The Third Hashtag Debates: On What A Consitutional Monarchy Will Mean For Jordan

To those interested in all the online debates and discussions around #ReformJO7iber’s third #HashtagDebates will take place at Makan in Jabal Lweibdeh on Wednesday 23rd at 7pm, and will center around the constitutional monarchy issue. It is interesting that after all these years this issue is getting some critical play in public discourse, when it has long been taboo to even mention it. It’ll be great to see a public airing of this issue and what it means for a future Jordan.

Seating is limited, so get there early or you can watch it online as it will be live-streamed as well.

For a map to Makan, click here.

34 thoughts on “The Third Hashtag Debates: On What A Consitutional Monarchy Will Mean For Jordan

  1. Quite interesting piece in The Washington Post

    “The revolutionary roar from the Arab street, shaking the palaces of the privileged, toppling presidents, has echoed around the globe, dominating the headlines and airwaves for weeks. But behind this story of political upheaval lies another, quieter story of outside organizations that, with U.S. government and other money, tutored a young Arab generation in the ways of winning in a political world.

    …In a two-week U.S. session underwritten by the Washington-based Freedom House, another USAID grantee, Samir did intensive work on social media, visiting Google’s offices, hearing from a new-media specialist from the Obama 2008 campaign.

    This was “good one-on-one contact” and led to useful advice from afar, he said, when Cairo’s protesters struggled to counter the government’s suppression of Internet communications.

    A blogger, Samir also took part in an NDI conference in Morocco last year as the U.S. institute developed a new web portal, Aswat, gathering dissident postings from around the Arab world, some by NDI-trained bloggers.

    Such cross-border networking is spreading under the U.S. groups’ umbrella. Oraib al-Rantawi, a leading NDI-backed activist in Jordan, told the AP he had been flown to Yemen twice to advise counterparts there on policymaking.

    With NDI support, Rantawi’s Al Quds Center for Political Studies is monitoring the work of Jordan’s Parliament via regular online reports, the first such scrutiny for a body whose makeup is widely viewed as unrepresentative, based on an electoral system skewed to support King Abdullah II’s strong monarchy.

    Weekly marches by thousands in Amman, Jordan’s capital, have been demanding an overhaul of anachronistic election laws and a stripping of the king’s power to appoint prime ministers. Those demands, in good part, sprang from a years-long process that began with NDI support for monitoring Jordan’s 2007 elections.

    “They helped us tremendously. We wouldn’t have been successful in finding a local sponsor,” said Muhyiedden Touq, whose National Center for Human Rights led a 50-group coalition in also observing Jordan’s 2010 elections, when 1,200 poll watchers were fielded at a cost of $250,000 in USAID funds.

    As the Mideast seethes with protest, new questions may arise about the role played by democracy boosters, who also include affiliates of German political parties and other European and Canadian groups.

    For Jordan’s Rantawi, there’s no question.

    “All these efforts, by local and international organizations, paved the way for what’s going on today,” he said. “These youths didn’t come from nowhere and make a revolution.”

  2. This is so exciting. The idea of a public discussion of constitutional monarchy in Jordan is very refreshing!

    @coffeegirl. I sense a suggestion of a conspiracy theory in your post. Seriously?!

  3. @coffeegirl “US training quietly nurtured young Arab democrats”? Are you jocking me , the US government supported Zid Ben Ali And Huseny to the last minute, is that why the young Egyptian revolutionaries refused to meet with Hilary Clinton when visited Cairo last week ? Give me a break coffeegirl..

  4. It is not a joke The Free Jordanian, and if you read the whole article and not only my post you would have found the explanation (it’s on the very page 1) how it is possible for the US to support both a regime and a pro-democracy movements. That’s why it is called politics(politique) which originally, 3-4 hundred of years ago, meant “to know your own advantages”.

    There is such organization – google it if you don’t know, – as National Endowment For Democracy whose task is to promote/support friendly to the US democracies. This is from their homepage: “The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, with funding from the US Congress, NED supports more than 1,000 projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.” In Jordan AmmanNet, among quite few others, was their grant recipient for several years (maybe even now) for example.

    Just one request for you: NED is funded by US Congress. Please name me one ME country the US government ever supported ( in whatever form) out of altruism. Only one, please. What, you can’t? I thought so.

    I quoted Martin Luther King Jr in one of previous comments “Nothing is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” In our times ignorance not only dangerous, it is inexcusable.

  5. Oh, and as of Feb 2011 the following Egyptian organizations were NED grantees:

    – Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth
    – Lawyers Union for Democratic and Legal Studies
    – Arab Foundation for Supporting Civil Society
    – Bridge Center for Dialogue and Development
    – El-hak Center for Democracy and Human Rights
    – Youth Forum

    Among many, many others.

    I wonder if the desire to call an uncomfortable truth a conspiracy is an Arab trait exclusively. If at last you have decided to look in the mirror you cannot claim the reflection is true only on certain days.

  6. In 2009 in Jordan the following organizations were NED recipients

    – Al-Badeel Center for Studies and Training – $29,800
    – American Center for International Labor Solidarity – $510,826
    – Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) – $220,333
    – Community Media Network (AmmanNet) – $59,200
    – Good Life Studies Center (GLSC) – $35,000
    – Land and Human to Advocate Progress (LHAP) – $26,000
    – Mleih Young Women’s Association for Social Development (MYWA) – $31,000
    – National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) – $120,000
    – Partnership Center for Democracy (PCD) – $92,000

    And while you are at Makan ask how many 7iber-nians got NED & similar grants and/or scholarships ‘icing’ like, for example, The White House Correspondents’ Association scholarship or attended relevant seminars in the USA and Europe. Just for curiosity sake.

    I wonder if that is the reason all democratic youth leaders are deafening silent on what is going on in Libya. You know, the one who pays the piper…

  7. Coffeegirl, Please spare me National Endowment For Democracy , so according to you and the nonsense that you posted, the revolution was sparked the by the NED?
    With all the money they wasted , did we have Democracy or half ass democracy in Jordan ?

  8. “رفض شباب الثورة المصرية لقاء هيلاري كلينتون وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية، بدا السلوك في محله تماما، ويؤكد الطبيعة الوطنية الخالصة للثورة المصرية الشعبية الكبرى .
    بدا سلوك الثوار في غاية النضج، فلا أحد في مصر يجهل حقيقة أمريكا الشيطانية، واندماجها الاستراتيجي الكامل مع إسرائيل، ودعمها لنظام الديكتاتور المخلوع، الذي بدا كوثن يحبه البيت الأبيض، ويكرهه المصريون، الذين يتزايد انتباههم إلى أولوية استعادة الاستقلال الوطني، وتحرير مصر من التبعية المزمنة للسياسة الأمريكية، ومن قيود نزع السلاح وهوان السياسة المترتبة على ما تسمى معاهدة السلام المصرية ـ الاسرائيلية .
    صحيح أن المعركة الوطنية طويلة في مصر، وسوف تتوالى فصولها، لكن كسب الحرية في ذاته، لا يعني فقط فرصة لتقدم إلى إقامة نظام ديمقراطي، بل إنه فرصة حقيقية لاستعادة الاستقلال الوطني الذي جرى تجريفه، فقد كانت ديكتاتورية مبارك اللصوصية وبالا على الوطن المصري، وبقدر ما كانت كابوسا جاثما على صدور الشعب المصري، فقد فقدت مصر مكانتها، وفقدت حصانتها الوطنية، فقدت استقلالية قرارها، وتراجعت “

  9. Nothing is according to me, The Free Jordanian. According to facts, auditing reports, name of grantees and attendees of workshops and seminars on ‘democracy’ leadership, etc, etc. The facts you deliberately ignore because, I agree, those are not comfortable facts, they reduce the spontaneity factor to its realistic size. And this intentional refusal of yours put big question mark how free is The Free Jordanian if he cannot think for himself…yeah…

    You see, in any political movement there are leaders, a crowd and few useful idiots(instigators). You are obviously not a leader. You could be a crowd but I doubt you are, you are too vociferous, and that let us with, sorry, (let’s the party started – remember) the third group.

    I am tired to mention Libya but it is really funny how silent Jordanian ‘democrats’ are on the subject. Don’t tell me it’s because of sensitivity of it since Jordan is supportive of the action, etc, etc. You all were/are bashing your king for all the causes possible, so, it points to other reason(s). Speaks volumes, you know.

  10. الدكتور يعقوب الزيادين رجل ذو مبادئ قبل يكون شيوعيا، لقد دفع الغالي والنفيس لدفاع عن شعبه المغلوب على أمره، الدكتور يعقوب الزيادين كان وما زال يستقبل المرضى الفقراء في عيادته مجانا، هذا هوا للدكتور يعقوب، رجل بكل معنى للكلمة

  11. Ok Coffeegirl, question , how do you like the “Democracy” in Iraq that US have installed and please before you answer my question, remember the two million Iraqis that your beloved US government sacrificed in the name of “your democracy” and the 4 millions that fled the country
    I myself don’t adhere to your kind of “Democracy”, because you really don’t have it and as we say in Arabic if you don’t have you can’t give it ,the two party system that has been manifested in your country nothing but a farce and a shame , the difference between Bush and Obama is only the number of bombs that you beloved government dropped on the heads of Iraqis and Afghanis, that’s it. this is the democracy that you want us to adopt?
    By the way before I forget, Iam nobody but somebody who can make deli sous Falafel and I could care less for any of the adjective that you threw at me ..

  12. Democracy in Iraq? My beloved US government? I am sorry The Free Jordanian, it seems you didn’t get it. You didn’t get it at all.

    Right now there is new neo-colonial war in the making in Libya as if Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t enough but all Arab ‘youth leaders’ are silent, including this blog owner. Why, I wonder? There is no doubt Qaddafi overstated his time in the office and has to go but, tell me, why is that the rebels top priority after the bombing started was to establish independent oil authority (Bloomberg report)? Don’t you think it’s a rather weird, given the circumstances? There is a lot of mud in the desert of Libya, yet after blurting out so many words and exclamations on Egypt there is a complete mum on what is going on in its neighbor. Don’t know about you, I find that extraordinary.

    You might not believe in leaders but history proves you wrong. During last two decades there were ‘color’ revolutions in the East Europe. Now it’s time for ‘Facebook/Twitter’ revolutions in the Arab world. The time is ripe, and the US congress funded NED&similar are busy ‘supporting’ to ensure the new democracies will be US-friendly. Just like they used to do that in the East Europe. The methods are the same, the only difference is re-branding.

  13. I wish I am in Jordan to join such discussions. Wish you good luck though.

    cofeegirl you should start blogging instead of using this place for irrelevant discussions!

    And as the article quotes Les Campbell, Middle East chief for the U.S. National Democratic Institute for International Affairs it’s just one of the many many programs of the US worldwide in their attempts to do/look good.
    “The U.S. system is that there are many, many entry points in many centers of power, and they can have conflicting policies”

     So this doesn’t mean in any way the US, its programs, policies, or workshops…etc are direct causes of this Arab revolution. It may have helped shape more politically-savvy generation though. But that’s all.

    I tried to leave some room for “conspiracy theory” defining the reason of what is happening but couldn’t find any. It’s simply a long time suppression that led to an explosion.

  14. @coffeegirl what is your vision for the state how can arab states grow beyond neo-colonialism if its the case?

    I think our problem is how things are run and the level of authorities.

  15. avartany,

    I said nothing close to “… the US, its programs, policies, or workshops…etc are direct causes of this Arab revolution…” What I said was the US help in shaping “politically savvy generation” is not for free because the goal is creation of the US-friendly democracies with all strings it implies attached. To say the subject I was pointing at is irrelevant is misleading.

    And thank you for trying to shoo me away. In a way similar to Arabs in the west being told they should go and live elsewhere since they, sort of, don’t go with a flow. I guess, I should have had limited myself to all supportive 2-liners, nice and easy.


    I wish I know but I don’t. My worries are it might get hijacked because people are understandably too excited; they’re also politically immature and uneducated (not their fault) as opposed to ‘politically savvy’ thanks to American $$$. The ME is too big juicy bone to be thrown away. No need to be paranoid, just be aware.

    The Free Jordanian,

    I sincerely apologize for all the adjectives. Got carried away.

  16. coffegirl I’m sorry you got that wrong I was being sarcastic about irrelevancy and that you should have a blog but forgot to add a smiley face!

    I don’t believe the US prefers democracies in our region for the obvious reason and the fact that if Arab people ruled their countries there would be so much damage to America’s ultimate ally Israel and of course higher oil prices instead of the facilitations they are currently getting. It’s for America’s interest to keep the region in stone age.

  17. coffegirl… I wonder how old you are? the most amazing thing about what happened in Egypt is that it WAS without clear leadership. The leadership model of modernity is the hierarchial organisation – based on newtonian thinking it treats people as machines.If we are stuck in that paradigm we will always look for the conspiracy.

    However, the network is the leadership model for the post-modern 21st century. Businesses, wiki, visa, al-qaeda, open-source etc etc. have all discovered that if they want to survive in this post-modern world they must be leaderless networks. This is old news in the business world, but to be honest I had never really realised that nations and national governmental systems are products of modernity too… Egypt showed that a modern structure is no match for the post-modern network…

    The implications are mind blowing… I actually wonder if this is a death knoll for nation and government as we know it. I think your conspiracy ideas are too small… the whole world is going through a paradigm change (eg wikileaks is doing similar damage to the US) as a new postmodern generation is coming of age. Due to the global network aspects I think young people are able to connect into the global influence of this generation and so they influence themselves much more strongly than a few seminars run by old farts at usaid. Personally I like it!! My only worry is that while this generation has shown us how to bring down these evil regimes with a network, I hope they can figure out how to lead a nation (or whatever is left) with a network too, or we may be in for a lot of chaos!

  18. BJ,

    Tell me why an average Arab is that dismissive when faced with uncomfortable facts? It is ether deepest conspiracy or pinkier than pink rose garden. Besides you do not do justice to ‘old farts’ who have huge strategic interests in the whole region and who definitely wouldn’t simply pack up and leave everything to the glorious Arab youth being such do-gooders they are (not).

    If you haven’t heard

    I side with Assange on that, somewhere in the middle between conspiracy and the garden. Surely, he DOES know what he talks about.

  19. ان شاء الله سنرى انهيار للوضع قريبا وموجة لاجئين فلسطينية جديدة تعيش مع المجاري ل100 سنة قادمة مثل اللي سبقوهم

  20. old farts’ who have huge strategic interests in the whole region and who definitely wouldn’t simply pack up and leave everything to the glorious Arab youth being such do-gooders they are (not).

    Name one? all you say is very theoretical so far.

  21. Tala,

    Theoretical? Have you read the links? Have you checked National Endowment for Democracy site? They name their aid, the US Congress funded aid, by country with list of grantees. OK, if that too much bother just scroll up to post #8, is that a ‘theory’ to you?

    In February the article in Time magazine was already talking about:

    “Now that Hosni Mubarak is getting accustomed to life as an ex-dictator, Barack Obama and his foreign-policy aides have a new task. Washington has publicly called for an Egyptian transition to democracy, which Egypt has never known. To avoid a continuation of dictatorial rule under a new strongman — or a dangerous power vacuum as weaker players try to seize control ( I wonder if they meant Muslim Brotherhood by that) — Egypt will need to see the lightning-fast development of long-suppressed political parties. So the U.S. is preparing a new package of assistance to Egyptian opposition groups, designed to help with constitutional reform, democratic development and election organizing, State Department officials tell TIME. The package is still being formulated, and the officials decline to say how much it would be worth or to which groups it would be directed.”

    Do you know that even during Bush administration Egyptian opposition got $45,000,000 a year?

  22. The Free Jordanian فلسطين ما راح ترجع واسرائيل باقية ورح تظل انته وشعبك عايشين بعار لهروبكم المخزي من بلادكم

  23. jamal,, you need to educate yourself on this subject matter, here is one Israeli historian speaking on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine
    By the way jamal, Iam not from Palestine, but if somebody tell me iam from Palestine , I will be so proud of being called a Palestinian..
    Again Iam from Al Salt Jordan which is a part of this historic region . thank you

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