“The Lower House on Sunday could not complete its agenda for the meeting amid MP’sáoutrage over the government’s attempts to disgrace the legislative authorityŁ by disrespecting its speaker, Atef Tarawneh, at the opening of the Jerash festival…
…Tarawneh said he felt humiliatedŁ when a staff member of the festival’s administration asked him to leave his seat in the front row for Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, saying the seat was reserved for the head of the Lower HouseŁ. Such incident reflects the government’s attempts to humiliate the Lower House, not just the speaker, he charged. Several MPs agreed with Tarawneh, with some demanding an immediate apology from the government.
“MP Yihya Saud (Amman, 2nd District) called for a revote on confidence in the government. Over 15 minutes of heated discussions over a topic not included on the meeting’s agenda forced the speaker to adjourn the session without discussing any of the planned items.
If you wish, and in order to respect the Constitution, we will hold an informal meeting to talk about this issue, Tarawneh said. His decision came after several MPs said discussing the incident is not in line with the Constitution, under which the House cannot discuss items not specified by Royal Decree on the extraordinary session’s agenda under the Dome. [source]”
Outrage? Disgraced legislative authority? Humiliated? These are awfully big words for any member of parliament to use, and while I have no idea how deep rock bottom is – surely putting the nation’s business on hold because the speaker of the house felt “humiliated” for not having a reserved front row seat at a cultural festival – I mean surely we must be scraping somewhere near the bottom, no? Or did we surpass that when a member of parliament tried to shoot a peer with an Ak-47?
While I’m sure that I’m not the only one who finds parliament entertaining – and this ongoing battle between the government and parliament has been especially pitiful – I can’t help but have a new-found appreciation for this legislative body now that the speaker of the house, along with other members, seems to have a keen awareness for what it’s like to be both Jordanian and feel “humiliated”…or “disgraced” or “outraged” for that matter.
A widening gap between rich and poor, with the majority leaning towards the latter. Syrian refugees. Iraqi refugees. Islamism. Jihadist threats: the real, imagined and exaggerated threats. An unsteady economy. A lack of jobs. Too many families beneath the poverty line. A diminished dinar in an expensive marketplace. A floundering political system rendering relative stability a moot point. A largely young and barely-employed population. A non-competitive education system. Arbitrary political accountability. Arbitrary application of the law. Artificial liberalism outmatched by evolving social conservatism. Tribalism. Nepotism. National identity crisis. Corruption. Brain drain. Burning tires and angry, armed people; governorate closures. Increasing campus violence. A security-minded state. Censorship. An energy crisis. A water crisis. To say nothing of threats vis a vis Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Syria…
But the speaker of the house felt humiliated for not getting a front row seat at the Jeresh Festival. An event worthy of an official apology, along with a government confidence vote.
So while our so-called public servants are humiliated over a chair, I feel humiliated every time parliament makes headlines. I feel humiliated by every vote that’s cast in favor of this non-representative political system. I feel humiliated by every dinar of our taxes that pays for this sideshow, and every piece of legislation they “discuss” in the name of the people.