I know it’s been a tough month for you. Security breaches have been all over the international media and things just don’t look great right now. I know in such times it’s easy for you to retreat to safer grounds where fear tactics and terrorism rhetoric is comforting, but please, can we put an end to it before it gets out of hand? The only governments who have been instilling fear in their people to either justify their actions or shut off debate and any source of opposition and/or questioning of their actions have been swallowed up by the history books – the pages of the early 21st century our generation will likely burn. Your public handling of recent security-related stories has not been exactly great, but that’s no one’s fault but your own really. The less you tell people the more they’ll speculate, and you just can’t remain silent for days and then come up with a statement littered with “Amman bombings of 2005” and expect Jordanians to swallow it like the Bush years that littered American media with “9/11” sentiments.
For one, Jordanian society differs dramatically from fear-riddled societies you might find in the US and the UK. The average Jordanian has seen enough terror, in the guise of poverty, unemployment, low standards of living, high prices, corruption, censorship, state-induced fear in the state, and various other realities of life in Jordan – to say nothing of living in a region where explosions, bombings, invasions, occupations and wars are also daily realities around us – that we’ve really become anesthetized to the whole thing.
In the past two weeks or so, the memory of the Amman bombings has been invoked way too many times by government officials, predominantly by state spokesperson, Nabil Sharif, most recently, well, today. I am not blaming individuals of course as the government pretty much functions as single entity. If someone says something it’s because someone has told them to say it. And if someone told them to say it, it’s because someone advised them that this was the line to take.
It only makes matters worse.
We all lived through the horrendous act of violence on November 9th and we don’t need to use the memory of the people who died that day as a way to justify current state policies because that is essentially, my dear government, what you are doing. It is a policy that ruined America and was used to justify the mess of a war that’s happening right next door – to say the least. And as sure as day it will ruin any other government that chooses to scare its citizens into submission and to shut out any opposition by resurrecting memories.
An act of terrorism on Jordanian soil is indeed a red line, but so should be the act of politicizing it – and the people who died for it – for political gain. It is, in my opinion trampling on their memory, and moreover, a very dangerous slippery slope if the lessons of the western hemisphere in the past decade have taught us anything. And while we’re at it, Bush’s “we’ll smok’em out of their cave” and “we’ll fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here” also proved to be folly rhetoric and I’ve noticed the use of the latter in government statements these past two weeks.
The constant resurrection of terrorizing statements like the “Amman bombing” and “remember the Amman bombings” and “people died in Amman,” will not, in my opinion, convince the average Jordanian to approve of state policies because the government knows what’s good for them. I do not think you can, nor do I believe it is wise, to pursue a tactic where a systematic use of terror is employed in order to coerce the citizens in to submission.
And, in fact, that is actually the very definition of terrorism according to the Webster dictionary:
terÂ·rorÂ·ism (n): the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion