A Jordanian Kind of Ingratitude!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Thu 25 August / Aug 2016. 12:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Fri 26 August / Aug 2016. 12:32 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

In the introduction to his book, titled “Ala Jamr Al Ghada”; roughly translates to “Over the Coals of theTamarisk”, subtitled “Overview of Jordanian Government 1949-1960”, the author and researcher Abdul Hadi Madadha, mentions a funny story that inspired him to write the book: a young 24 year old Jordanian graduate, in 2006, whose mother was head principal of the Mutah primary girls school in Marka, Amman, had failed to correctly answer these questions: Where is Mutah? Which parties fought in the Mutah Battle? Who lead the Arab Army? Who is the Jordanian Prime Minister? Who is the Representative House Speaker?.. And “this spooked me”, he says, “and I remembered how when we were his age, we used to discuss all kinds of foreign and domestic affairs.”

It seems rather typical; youth with the highest academic qualifications and little to no knowledge of their country’s history; Jordan’s history, are not so hard to find! The only not-so-typical thing about this is in that it “shocked” Madadha into writing the book. And the book’s value does not lie in any new historic knowledge, nor any addition to the literature; quite contrarily, the author right from the start states his reference to Sleiman Mousa’s book, Natheir Rsheid, an interview with Ali Abu Nuwwar —who actually wrote a deeper book on the events of 1957— and another book titled “The Brink of Jordan” written by former US Ambassador to Jordan, Charles Johnston, as well as the memoirs of Mahmoud Riyadh. The value lies in the simplified storytelling method used to retell the major evens of Jordan’s 1950s, shedding light on pivoting historic points in Jordan’s development.

Back in the 50s, Riyadh Solhn was assassinated in Jordan, and His late Majesty King Abdullah was also assassinated in the Aqsa Mosque, and King Talal became King, and for medical reasons He stepped down and King Hussein came along. Tawfiq Abul Huda, Jordan’s most ancient premier, having formed 12 governments, was found murdered, possibly suicide, in his house in 1956. Prime Minister Ibrahim Hashem was killed in the Baghdad coup in 1958, as well as Hazza Majali, assassinated in his office in 1960. House arrest was enforced on Suleiman Nabulsi, head of the party parliamentary government of 1957, and many prominent army leaders fled the same year after the failed coup, included chief of staff Ali Abu Nuwwar, then Ali Hyari. The military court found many of them guilty for attempting to overthrow the Monarchy, and then Chief of Staff Sadeq Sharea was found guilty in another attempted coup.

In the 50s, Jordan entered the Arab Union with Iraq, in response to the United Arab Republic. But the union lasted no more than some months due to the coup on the Hashemite regime in Iraq. A parliamentary party government was formed, headed by Nabulsi, the Arab Army was nationalised and Arabised, and the star of Jamal Abdul Naser had risen, and became a constant political headache for Jordan… etc.

This decade, the 1950s, is packed with historic events, turning points, Jordan underwent, with the King Hussein still in his 20s; how do we serve this history to our children and youth in schools and universities? Who do they understand the history of their nation? How do we construct a national memory among our youth? If we do not construct this knowledge on a soundly structured philosophical approach, how do we expect of them to be loyal to their country and history? If these stories, our history, are not planted deep in their minds and hearts, they will never understand our Country!

I doubt there is anywhere around the world, the kind of Jordanian ingratitude to our history that Jordanians have to their homeland and their shortcoming in building national memory, constructing history, and documenting it!