The Quick Death Of Shabab March 24 And What It Means For Jordan

Disclaimer: the following post is long. I don’t apologize for its length. However, those wishing to comment on it should at least show me and others the respect of actually reading it all before doing so. The first part is my personal eye-witness account of the events that transpired on March 25th at the Interior Ministry circle in Amman. The second part is my personal commentary on what I believe the outcome of these events will be on the Jordanian landscape

When a group of young Jordanians from various backgrounds decided to hold a sit-in at the Interior Circle on March 24, the first thought that occurred to me was that this was a recipe for disaster. Given the security apparatus’s history with crowd control, there was no way a sit-in would be allowed outside the governorate office and so close to the Ministry of Interior. I was also filled to the brim with drawn out cliche conclusions about who these guys were and what their demands would be. I am generally weary of most protests, demonstrations and rallies in a country like Jordan as I feel they yield little results beyond getting some minor international media coverage. But I do understand the need for them in a country like Jordan where all other effective mechanisms of accountability are closed off to the public. In other words, unless people take to the streets there is little they can do by way of holding the political apparatus of this country accountable. In other words, these demonstrations do play their role in acting as organized pressure groups, in the total absence of actual organized pressure groups.

With stereotyped conclusions on one shoulder, and a low bar of expectations on the other, I decided to pay the sit-in a visit at 1am on a Thursday night after reading several “reports” that trucks filled with rocks were being mysteriously transported to the Interior circle to arm other groups aiming to attach the March 24 shabab. Not one to buy in to conspiracies, I went. And what I saw was quite baffling. Underneath the bridge was a fairly well-organized group of young 20-something year olds. They had their posters in Arabic and English. They had a truck with a sound system. They had low-level organizers with bullhorns who would walk around making sure their group kept to the sidewalk. They had brooms and garbage bags, and people designated the task of keeping the area clean. They had tents, food, laptops, Internet connections, digital cameras, camcorders, a live feed going, as well as a fire roaring in near-freezing weather. At the tip of the sidewalk, their members were lined up facing the circle, where across from them was another group, and in between them both were about two dozen policemen.

And so I spent the next few hours, in the middle of a cold night, listening. Listening to what each group was saying and trying to figure out where each stood, what each was there to do, and what the make up of each group was. At first, it was near impossible. Both groups were singing and playing patriotic or nationalistic songs, as a display of loyalty to the King and country, and both groups were chanting slogans that were pro-monarchy. This went on for quite a bit that to a large extent, it became a competition between two forces over whom was more patriotic and loyal to the King. But then came the differences.

As the hours progressed the March 24 shabab began to make a few declarations of what they sought to achieve. I do not recall a single thing that they said, which the King himself has not either said in the past few weeks, let alone the past few years. At the top of their list was having an elected government under a constitutional monarchy where the King is the sovereign ruler. At the top of their list was cutting off the interference of the security apparatus (the mukhabarat) in the lives of the average Jordanian, or more specifically, the lives of Jordanian youth, especially on campuses. This last point likely emerged due to the King having had expressed the exact same sentiment not one week ago. And so on and so forth. Their main slogan was calling for “islah il-nitham” or, reforming the system. Why were they there? Why did they decide to have a sit-in? The general consensus seemed to be that by launching this sit-in they could put pressure on a system to carry out the reforms the King has been calling for. Perhaps having a King who admits publicly that there have been societal and political elements who acted as obstructions to reform, can have some influence over this kind of approach. I don’t know how alive this kind of thinking was at an organizational level for the March 24 “movement”, but many of those that I spoke to that had come to the sit-in thought along those lines. The feeling that if they presented themselves publicly, that this would some how offer political capital for the King to carry out reforms amidst an apparatus that has difficulty accepting change.

This is largely what I understood from the youth that were there. I also gleaned from the gathering that a significant portion of them, and perhaps nearly the majority, were neutral. They were not associated with political parties. There were some leftists, communists, socialists, and yes, even some Islamists – but for the most part this seemed to be a group of people who represented “the other”. Many of those I spoke to came only because they did not feel represented by other mainstream political parties, and saw March 24 as an alternative they could get on board with. The fact that the movement had “banned” any other flag other than the Jordanian flag to be raised, seemed to appeal to some of them, and the fact that there were also tribes and families involved, was another appeal factor (a large banner featuring the King could be seen hung from the bridge above them, donated by an Abbadi, a known Jordanian tribe). Again, this is what I gleaned from the people that were there. Most of the organizers were unknown individuals and some were from university youth groups and/or students councils, et cetera, so there’s really no history to go on. This may have been what helped create an “Islamist” propaganda around them, but in my book, they were anything but Islamists.

The other group is a bit easier to define. What to call them was problematic. In many circles they have been commonly referred to (by myself included) as “loyalists” – people who strictly backed the King and were interested in very little beyond that. I discovered that it was problematic to call them “loyalists” as it was a label that actually helped them achieve their goal of categorizing everyone else as being disloyal. They later on began to call themselves, specifically in their chants and to each other, as “Baltajeyeh”. For those who are unaware of the term, it is quite a foreign word for Jordan, and was used widely to describe the paid-by-mubarak crowd that sought to disrupt the activities in Tahrir square last month. In Jordan, its equivalent is “zu’ran” or, just plainly, trouble-makers. The word itself carries great negative connotations. However, when this crowd began to refer to itself as such, well, who are we to argue? While reporting on these events via Twitter, I used the word to describe them as such quite often, and in retrospect, despite it being the easiest word and/or label to use when typing on a phone in 140 characters, cold weather and relative chaos, it was a mistake on my part. I generally despise labels, but discovered the need for them when reporting, otherwise people consuming the information don’t know which group you are talking about. And this was an even more difficult task when describing two groups that have a great deal in common. It was not black and white. That said, I really didn’t like the word, despite their usage of it, specifically because of its negative connotations. Thus the best term perhaps to describe them was not related to their actions but rather their thinking, which was quite clearly anti-reform. Others who were not there might differ on this, but to anyone who was there, to anyone who interacted with them, to anyone who listened to what they were saying, it was quite clear, they were against any type of reform in the country, and specifically any reform being called out by the March 24 crowd. I should also state that during the Friday events, the March 24 organizers on the speakers consistently used the word baltajeyeh, which I think was a mistake on their part, especially for a group that was calling for national unity in the same breath. These words matter.

Unfortunate labels aside, this group was there for one reason and one reason only: to disrupt. Every action they took and every chant they chanted was intended to antagonize and disrupt. No more, and no less. They called the March 24 crowd “Shia! Shia! Shia!” and chanted curses in unison (you can see video of that here). During the Fajir (morning) prayers, they brought large speakers from a minivan, put them on the street, and blared patriotic songs to disrupt the call to prayers, and any of the youth that were starting to pray. That was quite shocking for me, as anyone who has grown up here knows that it is considered a cultural and societal taboo to play music during the athan.

During this night, every now and then, one of the anti-reformists would make an attempt to charge the crowd with a stick in hand, but was moved back by the police, and this would elicit a positive response from the March 24 people who were holding the line, and usually applauded or cheered the police.

On Friday, the crowds grew larger. The police had set up barricades along the triangular part of the duwar, where the March 24 crowd was based, and so they were naturally allowed to branch out, but none of them crossed on to the path between the sidewalk and the roundabout, i.e. the asphalt where typically a car would drive around the circle. The March 24 organizers had their people hold the sidewalk line with a human chain, which was complemented this time with another human chain of police that were there to protect them. On the other side, on the roundabout itself, the anti-reformists grew in numbers and were cut off by the police.

Things began to turn ugly largely after the Friday prayers. Numbers on both sides grew (the March 24 crowd more), and as did the police, who I personally think did their best in protecting the March 24 demonstrators as per their orders. At first, the rock throwing was minimal. It was usually a young guy from behind the crowd casting the casual stone. This would cause a bit of panic amongst the March 24 crowd, that would try and move back, expecting more to come. The anti-reformists did not bring rocks with them in trucks as had been reported. They were getting them from the ground they occupied, as the duwar itself is full of rocks and dirt where trees are usually planted. On the other side of the street, where the March 24 people resided, there was nothing but sidewalk and concrete, i.e. no access to rocks other than what had been thrown at them. This was quite obvious to anyone familiar with the area.

With time, the amount of rocks being thrown increased, and the March 24 crowd propped up their tents and raised prayer mats tied to two sticks, as shields from the rocks. When the crowd was showered with rocks, both the demonstrators and police would quickly stumble behind the tents before reforming the line. This went on for quite a while until the rock throwing got out of hand and even some police were getting hurt. This seemed to encourage the police force in the middle to push back the anti-reformists and even scatter some of them to some extent. No one was being arrested, which seemed to confuse and baffle some of the people watching this all from the sidelines. They would chase a rock-thrower from one side, and he would simply run to the other side of the circle. And for a while you could see sudden running and movement of the crowd from one side, and then the other. Some of the rock-throwers went atop the bridge and cast large stones, which I assume they broke off from the concrete, and cast them down to the crowd, hitting mostly the police, who quickly closed off the bridge.

Photo via 7iber

For the most part, the March 24 tried to maintain and contain their own crowd, chanting “silmeyeh” or “peaceful (protest)” in response to the rock throwing. At other times, things got bad, and on some occasions an anti-reformist would manage to break through and approach the barricade, which inspired some in the March 24 crowd to venture beyond the line and enter a scuffle. This was rare, and I only saw it happen on two occasions, and elicited a very quick response from the police.

At this point the March 24 crowd was quite large and diverse. There were even women there with their children, some who occupied the back and some who mingled normally with the crowd. At this point, there was a sense of full faith in the police that they were there to protect them, and the crowd constantly cheered them on. On the other side, the anti-reformists seemed to be having a tough time with the police, and while they did not turn against them (despite the rock throwing which I don’t think was aimed at them to begin with), they gave regular warnings or threats that if the police did not remove the March 24 crowd, they would.

I am not sure how things spiraled out of control, but from my point of view, having retreated to the neutral area outside the governorate office, I saw two things that contributed to what was about to happen. The first were a series of cars that seemed to be carrying anti-reformists. During the early morning period, these cars were permitted to enter the circle and circle around honking horns and unloading anti-reformists. I use he word “permitted” because all access to the duwar had been cut off by police and the only way these cars (and buses) could get in was either by ramming through the police barricade or being allowed in by the police. This is a very binary conclusion because I really see no other explanation. During that dreadful Friday afternoon, these actions allowed the anti-reformists to grow in numbers. Little did most of the people there know, but there were dozens of cars and buses filled with these people approaching the duwar from the Sports City circle a few kilometers aware.

The second contributing element was the introduction of the darak forces, or the riot police as some are known to call them. While most Jordanian protesters trust the police’s ability to keep them safe to some extent, there is zero trust when it comes to the riot police. When they show up on the scene, everyone generally knows that things are about to turn ugly. And that’s exactly what happened when they came in to the duwar from behind the March 24 protesters. On the other side, the police had either scattered, or regrouped, and joined the darak in beating the protesters. The anti-reformists were naturally glad to have the opportunity to join the chaos and like a lit match, the March 24 group found themselves sandwiched between two armed forces, and had few access points to escape to.

Al Jazeera and others reported the use of tear gas against protesters, but from what I saw there was no tear gas. There was indeed a water cannon that basically was used to wash out the March 24 site. Now after this critical point was over, the darak moved in to the circle, not allowing anyone in, but not chasing anyone out either. At this point, most of the March 24 people had either escaped or were hurt and being carried out, while the anti-reformists cheered in the street. As darkness approached, the streetlights around the circle were kept off, immersing everyone in near pitch black, except for the lights of ambulance car sirens. I don’t know why they chose to do that, especially with people being hurt, but they eventually turned them on.

In the hours following that chaotic scene, it seems the darak were in complete control, with their people and vehicles moving in, while the police had largely withdrawn to the yard of the governor’s office. At this point, what seemed to be happening was quite shocking. I saw someone who was wearing a standard police uniform climbing on top of the shoulders of anti-reformists and leading the crowd in pro-monarchy chants. I saw a police van driven by police, where anti-reformists chanted using the van’s sound system. At this point it was obvious that this whole thing was over.

This was the event, as I saw it. No more or less.


So what does this mean for us?

I would be lying if I said that this event was not enlightening and perspective-changing. It really flipped my beliefs upside down, threw them on the ground and stomped on them. From a bird’s eye view I saw one group that was attempting to do something peacefully and another group that was there to hurt them. This was how it was on a very macro level and no matter what one’s political beliefs are, from an objective perspective it is tough to differ on that. The March 24 group seemed to be the beginning of a different kind of movement that was party-less, and while I didn’t quite agree with their decision to have a sit-in, I understood why they saw it necessary to have one. I also recognized their ambition of establishing a movement that was diverse. I’ll even go so far as to say I respected their approach in trying to replicate the good they saw in Tahrir square, but with different objectives in mind. These guys were young and still figuring out how to do things, making noticeable mistakes along the way (particularly with their messaging) but they seemed to at least try and apply the lessons learned from Egypt when it comes to having a sit-in: the need for technology, the need to act with restrains and responsibly, the need to be unassociated with political parties, etc. Unfortunately, none of this worked out for them. They were instantly labelled as Islamists by the anti-reformists as well as the government. And they were instantly labelled as attempting to overthrow the monarchy by both groups, although some government officials were a little more subtle in calling out their intentions, including the Prime Minister. In any case, whatever one thinks of them and their goals, it is very difficult to argue against the fact that a) these were Jordanian citizens and b) they were there peacefully.

As soon as these guys were labelled as Islamists intending to overthrow the monarchy, the game was over. The stigma managed to mobilize and even encourage others to come to the circle to beat them down. And I do not use that word lightly. Those who stood in opposition to the March 24 crowd were there to hurt them. They saw them as being disloyal Palestinians who wanted to establish a Palestinian Islamic government and kick out the King. This was the general consensus by that side. They were absolutely convinced of it. To make things worse (for the long run) they also believed that any reform that sought to take power from the King and give it to the people would lead to a Palestinian homeland being established on Jordanian soil. Speaking to several of them on a personal level, I saw this conviction in their eyes. They completely believe this to be the truth. Some even seemed to buy in to the conspiracy that Hizballah and Iran were pulling all the strings, which explained to me why they constantly chanted “Shia, Shia, Shia!” at the March 24 crowd. They insisted that anyone on the other side of the duwar who claimed to be in support of the King was a liar. And there was just no convincing them of anything else. There was no dialog or compromise or trust. Some of them even seemed to believe that these were 1970 Palestinian fedayeen, who were actually armed (this was the response I got when I asked one of them why he was carrying a baton).

Indeed, speaking to them often felt like being in Plato’s cave, and having the entire allegory play out right before your eyes.

What I saw made me realize that many of my preconceptions regarding Jordanian society were wrong. Despite having worked and operated on the grassroots level to a large degree, and having a job that somewhat allows me to interact with the average Jordanian on a regular basis, as opposed to having a desk job, many of my beliefs garnered over the years were destroyed. It was not merely the event itself, but also the numbers and the approach that convinced me that a great portion of our population remains uneducated, addicted to the state’s beneficiary system and loaded with violent inclinations. They have no interest in reform or democracy and think and act out of what they believe to be loyalty to the King and the country. They are absolutely convinced that those of Palestinian origin are, to put it frankly, the scum of the Earth and do not believe them to be equal citizens. It is the same mentality that inspired comments congratulating Jordanians on the death of the two March 24 protesters.

What this made me realize was the mere fact that we are a population that is simply not at peace with itself. Our social fabric is torn. And this is the biggest reason why Jordan is different from the rest of the Arab world that is undergoing dramatic changes. It is not a population that is facing off with a corrupt ruler or a corrupt government, seeking to overthrow them – it is a population that is still facing off with each other. A population made up of groups that do not trust each other, and, what I genuinely believe, if it were not for the King’s role, they would likely be at each other’s throats. And this is not merely Jordanians of Jordanian origin and those of Palestinian origin; I am also talking about groups within the east bank constituency that do not get along with each other, to say nothing of the rich and the poor.

At this point I would like to emphasize one thing. These are generalizations and perceptions. I do not mean to say that this is applicable to every single Jordanian citizen. However, what I am saying is that this environment is dominant enough, and this segment of society is strong enough to really play an active role. They may not be the majority, but they are a group that is representative enough, even in numbers. At the very least, they are an accurate enough barometer for what much of the country thinks and believes, and when push comes to shove and they feel the need to come out to protect the status quo, they will, and they did. What we saw yesterday was not 100 people bought-and-paid for by the security apparatus as some media might want to paint it. This was a large constituency of people. They were in the thousands. Their caravan of cars stretched for kilometers on end, and they were coming in from all across the country, even on the day after.

I believed that the majority of Jordanians wanted reform and were merely silent. This is something I can no longer say today. I believed that we were “ready for democracy” and those who said we were not simply did not want to see it happen; because it was the people versus their government. This is something I can no longer believe today. For how a can a society this small and yet this divided be able to function in a democratic state?

I understand the argument that it is usually a well-organized and driven minority that tends to bring about change that the majority is too busy or too scared or with too much to risk and lose, is unable to achieve – but this is different. This is not a silent majority. It might not even be a majority. But again, it is a big enough force to bring the whole train to a screeching halt; violently if need be. It is also a segment that has the backing of the security apparatus, whether on a macro level or micro (individual level). That much was obvious during the outcome of yesterday’s events.

And I know that some might want to point to Egypt’s Muslim and Christian divisions prior to January 25, but I need only point out that what makes Jordan different is the lack of symbols. Revolutions tend to have symbols, and those symbols tend to be an embodiment of something to fight for or against. The symbol manages to bring people together and it also has the power to tare them apart. In Egypt, even if Muslims and Christians were at each other’s throats, they can quickly get behind a movement that seeks to dethrone Mubarak; a symbol they can unify against. This is something being played out in most Arab countries. In Jordan, there is no real symbol. The overwhelming majority like the King and even those pushing for change see him as a symbol for that change. They have no symbol to fight against; no symbol that will bring a divided society together to achieve a goal. We saw the power of symbols in January where nearly everyone was calling for the resignation of the Samir Rifai government. Whatever the origin, whatever the background, the people united around this one goal. But now what?

Overthrowing a government is easy, especially in Jordan where they come and go like the seasons. But treading the path to reform is much more difficult, and along that road a nation needs to walk together in order for things to work. The problem is, we are a nation that cannot even talk to each other without calling each other names, or even wanting to hurt each other – let alone walk together on that road; let alone run.

If they are offered alternatives; if they feel that whatever system emerges it will be one that safeguards their interests, then there is a chance. If they come to a point where they feel that those of different origins and different beliefs all have the country’s (and therefore “their”) interests at heart, then there is a chance. But right now, I just don’t see it. Yesterday I saw a government that lost an incredible opportunity to change minds, but instead it turned against a crowd. It called them Islamists and seemingly opened the doors for the maddening crowd. It’s the political equivalent of pouring blood on bait, and casting it into shark-infested waters. The result is inevitable. This is to say nothing of the fact that simply insisting they are Islamists results in two by-products: emboldening the Muslim Brotherhood’s voice and position by making it out more than it is, and squashing any attempts at creating an independent movement.

Trust was lost. Credibility was lost. And mindsets were pushed to the extremes. Those on either side of the coin are swinging farther away from the middle ground on the ideological line. Those considering themselves “loyalists” will only become hardened and emboldened after yesterday, believing any propaganda they are fed; and those considering themselves “reformists” will likely begin to think that a state that has abandoned them may not be worth fighting for after all.

And the silent majority caught in the middle will lock its doors, and immerse itself in the silence.

This is what I’ve come to believe. None of this should be taken as a call to end the fight for a democratic system in Jordan (although an enraged part of me feels an absolute monarchy might be the way to go right about now), but it is something that I do not see happening without dramatic social changes. This will depend heavily on the state, which controls the educational system, which instills a sense of social justice and equality through the enforcement of laws, which restrains its security apparatus from driving the fear of God in to hearts and minds of people already frightened of each other. And in drawing that conclusion I realized how difficult, if not close to impossible this all is.

I can barely depend on the government to go out on television and not insult my intelligence with propaganda that is easily discredited in the information age – let alone rely on it to bring a broken society together.

And then again, who am I to judge?

Maybe keeping this society broken and divided is the real objective all along.

I just don’t know anymore. We are stuck in a vicious cycle of a history that is repeating itself over and over. A state that refuses to learn and evolve. A security apparatus that continues to play the game of divide and conquer, and then turn around and call for national unity with a straight face. I really just don’t know where we are anymore, or where we’re going.


  • Following this logic, it seems that living in Jordan means resigning oneself to the fact that the country is held hostage by a bunch of violent ignoramuses. If that is the case, I would rather ‘vote with my feet’ and leave. Sadly, this would be the only meaningful vote I would ever cast in Jordan.

  • This is probably the only post I read where I feel that my thoughts/questions/worries/concerns/emotions were taken and put to screen. I have NO clue where will we go from here, and it leaves me feeling helpless. I really had hope (unlike you, I did NOT expect this to happen at all – call me naive!) that this “movement” would bring about real change. Maybe it was naive, wishful thinking. Maybe I too, was not aware of “the other” – I did not even know that some of my friends would support them.

    However, and maybe this is also a naive solution: I would not label this post as “death of Shabab March 24” if anything, this was a mistake, and they will learn from it. I say it is a mistake due to the venue selection, the timing, and maybe this will piss you off, but had older men (from unions, 3ashaer) were involved, things would have been different. I think that the first step might be to really educate the other. But then again, the other is really just set in their ways, and they are hard to identify as well. Are they really paid-for by the security apparatus? Are they individuals like us? We cannot define them, but I have a hunch that they are just uneducated people who are in need of political education, and since they are used to being mouth-fed information and opinions, maybe we need to do just that. I know this sounds elitist, bas battal fi 3eib.

    Thoraya, a part of me is tempted to echo your thoughts, but I really cannot give up so easily, and still I have some hope. Maybe it is the naivety of youth…yesterday was another slap in the face for me!

  • Thanx for this post… it is by far the most comprehensive I’ve read, and put into words many of the things I’d been thinking…

    I didn’t spend as much time at the protest as you did, but in the couple of hours I was there I saw all that you’re talking about.

    I met a bunch of kids carrying batons and screwdrivers, so I went up to them and innocently asked “what’s going on” to which one guy replied: we’ve kicked the Palestinians out of the square… so when I told him “3eeb ya zalameh… ma ana falastini” he looked confused and said “inta 3ala rasi” and another one of the guys chastised him saying “balash nihki 3an il falastinieh, khwali falastinieh”…. i ended up as confused as they were.

    As for the police, I also had some faith in the idea that the police are somewhat neutral. until i saw a police car drive by a group of guys carrying weapons and heading towards the cirlce, park next to them, exchange handshakes and kisses, take the flag from them and put it on the police car then drive off…

    the question for me is, who orchestrated the anti-reform protest? who brought all the people in from across Jordan? Who was the lead in filling their head with the various slogans (Islamists, Palestinians, Shia, etc….) This is what I really want to know!!!!

  • Naseeem,

    Thank you for the long and comprehensive account of what happened yesterday. I’m very ashamed to say that I didn’t make it yesterday or on thursday to the sit-in. Apart of me wanted to, but March 24’s demands were not clear to me.

    I am one example of where March 24 failed: I didn’t know 1. who they are 2. what they stand for.

    Their lack of consistent messaging and spreading one clear message contributed to them being both misunderstood and attacked.

    I still (foolishly) believe that the majority of people are NOT ready to kill each other. but until yesterday, I also believed the police were out to protect the citizens.

    THis is a very sad affair. and I really hope this isn’t the end of March 24.

  • Great post! I applaud you for your honesty. I agree with you and I also believe, especially with such mentality, that we are still not ready to elect our government. You mentioned something that is mind blowing although unfortunately is true, “They saw them as being disloyal Palestinians who wanted to establish a Palestinian Islamic government and kick out the King.” When a group of people always looks at Jordanians from Palestinian origins as outsiders we will never be at peace with ourselves.
    I always say we have a problem in Jordan that we need to fix. The problem is the increasing diversion between Jordanians and Palestinians. The solution of this problem is not by speeches but by fixing our educational system.
    There is also even a bigger problem than Jordan itself. That is, Palestine issue. And it is not a unrelated issue with what happened. We have this almost 70 years old problem that we no longer know what we want. Do Palestinians live in Jordan temporary until we get Palestine back? With a country half of its population are from Palestinian origin how we should approach the Palestine issue? Do we want kick the 6 million Israeli out of the country and take the land back or do we want to go over a peace process? Should we support Hamas or PLA?
    As you mentioned and as many Jordanians believe Jordan is different than Egypt and Tunisia.

  • So, who is going to hold the police responsible? Forget the two sides, their intentions, and their actions. They were citizens at the end of the day. But the police CLEARLY had an agenda, and someone actually died. I still can’t believe a person was killed at the hands of the police!! So, what happens now with the police??

  • Well, I can’t say that I was surprised. There is a serious trust issue in the society from both sides. I am with you in all what you have said, but there are things that we are overlooking & no one seems to talk about it. The fears of the East Bank Jordanian are not all false and unjustified. They say: Why do Palestinian refugees have a Jordanian Nationalities in the first place? Why are East Bank Jordanians not allowed to work in many private sector jobs? Arab bank is an obvious example. Or even in the social live, and it happens on both sides, being refused by the family in a marriage proposal because you are East Bank Jordanian (I faced this personally). I don’t really see the anti reform group came in to support the king. They have fears & will not accept to go into the unknown where they think they might lose their country… And before any reform can be done, this issue must be resolved & we should speak about it openly and stop avoiding the subject assuming it will resolve itself.

  • What you have accomplished with your report and commentary on the March 24 protest is something that is in itself revolutionary. It is not often that I read work such as this and finish feeling that the writer attempted – to the extent it is even possible – to be objective and still leave the reader with a sense that the writer is deeply, personally involved in the story. I’m struck by your seeming fairness to the many players in the story; a fact that renders even more tragic the violent end that scarred the event.

    I would like to address the conclusions and analysis which comprised the end of your post and have reprinted some quotes from you for that purpose:

    “The problem is, we are a nation that cannot even talk to each other without calling each other names, or even wanting to hurt each other – let alone walk together on that road; let alone run.”

    “Maybe keeping this society broken and divided is the real objective all along.

    “I just don’t know anymore. We are stuck in a vicious cycle of a history that is repeating itself over and over. A state that refuses to learn and evolve. A security apparatus that continues to play the game of divide and conquer, and then turn around and call for national unity with a straight face. I really just don’t know where we are anymore, or where we’re going.”

    I could have reprinted any number of your comments and choose these because they struck me as representative of your conclusions and concerns.

    I am a citizen of the United States and have lived here for all of my 46 years. Everything that you have written above can be as easily said of the U.S. I, and many of my fellow citizens, feel the same about Americans and government in the “home of the free”, the “world’s greatest democracy,” as you feel about your monarchy and its citizens.

    But how can this be? There are many reasons and I won’t even attempt to address them here. I mention this fact only to suggest that you not despair.

    I would also like to suggest that EVERYONE stop writing and saying that the uprisings in the Middle East are seeking “democracy”. What is being sought after is a “republican” form of representative government. Even the United States isn’t a democracy, but a republic. The American Revolution for Democracy has still to undertaken. If Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen create a true democracy they will be an example for the entire world to follow – including the United States. If we allow politicians, media, intellectuals and others to substitute the word democracy or republic we will suffer in despair that further change and empowerment of the people is not possible because we will have been tricked into believing we have reached the end of systemic evolution when a democracy – which is in fact a republic – has been formed.

    When you in Jordan have your republic, perhaps we can struggle together for democracy.

  • I think this is the best, and clearest view of what’s happening. As part of the silent majority you’ve named, I’ve also decided to close my doors. Mainly long enough till I get to leave the country. I can’t urge anybody else to leave, but I think that if all the reformists or reform-inclined silent people leave then it will do more good than bad. I think it’s one of those situations where it has to hit rock bottom before it can get better, and as everybody says, things here are too good to be rock bottom.

  • So pursue change on the people’s level (attitudes, perceptions, etc…), before seeking political reform, or change the political system that is maintaining and maybe feeding the “tear in our social fabric”…
    The chicken or the egg first?…
    I don’t have an answer…

  • This was heart-breaking, sadly confirming many of my suspicions after trying to make sense of all that twittered last night.

    One thought came to mind today: light is a great disinfectant. With the ugliness of what was/is truly there revealed, the real work of building can begin. The prior work was still of great value, still foundational.

    I believe that this exposing of that depravity (and living reform out at an individual level) will break that societal cycle. Individuals who evolve and learn should become a society that evolves and learns.

    Tomorrow morning, it will be time to hope again. God hears, and He has a plan for Jordan that we can’t see.

  • But then, if reformists leave the country… or if reformists wait longer (no one has waited enough aready?)…when is the change going to come? and from where? how is the change in education coming from a non-reformed government or system?
    It could be different. It could may happen that those that have been silent, started to call for reforms as well. It could happen that those that are violent and uneducated people didn´t have so much power or so much eco in society. Maybe the will to be united and to change the country peacefully could be the symbol of Jordan. And maybe people could learn in the meanwhile to listen to each other.

  • Thank you so much for this piece, it tries and I believe achieves to be objective, and it gives a lot of background information.

    I spent only about an hour at the circle on Friday afternoon (until just before the Darak came) and about half an hour at 8 p.m., and what I saw in the evening was almost more depressing than all these stone-throwing people in the afternoon. How can security forces take sides with those who threw stones just a few hours earlier and celebrate with them as if a war had been won? What happened earlier was a group of people violently attacking a group of peaceful demonstrators. It is clear to me that police, darak and all the other security forces should have protected the peaceful demonstrators, no matter who they were and what they wanted. It is called freedom of expression, and if I am not completely mistaken, it is guaranteed in the Jordanian constitution.

  • Well, that is what i was trying to say through the #hashtagdebates that was held by 7iber, guys just go to any university and try to watch the type of youth we are having!. I can imagine the people that attacked the March 24 movement so clearly without even seeing them!.

    How bad it is to be this way, and what an image we are having in Jordan. Ma feesh faydah as Egyptians used to say in movies.

    Thanks Naseem for the post, it almost said what i think of honestly.

  • Thanks for posting this informative account and sharing your thoughts,
    I see only one way out of this incredibly sad situation – education – everyone needs to get educated and participate in dialogue – including all those in uniform … it should be the number one priority !!!
    WIthout it – we will stay in this bubble of ignorance and violence forever ….

  • Naseem – thank you for the most well articulated account of what happened I have read so far. I was expecting something from you and you did not disappoint.

    Like you, I am feeling very pessimistic after what happened. We are a country that does nothing but complain about what’s wrong, but are at the same time unwilling to take the steps towards change. One thing is for sure – the longer this status quo is maintained, the deeper the divisions in Jordan society will become and the harder it will become to actually change the country in any meaningful way without it turning ugly (and after what I saw yesterday, I think we’ve pretty much hit that point).

    It is absolutely disgusting the way many are turning this into a “Palestinian vs Jordanian” and “Jordan lovers vs Jordan haters” event, and just goes to show how deep the ignorance in our society goes. I don’t see it improving with time.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re a clear, impartial and intelligent voice in a sea of bullshit.

  • It might be too early to tell, but i am afraid what you say is what my subconscious has been telling me all along… Wishful thinking indeed, I dreadfully agree.. No change here..

    too many ignorant, misinformed, backward minded, primitive people live here… This country has always been divided, nothing will bring us together. Jordan owes its existence to nothing, no civic nationalism, no ethnic nationalism, no nationalism at all..

    if people want freedom, they should seek it elsewhere, this place is clearly the haven for people who are OK with the status quo, not for people with high expectations in Jordan’s future… If it really is a Jordanian – Palestinian thing, then Palestinians should march right on back to Palestine and demand change there, this is a lost cause for them. I dont think it is that, though. I think it is ignorant vs wise. Ignorant people just want to live among themselves, wise people want to be part of the new wave of change in the world.

    accept this post as reality, save ur self the trouble of having to go though what Nasim went through himself. Accept it because it is true … As they say, “you can never go wrong assuming the worst when it comes to the Middle East”.. it is the safest bet.

    One of the best posts, biblical …

  • Great work Naseem. Great reporting. Largely agree with your analysis too but may differ on a few points. You seem confused towards the end of the post, where I feel that this event has put all the cards visibly on the table for once. Which is good when you want to work on the situation.

    In my opinion, the reform movement needs to band together and honestly become more formidable so that the “loyalist” stop and think before they start throwing rocks (real ones or in the form of tweets).

    Also reform movement needs to get connected across the country, especially outside amman, to counter the false “Palestinian” thing.

    Finally, work needs to be done on a collective community identity for Jordanian, a people’s identity, not a state driven propaganda campaign, to undo the damage done by the state and it’s divide and conquer games and the macho-fascist tendencies that have been strengthened ove the years.

    @Eyad: your encounter with those guys is very telling. The minute they were talking to you as a person they respected you and someone remembered is mother of Palestinian origin! There is a key to all our problems in that encounter.

  • i was waiting for you to write something about this .. way too long btw .. i don’t think the play by play was necessary we all saw the videos .. anyway it’s your blog who am i tell you what to write .. btw i’m still waiting for the queen’s tweets ..

  • Great piece Naseem. It is totally different than eyewitness accounts posted on 7ibers comment section, or dr Amjad kersha or jazeera reporting. Hidden agendas much? Those who know me know I am for reform but there is nothing I hate more than opportunists who are using regional events for political black mail.
    Speaking of labels do you know who is behind march 24 group? An ex islamist and an ex leftist who rallied up some neutral youth groups who will by into anything. This is from someone who knows them personally not me. Do you know their hidden agenda? Does anyone actually know their agenda besides the 7 cliche requests that the king already pointed out in the past few weeks? If the point of this mockery is to be heard than why is march 24 repeating what’s been said already. I sympathize with the anti reformists cause your average Jordanian does want reform but not dowar aldakheleyeh style.

    As to your point about the fabric of our society, we bread hate and it takes a lot to cleanse your soul from it, Since i moved back im so tired of defending myself from Palestinians islamists leftists liberals tribals and loyalists that it is so easy to hate them all back.

    Kudos to the police and the darak for keeping casualties at minimum …more people die at soccer games. Go ahead call me an insensitive bitch but these men were sent in unarmed when they always always carry guns, even a traffic policeman carries a gun…if this is not good will what is? Our armed forces do not want to kill their people.

  • It’s the first time you seem to be losing faith and seeing an unclear future. But aren’t we all do? Sadly, a large portion of our society is still living in 1970’s. Many Jordanians of a Jordanian origin still believe the other side (unfortunately we still have aides) of Jordanians of a Plaestinian origin want to take over the country, don’t want the king, ruining the Jordanian heritage and culture, and staying on a land they don’t have a right to stay on. They still see them as the people controlling the economy, the private part that is. Pointing to them as second-class-unloyal citizens. On the other side (sides again), Jordanians of a Palestine origin feels the other side is controlling government, public sector, army and security forces. They feel disconnected from the political scene and not fairly presented in the parliament. Some of that is true, and some is not. But whoever thinks that our society is living in harmony is just not aware of how things really are. Whoever went to university knows very well how bad the situation is. There is that huge gap in our society. Especially when you talk about cities other than Amman. I personally had a four-year experience (being a student of Balqaa’ University in As-Salt) which was very awful and shocking. You don’t even need that to have an idea. Just look at Wehdat and Faisaly. Hear the chants of both sides. And you’ll know what I’m talking about. And it’s just disgusting.

    Things turned to yet a worst direction yesterday. I had faith that there’s no way anyone will label the sit-in as “Palestinian” or “Islamists”. But I was wrong. The propaganda worked and now it’s even harder to remove similar labels unless a similar event happens outside Amman.

    After all, lessa bedna fat 5obez!

  • i’m gonna say a few words for all of u .. .
    when anyone demand & recall by Constitutional monarchy… he became hated by original Jordanian people
    (wladen el 3shayer bs) . go to hell with ur demands if it’s came across with letting someone else ruling ,Governing the Jordanian people .. & as a result Jordan will become Palestine ..screw you .

  • Has anyone translated this into Arabic? Doing this – and posting links and excerpts from it in Jordanian chat rooms – seems absolutely crucial if you want to this account to influence the conversation going on in Jordanian society.

  • You started thinking, “…an absolute monarchy might be the way to go right about now.”

    Hold that thought! An absolute monarchy IS the way to go.
    Especially since we are blessed with a wise monarch.

    Democracy is finished. They have tried, but were not wise enough.
    Democracy has failed.

    There’s a slow train coming …
    Time is almost over.
    Time to wake up!

  • Revolution the the way to go , this system is outdated and needs to to overthrown , it’s not going to be easy but it is coming whether you like or not , If I was sitting with the protesters i would not allow the kings picture to be hanged , it is the king and his gang are giving the orders to beat on the protesters, make no mistake about it, it is the regime all along that advocated the divide and conquer between the people , we have to call a spade a spade , I myself would like to see the whole country erupt it is the only way out , it is the king and his royal court that orcastrating all these criminal acts , his thugs are encouraged to beat on the the people of good well.

    Stay tune the Chang is coming, get used it

  • thanx really helped me 2 understand sit. more,but come on dont be over frustrated..we all pure citizens sad but we still have hope .
    when we talked before about revolution we expect the 1st defensive plan of the MOKHABRAT is to DIVIDE PEOPLE OF JORDAN they worked 4 that since they start to fear (itis their secret weapon) read the history

  • Thank you for a comprehensive read of this congested situation, but what’s next? How do you establish the national identity? Jordanian “west bankers” did not reach a level of confidence in their Jordanian nationality and Jordanian “east bankers” do not accept them as part of their national identity. Both parties have arguments that would reach any discussion to a dead end…

  • Citizenship, conceived as a matrix of rights and obligations governing the members of a political community, exists in tension with the heterogeneity of social life and the multiple identities that arise therefrom.

    A sense of identity is pervasive among most of the communities but what glue holds their members together and how strong this glue is.

    In Jordan, I believe we are yet in search for this glue, because citizenship itself is debatable as a concept.

  • مرحباً،
    اولاً: شكراً عالمعطيات اللي أعطيتها عن الاحداث… جاوبت شوية أسئلة كانت تدور ببالي.
    ثانياً: الأفكار والخواطر اللي طرحتها لا شك في مكانها، ورح تعطيني اشي افكر فيه خلال الايام القادمة.
    ثالثاً: ما في اشي ببالي حالياً ارجعلك اياه او لأي حدا بقرأ التعليقات الا التالي:

    يا جماعة الخير ليش ما بتحكوا عربي؟ يعني انتوا لمين بتوجهوا الحكي؟ لباراك اوباما؟
    بنحكي عن موضوع وطن ومجتمع وانسجام وتفاهم وكثير من الناس “الاخرين” لو الحظ او الفضول مرقهم على هالحارة رح يمروا بدون ما يقروا كلمتين عبعض. انا شخصياً مارست قدر كبير من التعمد حتى اكمل المقالة، Ùˆ بصراحة ما كملتش التعليقات!!

    اكتبوا عربي خلنفهم عليكو وبلاش نعزل الحوارات و مجتمعات النقاش لناس دقة قديمة و نخبة انترنت ارستكراتية بدون ما نحس.

  • you know what hurts more?

    people believing what they hear and see on the TV,I showed some so called intellectuals the videos and photos on 7iber but to no avail they still say bedhom y5arbo el balad alla la yrodhom

    they are scared of what might happen,and I am sorry to say they are with kicking the shabab of 24 march’s ass.(I am scared too ..I do not deny that

    change scares and what we see happening in libya ,yemen and bahrain makes people more scared..

    I feel your pain..I know Naseem you had hopes for Jordan,i know you worked hard,you and other youths,to take Jordan to a higher level ,building a more intellectual educated generation..

    stones thrown on the head do not hurt as much as being misrepresented and misunderstood

    I wish and hope and pray things will get better without going through this process and I know we can

    always I will be proud of you
    you take care

  • Thank you Nas for a very insightful piece. To Tell you the truth i was glued to the TV and internet for an accurate report unit i read yours. Last night while returning home from my parents’ in Madaba around 8:30 pm, i happened to be passing the second circle on my way home.I saw a motorcade consisting of eight motorcycles pass by jubilantly, half of them where standing on the seats as they drove past us towards the first circle. I have seen such acrobatic maneuvers in our independence parade mostly. But seeing them yesterday seemed a bit frightening,to to tell you the truth. What were they celebrating? Nobody should be proud of this day.

    In these dark times, we are in dire need for the comforting and reassuring words of our King. I call upon His Majesty to put an end to this uncertainty. Jordanians trust the King and do not trust Government anymore.

    May God Have Mercy on us and may God Bless our King and Kingdom

  • thank you for your detailed and honest account – I just hope that the aspirations of reform will surpass this and remain focused on bringing changes that are important for Jordan on long terms.
    I see a real chance in this! To start working on forming ONE Jordanian identity, that is something that Jordanians truly need and lack

  • I completely agree. However, I have one thing to add: The most important move towards reform that Jordan needs, and now more than ever, is freedom of expression. Once the media is completely free, the rest of the needed reforms will eventually follow, and with less bloodshed.

  • I am feel insulted by the thought that we “Jordanians” are not ready for democracy,.. yet far less developed countries and countries with far more diversity and ethnic problems are already democracies. Look at India as a stark example. In India there are hundreds of religions and languages. They have high rate of illiteracy and poverty, yet they managed to pull it off and have a working democracy. Yet, we think that Jordanians are not ready.

    Secondly, the Palestinian presence in Jordan has to be addressed at all levels. Palestinians refugees from 1948 were given citizenship by the Jordanian Government and monarch at the time. The Palestinians from 1967 are Jordanians by fact of a constitutional union, whether we like it or not. These facts can not be reversed, unless Palestine is liberated and people are given the right to choose.
    Until that time comes, we can not hold off all reform, nor can we expect life to stop.

    I was aware that the sit-in will be played as a Palestinian act. That is why, I refrained from taking part. I urge all Jordanians from Palestinian origin to take a back seat and leave it to those who believe they are the only citizens in this country, and leave the government to deal with its first class citizens.

    To Bilal Tarawneh: We can not compare the government to a private institution. We ALL pay taxes to the government, not to the Arab Bank. Plus, assuming the claim about the Arab bank is true (although I know many East Bankers working at the Arab Bank), this is an unacceptable behaviour, but unfortunately, I can give you a list for other businesses that discriminates against Palestinians, Muslims, Christians, etc. Have you checked the names of the senior management at Al-Ahli Bank, Nuqul group, JTC/Mobilecom, etc?

    It is unfortunate, but true.
    I am leaving the country soon,… it is hopeless, I want my kids to grow in a healthier environment.

  • Bravo Brilliant article

    It is sad to see how intolerant we have become and how easily we can insult each other. Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. If we desire real reforms then we need to start respecting each others opinions and views. Learn from each other. We will likely fall, if not fall often but we will most definitely fall forward.

    Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand

    We all need to get more involved, A petreotic must always be ready to defend his country against my goverment

  • Bravo Brilliant article

    It is sad to see how intolerant we have become and how easily we can insult each other. Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. If we desire real reforms then we need to start respecting each others opinions and views. Learn from each other. We will likely fall, if not fall often but we will most definitely fall forward.

    Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand

    We all need to get more involved, A petreotic must always be ready to defend his country against his goverment

  • Social exclusion. A torn fabric of social life. You said it, and I agree with you. That’s the first step, no more, no less.

    Education system of tolerance.

  • @Nas: I really appreciated your willingness to come out and see what happened with your own eyes and tell the story. I also appreciate the fact there are people that completely bought into the propaganda regarding what happened on Friday, but have since questioned their beliefs by posting your article in different forums. And finally, I appreciate your confession of a wake up call. But I do not appreciate your conclusion.

    Yes there are those in Jordanian society that have turned to za’raneh and close-minded political discourse/practice. And yes the government is playing a game of suppressing democracy and inciting divisions on one end and calling for reform/dialogue on the other hand. But come on Naseem! Really, you still maintain the separation between the King and the Prime Minister, between the regime and the government? Who picked this government? Who picked previous governments? Haven’t we seen this before in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and even some of the Gulf states? The head of state casts himself at odds with lower level government officials as if his word was not supreme? No Naseem. I don’t appreciate your conclusion. In fact, if there was any time to take your courage and thoughts to their logical conclusions, now would be the time. But you have not. In fact, you have refused. And I am not sure if it is out of conviction or fear. In either case, as much as I appreciate parts of your articles (many parts of it actually), it nevertheless continues to be part of the problem. Because in your refusal to admit what is painfully obvious, you have participated in hiding what is clear. The regime is as guilty of all that you accuse the government. And the reason for that is that the regime is pulling the strings: it hires and fires the government, it pressures and gives freedom to the government, it is where the buck stops if you will. Don’t tell me about the King saying everything the protesters have demanded. When was the last time the King supported a constitutional monarchy? When was the last time he made such statements in Arabic to the Jordanian people rather than the American public? Authoritarian leaders have long talked about peace, democracy, and more. That does not mean they are committed to it. What has the regime done other than its statements to convince you of its sincerity? What has the regime done to compensate for all that you talk about in this article and don’t talk about in this article. You have a platform here Naseem. One that is much larger than the one we had in demonstration this Thursday and Friday. But the courage we displayed during that short-lived sit-in is what I expect from you. You want to stay on the sidelines listening to “both sides” during the demonstration. Ok. But don’t sit on the sidelines while writing your article. Or rather, don’t straddle the red line. Say something! Anything! But please, don’t echo the regime’s own justification that it is the government. The people who attacked us yesterday were doing so with the full confidence that they would not be touched, that they would not be prosecuted, that they would be appreciated by those in power. And those in power, ultimately, are much higher up than the “government” or the “state” as you put it.

    Your continued notion that Jordan is not ready for democracy is beyond insulting and a great example of internalized racism. The lesson from yesterday was not that we need an absolute monarchy as you so stated. The lesson is that the monarchy needs to be dragged into this struggle publicly because it is already in it. The fact that one suggestion from you after yesterday is to increase the power of the regime that is ultimately responsible for what happened shows your continued desire to blame the government, the people, and whatever else except the regime. I know it is not easy. But I am not the one the blog claiming to speak truth to power. You are. So if you can’t do it. Then shut it down. Because ultimately, to say you are speaking truth to power while not discussing the regime’s responsibility, is to help the regime hide its responsibility.

  • I was taking pleasure in taking apart arguments which blamed what happened yesterday on anyone other than ignorant youth. Reading this showed me I was the ignorant one, and that there is still hope.

    Obviously everyone who bothers to read this cares on some level. I suggest we use this in the best way possible, share it, argue people using the ideas in it, and above all translate it as Charles said. It is not vital that everyone agrees with every word written, but merely know it exist.

    I think it is the duty of every individual to act now, reform doesn’t take place only in sit-ins and blood baths, a good conversation with anyone that trusts one’s logic is reform. We are a part of this country lets try to stand up for it, protect it, and build it. I don’t care what the origin of any problem is, if we get enough people to rise up to the level of this article we can do anything!

  • Hmm…I am rather surprised at the level of ignorance about your own country. As a foreigner one needs only couple of years to see how hopelessly divided Jordan is. Businesses employing only Jordanian Jordanians or only Jordanian Palestinians; preferably Muslim or preferably Christian. Won’t forget a Jordanian Jordanian girl I used to work with who complained about her Jordanian Palestinian brother-in-law non-stop for nothing really but that very reason. I asked why did your sister married him in the first place since the family is bothered with the fact. The answer was “But he is so filthy rich!” Then there were Jordanian Palestinian families I met who quite unabashedly said no way their children would marry Jordanian Jordanians. As if that wasn’t not enough Jordanian Jordanians themselves are holding each other in contempt and mistrust each other depending what part of the country they are from: South or North. And your education doesn’t help because from the year one kids are taught to memorize instead of to think and analyze. That goes on well into universities. How that couldn’t be if your teachers in their majority are your failures, the ones who studied so-so themselves and picked up teaching as the only possible way to get a uni diploma? You have, no, you actually must return respect to teaching profession in Jordan. You must address the education process. That is not only your only hope, it the only hope for your country. You feel for Jordan? Then be a true patriot: go to God-forgotten dusty towns and villages, work there as teachers, doctors, whoever – be enthusiasts of what you do and help people. Few years ago I met an elderly American who came to teach Jordanian kids English in some village school in Maan governorate. You should have heard how hungry those kids were for quality education! So, stop building mosques in Amman – there are enough mosques already, – and convince people God will appreciate their money better if thanks to their donations a good place of worship or a school, a community center, etc, etc will be build in some village many km outside of Amman. Good citizenry starts on personal level. My bet, the king will appreciate that much more than his feet kissing.

  • This is a great account of what happened. I agree that the picture is grim, but there has to be a way out.
    – It is obvious that the people in power are benefiting from the divided society to keep the status quo. If we give up, this is never going to change and Jordan will never become a modern state. There are many things to learn from the great revolution in Egypt, but we cannot just copy it to Jordan. We can learn to be innovative and find ways to change that work for Jordan.
    – As you pointed out, the slogans of the March 24 group were all things the King himself had said. The slogans of the baltajeyeh (after your description of their actions, it is fair to call them that), were not. If the King is genuine in his call for reform, he needs to step up and stand with the side that is calling for reform. If he does not, people on both sides can conclude that he is on the side of the baltajeyeh.

  • Naseem,

    This is perhaps one of your best articles. It is truly heartbreaking to see what is happening but frankly is not surprising. Yes, the society is divided but there is a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed. Our government, among with every other government in the region does not see us as CITIZENS and only citizens. They see us as Palestinian or Jordanian, Christian or Muslim, Man or Woman, and list goes on and on. They see the issue of citizenship as secondary to the other portions of our identity. If we were to transcend all this, we along with our government have to see ourselves as Jordanian and only Jordanian. Nothing more, nothing less.

    For this to happen a whole list of things must take place, not least of which is resolving the Palestinian/Israeli struggle.


  • West Bankers MUAT refrain from participating in Jordanian polictics. They are refugees after all and will go back to free Palestine. Their stay on Jordan is temporary. They know this and their country is Palectine NOT Jordan. Joradanian and Palestinians are united in freeing Palestine. The paelstinians in Jordan, although they are Citizens, they should insist on being Palestinians rather than Jordanians. Their social and ecpnomic life must be safeguarded. Their political life is in Palestine not in Jordan. After the liberation of Palestine, to which we should all work together, we will beunited as Arabs in a larger Arab Home Land. But for practical reasons, for now, we need to protect the Palestinian political Identity.

  • To Thoraya # 1,

    You have already done so (Voted with your feet) by living in Jordan. Jordan has been so good for us Palestinians. No other country has given as much as Jordan did. We should be appreciative of that and keep the peace until we RETURN to our liberated country PALESTINE.

  • To Thoraya # 1,

    You have already done so (Voted with your feet) by living in Jordan. Jordan has been so good for us Palestinians. No other country has given as much as Jordan did. We should be appreciative of that and keep the peace until we RETURN to our liberated country PALESTINE.

  • Thank you for this great read. I agree with what James said:

    (What you have accomplished with your report and commentary on the March 24 protest is something that is in itself revolutionary. It is not often that I read work such as this and finish feeling that the writer attempted – to the extent it is even possible – to be objective and still leave the reader with a sense that the writer is deeply, personally involved in the story.)

    BUT. Let’s get a little bit deeper here. You managed to explain what happened at the square (which I didn’t witness) and explain that part of the story. Great! However the question that needs answering is “What brought people to the square in the first place?”

    The anti-reformists (as you wish to call them, although I disagree with that label too) were clearly there to beat up ‘baltajeyeh’ style the people of March24 movement. But what brought the latter group to centre stage?

    It’s the enthusiasm of the people that’s been sweeping our part of the world. But you said it. Jordan isn’t Egypt and Tunisia. What people asked for there, what people died for there is something we’ve had in Jordan for years. I’m not saying that Jordan is the perfect country. It clearly needs reforms, economical and political. But whereas people had to go onto the streets to get those reforms in Egypt and Tunisia, that wasn’t the way to go in Jordan.

    This craze of occupying squares and not leaving till demands are met isn’t the way forwards. Not in Jordan. What are the movement’s demands? They call for the resignation of the PM, and then war with Israel, for the resignation of the Parliament one minute and the de-pegging of the dollar another. I mean really? You’re going to occupy a roundabout for an economic policy you know nothing about? (I’m not referring to you personally here)

    The King has offered a national dialogue committee to discuss all the reforms that the people want. Offered the Islamists a part in it, and they refused. What does that even mean? They want to force the reforms they seek upon us all? That ain’t democracy. And with reports showing evidence of the MB’s involvment in the 24Mar movement, I suspect that what people feared of the Jan25 movement in Egypt, came true in Jordan. The Islamists did in fact hijack a youth’s legitimate demands for reforms.

  • As I told you once, JO has to ban the question of (where are you from? Where is your grandfather place of birth?). We are all Jordanians, and each is proud of his/her origin! This is what should be educated.

  • About the devide and the binary a lot have touched on here, I would like to share what I recently read in Daniel Lerner’s 1960’s book on media, modernization, and the traditional society in the Middle East.

    Learner’s chapter on Jordan was titled “Jordan: One State with Two Peoples”. The chapter focuses on the devide amongst citizens of the country which is deeply reflected and casued by peoples media and communications practices. 50 years after writing this book, I find your post here revolving around the same theme. What have we done to trasnform and reform Jordan from a state with two people to a state of and for its peoples. Obviously, the process of nation-building is still needed, and obviously this procees can not be left to the ‘streets’.

    Allay ya3teek el 3afieh w 7amdilla 3al salameh. There is a lot to be done and learned from after these sad incidents.

  • مقال رائع يمثل افكار العديد من المتابعين للأحداث والذين لا يجدون تمثيلهم في المتواجدين على الساحة السياسية بمن فيهم شباب 24 آذار ولكنهم يؤمنون بذات الوقت بحق الجميع بإسماع صوتهم Ùˆ بالمشاركة السياسية، وبالوقوف ضد كل ما ينتقص من حقوق الشعب.

    وددت لو أن مقالك باللغة العربية وقررت أن اكتب تعليقي بالعربية لعدة اسباب اهمها انني اعتقد ان هنا يكمن الجرء الأكبر من المشكلة. فبإصرار الكثير منا على استخدام اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة كتابة غالبا و لغة تحاور احيانا أقصينا معظم الشعب الأردني من امكانية المشاركة في هذا النقاش او الحوار و بالتالي تحولت الكثير من نقاشاتنا و حواراتنا الى نقاشات نخبوية لا يرى فيها معظم الشعب مجال للمشاركة! وينظر معظم الشعب الى تلك النخبة على انهم مجموعة من المتحذلقين أو المتكبرين و الغير منتمين الى الشعب ولا يمثلونه. ولا بد من ان اعترف هنا انني ما زلت اتعرف على لوحة المفاتيح العربية، ولكني بت أخجل من قدرتي على مكاتبة الأجانب أو الأقلية العربية دون الغالبية العظمة من بني جلدتي.

    التغيير الحقيقي لا يصنع بالعصا السحرية. التغيير الحقيقي يحتاج الى الإرادة الواعية المدركة لأبعاد الأمور ولإشراك الشعب وبناء الكتلة الحرجة التي سيبنى عليها التغيير. وهذه عملية بناء قاعدة فكرية تحتاج الى الوقت… ولكنها تحتاج اكثر الى لغة تفاهم مشتركة. ولن تكون برأيي إلا لغتنا التي يفهما الجميع: اللغة العربية.

    اشكرك مجددا على مقالك!

  • Thank you Naseem. Great piece and very objective.
    As I told you once, JO has to ban the question of (where are you from? Where is your grandfather place of birth?). We are all Jordanians, and each is proud of his/her origin! This is what should be educated.

  • ÙŠ مواطن اردني او من اصل فلسطيني رح يخاف ويمكن تكون رده فعله عنيفه بعد ما حصل في باقي الدول لانه سيشعر بالتهديد على امنه واستقراره وماله Ùˆ عمله من قبل فئه لا تمثل 1% من المجتمع

    وانا هنا لا اتحدث عن 24 اذار الذين كانت لديهم بعض الاخطاء
    1-لم تكن رسالتهم واضحه
    2-وضعت بعض الرسائل التي اشعرت باقي فئات المجتمع بالتهديد مثل التمثيل حسب الكثافه
    او من حيث شعار الله الوطن الشعب
    3-مهاجمه جهاز المخابرات الذي لولاه لم ننعم بالامن و الاستقرار واي جهاز مخابرات بالعالم عنده اخطاء
    4-اختيار دوار الداخليه
    5-تقليد مصر بوضع الخيام
    6-تغير اسم الدوار الى الرباط والكرامه والتغيير
    كل هذه العوامل جعلت المواطن يفكر ويقارن بينها وبين مصر واليمن و تونس
    7-سماحهم للاخوان بفرض شعاراتهم وخطاباتهم واخذ الصف الاول ورجعوا هم الى الصف الثاني مما زاد من حساسيه الموقف بالنسبه للامن والشعب

    24 اذار حركه جديده شبابيه ولا اتوقع كانت تمثل تهديد حقيقي او لم يكن لها اعداء وممكن 99% من الشعب لم يسمع بها
    والدليل ان الاعتصام كان عباره عن الف اوالفان

    كلنا نريد التقدم والاصلاح
    كنت اتمنى على شباب 24 اذار ان يقوموا بعمل اوعى بدل الاعتصامات المفتوحه
    مثلا تشكيل لجان حوار شبابيه تغطي كافه اطياف المجتمع
    دراسه قوانين ودساتير الدول المتقدمه ومناقشتها واستخلاص ما يمكن تبنيه وطرحه على الحكومه
    عدم السماح للاطراف من ذوي العقليات المتحجره باعتلاء مطالب الشباب وطرح مطالب تليق بافغانستان وليس الاردن
    عدم السماح لاطراف خارجيه مثل الجزيره بتشويه الحقائق
    الحفاظ على الاستقلاليه وعدم مشاركه الحركات الاخرى
    التركيز على قضيه واحده وحلها ثم التوجه للقضيه الاخرى

  • We are not yet this divided in bahrain, although we have sunni and shia tensions this is mostly from the regime still, and our democracy movement was sunni and shia together in lulu. but things are getting more polarized for us too. peace be with you jordanians of all background. we are brothers and sisters. all of us.

  • First of all, it was a nice piece of work. As for my comment, I want to say that Jordan was formed on this baisis, It became independent just two years before Palestininas flooded to it, charkassians and chechens with armenias were already there, given the fact the existance of jordanian tribes at that time. And ofcourse both islam and christianity. Iraqis in the early 90’s and some of them getting the jordanian nationality We cannot deny the fact that every single one of those are an important part in the society and they are now the jordanian people. Many of them are like brothers and sisters to each other. Yet there are many problems which you have already addressed. Though what happenned is saI can still remember good times for jordan, times were all the country in all it’s backgrounds were one! The movement of March 24th have their wants, some of them are wisely requested for a beter jordan, and are accepted by all, but some might seem a bit provocative for som, which may lead to detroying a country thats hanging on a thread. If reform is to be done, which I am with, it needs to satisfy all parts of the community, theres no jordan without palestenians, there is no jordan without tribes and all other parts. They all represent jordan. No one can deny that past beneath all these problems, the jordan people have a sweet tandem between them sometimes, just satisfied that jordan is one of the safest countries in an area of the world where its chaotic. Sure there is division and difference in backgrounds n ideologies, but they were trying to live with the fact that this is how jordan is. Yet ofcourse after many things that happenneds with the help of media, and some certain mistakes from different areas, those tabboo subjects became more visible, division became more, only in the heart. Except for Faisaly Wehdat games, and ofcourse when it comes to Appointing people at job and governmental?University elections. Yet when it comes to a normal day where there are no events of that importance, they all become 1. They fight cirruption together , and they think together. Ofcourse in every country theres a part of the community who is corrupt, n they should be tracked down. What the movement of marth the 24th did was move the situation from a peaceful demonstration in which they have the right for, into one that can cause total chaos. Some say the origin of the movement were islamists, some say the islamists and some extremist palestinians grabbed the chance to do something of their own, I dont know, but what I know is that all the movement of the 24th of March wether they are right or wrong or partially both, are just 0.01 % of the population. A max of 6000 in a country of 6.000.000 . The majority wanted the reform but didnt want to execute any action that would disrupt the only thing that jordan has which is being safe and as King Abdullah once said The country of Tasamoh. I truly believe after all what has happenned that this Quote by King Hussein can still be there. And as for some fellow readers who have commented, you say you are with reform and you want a better jordan, yet you cannot with-stand what going on and want to leave asap, you all clearly all well read and educated, Jordan needs people like you, the people who can see the big picture, the people who can really change jordan to the better, in the end its better than many other countries around ( except for the last couple of days. We need reform just not like the way it was executed. Jordan is a lovely country, a country thats too modern for its capabailties, a ocuntry with no natural resources and no water yet manages to be a nice modern/traditional country that can satify all people from all bachgrounds. It has been built from nothing, and remember it is a new country as a country jordan has no tradition, no history. It became independent in 46, todays youth and people those are the tradition and history for jordan, they are the basis and hopefully the foundation of the Jordan we dream of.

  • You’re asking that the government officials respect your intelligence and I ask the same of you, please respect my intelligence and the intelligence of the hundreds of thousands who were against the 24th of March movement before the PM implied that they had any relations to Islamists, if calling them baltajiyyeh was a mistake on your part then calling them “uneducated” because they came out to the streets spontaneously and without proir planning and no list of demands is an even bigger mistake, labeling them as antireformists (myself included) is worse than having them label the dakhiliyyeh people as traitors. First off, it has been proven that the 24th of March movement was kickstarted and remains guided by Islamists, it including people who do not belong to any political party only emphasizes on how the majority of them are young people who just want to belong to something and were manipulated by Islamists which explains the public withdrawal of a lot of the youth after proof of Islamists prior planning to this whole chaos surfaced.

    Your posts are usually a far more trusted source to myself and a lot others than our public media but this post contained nothing but stereotyping, labeling, insults to the intelligence of hundreds of thousands and anything but objectivity. Secondly, protests have been taking place all around the country for the past three months but the rage this specific protest generated among Jordanians is unprecedented for all the previously mentioned reasons and for the fact that the selection of the area to hold the sit-in at was their reponse to the ongoing calls and pleas from Jordanian people that they take their protests to a place where they do not disrupt the lives of Jordanians and where they do not cause harm to people’s interests or affect their sources of income, they moved it to an even more vital area that affects me personally considering the fact that my workplace is situated near there, ya3ni jakar. Just like 500 people get to voice their opinions and demands, we baltajiyyeh/antireformists/uneducated have the right to voice our opinions, just like they have the right to throw accusations around, accuse the mukhabarat of corruption and accuse people of corruption, ask to sack the government, dissolve the parliament because they’re all corrupt, dissolve lajnet il 7iwar because they’re corrupt, the “uneducated” have the right to question this movement that is questioning everyone, without being labeled by yourself or others as racists and anti-palestinians considering a huge number of those people are of palestinian origins, if you didn’t know that well now you do, check out the official anti 24th of March movement page on facebook to get your facts right, those you labeled as uneducated were driven by one thing and it is the fact that they had enough with minorities refusing to sit down and make a change and instead would rather make a scene for AlJazeera and the likes of it and would rather make headlines as the martyrs of freedom, they’re sick and tired of having them lay out their demands and pretend that they speak on our behalf and they’re sick and tired of them complaining for the mere sake of complaining while refusing to take part in any real reform we’re all seeking, those are all things that you just cannot “see in protestors’ eyes” like you saw racism there w minha istaqait ma3loumatak. Your post if anything adds fuel to fire by claiming that our differences come from our difference of origin and it does as much harm to your country as pages like “ma3an li sa7b il jinsiyyeh min il falasteeniyyeen” do if not more, it is one thing to be objective and it is a totally different thing to assume that you know the Jordanian society well enough to be able to diagnose our main issues and solve the mystery behind the chaos. ya 3aib il shoum!

  • Thank you Naseem. VERY well said.
    Thank you for the very objective and comprehensive viewpoint.

  • Thanks for this thorough insight into the recent events, it did clear some cloud indeed for people like me 1000s of miles away from the events. I was left confused reading the news (national & “independent”) and between the tweets and posts of friends on twitter and facebook, desperately trying to make sense of whats going on.

    The majority of friends I have on facebook/twitter were posting comments condemning the 24th March movement and it didn’t make sense at all when I looked at what the movement is calling for!
    So I picked up the phone and called some of them to discuss their point of view, and I had the feeling they knew nothing about what the demonstrators were calling for… However, their frustration was mainly driven from the point of having demonstrations wide spread only brings chaos and it will lead to nothing but damage to economy, society and their businesses…

    We all noticed that the freedom of speech in Jordan made significant progress in the past two months. I personally think the freedom of speech in all its forms should be ring-fenced. We are new to it and there will be some teething problems to start with. This was more of a slap in the face but it should not put us back.

    To prove my point I did a quick non-scientific research to see how the average Jordanian was affected by the recent up rise in the region as a whole and how people hitting the streets affected our lives. Using Google news search, I looked for “Jordan” and “Tax” and looked at the results in 2010 and compared them with the results 2011, listed below are the headlines with dates and sources:

    2010 (before the up rise):
    7/03/2010, menafn
    الحكومة الأردنية تفرض ضريبة خاصة على السيارات الهجينة بمعدل…

    02/02/2010, Kuwait news agency
    اعفاءات ضريبية اردنية للمقيمين غير الاردنيين في المملكة

    04/05/2010, addustour
    الاردن يفرض اعلى نسبة ضريبة على استخدامات الخليوي

    17/06/2010, alaswaq
    لأردن يخطط لزيادة الضرائب على البنزين والمياه والمواد الاستهلاكية

    13/07/2010 Dar Al Hayat
    الأردن يفرض ضريبة مغادرة على المسافرين براً…

    27/08/2010, Day Press News
    الأردن يفرض ضريبة على السيراميك المستورد | عربي | اقتصاد
    27/08/2010, ammonnews
    الحكومة تتنصل من التزامها بعدم فرض ضرائب…

    13/09/2010, syria-news
    إسرائيل تصادق على قرار لتصدير سياراتها المستعملة إلى الأردن والعراق

    2011 (after the up rise):
    10/01/2011, alrai
    لروسان : تخفيض ضريبة المبيعات على الانترنت فـي المنازل سيخفض الاسعار20%

    11/01/2011, alrai
    توجه حكومي لإعفاء أجهزة الكمبيوتر من ضريبة المبيعات

    12/01/2011, mubasher info
    إلغاء ضريبة المبيعات الخاصة ونسبتها 6% على الكاز والسولار والبنزين أوكتان 90 حتى نهاية العام

    19/01/2011 addustour
    السالم : استثناء أكثر من 25 ألف أسرة من ضريبة الدخل بزيادة الاعفاءات الشخصية

    11/02/2011, CNN-arabic
    الأردن: الحكومة تخفض الأسعار والإسلاميون يترقبون

    11/03/2011, Qatar news agency
    وزارة التجارة الأردنية تدعو لمقاطعة بضائع 220 شركة إسرائيلية تعمل بالمستوطنات

  • I think a lot of the defensive comments are missing the point of this blog post. I am not Jordanian and have no dog in this race, except that i want liberty for arab peoples (and i am not an islamist btw, but want a totally secular government), but i think the blog post was about the division in jordanian society, NOT whether the things the march 24 were calling for were good ideas or not. It is possible to disagree with march 24 people (i have no personal position on this since i don’t know enough), AND believe that they shouldn’t have been treated the way they were, which was just criminal.

  • Thanks Naseem for this great piece, this is a must read article for anyone interested in learning more about jordan’s social structure.

    I am sad, ashamed and angry at what happened. I’m glad this was an eye opener for you but, for many who are not a Majali or a Fayez or even a Tarawneh, we saw this side of Jordan long time ago. It seems to me that education is key for the society to progress. I also believe that the root cause of most of the social problems in Jordan and I hate to generalize just like you and trust me I have lied to myself and defended this group all my life, but the root cause of this social caos is the tribal system of Jordan. I am finally coming out of the closet and admitting this for the first time.

    I lived in Oman, UAE, been to Egypt, Syria, and never met people in any of these countries including tribes that were more vicious, racist and initimidating like the Jordanian tribes. They remind me of pre-islamic people in histroy books. Opportunist selfish people who are getting the high positions, free education, every other privilage in a poor country where I’m sure many deserve assistance more than these tribes man do. They then come out and complain that the the Palestinians are taking their jobs.

    When propher Muhammad came, he came to abolish this backword mentality, he abolished worshiping idols and today, we say these people worshiping kings and princes. It seems that Jordanians and yes i am generalizing, place the King above God.

    The King since the establishment of the Kingdom is a beneficiary of this corruput social structure. He relies on the tribes for support and loyalty and in return, gives them everything they want. To answer your question, ” where we are or where we going”, I think sadly Jordan will not surive as a country just like Palestine, lebanon or syria will survive as a country. Eventually these borders have to be broken and viable states must created.

    I personally, blame the King for what is happening. he wants to be the absolute ruler so he must take responsibility of his mistakes.

    If he doesn’t step in soon and I mean within the next few weeks, I truely am worried about Jordan because the only outcome I see is a civil war. People will not support him and chant for him for ever. Enough is enough and it’s time for everyone to get out of the closet and think objectively.

    These tribes that have taken the country backword must be stopped, stripped of their power and put in place along the civilized world.

    God Bless Jordan

  • Khouloud Rushaidat said:

    “First off, it has been proven that the 24th of March movement was kickstarted and remains guided by Islamists, it including people who do not belong to any political party only emphasizes on how the majority of them are young people who just want to belong to something and were manipulated by Islamists which explains the public withdrawal of a lot of the youth after proof of Islamists prior planning to this whole chaos surfaced.”

    First off, I’m not even sure that’s English. Second, it is an insult to the intelligence of Jordanian youth to chalk up their participation in something potentially meaningful (albeit somewhat misplaced) to conniving “Islamist” manipulation techniques. Third, what about their demands screamed “Islamism”? From what we’ve mostly seen and heard they were peacefully demanding reform and attempting to give the reform movement clout and reinforcement.

    I do however think that laying out our internal differences is something we all do – all too well – and found myself cringing at the way the post swerved toward those differences (understandable, given what was witnessed). But rather than give up on the possibility of national unity/social cohesion/dialogue/reform, we should instead look for this missing “symbol” that can unite us all and draw us out from behind the tribal and familial foils that have overshadowed the greater good of society and Jordanian identity for so long.

  • Thank you Naseem. What a raw post.

    Perhaps this is not the time for analysis, that itself becomes a divisive act.
    It is time to listen, and then to linger.

    For me, it too made bare the dire need for self examination.

    Thank you for doing that so publicly.

  • To Number 43 (Leaving soon) I totaly agree with you. My point: the society is divided in different ways but mostly between east & west bankers. There is no excuse for this being in public or private sector.
    The trust is lost between those parties. It is the time where educated people need to carry the flag and start a social reform before any other reform can b e achieved.

  • Naseem, thank you so much for this post! Without it I would’ve been yet lost!

    I was so shocked when I saw what happened and I was very hurt by the shocking amount of violence that was shown. I felt the lovely picture I had for the country, of reaching its maximum potentials, perishing in front of my eyes. The event made me absolutely confused and as some of the comments mentioned, it was indeed a slap in the face.

    But when I read your post, I think I finally got it! And it also made me remember the existence of what is referred to as “the other side”. I have to agree with you 100% that education is the key to help those people understand politics better, but yet again, the question rises, does any body care? And is anybody willing to invest at least a decade in the process before any change can be developed? I don’t know ..

    All I know is that , although running away from all this seems like the easiest and the fastest solution, my love for this country and its royal family, prevents me from doing so, and if something else needs to be done , then by all means let’s do something else , and to be transparent here, by doing something, I don’t mean doing another protest or choosing a better location for that, but to understand what we can do” at least as individuals” to go a step further in reaching a better future for Jordan. Let that be working harder, discussing what can be done to reduce the gap between the “two sides” of people, etc.

    We (as Jordanians) are not Egypt, nor are we any other country for that matter, we and our country are unique and different, and therefore we must think in the same way. I think at hard times like these, it is the best time to show our love and dedication for this county, by doing what we can wherever we are in this life, to live in a brighter future, under the rule of his beloved highness. May God bless you all, and bless our country.

  • Dear All,

    Fheantastic exchange going on, due to quality reporting and insight, we need more off it, and to be cool about things, we all know that issues exist, no new revelation there.

    The issue is neither west bank or east bank, private sector or public sector, its an issue of Education.

    The governments has provided extremely weak education to all its citizens the last number of decades, and much of what you see in diffrences, of opinions, out look , expectations are based on poor education provided and or not provided. so that any average person, may have the basic tools to be a contributing citizin.

    in refrence to the private sector, you have to be qualified, there are no favors and nor should there be any favors. if i am permitted to say, i always advice collegues in the office, i see no chritians or muslims no west or east banker, i see productivity only from you, and your desire to grow and learn. as the private sector should be, in my eyes.

    I beleive pressure should be placed on governemt to come out and correct their story, it is key for all of us to be able to move forward. 50% of any progress is noting the fact with clear intentions, the rest is proper manegement.

    Thank you

  • As long as the Government keeps on using the same old prehistoric discriminatory tactics between east and west bankers,the bitter the divide remains.

    The simplest example of stereotyping citizens , serial numbers on passports and the identity cards; It is so vivid even foreign embassies in Jordan use their system .

    The east bankers also feel under privileged as well. Visit any town or village in the North or South and i bet if anyone can live in these harsh conditions. That is why when they visit Amman and see the living conditions and find out that the large majority of people residing here is of west bank origin, they feel cheated. The onus is on the government who have not planned to develop these parts of the kingdom for decades.
    Nas, i agree with you totally when you asked if the government is intentionally sustaining this divide.

    I have seen great examples of coexistence between the one Jordanian family. It is only a few ignorant loud mouths from all sides who are disturbing this clam pond. The stones that were thrown on the protesters may not be lethal but it resonated thru the very fabric of this peaceful community.

    God bless the King and Our Kingdom

  • Excellent account nas.. although I will remain more optimistic and say that calmer minds will prevail.

  • It remains a mystery why the march 24 guys went ‘a’ protesting, if they’re echoing the king’s sentiments & words isn’t it more logical to wait for the reforms he set in motion to show some fruit?! Also why us it that Jordanians’ first impulse is to say ‘damn this country’ I’m leaving?!
    I live in Egypt & stayed there throughout the revolution to witness remarkable people, behavior & spirit. What I feel is these people who obviously meant well are copying Egyptians & all the revolutionary spirit sweeping the country in a tasteless manner ‘bala ta3meh’.
    I couldn’t care less for the riot police, two wrongs don’t make a right but that’s what we got, & they should be held accountable for the violence.

  • I think you and others like you could help Jordan move forward much more effectively if your blog was in Arabic instead of English.
    It seems to me that most educated and pro-democracy Jordanians choose, for some reason, to express themselves in English. That way they don’t reach the masses in Jordan, but rather exchange views among themselves in a bubble that doesn’t represent the situation on the ground in the country they live in.

  • Who are the 24 march kids to decide what I want? To me they are just a minority that were raising banners only god knows their consquences had some of them been implemeynted. The youth and the eldery who were their want to eat and live a decent life, and this how islamists capitalized on the situation going on in the region by mixing economic with political reform.

    I heard stories that some of the “reformists” had no idea who the prime minister was when they were asked that. Some of them were given sandwiches and a bottle of coke to go to dakhlieleyh. So let’s not get excited about our youth wanting a change shall we?

    I would rather have the likes of the anti-reformists you saw throwing stones in dakhilyeh than having regular jordanians brainwashed by the hidden agendas of islamists and lefties.

  • Thhank you for this interesting and informative account. I, too, was at Gamal Abdul Nasser Circle on Friday, from midday until being forcibly and brutally ejected by water cannon and police armed with bits of wood at around 5.30. My account of it is here, so I won’t repeat it.
    However I do wish to repeat the very important point that this repression could not have happened without the approval, if not participation of, the Government. Now read your Constitution – who is ultimately in charge of your government? Where was he on Friday? Taking tea with US Foreign Secretary Robert Gates. I do not think this is any small coincidence. And I find it nothing short of amazing that you continue to think he is a good guy – he LET THIS HAPPEN!!! The only way we can be sure he is the good guy you claim is if he dismisses all those involved in the repression (Prime Minister, Ministers of Internal Affairs and Security), disbands the security goon squad – and publicly brings to account every single state agent and citizen who participated in the atrocities. There is plenty of evidence to identify them all – just look at all the videos and photos. Then, and only then, can he profess to be worthy of his title, and anyone’s support. And then, and only then, can the honest cops, of whom there are many, regain the deserved respect and trust of the population.

  • Hey Naseem,

    I’m surprised that you’re so surprised. If you spend 5 minutes talking with Jordanians from the countryside, you could easily garner this much information.

    The solution is NOT actually education. Most Jordanians I know are intermarried with Palestinians. They eat with them, live with them, have their kids, etc. BUT this does not mean that they are not afraid that having Palestinians in charge will not mean turning Jordan into Palestine 2.0.

    What needs to happen first before Jordan can become fully democratic (and heal its social fabric) is for the conflict in Israel-Palestine to be resolved. Then, the people who want to go back can go back, and the people who want to stay can stay. In a more relaxed environment where every fight ISN’T a fight for your home, identity, and land, change could take place much more easily and is less likely to be derailed by a bunch of people from Ma’an chanting slogans.

    In the meantime, people who want to fight for progress should:

    1. Have a unified platform, not a random, ever-changing list of demands, or things the King has already called for. Make said platform publicly available, and distance yourselves from both the Islamist and leftist leaders.
    2. Gather popular support under this banner. Yes, this means including, even recruiting, support from the villages.
    3. Training. Staging a camp-in at duar a-dakhalieh was not only illegal, it’s troublesome for ordinary people, therefore less likely to garner sympathy and popular support.
    4. Patience. Build your organization, train your people. Reach out to all parts of Jordanian society. This is not going to happen overnight. What happened in Egypt had been building for decades. Build up civil society. This means contacting people outside the crowd who lives at Books@Cafe. This means strengthening the unions, media, forming political parties, etc.etc.etc.

    It means work. Not just revolution for the sake of revolution.

  • Im really surprised at the pro-March 24 shabab people commenting on your post ( great and smooth account of what had happened btw, thank you). Saying that you will leave the country from a first attempt to demand for reforms, shows how disorganized and random this movement was and the participants in it.
    What’s sad is that given the political turmoil the region is going through, this group of politically and economically oblivious individuals took opportunity to wreak havoc in the country. We all want reforms; the time is not suitable to threaten the stability of the kingdom. Asking his majesty to come down to the interior ministry circle to address the 1600 persons who only represent themselves is not only a bold request, but a very rude one that I believe aims to threaten the sovereignty of the kingdom.
    I am against the movement but I want reforms as well and as you mentioned, his majesty addressed the new govt with most of what they demanded in a very stern tone. The difference between me and the pro-March 24 shabab ppl, is that I will never give up on this country and say I will leave. Shame on you.
    Where was this group in the past 10 years? Give the new govt time to rectify what other have done in the past. Reforms need time not an overnight of chanting patriotic songs.

  • Thanks Naseem for great article, well said.

    So, I wish to ask PM and other people saying that march24 were islamists, is it ok to throw stone, beat and kill these protesters if they are islamists? if they were clearly communists, would it be ok?

    Islamists or not, it was a disaster and the responsible lack of action by security forces.

  • Thanks for the a great piece and the objective coverage.

    I have given this article a lot of thought … and I think we shouldn’t polarize our community

    this is not a Jordanian-Palestinian conflict. Those anti reformists are not palestinian haters as they like to claim …

    Lets not stray Naseem this is about Reform, human rights and ahem dignity! Reform is a national objective, but do you blame ppl for being scared to ask?

    Stay Strong 🙂

  • I truly appreciated your piece, albeit depressing. Your analysis is somewhat subjective, but you said it as you saw it. Is this a Jordanian vs Palestinian issue? Are there any stats out there yet on the origins of both sides? Why not put a poll up on your blog and try to come up with some preliminary stats on who is taking part from both sides.

    Even here, reading the comments it is almost as if you can tell which comments were written by jordanians jordanians and which are by palestinian jordanians. The sad thing is the dislike(putting it mildly) between jordanians and palestinians does not show up when they are abroad. Quite the opposite; they tend to flock together while in college or working abroad. And I think that is because while overseas there is no preferential treatment. We get into colleges and get jobs based on merit and not family name or ‘kursi’. What applies to one applies to the other. Isn’t that what it really boils down to ‘equality’? At the end of the day that is what everyone strives, or almost everyone.

    I do have to add, no matter how democratic we get I do not think that will get us to walk on sidewalks instead of on the streets. Or get us to not throw trash from our car windows. Or get us to stand in line. Or get us to not drive into a one way street. Or not smoke where it says no smoking. Or not use cell phones while driving…and on and on and on. My advice is that while we’re waiting for reforms why not reform ourselves and help our country become a better one through self discipline. How easy it is to make demands on others compared to making demands on ourselves.

  • very well put indeed, but fist time I read for you and see pessimism. even though what happened on Friday was dreadful but we should keep up our hopes and keep trying.
    in as much as there still is disruptive people, but the positive voices calling for reform are getting higher, and am hoping they will prevail at the end.

  • Bint Warraq,

    Oh, my bad. The comment was typed in a hurry with very few punctuation marks and a lot of typos, but then again it was meant for people with a little more intelligence so I’ll just move past the fact that you, for some reason, felt the need to point out that my English isn’t as good as yours which somehow strengthens your argument and weakens mine?

    Second, الله يطعمك الحج Ùˆ الناس مروحة. Their relations to Islamists have already been proven in a press conference the Jabha and Ikhwan held, so it’s not exactly subject to discussion or arguing.

    Quoting you “we should instead look for this missing “symbol” that can unite us all and draw us out from behind the tribal and familial foils that have overshadowed the greater good of society and Jordanian identity for so long.”

    This is exactly my point. Just because you might not be part of a tribe or a well-known family in Jordan doesn’t give you the right to link reform to getting rid of our tribal society. Reform is one thing and destroying everything this country stands for is a totally different thing, this is the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan, it is a land of Arab Jordanians who believe that extended families are a big deal and this is a land that believes in absolute monarchy, neither you nor anyone else in the world have the right to as much as ask us to consider changing the foundation this country was built on, this is where we differ in Jordan, the difference does not stem from our different origin or backgrounds but instead from our different goals, there are those who do not understand what keeps this country in one piece and only want us to adopt ways that do not go along with our formation as a society, there are those who know what keeps this country in one piece and wish to destroy that and there are those, myself included, who are with reform but are proud of their Jordanian identity and do not wish to turn Jordan into anything else that it isn’t and what it is is a tribal society.

  • Naseem,

    I always respect your input and want to thank you on the first part, your trustworthy and insightful account on what happened on March 24 – 25. I strongly back the voices that say it should be translated to Arabic.

    As for the second part, your own conclusions, I think they are justified, eye-opening and honest. I don’t think that you have just discovered the utterly disturbing truth about our polarized and divided society like some others implied. I think you’ve just been reminded like most of us. It brings many conflicting feelings upon us, and having so many strong feelings can be stressful and tensing. But have faith.
    For a population split by fundamental disagreement and distrust, it’s a little bit too justifiable. Not meaning to say it’s the sole root of the problem, but for a significant part, most of us are probably a third generation product of a civil war (1970-1971), one where thousands have been killed. It doesn’t need to be put it in history books in order for us to know it. But, we have not been able to heal and find peace within. Only a truce was imposed on us. We are a nation that is still stuck between the first and second denial and anger phases of grieving, we might have even skipped the bargaining phase and jumped head first in a sea of depression and numbness, but I don’t really know for sure. However, what I know is that we have not reached the last phase; acceptance. We are still grieving. And something must be done about it.

    It’s undeniable that the kingdom’s sovereignty relies a lot on tribalism, as much as its private sector relies a lot on individualism. I don’t respect, but I understand that this might be a real-politik course the government is taking intentionally. The government led by the King has proved in the past few days their absolute lackadaisical attitude towards change/reform/unity/transparency/____ (insert your favorite word in the blank). Optimistically, I would like to believe that their motives are due to the same distrust prevailing in the whole nation, since essentially they are also part of it. But as an optimistic person, I also give up on them as a source of change for now. I see it as just another hurt group that needs to heal.

    “Attitudes, values, emotions, motivation and abilities are culturally reinforced by the family, schooling, the state and the media” is a defining statement from a Wikipedia article on national psychology. And assuming that the schooling and the state are the constant change-defying values, we should be find a way to mend this divided society and bring back peace through media and family awareness.
    Mending a society is not an easy or an ever complete task. But it has seen success before in other places. However, it hasn’t been the government or a political party to deal with it. It has always been by people for people. I believe if we get to bring back enough faith to enough people, everything will change.

    We just need a little compassion and a pragmatic plan. We got to walk before we run.

  • Khouloud Rushaidat,

    I am sorry to point it out to you but The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is not an absolute monarchy. Your country is a constitutional monarchy.

    “A constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution. This form of government differs from absolute monarchy in that an absolute monarch serves as the sole source of political power in the state and is not legally bound by any constitution.”

    Was it a slip of toungue or do you imply you (it’s a general address, not only ‘you’ as you personally) would prefer to impose absolute monarchy as a governing form upon the king himself?

    Just curious.

  • الشعب يريد أن تكون هناك نسخة عربية للموقع أو على الأقل لهذا المقال وما تبعه من تعليقات 🙂 ØŒ مستعد أترجم اذا حبيت 🙂

  • Naseam great post but u were mistaken in many fronts. The baltagiya in fact are Mukhabrat, it is clear in how they coordinated the attack with riot police, it is clear when police joined them in chanting anti reform slogans.

    The divid in the country, Palestinian vs. jordanain south vs. north is driving by mukhabrat operatives. Mukhabrat recruit too many people they are in control of everything, they are the anti reform force, they are the biggest symbol to rally against and unit the country. no reform will happen if mukhbrat is still there. its structure should change into only counter foreign espionage which they did poorly on.

  • Great reporting!

    I just want to mention though. I was completely unaware of the situation. I have family in Jordan and I was contacting them regarding other issues and they obviously didn’t mention anything over the phone, probably due to security reasons.

    Anyhow, as I was reading your report, I almost predicted exactly what was going to happen. The protector becomes the aggressor. This is something that I have seen and witnessed, especially in Jordan. Peaceful protesters start a demonstration and then, out of the blue, some random protesters, what I like to call “state implants”, start wreaking havoc.

    Havoc takes many forms such as destruction of private property, violence against other protesters and general disruption of what was originally organized. In which case the police step in and beat up on the peaceful protesters. This is a typical strategy that has been implemented by the US in the past whenever they had civil unrest, and has been a reoccurring theme throughout the Middle East and especially Jordan.

    Unfortunately, it’s very true what you say about Palestinians vs. Jordanians. Divide and conquer. It was less than a 100 years that borders did not exist, and we were all one. “Bilad el Sham” included Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. What British and French mandates did was help divide and conquer the region. Then they PLACED leadership across the whole region that will further Divide and Conquer the people and keep them in check.

    Points of division were based on mainly religion (See Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq) background, (see Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, etc.) which gradually developed into “political views”.

    What people do not realize is that they are all victims of oppressive regimes. I agree with you on the basis that Jordan is NOT ready for reform and the people are NOT ready for change, because there is no unity.

    A year and a half ago I went to my homeland, Palestine, and sat with a bunch of guys I had randomly met. They were on the verge of finishing university, so they were more or less educated and knew what direction their near future holds, at least on a personal level.

    I had always wondered silently to myself, how and why are the Palestinians still resisting and existing. How do they manage? I found out when I asked a naive question to the group of 7 I was with. I asked them “What religion do you believe in/follow?” One of the guys nudged me and told me not to ask that question or not follow through with it. I asked why. He told me, “We are Palestinians. Palestinians are Muslims, Christians, Jews, Bahaai’s, etc. The minute we start to seek differences between us, is the minute we are defeated.” (Note: Palestinians do have factional differences, but if it was religious, or background driven, the resistance would have collapsed long back)

    In other words, we ALL have differences, we all have beliefs, and we all have different backgrounds, but we are all ONE people. The Jordanian and Palestinian people are more or less the same people. We drive on the same streets, drink the same water, live on the same land, and breathe same air. We suffer together and are victorious together, because I know that no one benefits from the current government, except for a very few elite.

    As long as people find that differences are more important than what we have in common, then unity will never happen. It’s like being in a relationship. If my girl and I concentrate only on what we dislike about each other, then we’ll be sure to break up because we don’t appreciate the common ground that we do have.

    As a Proud Palestinian I do not hate Jordanians at all, even though I have faced a lot of discrimination from a select few. But I despise the institutional discrimination and the government that endorses this type of behavior. Its very unfortunate that the situation is where it’s at right now.

    But the government knows, that if the people do somehow miraculously unite and see past each others differences, their days are numbered.

    Power to the people!

  • Thanks for this thoughtful article. I disagree with one conclusion, which is that Jordan is not ready for democracy. The opposite in fact seems true: because Jordanian society is so split and so stratified we need a mechanism whereby these differences can be reconciled in a peaceful manner; I
    I.e we desperately need the ballot box.

    Otherwise all we have to resolve disagreements will remain sticks and stones and trucks ferrying people from all over the country.

  • There seems to be an elephant in the room here. Clearly, the police weren’t conducting themselves professionally (“I saw a police van driven by police, where anti-reformists chanted using the van’s sound system.”)

    Why aren’t the police being held accountable for their behaviour? Surely the King, allegedly so beloved by everyone, or at least the government he picks, should be able to control the actions of the country’s police force?

  • Amazing post – the best analysis of the situation in Jordan that I have read anywhere, including the New York Times among news outlets. . . I am an American that has been living in the Jordan for over a year and a half now, and it has always been my belief that the societal divisions here are much more more conducive to civil war than united demands for real democratic and human rights-related reforms. I have never seen such a religious belief in the ‘zero-sum game’ as that held by generally east-bank, pro-government Jordanians. I am convinced that Jordan is now on the precipice. Unlike in other Arab countries though, where protests have brought down dictators, I believe that continued escalation here (and more protesters being killed) will not result in reforms or regime change but rather Part 2 of the civil war of 1970.

  • Hi Naseem,

    i have followed your tweets through the past days and would like to thank you for the coverage.
    This post was long indeed but was worthy of reading every word. it actually puts in words my thoughts and the thoughts of all the people around me when we tried to comprehend on what has happened, I’m truly shocked of what people around me who i thought i knew had in mind about the mar24 and i am a Jordanian married to a Palestinian and the sad thing is people still see them self’s better than others, the (Muslim Vs. Christian) (South Jordanian Vs. North Jordanian) (Palestinian Vs. Jordanian), (Government Vs. the People) and so on….
    We are divided and if the mentality of the people in this country does not change reform will not shed its light on the country.
    Keep up the good work.

  • We are all dancing around the main point, except for a couple of straight forward postings. The king currently is the absolute ruler, regardless of what we like to think, he runs the show on all fronts. With absolute power comes absolute responsibility and of course absolute corruption.
    He plays all his officials, whether PM, Parliament, Army, GID, etc as pawns in his chess game.
    He has to be held accountable for the country’s current issues: Deficit, corruption, lack of human rights, freedom, elections, deteriorating services/infrastructure, etc.
    He sold half of the country’s assets,… pocketed most of the money, shared some of it with his cronies and left the country burdened with even heavier debt.
    He condones corruption and protects it. We all know how Mr. Audi accumulated over JD 2Bn of wealth while working as a government official all his life. In the civilized world, they call Government officials : Public Servants.
    His choice of advisers and officials shows ignorance or lack of vision, to say the least.
    He started his reign with Rawabdeh, ABu-Al-Raghib, Faisal Fayez and Ma3rouf al-Bakheet (rigged elections and casino scandal that cost the treasury closet to JDs 1Bn).
    Let’s look on how the government dealt with civic protests in the past few years: Aqaba Port Workers Strike, Demonstrations against the Gaza war, the Salt incident, Maan demonstrations,…etc.
    He just doesn’t get it,… he is way out of touch with reality and his people. He and his wife, travel to the west and preach about human rights, peace and the future of the middle east,…
    Look inwards,… feel for your people,.. stop squandering the countries wealth on your exuberant travels,…get off your gambling addiction, we are not an Oil Country,….Life has handed you a bad hand,… no oil, no gas, no natural resources,… yet, it handed you great people,.. if you play your cards right without corruption and cronyism, your country can out beat Dubai and probably become a new Singapore,…
    The current events are last call for him to reform or to be toppled,…

  • Thank you for this post. As a Jordanian living abroad, its been difficult to get a decent account of what happened. Friends and relatives are mostly panicked and don’t have much to say about the events while the media has been fairly useless, providing mostly superficial accounts that don’t state much more than that something happened and it was violent.

    Its all very depressing and unfortunately yes, I agree, most people in Jordan are uneducated and uninterested in democracy. I spent three weeks in Jordan in January, much of it in the south………boy is it a different world down there. People are genuinely friendly and hospitable, but when it comes to their views they are literally on a different planet. But who can blame them? They’re fed propaganda day in and day out their entire lives and very few have the inclination or the means to seek out alternative view points.

  • Dancing Around The Point: You summed it up. THANK YOU! That is exactly what’s going on here.

  • in the bible they say do not copy people i think we should pray more than using internet and watching t.v and copy people
    the rosery is good prayer for peace and fasting

  • @Khouloud and others that want to argue March 24 Youth were Islamist-backed:

    I can’t speak for everyone that participated on Thursday and Friday (the sit-in not the counter-demo), but I can speak for myself and tell you that I am not only secular but an aethiest as well. But it does little good to trace the particular beliefs of each person in the group that organized the sit-in or the larger group that participated. How on earth does whatever number of groups supported, sent people, or directly helped spawn the action take away from their political demands? That is the problem with this entire discussion. Why is the right of people who gathered on March 24/25 not protected? Why are their demands more legitimate or less legitimate depending on what political groups they are affiliated with rather then the content of their demands. A more nuanced argument would be to say you are weary of striking alliances with a group whose origins are unknown (or even Islamist) but that you support the demands and support their right to protest. I would same the same about the Communists and anyone else who I also disagree with (and not for the reasons you may think). But instead, you are so blinded by the issue of who the protesters belong to that you not only question the Islamists’ involvement but the entire basis of the groups demands and actions. I am not a supporter of the Islamists in terms of their specific platform. But I do see them as a strategic ally in pressuring the regime for reforms. But that alliance stops at pressuring the regime for reforms. I don’t have to want them to be the governing party to agree with their demands for political reforms. But that is different than opposing democracy because in a democracy they would be the strongest party. I’ve said it before on this list, you can be a contingent democrat as one writer on Jordan claimed many of the people on this blog are. Meaning, you can’t support democracy or democratic reforms only if it comes from people you like or means giving the people you like the upper hand.

    As to your whole tribal argument to Bint Waraq, give it a break. She didn’t call for abolition of tribes. But she did call for a system of governance within which access to the government is not mediated through tribes or privileges some tribes more than other. What about people who do not belong to a tribe? It is not democracy if you have to go through your tribe or a tribe before you get your demands across, even recognized. Let the tribes do whatever they want. But they should not be privileged just as any other social formation should not be privileged including the business community. If Jordan is a tribal society, what about all of us that don’t belong to tribes? Are we not part of what Jordan really is? Are you making a nativist argument now? That there are real Jordanian (who belong to tribes) and not real Jordanians (who don’t belong to tribes) even though both groups have citizenship? If that is the argument you are making, then I take back what I said above since it is obviously not democratic principles that motivate you, it is simply an attempt to maintain or empower the status of whatever group within Jordan you see yourself part of. In which case, it makes absolute sense that do not support the demands of March 24.

    See you on the other side of the protest lines, the debate tables, and the course of history.


  • Very well said , Thank you Naseem
    @Jabbar 94 ,I do agree with you we are all ONE people , and I as a proud jordanian I do love palestinian people .
    We need to focus on the good (as you said) we can do the shift ! I am not with the protesters ,i am not with the zu’ran. I love my country ,I love my people( what ever there origins are ) .
    God bless Jordan

  • Make no mistake about it, The reactionary regime in Jordan along with Saudi regime and with the full participation of Israel and US are trying to abort and hijack the Arab uprising, the population throughout the Arab world are fed huge doses of ugly propaganda and misinformation on daily bases as I can notice from the people who constantly defending defunct entity in which it’s expiration date had expired long before they were born and who thinks that they are educated and aware of the conspiracies that Al Saud family, Al Hashem Family , the Zionist entity and off course the good old US are planing for this region, but their plans will fail because people have no fear anymore and the Pandora is out of the bottle..

  • I believe one of the main factors behind the protests is one of economics and the second, one of freedom. Jordan has a young population, low income against rising costs, and high unemployment. Over the past 3 decades especially, the poor have become poorer and the rich richer. Whatever we may think of the regime or government, it is absolutely their responsibility to make things better. There are many in high positions or among the elite that claim these people are disloyal and trouble makers. That’s the easy way out. That’s what we want to believe. Waiving Jordanian flags and chanting monarchic songs will do nothing for the young men and women of Jordan. Dismissing these protests as being politically motivated rather than popular uprisings due to discontent is irresponsible and dangerous.

  • Dancing Around The Point,

    In my humble opinion you overstated your king powers because all signs are there he had/has a lot of balancing act to do. It is not that simple. Nor everything you blame him in has been proved to be beyond any reasonable doubt.

    It is good people are demanding accountability and justice. But let us look at the people themselves. How come that a country with such unemployment still has to let so many foreigners in to fill positions Jordanians are unwilling to take on? How justified then is the cry for jobs we heard during demonstrations or is it a cry for specific jobs that people want? How come new specialists would rather sit and do nothing in Amman than go and work in some provincial towns and villages – you all, supposedly, love your country so much, if I am to believe every slogan, why then there is such unwillingness to contribute, to make Jordan a better place everywhere, because it requires personal sacrifice, because it is easier to demand than deliver?

    There are many points Jordanian society dance around.

  • The Free Jordanian,

    Poor Pandora was in a box, not bottle. I am afraid you mix it with a genie 🙂

  • Thank you Naseem for a great piece!

    to the big idiot with the #29 comment:
    Who the hell do you think you are?! do you even understand anything being said or written here? i really really doubt that!!

    Who said anything about anyone besides His Majesty ruling our country?? do you even know or understand what the peoples demands are??? people are simply advocating what His Majesty has been calling for!! for years!!!!

    But of course you wouldn’t know any of that! you simply want to just go out in the streets parading your big cars and big guns and big knives thinking: yeah im da man.. im powerful!!!

    or maybe you’re worried that reform will expose you and your stupidity to some change?! you’re probably worried that you’ll be forced to rely on yourself instead of hiding behind your last name!!!

    Do you know who Thoraya is? Do you what kind of work she does? how much she loves and cares for this country? I really doubt you do!!!

    I hope one day you’ll be able to understand any of that.

    A jordanian; a “real = Ibn 3asheereh” jordanian [according to your stupid standards]

  • thank you for the best thing i read so far , thank you for taking all sides of the story , thank you for having enough knowledge in the Jordanian culture
    i have a question that would really appreciate if you answer: now that you came to all these new beliefs regarding the situation , would you think it is wise to go ahead and continue this movement ?

  • a well written response i came across:

    اليكم بعض الجمل التي تسمعها في هذه الظروف:

    1) الأردن احسن من غيرها Ùˆ اللي مو عاجبوه يطلع منها: هل هذا يعني مقارنتها بسوريا، الصومال، السودان،اليمن…ودول عربية اخرى؟ طبعا هي احسن منهم لكن السؤال هنا هل هي احسن من بريطانيا؟ ماليزيا؟ طيب لنبقى بالمنطقة: احسن من الامارات،قطر؟ لماذا نذهب لدول متأخرة إما اقتصادياً او سياسياً (مع الإحترام الشديد لجميع الدول العربية) لنقارن الأردن بها؟ إننا بهذا نكشف عيوبنا لا نغطي عليها. إن انتقاد السياسات ليس بالضرورة مهدمة بل هي نقد بناء وليس الحل الرحيل عن الدولة لأن من الأولى أن نصلح لا ان نترك، فالأم والأب يهذبوا من اولادهم لا يطردوهم من بيوتهم!

    2) أهم اشي بالأردن الأمن والأمان: وهذا صحيح 100% ولا يمكن الإختلاف عليه، لكن هل الأمن والأمان يغنيان عن رغيف الخبز؟ عن الدواء؟ عن نظام تعليم “حكومي” يجعل من الأردنيين منافسي للقوى العاملة الأجنبية ويستعيض عن استيراد اجانب تحت مسمى الإختصاص؟ هل يغنيان عن نظام تأمين صحي يضمن كرامة المواطن الأردني قبل توفير العلاج والدواء؟ برأي الأمن والأمان اساسيان لكن هنالك الكثير من المشاكل في نواحي اساسية أخرى وأكثر أهمية تضمن عيش كريم للمواطن الأردني وتحقق عدالة إجتماعية.

    3) هادول المعتصمين والله هم نفسهم مو عارفين لاشو معتصمين: مع الأسف هذا استخفاف بعقول الأردنيين وكأننا غير قادرين على التفكير والتعبير عن إرادتنا. المطالب واضحة تتمثل في محاربة الفساد، تحقيق عدالة إجتماعية، رفع يد المخابرات عن حريات التعبير والتعيينات وتدخلها في كل كبيرة وصغيرة بالبلد. هل المطالبة بتحقيق هذه المطالب فتنة؟ هل هي تهديد العرش؟ هل هي معارضة؟

    4) المواليين والمعتصمين: وكأن كلمة إعتصام هو ضد كلمة موالة. اتمنى ان يكون هنالك دراسة أو بحث يسأل كل من يطالب بالإصلاح اذا هو موالي للعرش الهاشمي ام لا، وعندها اذن نقرر اذا مطالب بالإصلاح= معارض أو غير موالي.

    5) يعني المعتصمين بستنوا ينزل الدينار اكثر من هيك وينضرب الإقتصاد بالكامل؟: عفواً هل هذا سؤال منطقي موجه لرجل الشارع البسيط الذي لا يجد الدينار في الأساس؟ ام لمعيل اسرة يستعمل “جفت الزيتون” كبديل للسولار الذي تخاصم معه منذ زمن طويل؟ أن الأشخاص الذين يخافون من تهاوى الدينار ينظرون بعين واحدة ومصلحة واحدة، اين كنتم عندما كان اقتصاد البلد قوي في بدايات الـ2005 في حين كان البعض ولازال يعانون من اشد انواع الفقر؟ فالغني اصبح اكثر غنى والفقر اصبح مطحونا اكثر.

    6) للأردن خاصية تختلف عن باقي دول المنطقة لا تسمح بحصول ما حدث فيهم: وهنا اسأل هل هذا يعني وجود الأردني من أصل فلسطيني والأردني –أردني (كما يسميهم البعض)ØŸ وبالمناسبة هذا أكثر موضوع اكره التحدث به، لكن الظروف اضطرتني ان اتطرق اليه لكن بإقتضاب. الم يكن هنالك المصري المسلم والمصري القبطي، الم يثروا أقباط مصر بعد تفجير كنيسة القديسسين؟ أوليس هم انفسهم الذين حموا المصليين جمعتي الغضب والرحيل؟ ان هذه العنصرية والطائفية التي لاتخدم سوى اصحاب الإجندات الخاصة والتي لا تدخل إلا على قلوب ضعيفة غير متعلمة هي التي تفرق لا الإعتصام ولا المناداة بالإصلاح. وهنا اريد ان اذّكر الكثير من الإخوة والأخوات بحديث اطهر البشر صلى الله عليه وسلم: “أنصر أخاك ظالماً أو مظلوماً ” فقال رجلٌ: يا رسول الله أنصره إذا كان مظلوما،ً أرأيت إن كان ظالماً كيف أنصره ØŸ قال : تحجره أو تمنعه من الظلم فأن ذلك نصره ” رواه البخاري

    هذه بعض الجمل التي تتردد كثيراً هذه الأيام، وأكيد هنالك المزيد لذلك ارحب بأي إضافة أو اي معارضة على ما سبق، لكن ارجو ان نُبقي على آداب الحديث واحترام الرأي والرأي الآخر فنحن شعب متحضر

  • the biggest smoke screen ever are some regime supporters trying to turn this into jordanian v palestinian, when not a single protest came out of zarqaaa or refugee camps but rather karak, and 99% of leaders of 24 march, 15 april, jayeen, thabahtoona, Hashd party etc. and people calling for constituional monarchy (even islamists like gharaiba) are actually east jordanians…

  • Has anyone listened to Amenn FM in the past two days? I couldn’t believe the blunt hate mongering that was transmitted through the airwaves!! Shabab 24 March were called “snakes” on a popular and widely known radio channel! It reminded me a bit of Gathafi calling his people “rats”.

    It is quite ironic that the sit-in was labelled as “Islamist”, while the anti reformists don’t spare a moment to demonise reform protesters and thus delegitimizing their cause and legitimising acts of oppression against them, so much like some Islamists knows as “Jama3et il takfeer wal hijra” who legitimise the murder of their Muslim brothers by demoralising anyone who does not conform to their ideologies…

    I agree with some comments that alongside pushing reforms there need to be an ongoing dialogue between the people starting with clear and transparent massages and a clear set of demands.

  • Thanks for telling the full story in such a wonderful objective way.
    I’m living outside Jordan and had a thirst to know the truth, because what happened on March 24th hurt me deeply.

    Still, I’m optimistic that at sometime, hopefully in our lives, we will cure this society wound and bring people together..

    Wish the best for all nations, especially ours.

    Thanks again,

  • Thank you, Naseem!

    It is truly sad to see how things turned out, and for the first time I do sense pessimism in your words. However, let us wait and see how matters develop.

  • im really impressed for such a comprehensive and clarifying post for what was going on at dowwar ildakhleyyeh, the best i read in this issue till now… i personally was there with my husband and kids, we had the chance to mingle and talk to the protestors, and u totally expressed and elaborated all my thoughts regarding the two sides; protestors and the other side -if so to speak-, if we just look at it from a birds eye view as u mentioned, everything will b clear…

  • Naseem thanks a lot for the honest account. 3 things I would like to comment on;

    – Title of the blog post

    Clearly from your writing, you’re a person that is aware of the words you pick. Though I think your choice of title is unfortunate and some-what negative. What happened on Friday isn’t a death for ShababMarch24, and definitely not a quick one. It’s a challenge that the progressive educated youth of Jordan have faced, and an ugly one. Yet, they ‘shall over come’. The change is imminent, whether now or few years down the line. The notion of progression and reform was always brutally challenged, all over the middle east recently, but it did not die despite the resistance and never will it be, and most absolutely not in Jordan.

    – About the eye-witness account

    I have been at Al-Dakhleyeh on Thursday and Friday, and although I haven’t spent the entire day there I was present when the anti-reformists (with emphasis on ANTI-) have arrived and ignited the choas. All what you have reported in this post is true and accurate according to what I have observed. I salute you for your honest account.

    – About ‘what it means for us’

    I don’t think calling for a sovereign monarchy would be a solution to any of the current clashes that happened in Jordan; it will not serve reform; it will not serve democracy; it will not serve the current demands of the youth and neither the good of the country and its economy. Britain was once ruled by sovereign monarchy before it became constitutional, and the country has suffered from severe economical crisis during that time before it lastly became constitutional. While I am aware of the major differences of our current monarchy to Britain’s, what I am trying to say let’s not call for a step-back.

    Also, while you’ve concluded your post rather sadly (which I do fully understand given what we”ve witnessed), I say let’s get out of this day with lessons. This day has helped us put the cards on the table, quoting Humeid above, and helped us diagnose our society very closely and painfully (unfortunately). Now we’re more aware about the diseases that our Jordanian society suffers from, and we badly need therapy! Be it ignorance, racism, intolerance, lack of communication skills and social divide (to say the least)..

    But most importantly, what I consider the biggest problem is that Jordanians do not really understand what does it mean to be a citizen? A passport makes me citizen, but it doesn’t cultivate citizenship. Citizenship is a way of life that should be taught in schools, at homes and in universities (which is far as I am aware is being taught as a subject in some unis..). Citizenship means that all Jordanian citizens are equal regardless of race, origin or religions.. Citizenship moulds differences and gives citizens the right to vote, question authority and pressure for reform. And sadly it seems citizenship is evidently an alien concept in our jordanian way of life. I feel sad that some of my Jordanian friends of palestinian origins still feel as if they’re guests in this country, and that they are quiet and are scared to speak out loud because they are of palestinian origins, this is stabbing the concept of Jordanian citizenship! It saddens me when I read some of the comments of my Jordanian friends of Jordanian origins saying that whoever doesn’t like this country pack your stuff up and you know ‘where’ you should go!! It seems that the concept of TRUE CITIZENSHIP still absent in the different spectrums of the Jordanian society.

    Understanding citizenship is crucial to be able to progress to democracy. Understanding citizenship is what will unite Jordanians. When Jordanians understand citizenship; they’ll know that to love your country doesn’t mean to love a ‘Person’ but to love the best for your country and for your fellow countrymen. Then we can safely progress to ‘Democracy’!

    Thank you!

  • صحيح ليش ماتكرو وتكتبو بالعربي

  • Great piece… captured many thoughts i ve been contemplating for some time now… as a Jordanian who deeply loves his country and people, watching the events (mind you from very far away as apposed to your on the site analysis), i had very strange and mixed feelings that I ve never experienced before… I wasn’t sure anymore where I personally stand… to your point, it somehow flipped my beliefs upside down… but they were flipping every hour… overall very sad day… or rather a day that unveiled – and confirmed to me – the sad reality… again excellent read…

  • @ Khulood Rushaidat,
    What an eye-opening video. Let’s burn this guy, لقد سب آلهتنا

  • @ Mohammed, haha my reaction exactly

    @Khulood, I don’t understand your insistance that all these people are not loayl to the king or the country and you and your likes are the only loyal people. Kinda reminds me of repubicans when they descrive the democrats.

    1)These idiots are a few among the thousands.

    2) It is very understandable that in a situation like that where someone is surrounded by riot police and kids throwing rocks to have all kind of feelings including feelings on the top of the pyramid who runs the show.

    3) In the days of Prophet Muhammad during the beginning of spreading Islam, One of the Prophets companion said some nasty things about the prophet under torture after he saw both his parents killed infront of him. He was ashamed of what he said after they left him go. The prophet dismissed it and said your parents are in heaven. I’m paraphrasing obviously. My point is, Prophets from God have been subjected to these things and they didn’t care, you wanna convince me that King Abdullah or any other king on earth has a higher respect than Muhammad and the other prophets.

    Enough treating our King as God or even above. He even once said it after a group of athletes raised his Picture at an olympic event they shouldn’t do that.

    Seiously get out of the bubble you are living in and think objectively without instigating fear and hatred.

  • @Khouloud

    Really? Are you for real? Do you actually think that this is what most people call for? Those are idiots, and they certainly do not represent 24 Athar. I am pretty sure that you, I, Naseem, and almost everyone else knows that for a fact. If you genuinely believe that what they said is what the movement represents, I am sorry to say that your argument would be a simple-minded one.

    I expected more from you!

  • Mohammed,

    That’s supposed to be funny? Because it’s plain sad how you defend those who call for overthrowing the Hashemites, the symbol of Jordan, and yet so viciously attack those who are against a movement; the 24th of March movement. ما في اشي امه نحن, من استعمالك لكلمة الهتنا, فالواضح انه في انت Ùˆ في نحنا, في نحنا اللي بنعتبر الماك بعد الله Ùˆ في انت اللي الواضح انك تؤيد هذه المطالب


    You obviously didn’t read my previous replies, I stated before and I repeat now, I’m against those who kickstarted this movement, those who chose God Country People as their motto, those who were proven to be Islamists with the help of Hamas, those who chose AlDakhiliyyeh for the sit-in on purpose, those who manipulated young kids who were only their because they believed in reform. I’m in no way against the individuals who participated in the movement with good intentions and I do not question anyone’s loyalty but ما بني على باطل فهو باطل Ùˆ ما بني على اسقاط الملك من شعار الله الوطن الملك هو الخيانه بحد ذاته like I said before, this is the hashemite kingdom of jordan and hashemite abel jordan and in this regard there is no give and take. Reform is one thing, hiding behind kids with good intentions and hiding behind the call for reform is a totally different thing, and our king is a taboo and is a red line, he’s not God but he comes right after God and I do not see what is people’s problem with that. E7na 7orreen ya akhi! Why does our love for our king bug people so much!!


    You might’ve expected more from me but this is exactly the response that I expected from you. If reform is what they call for then that is what the Jordanian people have been calling for for the past 3 months w awwalhom HM, if reform is what they want and they do not agree with the motto God Country People and if they do not agree with those who called for overthrowing the king then they shouldn’t insist on calling for reform under the name of 24th of march which has caused so much rage among people and call for reform under the name of batteekh akhdar ba3eedan 3an the Islamists and ba3eedan 3an anything that comes near the king.

  • @Khouloud

    I had to read your reply more than once to understand your point, it suffers from lack of punctuation, but I assume you were in a hurry.

    If the Jordanians have been calling for reform all along, then we would not have had any problems to begin with. All I know is that a bunch of uneducated people tried to physically hurt others on purpose for attempting to have a peaceful demonstration. Those rocks can kill someone.

    Trying to label protesters as Islamists to cause trouble, not being able to accept another point of view, beating others up, turning a positive thing that can have potential into Palestinians vs. Jordanians issue, the police celebrating with the Baltajeyyeh after the demonstrations were over knowing that at least 2 people were DEAD due to major injuries are all things the anti-reform individuals are to blame for.

    And then you come and insult our intelligence by actually linking us to a video of an idiot who is encouraging others to overthrow the king, which is not true at all when it comes to 24 Athar momevement’s demands. Did you really think that the man in the video represents what 24 Athar is really about? It is like having a religious discussion about a certain Quran verse, and me providing you with a source or evidence from the Humpty Dumpty website. That is neither valid nor reliable. It is not even logical! I have to question your common sense if you for a second bought into it.

    The sad thing is that I am sure some people are now spreading the video around, and some people are truly believing what the idiot in the video said.

  • And by the way, this has nothing to do with loving the king or not. Calling for change does not mean that the king is not loved. It is simply people’s way of trying to have a better life for themselves and the generations to come. Khalas it is time to speak up against corruption and unemployment and ridiculous taxes and living expenses. I know some people with “powerful” positions do benefit from all of this crap, but it should not be at the expense of people’s livelihoods.

    I understand why some people think it is a threat to the royal family, but it is not.

    Jordan is not only for those who have money, connections, or both. Other people live in Jordan too, you know.

  • Khouloud Rushaidat,

    1. Do you agree that the police should not had taken sides? If no, please explain why not.

    2. What do you think about probability that overzealous violent reaction on part of so-called ‘loyalists’ makes live of your beloved King more difficult politically as inside as outside the country?

    3. In his account Naseem mentions deliberate disrespect to a prayer call by ‘loyalist’ which almost shocked him. Since those people obviously do not care about that, i.e. showing respect to God, can you guarantee those same people would not disrespect their King just as easily depending on circumstances? If yes, why?

    4. Do you recognize the danger for your country in the matter of Jordanian Jordanian vs. Jordanian Palestinian divide being heated up intentionally? If yes, what do you think should be done to prevent it from turning ugly?

  • Thank you for a great article,,,, although I agee with what you wrote, I do hope that we are both wrong… the stakes are too high..

    Perhaps your thoughts on how to go out of this, would be nice.

  • @ coffeegirl, Khuloud puts the King right below God even though I truely believe she puts him above God so don’t expect her to have any sympathy for people praying and getting attacked and called the nastiest names.

    @ Khuloud, you ask “why does our love for our king bug people so much”. The King is everyone’s King and not just for a few tribes that are taking the country backword. I truely feel sorry for you and for people like you who are mostly beduin tribes and unfortunately uneducated and ignorant.

    Your talk reminds of Al jahileya period when people used to worship idols.

    Even price Hassan condemned what happened and stood with the reformist, do you diasgree with him?

    The people have the right to free peaceful assembly regardless if it was right or wrong. There is no justification for for attacking them and and calling them nasty names. Have you seen the videos where your “loyalist” friends where cursing the other side’s mothers in the most disgusting manner.

    You should be ashmed of what these people did and not defend them and come up with this stupid arguments about Islamist and hammas and all that crap.

    We are all Jordanians whether you like it or not and we will stay and build this country regardless what racist individuals think.

  • Nassim,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I might be slightly more optimistic than you, but I am also just as worried. Regardless of whether people approve of groups having sit ins or not, what happened last Friday is unacceptable. Some reasons why I am concerned are as follows:
    1. Jordanians should never hit other Jordanians and take the law into their own hands, particularly when the sit ins were peaceful. Looking at all the videos of what went on (I wish the government can do the same before coming up with excuses that dont add up against such evidence), there are some credible question marks about the role of the police that need honest answers.
    2. It is very dangerous if we start dividing people among “Jordanian” and “Palestinian” lines, or “loyalists” vs. “non-loyalists”, or people with the King vs. people against him. I continue to be worried about a misguided campaign that attempts to pit a group of Jordanians against another. It should be clear to all that the king is above all of this, that he belongs to all Jordanians, and that all sectors of society want him and the monarchy to continue to be at the helm of this country, providing the stability, leadership and cohesion that we all desire. It should be unacceptable, however, to label everyone who calls for reform by ethnic slurs, or sabouteurs, or people working against the regime. It reminds me of how some called the National Agenda members as working for “Tawteen” or employing western designs, simply because they were asking for reforms. Such tactics are archaeic, and hopefully people wont be fooled by them. The King himself complained about such tactics on numerous occasions. Here is what he said to Farid Zakaria on February 7 , 2010 when asked about reform in Jordan, “I think, when I look back at the past 10 years, the reform aspect of our country, in many cases, sometimes you take two steps forward, one step back. There is resistance to change. There is a resistance to ideas. When we try to push the envelope, there are certain sectors of society that say this is a Zionist plot to sort of destabilize our country, or this is an American agenda. So, it’s very difficult to convince people to move forward”

    I hope there is room for some wisdom to help sail Jordan through this through unity, and through acknowledging that we are all Jordanian citizens, a right given to all by the constitution, regardless of our ethnic background, and that the only way forward is if we all act as such. We might differ on approaches and policies, which is healthy, but that is no reason to label people and push them into undesirable corners.

  • Can I ask why there’s so much pressure to love the king? Why do I have to love the king? I don’t know him, so why do I have to have this “love” for him. I work for a big company, and I don’t love my CEO. I have respect for his leadership, and like it or not, I have to work within the parameters of his general decision-making. But I don’t love him, and I won’t get fired because I don’t love him (he doesn’t expect me to love him, and he’s seriously too busy to care). He does however care about my level of productivity and how I add value to the company. Using this analogy, I know that I’m loyal to my country Jordan in the sense that I hope for it to prosper, remain safe, and that its people are well treated. I just don’t see why there’s this pressure to be so madly in love with king or country. Can’t we have other feelings? Perhaps we can be a lot more logical in how we discuss issues and each other if we were less emotional? I think we need to accept that there are other ways to have a relationship with king and country that are perfectly normal and acceptable.

  • It is sad what happened on 3/25.
    It is sad that the whole nation is reduced and its identity defined as one person and one family.
    It is sad that the national anthem is not “national”; it is a “Salam Malaki” that only says “3ash Al-Malik” without any mention of Jordan.
    It is sad that the armed forces have the slogan “Allah, Al-Watn, Al-Malik”, while in practice, their working slogan is “Al-malik, Al-Malik, Al-Malik”. In a modern nation, it would be “Alwatan, Al-Sha3b”.

    I am not calling for overthrowing the king. I think it would be a bad idea now. Whether we agree with him or not, he is popular enough to help pull this nation together. I am advocating a system whose primary purpose is to serve all citizens, where everyone is accountable, including the leader.

    In spite of all this, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as was demonstrated by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. I think Nassim’s conclusion came out of frustration. It is a normal reaction. I think that as you reflect on it, the answer is not to let the forces of the darkness prevail. We will not give up.

  • Marwan Muasher,, The king has been at the helm for more than ten years now and ever since , all we heard from him empty promises and meaningless slogans, for how long can the people of Jordan must keep waiting for “reforms” which in my opinion it will never be achieved under his role and Iam afraid you and I will come back to this subject few years from now and most likely you are going to provide the same propaganda,
    People want real change not “reform” because it has really lost it’s meaning and has no value to it.

  • coffeegirl,

    Thank you for taking the time to ask me questions, I’m sorry I won’t be answering any of them because I do not wish to debate this matter anymore, but again, thank you.


    To save yourself from future embarrassments avoid getting into subjects you know nothing about, for instance families in Jordan. You used the term bedouins as though it is an insult, I’m not a bedouin but it is an honor for anyone to as much as be related to a bedouin, the people who define hospitality, integrity, shahameh and a lot more great things. You obviously have an inferiority issue and the only thing I can offer you in that regard is my deepest condolences that you are not part of a tribe, but I can assure you that Jordan was built on tribal foundations and that is how it will always remain. شاء من شاء Ùˆ ابى من ابى. And finally regarding your analysis of my religious views, yaaaa seedi, above, under, that is my business.


    Like I previously said to coffeegirl, I do not wish to debate this anymore, we’re going in circles and this is a waste of your valuable time and mine, just one note, I do not think that that is a threat to the royal family, a bunch of galeeleen asel muqabel millions who love the king, I’m not speaking up out of worry, I know my country and my people better than to have doubts.

    This is a video to keep you all posted with the latest occurings

  • @ khuloud The people who define hospitality, integrity, shahameh and a lot more great things 3ala rasi. For the rest, the hell with them and what they stand for. Do you call the violence that occured throught out 2010 by tribes man shahameh and integrity? Do you call what these tribes have done on Friday shahameh? They are far from any of the descriptions you mentioned.

    Ba3dain, kul il nas khair w barakeh whether Jordanian, Palestinian, Sharkas, Syrian or whatever. Al hamdulilah I come from a great family of educated men and women who served this country since before it was formed and before the Hashemite kingdom was formed so spare me your ignorant lecture about Jordanian families.

    This country was formed by immigrants from all over the middle east including the King and his family.

    I pray to god that one day you and others will get out of your bubble and love your fellow jordanian no matter what his or her background is.

  • First i would like to thank you for this really great article, and i would like everyone for taking the time to read it during this really hard times.

    to start with, i would say i was against this elevation to have a sit-in this way to push for the reform, i have a lot of close friends within th 24th march youths, and during our discussions i was stressing that the Jordanian street is not ready yet to accept such action, and i was hoping to take more time for our selfs to work towards enlightening the street for it, as i believe that the work done in Egypt and Tunisia was a result of years of well organized approach to finally reach to a point where u can gather the majority of the people for the same goal. i do not disagree with the way it was performed as it was proven that this government could not be trusted to preform the reform without some pressure form the people, and we all can see that in the way they were creating an anti propaganda towards the 24th youths, and the procedures taken place within the event it self, where the government encouraged for a counter gathering allowing them to go for the same place of the 24th youths which will definitely will start the fire, and even in the way it dealt with it after the crises happened. i was only against the timing.

    about 10years ago, during i was in the university, the same accident happened, with the same size, but unfortunately no media coverage was there to show the picture, there was a protest performed by the islamists students in the Jordan university, where a clash happened involving the islamists and the security … at that time i saw with my own eyes the head of security of Jordan university handing the students (the loyals if we can call them this) thick sticks and asking them to beat up the islamists where eventually they become Palestinians out of no were… and it was the biggest shock for me at that time.

    sorry for the long comment, but to sum up. our government had worked over years and years to seed the believe of hatteness among the Jordanian people, and this “red line” of unity of Jordanian people is easy to break by the government once they needed to face any threat of reform and change. i was not shocked about the indecent in dakhleya circle by it self because i knew it is going to happen, but i was really shocked by the reactions of my friends who were not even their, but they were talking the same way, although they are well educated and open minded people, but unfortunately these thoughts were seeded deeply in their mind in a way they cannot control it.

    at this time, we need to spend few years to demolish theses ideas fear from each other from the street, and plant the idea of the country interest above all, even above the king him self, as the king role is to serve the country and the people not the other way around, and this is crucial before going for any further step towards any kind of reform.

  • Great post…
    أنا مستغرب من الكلمة المصرية “بلطجية” Ùˆ استخدامها لوصف من يهاجم المتظاهرين في عمَّان…دخلكم شو صار لكلمة “زعران”. “حفرتلية” … أو حتَّى “”دواوين”….؟؟

    “May 26, 1956, Jordan’s defense minister issued a decision abolishing the red-&-white shmagh of the army, which he said was “not a military head-dress.”soldiers will wear khaki berets.Bedouin forces (Quwwat al-Badiyah) that continue to exist in the Jordanian armed forces today continue to uphold Glubb’s “traditional” clothing designs. As for shmagh, it was to infiltrate society at large as a symbol of Jordanianness”

    –something to thing about–

  • يحب العبد طاغية Ù‹
    لأن مهابة اللاشيء في صنم تــُؤَلهه
    إذا سقطت مهابته على شيء
    يراه العبد مرئيا وعاديـّا
    فيهوى العبد طاغية سواه
    بطلّ من لا شيء آخر

    محمود درويش

  • I find it ironic that in an absolute monarchy people complain about sons and daughter inheriting the positions of their parents!!!
    I also question why the King can’t be criticized?! He needs to be criticized and advised. If we keep on telling him that all what he does and says is GREAT, he will believe us and will never know otherwise.
    There must be means of criticizing and correcting him. He should be held responsible for his acts. He is not God. Even his alleged Great Grand Father, was held responsible for his acts and people came to him and questioned some of his decisions, although he was receiving guidance from Al-Mighty.

    A question to all those who idolize him, or any person for that matter:

    1- What was your perception of the king, when he was just a flamboyant prince, running after earthly joys, with no chance of him becoming king ?

    2- How-come, out of sudden, once he became King, he we forget his previous behaviour and assume he will become omniscient, omnipotent, all wise and politically astute?

    3- Why do we assume t hat someone who did not even finish college properly can take better and wiser decisions than far more educated and experienced people?!

    The sad thing is that if the king abdicates his throne and let’s say he hands over the throne to Ali, people will start chanting for Ali and praising his wisdom and unparalleled genius!!

    As long as we have a bunch of Hippocrates amongst us, there will be no hope in us.

  • Khouloud Rushaidat,

    It wasn’t invitation for a debate but few questions to understand your position more. I commend you being emotional – people should have passion for what they believe in, – and cannot understand your vagueness. I kindly ask you to answer the simplified version of previous questions using only the # of the question and ‘yes’ or ‘no’ next to it. It will take you 45 sec to read my post and approx same time to answer, total less than 2 minutes.

    1. Should police keep its neutrality given protests are peaceful? yes/no

    2. Should police prevent violence during a protest whatever side it comes from, i.e. contain/arrest violent people right away as to prevent possible clashes? yes/no

    3. Do you excuse so-called ‘loyalists’ disregard for a prayer call? yes/no

    4. Do you recognize police forces taking sides goes against your King appeal to his subjects? yes/no

    5. You continuously proclaim your love for the King. Do you love your Queen? yes/no

  • (warning: this may be long, but I read your piece in an attempt to understand, hope you do the same – with kind regards..)

    Thank you Naseem for your insight, I will be honest and say that you have been successful in changing the way I perceived the happenings of the Interior circle. I will be more honest and say that I was completely against the whole March 24th movement, and though I am strongly convinced that they have made fatal mistakes, but now I believe that you have given us the opportunity to actually see what had really taken place on that day/ day after.

    I am sorry about what had happened to the March 24th shabab, but I will have to say that they should have been wise enough to see it coming. I trust that they may have wanted positive change peacefully, but wishing is one thing and executing is another. I believe that this movement lacked wisdom and was publically condemned for many reasons, but the most obvious was that they have completely imitated the Egyptian movement which led to the overthrow of Mubarak. This is not what they allegedly want, or the majority of Jordanians regardless of origin – so why the imitation?
    This move in itself sent frightening messages to all Jordanians that this is what they wanted. Jordan has been witnessing demonstrations for the last three months, peaceful ones that lead to minor chaos and no casualties,, but have lead to government promises of reform and improvement,, a wave that we have not previously witnessed,, and though we have been fed pessimism since early childhood, forgive me – I will have trust and at least give my country a chance and the benefit of the doubt.
    I am exhausted with all the accusations and angry comments, especially the propaganda that this has become a Jordanian vs Palestinian issue. You know what; to the surprise of many, this national setback has made me believe strongly in the unity of our country Jordan. I have not met one person, be they of any origin (though this whole origin stuff really sickens me) that does not want reform, a better life, respects our leadership – which is really not a bad thing – appreciates the peace and harmony we live in and did not like the drama of sit-ins and different service committees on camp which the March 24th Shabab chose to undertake. I have always been pro peaceful demonstrations, and will continue to be because I believe that this is the way to go.

    What you saw at the circle of – as you would like to call them to my disagree “anti reformists” – were just a group of Jordanians who were terrified and were willing to do anything to protect their identities, though I am against how they went by it. But a person in fear could do anything, and it shocks me that very little see it as such. Those youngsters do not have perfect lives, to say the least and believe you me would love to see their incomes and opportunities in life increase, but the sit it meant drastic change and they did not want that.

    Naseem though you tried to be objective, none the less you fell into the trap of labeling. You called your fellow citizens anti- reformists. No one can ever be anti-reform, everyone yearns for a better present and future. Even animals want better living conditions, but security and stability is a priority over better income.

    People, please see the big picture! This is not a Jordanian Palestinian issue, never was and never will be. We will always have immature people who enjoy and feed on differences: Jo vs Pa, North vs South, studied abroad vs Ma7ali and the sad list goes on. Some people need to feel superior to feel worthy. How I see it, what happened was merely the equation of:

    Ignorance x fear = chaos

    Light a candle, think before you speak and have Jordan’s best interest at heart.

    Hope you all have a great Day!

  • Dear Ms. Tarawneh,

    With all due respect, you tried to be balanced and objective. BUT, nothing can justify attacking and beating peaceful fellow citizens. Regardless of the excuses the thugs and the people behind them use, attacking a peaceful fellow citizen is a crime punishable in all laws and constitutions. But of course, they will get away with it as usual.

    With the same twisted logic we can say that the US military or the Israeli Army were scared for their lives when they killed defenseless innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
    Sorry, I do not buy your justifying argument.

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS SACRED. No one, absolutely no one, should be denied his right of free speech and freedom of assembly, as long as it is done in a peaceful way.

    It is saddening that some well educated people like you still think in this way and try to justify such acts!!!
    We go and study in the west and get exposed to their values, we bring back their language, style, music, etc, but we fail to adopt some of their best core values: Democracy, respecting others, rule of law, all people are equal, etc.

  • Last night I watched Nourmina Channel. Man, was that a show,.. it was an insult to our intelligence, insult to the audience,.. they allowed people to curse, to use four letter words and to spread hatred all over,… and the host “something Raqqad” was smile and rejoicing with laughter,…

  • Thanks for this article Nassim, you clearly hit the spot, judging from the reactions. I’m only a regular visitor to Jordan for the moment, but keen on understanding more, and, who knows, help out. I was in Amman last Friday, not on the circle, though, and some reactions and conversations I had before (often pointing at the Jordanian-Palestinian divide) worried me. They don’t worry me less but it is good to see the issues discussed.
    I like the conclusion that the people need to communicate among each other more, it seems indeed necessary for people to engage in a dialogue on the issues and on identity (each other). Some of the commentaries show clearly that people will have to open their minds a bit more. Of course, Jordan is not the only country where that is necessary. I’m from Belgium, nationalist divisions recently have given us the world record in “not having a government” (still not). We still have some identity issues pending.
    In the commentaries (and your piece) I find it striking that some (looks like more often the foreigners) focus very much on the ethnic/nationalist divisions, portraying them as the most salient issue, while others mention them but brush them aside. The feelings seem to be very present in Jordanian society, though, not sure that brushing them aside in the name of unity is the best way to go. It would be interesting to have a discussion on how to address them without cementing those divisions or promoting separate identities. Maybe something for 7iber to look into?

    In any case, always happy to discuss.

  • Peaceful protesting is a right for all free nations, however when protests take place in the heart of the financial sector of Amman, that worries me.
    If you were to close off Trafalgar Square in London, or Times Square in New York, or Dupont Circle in Washington DC and pitch your tents there, and promise not to leave before all your demands are met, you will not get a better deal, as believe me the riot police WILL use tear gas and sticks to break the crowds.
    You may say, these protesters were very peaceful, as they stayed within the perimeter of the circle so as not disrupt traffic, Wow Really???…That was on Thursday when they numbered around 120 protesters, not the second day when they numbered in the thousands, and they literally swamped the area!

    The point is this; you have the right to protest, but you have No Right to infringe on my civil liberties as a Jordanian citizen, by disrupting our businesses and means of income.

    Do you know that thousands of cancellations for tourists coming to Jordan have already taken place? That should make all the protesters feel very proud indeed, as this will really have a positive effect on our economy!

    We do not need protests just because we see them on TV in other countries, our economy is in dire need for improvement, these demonstrations have paralyzed the economy and will continue to drive Jordan into the ground unless we stop and think that we need to work and move forward with our daily lives and work diligently to contribute to improve our economy!

    Also a very important fact that is worth mentioning, Jordan is a country of limited resources, and all of us should appreciate the tremendous efforts made by both their Majesties King Hussein and King Abdallah II in making Jordan what it is today, also the fact that we have security and stability, please DO Not take this for granted!!!!

    One last note, I am a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, I am proud of my King and country, so don’t turn this into a Palestinian Jordanian issue! We will not allow anyone to turn our beloved country into a land of confrontations for the benefit of a few groups with questionable agendas.

  • Dear Amjad,

    A few quick points:

    I did not know that Amman had a financial centre! Seriously, do we have one? The closest thing to a financial center that comes to mind is the block in Shmiesani around the Arab Bank.

    Since when can people, the THUGS, in this case take the law into their hands? Why didn’t the awful Darak and regular police do the task of breaking the sit-in.
    The THUGS will get away without any punishment. A JORDANIAN citizen died in the midst of this. This will go without any proper investigation as usual.
    Yet, this doesn’t worry you either!

    I was not there either, but I heard many citations that the sit in did not obstruct the traffic nor business, especially that it took place over the weekend.

    You are following the same logic the government uses. They take one half truth and direct it in their direction.

    As for the financial loss due to the demonstrations in the past 3 months: Do you think that the silly tribal conflicts that took place across Jordan had anything to do with it as well?
    Finally, CHANGE comes at a price, if we are not willing to pay it, then we do not deserve it.

    Wa Domtum,…

  • @ “If you were to close off Trafalgar Square in London, or Times Square in New York, or Dupont Circle in Washington DC and pitch your tents there, and promise not to leave before all your demands are met, you will not get a better deal, as believe me the riot police WILL use tear gas and sticks to break the crowds.”

    The UK police never use tear gas, even in the UK Poll Tax riots in the ninties, nor do they break up a sit-in without warning those protestors they will do so with sufficient time, and finally UK police doesnt sit out watching a group of people being stoned, and in addition to doing nothing, starts beating them up with sticks….its funny how some people draw examples to what happens in Jordan sometimes to the US or UK when it suits them, yet ignore other aspects of like where some animal right clauses in the UK are more favourable than human rights in Jordan!!

    lets just admit it – the police in Jordan will never pass up an opportunity to beat up a pierceved to be “palestinian” crowd, be it wehdat supporters, dakhleya sit in, whatever….

  • Dear observer, thank you for your comment.

    I was hesitant from the beginning to write anything and get tangled in all this, I guess I was right and this will be my last comment. I will not avenge myself from your aggressive and condescending comments but will only say again:

    Light a candle (which means if you must – try to be a positive/ productive part rather than negative), please think before you speak and again have Jordan’s best interest at heart – and finally hopefully reread my comment with an open mind.

    Hope you all have a good evening

  • Allah … ya Iman !! how much I enjoyed your comment and your reply no.157.
    This is what we really need to be positive to see the good, to give excuses to each other, to love.
    Thank you ,and God bless you

  • I have yet to hear the King say something material about what happened. Is he going to leave it go and ask people to foget what happened? What about the people who got beaten up, arrested, the man who died and huge tear this has cause to out society.

    If he was fair, he would fire the head of the darak forces or even the prime minister so he can gain the trust of the people because as things stand now, he is losing the trust of the people who are the silent majority.

    This only leaves me with one conclusion that the King was on it from the beginning and I honestly can not trust him any more. He’s either playing all sides or week and unable to take actions.

    What a shame, wish Prince Hassan takes over and lead this nation

  • why is evryone dancing around the obvious…..
    Lately I have been speaking to a number of people regarding events in Jordan,and they are all of Jordanian decent..we are talking highly educated people who live and work outside the country i.e they are not narrow minded…they all came to the same conclusions in thier assesment of the situtaion,and that is,The palestinans in Jordan need to respect Jordan and the people of Jordan.

    enought with this rubbish re no rift between both peoples,there is a rift,and it is on the increase , and we Jordsaninans are not happy with the status quo,I am from the south of Jordan,spent the last 20 odd years living abroad ,never ever in my life though anything but positive about the palis after all they are part and parcel of our society ,grew up with them ,but now I dislike them…….I do not want to see them in Jordan,and I will be the ja’Ja of Jordan if push comes to shuv,because enough is enough people…..
    No Regrets and No apologizes……

  • Salaam everyone,
    I want to salute those who called for dialogue and manners and those who mentioned that we need to get rid of the hypocrites in our societies who are unfortunately many. Both of my parents are from Tafileh but I was raised in Amman. I have to say I am very proud to be an Arab and from a bedoiun origin, unlike many Arabs, particularly in the west who are ashamed of being introduced as such. I would like your permission to voice my views on the issue.
    One of the main reasons of our dire situation in Jordan, and the Arab world at larger, is hypocrisy. We are simply hypocrites. many backbite one another. Your rich uncle complains of the difficult economic situation, but still manages to go to Swtizerland for holidays. Many people who lack manners and respect for time are regular Friday prayer goers. People clap for their boss knowing very well he is the reason for their misery. We are liars and racists but have the mouth to blame the west for all our misery. We accept for others what we don’t accept for ourselves. And so, we deserve the quagmire we’re in. The highlights of my views are: I want to be fair to the king, I have an issue with Laith Shbeilat, and I have a problem with Palestinian Jordanians.

    The king cannot be directly blamed for every small misfortunate event here and there. However, it is common knowledge that Jordan is run by the absolute power of the king, and so he is aware AND responsible for every major misfortune in this country. So when Mu3asher says “It should be clear to all that the king is above all of this, that he belongs to all Jordanians, and that all sectors of society want him and the monarchy to continue to be at the helm of this country.” I say speak for yourself! You can say this to an American audience and be applauded, but Jordanians simply won’t buy this.
    As for those who see the king ‘immediately’ after GOD, well I say if you are Muslims, then it should be God, his messenger, your parents, and then probably your boy/girl friend or whoever you want. So just in fairness to the king, he is not GOD, otherwise we should change the qiblah to Amman, or maybe that’s not a good idea since Amman is really more of a stopping station. But he’s also not a prophet too, and cannot be over the law. If he wants to be responsible for the country then he should be accountable of course. Responsibility comes at a price. He is a human being who makes mistakes. However because of the unbelievable amount of hypocrisy around him, he doesn’t have the urge or courage to come out to the Jordanian people and apologise for all the mismanagement of the country throughout his rule. He is also not your parent, coz I doubt you’ve learnt your Arabic from him!

    Now what exactly is the problem of Laith Shbeilat? This guy has confused Jordanians beyond measure. He criticises the king for his mishandling of the country’s affairs, but still wants him to be king. Am I missing sth. here? The king criticizes the very same ministers he appoints by himself. The king is not going to change. He might be a good man and a great father too, but the man clearly lacks leadership qualities. Shbeilat believes that Jordanians are not worthy of self-governance coz they belong to tribes. We are educated people and can vote for a prime minister/ president (I might vote for Mu3asher as president coz he’s cute). We are not less than other Arabs. Some Jordanians have low self-esteem and believe that we owe the Hashemites our existence. But Jordanians have lived here long before Moses. We only accepted the Hashemites and liked them when they were just. Has it not been for the Jordanian people nobody would’ve heard of them. So Shbeilat, have some respect for Jordanians.
    As for the Palestinian Jordanians, you’ve been just as hypocrtical as bedouins. But worse you have been passive all along, afraid to take part in anything, as if living on a different planet, you don’t have a sense of belonging coz you don’t think this is your country. You left the entire struggle for better life and freedom to the beduins. So screw you, we will bring change to this country whether you take part or not.
    One person commented “I am not calling for overthrowing the king. I think it would be a bad idea now. Whether we agree with him or not, he is popular enough to help pull this nation together. I am advocating a system whose primary purpose is to serve all citizens, where everyone is accountable, including the leader.” Well my friend I beg to defer. I am calling for overthrowing our weak leader, I do think that it is a good idea particularly NOW. As a Jordanian I can assure you that I know a lot more bedouin Jordanians whose views of the king are anything but ‘popular’ than those who actually like him, and I don’t think that he will ever willingly allow you to hold him accountable, coz boy he’s accountable for a lot!
    Jordan is known to be a country of propaganda, don’t believe that change will bring the country to a civil war or that the majority of beduins are pro-king. These are fabricated lies that are meant to make people want the status-quo, it was the same strategy in Egypt and it failed and inshAllah it will also fail in Jordan. Long live the people!

  • Dear Rania,

    Regarding your comment:
    “As for the Palestinian Jordanians, you’ve been just as hypocrtical as bedouins. But worse you have been passive all along, afraid to take part in anything, as if living on a different planet, you don’t have a sense of belonging coz you don’t think this is your country. You left the entire struggle for better life and freedom to the beduins. So screw you, we will bring change to this country whether you take part or not.”

    The main reason for this passive attitude is the regime and the other part of the society. I for one will never take part in any of the demonstrations in the country. Why?
    Because the minute I open my mouth criticizing anything in the country, even it is a criticism of the Garbage collection in Amman, I see the looks of suspicion from East Jordanians and read in their eyes what they might not say: Since when do guests complain? especially unwanted guests? guests with no return ticket.
    This is a fact. I have been in many discussions with friends from “Shatta al osool wal manabit”, for some reason it is 100% ok for them t o criticize and complain, the minute I open my mouth, the same people who were complaining a minute ago start defending and justifying,…

    The other reason is the regime and the security forces. The treatment you get as an East Banker, even if you were in opposition is totally different than what I get.
    I feel this at all levels, from Traffic violations all the way to dealing with the GID. They treat East Jordanians as renegade sons. Sons, who will come to their senses one day. While, I as a Palestinian I get treated as if I were t he source of all evil, t he instigator of all trouble. If we both go in a demonstration, I will be blamed and be accused of manipulating the otherwise loyal Jordanians. You get a slap on the hand and get the worst of it.

    Those are my 2 cents.
    Hope I addressed your point.

  • Unfortunatelly most of the writers here are a bunch of sour grapes. Please be more responsible with what you write, you are polarizing our society!!!!!
    SO SAD, where this is all heading!

  • Good summary of what happened last Friday, but I disagree with the conclusions. A noisy minority is trying to break the resolve of those seeking a better nation for its citizens. The author seems to imply that this minority has won. He concludes change is impossible, the nation is divided, there are no power symbols to speak out against, and no real goals for the reform movement. None of these conclusions are true in Jordan. It’s hard not to become impatient when the search for basic rights is systematically denied, but patience and perseverance are the only path to success. Bawabet el thawra maftu7a, wi mafi 7ad isidha.

  • Salaam,
    I’m sorry this is how Palestinian Jordainans feel, I didn’t know.
    But we are putting our lives on the line here, for the better of everyone, and all what you’re afraid of is ‘suspicious looks’ and different treatment. There is only one kind of treatment in this country the minute minority of the Rich are getting everything. Wake up! The regime created this beduin-Palestinian thing for its own good and we bought into it. Do you think Al-Safadi, Awad-Allah, and others care about Palestinian Jordanians?
    Take back your 2 cents, they’re worthless. We need Palestinian Jordanians to win this. We need to unite for a better future for all of us. I’m tired but I won’t give up like you have. They have torn us apart and all what you’ve done is take the back seat.
    الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام ….. الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام…..الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام……الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام

  • ….you can light as many candles all you want, it wont explain where the “oil coupons” from Kuwait went, or answer how a government employee (close to the regime) amassed enough wealth to build a mansion and sell it for $15 million when his government salary is 10% of that, or why Umnia wasn’t referred to the anti-corruption agency, or or or….the time for lighting candles is way past us now…

  • I though that this article is worthy of sharing:

    إصلاح، بلطجية، وملوخية!
    أمجد ناصر

    أغرب تحرك ‘إصلاحي’ للتكيِّف مع رياح التغيير التي تهبُّ على العالم العربي هو ما جرى في الأردن: إقالة حكومة يرأسها مدني والمجيء بحكومة على رأسها عسكري! كأن مشكلة الأردن التاريخية مع الإصلاح السياسي تكمن في حكوماته قصيرة العمر، بصرف النظر عمن يرأسها، وليس في النظام السياسي للبلاد. الجميع يعرف أن الحكومات في الأردن لا تحلُّ ولا تربط على حد قول المثل الشعبي. كانت للحكومات الأردنية قدرة نسبية على اتخاذ القرار في الخمسينات والستينات عندما كانت هناك حركة وطنية أردنية قوية، لكنَّ هذه الحكومات راحت تفقد قدرتها على اتخاذ القرار ويخفُّ وزنها في العقود الأربعة الماضية. غير أن فقدانها، شبه الكامل، لقدرتها على إدارة شؤون عملها المباشرة لم تحصل إلاّ في العقد الأخير.
    ففي عهد الملك عبد الله الثاني يصعب أن يتذكر الأردنيون أسماء رؤساء الوزارات الذين عيَّنهم لفرط خفَّتهم السياسية وانعدام حضورهم في الشارع. وليست حكومة معروف البخيت الثانية استثناء رغم أنها جاءت في ظرف استثنائي يشهد سلسلة من الثورات الشعبية التي تتدحرج على طول الخارطة العربية وعرضها. ففي ثلاثة أشهر سقطت أنظمة حكمت شعوبها بالحديد والنار، وها هي أنظمة أخرى تتأرجح على حبل رفيع يصعب أن تستمر في الرقص عليه طويلاً. ومع ذلك حلَّ الملك عبد الله الثاني حكومة سمير الرفاعي الثاني (ابن زيد الرفاعي ابن سمير الرفاعي الأول!) لتفادي رياح التغيير القوية التي تعصف بالعالم العربي وكلف الجنرال معروف البخيت الذي شهدت حكومته الأولى واحدة من أكثر الانتخابات الأردنية تزويراً في تاريخ البلاد، بحكومة جديدة وادارة ‘ملف الإصلاح’!
    مفارقة، أليس كذلك؟
    لكن المفارقة الأكبر هي أن كتاب التكليف الملكي الذي شخّص، بدقة، جملة من معيقات الاصلاح السياسي في الاردن يوجَّه إلى شخصية سياسية ذات منشأ عسكري ـ أمني لم يعهد عنها أي عمل اصلاحي إن لم يكن العكس.
    الرسالة المباشرة التي وصلت إلى الأردنيين من اختيار البخيت رئيساً للحكومة هي التالية: لا إصلاح ولا من يحزنون. فرجل مثل هذا لم يكن اصلاحياً قط ولم يحسب على الاصلاحيين وليس قادراً، بالتالي، على قيادة عملية الاصلاح التي ألحت رسائل الملك عبد الله الثاني على الشروع بها في التو واللحظة.
    كان توقع الأردنيين في محله.
    فلم تتحرك عجلة الاصلاح خطوة واحدة الى الأمام.. بل ما جرى كان عكس ذلك.
    ولننظر إلى ما حصل بعد خطاب التكليف الملكي. شكل البخيت حكومة لا مفاجأة سياسية فيها اللهم سوى تعيين رئيس تحرير صحيفة ‘العرب اليوم’ طاهر العدوان وزيراً للإعلام وناطقاً باسم الحكومة، ووضع المحامي المعارض حسين مجلي على رأس وزارة العدل. أما الوزارات السيادية المؤثرة في سياسات البلاد وحياة الناس اليومية فظلت في عهدة حرس قديم أو وزراء ورثهم البخيت من حكومة الرفاعي المقالة، أو حتى من رموز ‘عرفية’ لا تؤمن بالإصلاح. لكنَّ هذا ليس نهاية المطاف رغم أن اختيار الأشخاص يعني شيئاً. لقد توقع الناس، بعد مسارعة الملك إلى حل حكومة الرفاعي أن يحصل شيء على أرض الواقع، أن تبدو للاصلاح الموعود عناوين يمكن الرهان عليها، بيد أن شيئاً من ذلك لم يحصل. ما له دلالة على انعدام الرغبة في التغيير الحقيقي أن البخيت وأركان حكومته تحدثوا عن سبعة أشهر ليرى الناس شيئاً من هذا الإصلاح المنتظر. يكفي أن نعرف أن حكومة البخيت حدَّدت البوابة الرئيسية للإصلاح في تشكيل لجنة للحوار الوطني تعمل على بلورة شكل الاصلاح القادم! هذا يعني كما يقول جرير: أبشر بطول سلامة يا مربعُ. ولكن رغم تراكم الشكوك حيال الجهة المنوط بها قيادة عملية الاصلاح انتظر الأردنيون أن يحدث اختراق سريع على صعيد المطالب الاصلاحية، بعد إلحاح الرسائل الملكية على ذلك، إلى أن حصلت الانتكاسة: الهجوم على معتصمي دوار جمال عبد الناصر، واطلاق ‘البلطجية’ Ùˆ’الهتيفة’ عليهم، وتسيير تظاهرات ‘تأييد’ مماثلة لما يقوم به علي عبد الله صالح في اليمن في مواجهة محتجي الدوار وبعض شوارع عمان الأخرى.. أخطر من ذلك: التلويح بورقة ‘الأصول والمنابت’.. وهذه لم ترفعها الحكومة مباشرة بل تركت لـ ‘بلطجيتها’ الفحَّ بسمومها رغم خطورتها السياسية والاجتماعية على النظام والمجتمع في آن.
    يتضح، مما سبق، أن انحناء النظام الأردني أمام العاصفة التي تجتاح العالم العربي وتدقُّ باب أقرب جيرانه واعتاهم في قبضته الأمنية (النظام السوري) ليس ســـوى ‘تقطيع’ وقت، أو بتعبير آخر: شراء وقت ريثما يتبين نظام الملك عبد الله الثاني حصته من تلك العاصفة الهادرة.
    ‘ ‘ ‘
    ولكن ماذا يعني مفهوم الإصلاح في عقل النظام السياسي الأردني؟ إنه ‘مكرمة’. هذا هو التعبير الشائع، على نطاق واسع في الأردن، عما ينبغي أن يكون عليه، أصلاً، العمل الحكومي الرشيد، وعما هو من صلب عمل الدولة. لم يشع هذا التعبير أردنياً، حسب ظني، كما شاع في عهد الملك عبد الله الثاني حتى ليستحق أن يوصف بـ ‘عهد المكرمات’. ولا يشذ الاصلاح السياسي عن أي ‘مكرمة’ انمائية متواضعة يهلل لها الاعلام الأردني الرسمي ويطبل.
    يُهيأ لي أن الاصلاح في عقل النخبة السياسية الأردنية الحاكمة يعني ‘تنازلها’ عما تتوافر عليه من امتيازات اسثتنائية صارت، في غيبة دستور المملكة الأول، جزءاً من حقوقها. وتنازل، من هذا النوع، نادراً ما يتم طوعاً. وما لم تعِ هذه النخبة أن ما هي مقدمة عليه من اصلاح ليس تنازلاً عما بين يديها من أســـباب القوة والتمكّن غير الدستوريين لن يحدث الإصلاح. فالأمر، في أصله، ليس تنازلاً. إنه حق دستوري. لأن التنازل هو عما يملك المرء، بالطبيعة، وليس عما حازه بالقوة والقهر. الاصلاح ليس منَّة. إنه العودة الى الدستورالذي عملت فيه الماكينة العرفية تضييقاً، أو بالتعبير الأردني ‘تقييفاً’ØŒ حتى بات على مقاس الحاكم فقط. إنه نصيب الناس من العقد الاجتماعي الذي أبرموه مع الحكم قبل أكثر من نصف قرن. لقد نسيت مؤسسة الحكم في الأردن (يعنيها في ذلك منتفعون ومتسلّقون) أن هناك عقداً بينها وبين المواطنين وظنت أن قضمها التدريجي لبنود هذا العقد صار جزءاً من العقد نفسه!
    الآن، وبعد أن سقط أول دم أردني في مهب رياح التغيير التي تجتاح العالم العربي يصعب العودة إلى الوراء. لقد اختارت الغرفة السوداء في النظام، على ما يبدو، شكل الرد على المطالب الاصلاحية: المواجهة. وهذا خيار لا يرغب فيه المنادون بالحرية، وأحسب أنه مكلف لهم وللنظام على السواء، فضلا عن ثبوت فشله في البلاد العربية التي ثارت من أجل انتزاع حريتها. وما لم يتراجع الحكم في الأردن عن هذا الخيار الأمني، الصدامي، سنكون أمام لحظة فارقة في تاريخ النظام من جهة وتاريخ النسيج الاجتماعي في البلاد من جهة ثانية، لأننا سمعنا من الأصوات المنتصرة في دوار جمال عبد الناصر ‘حديث الملوخية’ الذي يقسم البلاد قسمين ويعلي شأن مواطنين على مواطنين ويعيد التذكير بزمنٍ لم يبرأ الأردن من جراحه الداخلية.
    أخيراً أقول لعقلاء مؤسسة الحكم في الأردن إن البلاد تواجه أخطاراً كبيرة ليس أقلها ما يثوي في أدراج الحكومة الاسرائيلية الحالية من حلول ‘نهائية’ للقضية الفلسطينية على حساب فلسطين كقضية وحساب الأردن كوطن لكل ابنائه. لا تصيخوا السمع للعرفيين والأيلوليين الذين يجهدون لإعادة عقارب الساعة إلى الوراء. الإصلاح، بين كل الخيارات المطروحة علناً وسراً على الأردن، هو الأقل كلفة. وقت الإصلاح لم يفت تماماً. فلا تضيعوا الوقت في انتظار ما ستسفر عنه العاصفة في الأرجاء.

  • الحوار بالقنوات(بفتح القاف والنون”جمع قناة”) لا بالقنوات (بفتح القاف وتسكين النون”جمع قنوه”)
    I prefer to submit this text by Arabic ٍwhere some expression you will not find the exact translation for it; which may make target lost. Google translate may help to get the general idea

    (لمن لا يعرف القنوه يمكن ان يرجع لمعجم المصطلحات الاردنيه)

    يبدا الإنسان تعلم الحوار وقبول الاخر من بداية أيامه ونعومة إظفاره فاول معلم للإنسان للغة الحوار هم والدية ثم معلمه (المدرس) ثم المدرسة الكبرى هي الحياة

    فالاب والام اللذان ي يفتحان المجال للطفل في إبداء رأيه في نوع الحليب الذي سيشربه ونوع الشوكو الذي سيأكله ورأيه في شكل دراجته ومن ثم يبدي رأيه ويشارك في إتخاذ القرارات البسيطه في الاسره لينتقل ليقول رأيه في القرارات التي تهم الاسرة وتتعلق بجميع أفرادها.

    ثم يتعلم بمدرستة من مدرسه كيف يحاور ويناقش ويتفق ويختلف في الراي ليتعلم كيف يحترم من يعارضه في الراي وكيف يقنع او يقتنع من الآخر وأساسيات مبادئ الحوار ويمتد التعلم الى الجامعة ومن ثم الى مدرسة الحياة.

    ليتفق مع هذا ويختلف مع ذاك في جو من الود وإحترام الآخر فيتعلم ان رأيه يحترم وقد لا ينفذ ويتعلم كيف يحترم الاخرين وآرائهم فالخلاف حول موضوع ما لايفسد للود قضيه ولا يتعني الإختلاف بالضرورة النزاع او النزع الى الى العصبية ومن ثم اللجور الى القوة لفرض رايه على الاخر وينزع عنه صفات الموضوعية والوطنية ثم يكيل له الإتهامات التي قد تصل الى الخيانة والتأمر.

    فحب الوطن ليس بكبر حجم العلم الذي تعلقه على سيارك وبإطلاق أبواقها مخترقا كل القوانين والانظمة معرضا حياتك وحياتك غيرك للخطر ولا يكون حب الوطن بالتجمهر في طريق الناس معطلا مصالحهم وأعمالهم.

    قد نختلف في تفسير حب الوطن الذي قد يبدا عندي من عدم القاء النفايات من شباك سيارتك وعندك من عدم إغلاق مدخل كراج جارك ومن عند آخر بترك التدخين فقط لأنه يلوث هواء وطنك Ùˆ….

    ولا أستطيع ان أحدد سقفا لحب الوطن فكل منا له قاموسه ومصطلحاته التي تصب جميعا في مصلحة الوطن والمواطن.

    فمن نشأ في أسرة “إخرس ياولد” ودرس في مدرسة “سكر ثمك” وترعرع في حارة “سد حلقك لأكسر راسك” وتخرج من جامعة ” مش شغلك لأفصلك” لن يكون مهيئأ لإدارة حوار ولن يكون قادرا على سماع غير رأية فكل من يخالفة في الراي جوابه له يكون مما ترسب في في ماضية من كلمات عندما كان يحاول أي محاولة بريئة ليبدي رأيه او يفتح فمه او يناقش دكتوره.

    بل قد يتفنن البعض في الصاق التهم وإطلاق المسميات على الاخر فقط لكونه يختلف معه في الراي هذا إن لم يسحب منه هويته ويصلق به تهمة إنتماءه لإعداء الوطن او على الأقل شهاده مصدقة بأنه من الطابور الخامس وانه عار وخزي على هذا الوطن.

  • im from Argetina, and learning about the situation at the middle east, I will always read your blog about Jordan, now, and also pray for the situation, for it to get better, the key is always education, but thats wasy to say, where do u start, i will pray. Blessings.

Your Two Piasters: