Arrest of IAF deputies and the demo in front of parliament: the right response?

Demonstration in front of Jordan's Parliament

I didn’t have the chance to write about the demonstration held on monday in front of parliament because work, and football at night, caught up with me (BTW: I have only watched 3 games so far).
In a number of ways, the demonstration was disappointing. Although I found myself agreeing with a lot of the banners held up, the demonstration felt like a ‘bussed-in’ affair (i.e it felt like the usual ‘pro-government’ gathering). The audience consisted mainly of tribal representatives (which is ‘interesting’ as one blogger put it), but I would have liked to see more diversity and a representation of Amman’s people.

We are also seeing ads of ‘condemnation’ in the newspapers and lot of ‘declarations of allegiance’!

And the four deputies have been arrested and it seems they will be tried in front of the State Security court, on grounds of ‘stirring up discord’.

I honestly think this is not the right response.

What the four deputies did (and what one of them said) was unbelievably insensitive and disgusting. It can be argued that it makes them apologist of Zarqawi type terror. But using the State Security court against them will make them seem as victims of a government controlled process of score settling with the Islamists (as some Islamists are already claiming).

Regardless of any real or perceived process ‘score settling’, the Islamists need to understand (and some of them apparently do) that there is a real feeling of disgust among a sizable segment of society and the media. Not everyone who criticizes the IAF is a government controlled robot or part of a global conspiracy against Islam (although the IAF almost always accuse their critics of that!)
The other side of the coin, of course, is that there is also sizable segment of society that really, to varying degrees, supports an extremist, violent ideology. A friend of mine who takes a lot of taxis and who likes to chat with the drives to gauge their opinions on things, said he heard several statements along the lines of “to hell with those people who died in the hotels.. they were attending ‘mixed’ parties (meaning ‘socially permissive’ parties)”!!

Is it class-based hatred? Is it political disenfranchisement? Is a cultural sickness? Is it moral confusion because of what happening in Palestine and Iraq?

Maybe all the above!

The point is that this kind of thinking, as well as excesses of the IAF deputies need to be confronted by a strong moral, social stance and not simply by a show of force by the state.

And just to make things ABSOLUTELY clear, such a moral stance should apply to ALL acts of ‘terror’ against civilians.


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One Response to “Arrest of IAF deputies and the demo in front of parliament: the right response?”

  1. Phree Says:

    Well I think what the taxi driver(s) said is as bad as what them deputies did. But people here do tend to talk too much and say stuff they don’t actually mean, he (the taxi driver) might have thought he’ll sound tough by saying that, cuz if it was anything but that then it’s gonna be a real struggle changing the way these people think, if that’s even possible.

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