It may go without saying, that in the past few weeks, since the one tragic football managed to reignite tensions between two major Jordanian camps – that things have been just a bit tense when it comes to the identity issue. To make matters worse, nearly every move the state has made has not helped resolve this lingering issue; moves that have ranged from all-out silence to all-out support of the darak forces and fairly weak responses to calls for establishing an inquiry in to the match that has become the rightful catalyst in the entire unbalanced equation.
Today, things just got worse. Wehdat club president Tareq Khoury (a former member of parliament who lost in the recent elections) who has been quite outspoken about the unfolding situation – going so far as to refer to it as a “massacre” – has just been sent to jail for two years. Why? So far, at least based on what’s been reported in the media, his crime seems to center on having hit a darak officer over a year and a half ago. The judge has refused to release the verdict to the press so there is a media blackout on the details it seems. Moreover, apparently this case has been ongoing in courtroom sessions for that period of time, in the absence of Khoury and his defense. Khoury can now appeal the verdict within 15 days.
Another source claims this case goes back to March 2010 where an argument between Khoury and a darak officer ended in a physical interaction, upon which the officer filed a complaint with the courts.
Interestingly enough, Khoury was supposed to be leaving this week to Qatar to conduct an interview with Al Jazeera about the recent match.
Suffice to say, this is very bad news and will surely not go over well in subduing tensions. If anything, the state has yet to learn the fine art of timing. This – this is terrible timing. In fact, it’s downright suspicious and it will definitely be perceived that way on the street level. And politics is perceptions. Just like people assume without a doubt that the events that occurred in the recent match were racially motivated, they will assume without a doubt that Khoury’s court case is politically motivated. And if there were indeed any coordinated efforts to nudge this case along in an attempt to silence Khoury, the state has just managed to turn the guy in to a hero and solidify his base, if not gain him other supporters.