After the Summit…

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Wed 1 March / Mar 2017. 01:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

Apparently, the Local and Municipal Elections are put off till after the Arab Summit by the end of March in Jordan.

Similarly, the Cabinet has finally ratified the death row manifest, but execution is put off also till after the Summit, according to official sources!

What on earth does the Arab Summit have to do with domestic Jordanian Affairs!?

In recent weeks, the Summit has been the perfect alibi for almost every procrastinated or postponed decision or task completion, down to the smallest government process; everything is put off until the Summit is done.

In recollection, this sounds a lot like the more traditionally used alibi for laziness and incompetence whenever there are holidays round the bend.

Likewise, government transactions are suspended, mostly, during Ramadan, and decisions are usually put off till after Eid too!

Mindfully, the Arab Summit is a big deal, yes, definitely, but it’s more like a midsummer night’s dream; one barely hears anything about its convention, and suddenly its done and over with.

In many instances, newspapers have published closing statements one or two days ahead of time.

However, it is the protocol and all the security measures which make it exhausting for Arab governments and states hosting conventions of the sort. Respective authorities have declared a lockdown in the Dead Sea area, and residents need to apply for entry permits one month ahead of the Summit.

Unfortunately, it is all about protocol in our Arab World.

Protocol is by far more important than any of the assemblies, statements, or decisions, and it is likely that host countries are busier accommodating the leaders’ companions than they are accommodating the leaders themselves, who make their appearances for only a few hours and leave before the sun sets.

Therefore, the government turns to declaring the day the Summit convenes an official holiday; for the respective institutions to do their hosting and entertainment parts to the fullest, as well as lighten traffic on the streets.

The government may even consider calling the day off, even though the convention is in the Dead Sea area; nowhere close to the jam in Amman.

The preparations ahead of the Summit, and during, place everybody; institutions and individuals on alert. Government to be careful about decisions they pass, and they put off what can be postponed, in order to not disturb the peace before the Summit.

For some officials, it is an occasion which allows them to procrastinate their tasks and responsibilities, even though they have nothing to do with the Summit itself.

Accordingly, the totality of the government becomes invested in making sure the Country looks its best; clean, beautiful, green, and therefore, they plant trees along the sides of the roads for a few days, paint walls and sidewalks, and do their best to cover up the random areas.

Most importantly, the government endeavours to maintain momentum, during and after the Summit, by making it sound as if it is a decisive moment in history, for no reason whatsoever. The government directs attention to how successful the organisation and administration of the event went, and how the whole duration of the summit was problem free; from the moment leaders arrived to the moment they got on their planes.

Meanwhile, “After the Summit” is the trending phrase for now.

After the proud Arab ceremony is over with, the next trend will probably be “didn’t you know we were busy with the Summit?” to justify their procrastination!

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.