المداخله ،لقد فحمت مهند والكل يعرف دالك ويلاحظ مدا العنصريه التي يتحلي ويتفخر بها بعض المدونون الاردنيون بطريقه مزيفه وغيرلائقه وليس لها فكاها ولا منطق،عندما يتكلم مهند وغيره عن مصلحه الاردن،هم يتكلمون عن مصلحه أبو حسين لا أكثر ولا أقل،هولاء المزيفون لا يهمهم سوي الحفاض علي العرش لموقر لئن هناك منفعه شخصيه ،عندما يتكلمون تري مدا التناقظ والكدب المبطن وفي كثير من الاحيان عندماتقراء ما يكتبون قدتلحض لكثير من السداجه والكلام الفاضي المبني علي الهبل وعدم المعرفه

Your Two Piasters: