Dear Jordanian Government: Where’s The Public Awareness?

To Our Dear Jordanian Government,

Hope all is well with you these days. It’s been a while.

I’m writing to ask for something on behalf of myself and some 6.3 million other people that reside within the borders of this Kingdom. It’s actually quite a simple request really. So here it goes:

Can you please take it easy with those temporary laws?

Seriously. How many of those things have been issued in the six months since this government came to power? These days it seems every day there’s a new announcement of a new temporary law. Yes, we all realize that the Parliament was incredibly annoying and bureaucratic, slowing down and even blocking legislation; and that’s one of the reasons they’re no longer available. But is this reason to go law-happy now? In the name of what, reform? Yes, Parliament wasn’t the best body of government, but I will say this: the process was important.

Yes, the process. The legislative process. There was a process before. Bills were drafted, they were discussed, and discussed, approved or rejected. There was a process. And through it, we, as citizens, became aware, and that’s the key here. Awareness. Public awareness regarding legislation has now plummeted to zero. We know nothing. We find out about new laws the moment when the newspaper announces that they’ve just gone in to effect. Where was the process? No parliament? Fine. At least host public forums and discussions; take input from the community, from civil society, from various actors, and let that input and those discussions raise the debate thus raise awareness. Even if you’re going to completely ignore those people (which you shouldn’t but we know you do), at least there is a policy process in which engagement is pursued, and more importantly, through engagement, public awareness is raised.

Even when there was a Parliament and a notoriously bad bill was being floated around, a piece of legislation that everyone in the country prayed would not become law – even those bills, the controversial ones, raised enough awareness over a decent interval of time that people knew what was going on in their own country.

Lest I remind you all, that with all that has been happening in the country lately, the civil discontent that has been brewing beneath the surface and erupting every few weeks in various forms – this is an absolutely bad time to be passing laws with absolutely no public awareness raising, with absolutely no oversight, with absolutely no process except for behind-closed-door meetings and then overnight announcements. It tends to make people even more confused and angry.

Many of the temporary laws that were passed the last time government was suspended remain in effect today. It’s safe to say that the people have a right to be active participants in the process, or, at the very least be aware of things. Especially in a time when all legislative powers involving the citizenry have been suspended and all such powers are strictly governed absolutely by the executive branch of government: whom no one elected.

Moreover, you should want that debate; that process. You should be chasing it yourself. It can get ugly, sure, but it is the only thing lending an appointed government with absolutely no checks or balances, any ounce of credibility. People might not like what they hear when you speak and inform, but they will respect the fact that they were not cast aside and ignored. Public perceptions can even be shifted in favor of a government that actually communicates with the people; especially when it’s communicating the most important thing there is for a government to communicate – laws and policies. This is to say nothing that laws are all the more strengthened and effective when the people are aware of them and can actually apply or abide by them.

I’m not asking for much. I’m just asking for some communication; for some awareness. Enlighten us. Don’t keep us in the dark and then horde the flashlight, blinding us every time you shine it towards our faces.

Thank you.


An (uninformed) Jordanian Citizen


  • نسيم ،من قال لك أن الحكومة تريد نشر الوعي العام ØŸ لا بلعكس، الحكومة وعلى من رأسها، قد شدّت رحالها منذُ زمن بعيد، وعّزمت على أتخاد القررات المصيريه والمهمه لنها وبكل صراحه، تفتقد الشرعيه والمصداقيه والسياده ØŒ أن كانت قرارات سياسيه أو أقتصاديه ،خارجيه أو داخليه ،دعني أكرر المقوله الشهيره لاحيـــاة لمن تنادي، هذه الحكومات المتعقبه قد ماتت منذُ أخر ألانتخابات النزيها عام ١٩٧٥، يجب أن نتحدث بكل صراحه وشفافيه ØŒ نحن الأن نرزخ تحت أستعمار خارجي مدعوم من أقطاب داخليه لا يمكن لها أن تتخد قرار سيادي دون الرجوع الى القواه الخارجيه، هذه هي الحقيقه المره التي يجب علينا كا مودوينين أن نعترف بها ØŒ يجب علينا أن نشخص المرض قبل التفتيش عن الحل

  • One got to be pulled into (that`s the objective aslan!) thinking :(.
    Speculations build up this way and we all lose, literally.

    Thx Nasim.

  • LoL saam o saam o af6ar 3ala basaleh … walla leish afaser iza aktar min nos il sha3b ghair marghoob fee, o wala hada istarja yifta7 tomoo 3ala il khitab il itmarmatoo fee. wil nos il tanee mitna3nesh masmoo7lo iysawee illi bido iya, min takh 3ala il shorta o har2 o darb bil shware3 o 2atl bil jam3at … hiyeh wi2fat 3ala akamen kanoon 😛

  • Cosmetic “fixes” that take into “consideration” the “uniqueness” of the Jordanian case.

    You have to keep in mind that they don’t answer to the Jordanian people as they are not chosen by them. As long as they are within the boundaries of the royal directives, they are exempt from either listening or communicating with the people. For example, recently Mr.El sharif said the government works according to a plan that was approved by the king. In other words, we the people need to shut up and just watch as our future blossoms according to the divine plan..Of course, if the last ten years were any indication of where we will end up being, then I believe the worst is yet to come.

    It is a lost cause. All Jordanian governments are expired from the day they take over. If political reform was truly the intention of the jordanian leadership then ahmad obaidat, taher el masri, or marwan mouasher should have been chosen to lead the government that is supposed to shape the elections law.

    حكومات تسيير أعمال وتمشايت حال يا عزيزي..

  • من هذا المنبر ومن مدونه نسيم طراونه، أنني أناشد كل الشرفاء والغيورين على هذا البلد الغالي أن يحتكمٌ بلحق والمنطق قبل فوات الأوان، لقد طال الوقت في أسترجاع حقوق الناس والأستماع الى مطالبهم العادله ØŒ لا يمكن الاستخفاف بعقول الشعب مما يحصل لهذا البلد العزيز ØŒ كما قالت الفنانه الشهيره كوكب الشرق أم كلثوم في أغنيتها العظيمه، للصبر حدود ما تصبرنيش ما خلاص أنا فاض فيا ومليت والشعب قد مل ولن يتحمل كل هذ الظلم والمعانه ØŒ لقد حان لهذا الشعب أن يسترجع حقوقه الكامله الغير منقوصه ØŒ كل ما نرجوا له ØŒ أعطاء الشعب الحق الكامل في الحكم وصنع القرارات المصيريه والسياديه لا أكثر ولا أقل

  • didn’t you meet with the Prime Minister a week ago? was this question asked? what was his answer?

    sometimes I wonder the efficacy of such open letters. You know, since His Majesty last read blogs was about two years ago.
    I don’t think the government is the one to blame or ask. Governments in Jordan are nothing but a “constitutional formality” and an occasional scapegoat.

    until the prime minister is actually elected by the people, you can stuff your letters in a sack, Mr.
    (lol couldn’t help but to insert a George Costanza Seinfeld line in here!!)

  • @TFJ: whether the government intentionally avoids raising public awareness is a whole other matter. i agree with your opinion but only to a small extent, simply because many of these laws are laws that are designed to have some effect in governance. heck, some of them are even a step forward if i dare say it. my point here is that none of them are effective if people are not made aware of them. putting aside that the people at this point play no role whatsoever in creating legislation – my point is, they have a right to know more about such laws beyond a press release. that kind of awareness is good for the government and its good for the people.

    @haitham: agreed.

    @bambam: yes. what good is a system of law if the government doesnt raise awareness about it? without that awareness, without the people being involved in the process, those issues that you pointed out cleverly will always be the consequences of a “lack there of”.

    @mohanned: you make a valid point, however, let us assume that the government, which follows the King’s plans, is typically acting in the best interests of the country when it introduces new laws and policies. is it not in their interest as a government to see that these laws and policies are a success? this is why public awareness is a necessity. it isn’t about answering to the people or even accountability. strictly speaking from a pure government perspective, it’s about creating a track record of some success.

    @mab3oos: it’s cute that you think the point of these open letters that I post here are based on my belief that the king or prime minister will actually read them and act. and since i don’t live in wonderland, i’ll tell you flat out that the point is to create a discussion.


  • I was talking about a mind set and an attitude that defined and will define appointed governments. I wasn’t arguing that what you said isn’t important. Simply stated, they don’t care even if they believe they do.

    It is a crisis of leadership in a country where the state is defined as the leadership.

  • @mohanned: exactly, a mindset. governments here tend to operate under the umbrella of the king’s vision. the king articulates something, and then there is a process where the government makes an attempt to translate what is said by the king in hopes that the translation matches the articulation. if we are to assume that they are operating in the best interests of the people, then we should assume that on the most primitive level, they care about keeping their jobs and thus ensuring some success with regards to policymaking is a must.

    my argument is based on these assumptions, which i think/feel are rather safe.

  • See, I beg to differ. The process is flawed and we still expect the outcome to be different each time a “new” government is formed. The government is expired from the day it takes office. To suggest that PM care about having some accomplishments or at least have some decent legacy is to say that they worked hard to get the Job. Of course the definition of “worked hard” to become an official or a decision maker is subjective. Leadership positions in Jordan, in general, are “tahsreef” and not “takleef”. It is a state policy. There are no incentives for the officials to give a damn about the public since they came to their position by a royal decree. There are no clear career path for a PM or a minister. They just become one overnight..

  • and I wonder who writes those laws.. they never learn to be specific in addressing laws articles!

    In article 64/295 they mention forcing sex on women in an *unnatural way*. What does *unnatural* suppose to mean? how wide such definitions can be??? Isn’t such language so out-dated? especially when it comes to law articles?

    Our law makers need some serious law training!

  • Dear Mr.Tarawnah;

    Sadly, the government is so busy right now to inform us citizens inlcuding journalists, and since opposition does not matter the government has decided: What the heck just legislate some more laws.

    For months now, ever since the Lower House was dismissed, the Ministry of Political Development has been carrying out open talks with several political parties and municipal councils, the result? Amendments that insure only hush-hush changes with no real improvements.

    If a simple citizen wants honest answers(and that’s what the government brags about most of the time) where should he/she go? Official spokespersons do not know or wish to only improve their institution’s image, officials and ministers always reassure us with not really comforting words and then Bam! there you go we got a new law!

    We are accustomed to the answers provided by State challenging people’s mental awareness.With no real answers provided, no Lower House (at least not a decent one), no powerful political party work, no coalition in the society and no media to question, there will be a lot more space for corruption; but remember no one voted for this government, and the outcome of elections in terms of a new Lower House are not surely to change this bitter reality so what to do?

    Good luck with your calls….alas those in position to address these legitimate and reasonable inquiries do not care.

  • If you will pay the additional tax from your little salary or from your grocery budget.
    If you will work for additional 8 years than you planned to benefit for the social security.
    If you as a Maani resident will finance development projects in Amman, Madaba, and Aqaba even without knowing it since you don’t have full disclosure on who exactly holds all these debts.

    And you do that because as things are, you lack union support and parties rallying on agendas, in addition to security quarters that you hope you are never on any of their disfavored individuals lists, and you lack any kind of insurance for your dependents to live on in case you wanted to do something about it, and you have a tremendous family pressure that anything you do should have no negative impact on loved ones since the social structure still apply the family form is the dominant unit of society.

    Apart from democracy or lack thereof, if you as an average citizen have no tools to object and your approval or involvement is either guaranteed or non-required, why should the government share in any form other than basic notification?

  • Nas,
    We’ve been creating and having discussions for many years. The obvious result has been…nothing! The Jordanian street, as you may already know, is too preoccupied and/or scared to be loud enough. And for those who speak out, their voices never reach the decision maker and remain inter-locked in one-sided “discussions.”
    In order for the discussion to be fruitful and for the message embedded in these open letters to actually find an ear and someone willing to act after many failed attempts, the messenger has to change tactics and be controversial.

    We could employ the same methods that their majesties are using to “convince” the world of how great things are in Jordan. from experience, I know for sure that his majesty is willing to change given a certain degree of “international whistle-blowing.” think of it as the mid-1990’s حرب الفاكسات but for the digital age!

Your Two Piasters: