I am no politician and neither do I have an ambition to become one. But I am becoming, despite my optimistic nature, a politically worried Jordanian citizen.

Almost everyday there is news in Jordan about this tribe bashing that tribe, about fights between students in universities, about security forces having to intervene in this city or that village.

Everyday there is more and more high pitched talk about “identity”. Who is Jordanian? How should all of us be represented? How are youth defining their identity? Are we members of tribes and families first and then citizens? Where did your grandfather come from?

Walk the streets, read the newspaper or browse the Jordanian web and you feel a degradation of spirit going on. Jordan’s once proud universities and institutions are falling apart. The political process and the drive for more citizen participation seems stalled at best. People have no problem making irresponsible pronouncements in the media. There is a degradation of trust in government.

The degradation is visible, even as pockets of entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity flourish in various places. It’s a very confusing picture!

Official statements alway talk about a “troublemaking minority”. About “phenomena that is not part of our society of solidarity”. I cannot help but feel a lot of officials are STILL in denial. Whenever they talk about our universities they talk of “monuments”. Whenever they talk about any body of government, they talk about “great accomplishments” and “great institutions.”

Is everything fine? Is really just a matter of a little minority of troublemakers?

Let’s make no mistake: the source of a lot of what is happening is economic. People who fight over resources end up using tribalism, religion or other affiliations in their quarrels. The country is in a transition that seems to have produced some winners and some losers. An economic crisis has exposed some of the festering problems across the country. Media is exposing long neglected spots of decay.

But even if the source of the current rifts and violence is economic, let’s not deny that social and cultural norms are playing a role in how disputes are being handled and how discussions are carried out.

Governments seem to be unwilling or unable to stem the tide of negativity. Only when we see true political, social, educational and media reform can we talk about progress towards a safer future.

But what is the role of citizens?

Is there a critical mass of Jordanians who are willing to stand up for dignified citizenship, a spirit of solidarity and against societal violence in all its forms?

We still have, in this country, a base of good will and a functioning state and society. Are people willing to be be vocal about protecting what they have?

And even if our problems are deeply economic and social, how many Jordanians are willing to at least agree that we should solve our problems using political mechanisms, open debate and peaceful reform.

Is it only the job of the political elite to talk about national unity, political reform and national dialogue? What is the role of every small school, company, club or societal organization?

Can we imagine a million Jordanians saying: lets stand together for dignity, solidarity and peace?







7 responses to “Can 1 million Jordanians stand up for dignity, solidarity and societal peace?”

  1. kinzi Avatar

    Preach it brutha. Yea.

  2. Nada Abandah Avatar
    Nada Abandah

    What needs to be done Ahmad? by us I mean, the “citizens”… & believe me, everyone is equally worried about the implications of those “isolated” incidents!

  3. Amjad Avatar

    I’m wondering whether it’s really the economy to blame for this. I’m not an expert on this but let’s assess conditions in Jordan; politics is non-existent and always has been. it’s laughable; creative entrepreneurship is almost non-existent and always has been and will be as long as the rich doesn’t invest their money in local entrepreneurs or at least meaningful businesses; economy is, well, not that great and it was only much worse a decade or two ago.

    so i guess the reason must be cultural. that said, the only way we can become a modern country is by exercising our rights responsibly. the government can only emphasize these rights and actually grant them if they aren’t. Jordanians should develop a healthy political system, a one where there are parties with clear manifestos. these parties aren’t the responsibility of the state and only individuals can start them. but of course a lot of the brightest people in this country are engrossed in self-pity, so busy self destructing, or pointing fingers to actually stand up and do anything. political activism is the solution, with people subscribing to meaningful real parties run by rational people (not religious fanatics)

  4. jamal alsalim Avatar
    jamal alsalim

    the establishment of a palestinian state in the west bank is the only solution for jordan identity problems otherwise we will see tutsi hutu massacres in jordan in the few coming years.

  5. Amjad Avatar

    Integrating Jordanians of Palestinian origin is the only solution to the problem Jamal is referring to. Both Jordanians and Jordanian-Palestinians need to grow up and realize this world is not just about Jordanians and Palestinians. The rift between the two people is ridiculous and is only fueled by short-sighted statements like yours. there you have two people who are so very alike and probably share the same exact ancestry, yet they don’t waste a chance of bashing each other.

    the temptation of making dramatic statements that you fell for is just another reason why Arabs never get anywhere, they are busy making unsubstantiated, blown-out-of-proportion statements like that one. fortunately for us there won’t be any massacres in Jordan. Be careful what you wish for though.

    On another note, there will never be a two-state solution, a one-state solution at best. Keep dreaming though, it doesn’t seem like a waste of time at all considering that there’s no west bank left anymore, it’s a cluster of settlements.

  6. strange Avatar

    @ jamal alsalim, are you refering to the establishment of a Palestinian State as a solution because it will relieve a festering source of frustration for many Arabs, including Jordanians? If not, and you mean that the massacres will be a result of Jordanian-Palestinian fighting, then I wonder how you could come to this conclusion since the violence occuring in our society is among and between Jordanians of Jordanian origin or between Jordanian citizens and the police, but not actually between Jordanians and Palestinians! Please explain.

  7. Mo Avatar

    What a shame none of our ancestors (and when I say ancestors I mean grand parents and beyond) ever had these problems of tension between each other. Its funny how Lebanese don’t like Syrians for example…..when originally they where against being called Lebanese….Does it feel like whatever the west wants us to think about ourselves we have to follow? I mean seriously are jordanian, palies, syrians, and etc that different……..but we supposedly hate each other…………Seriously it pisses me off that even our identity isn’t even in our hands