This is how we are... what is new?

تم نشره في Sun 20 April / Apr 2014. 11:45 PM - آخر تعديل في Sun 20 April / Apr 2014. 11:45 PM

By Fahed Khitan

There is no need for anxiety; Jordanian political life has been like this since the founding of the state 90 years ago - there has always been a heated debate about internal issues, and alignments among elites; call it gangs or coalitions, whatever may it be, it is important that the Jordanians were raised throughout these decades upon the culture of diversity.

Even in the years of martial law and the absence of parliamentary life, the trade unions, associations, and blocs have been a space for heated political debates, sometimes exceeding the red lines.

If we put aside ideologically-influenced political parties, the overwhelming majority of the opposition are statesmen or affiliated with it. They were entering governments, and once they leave they move to the opposition; individuals and groups. Since the mid-1970s and until the early 1990s, the elite were divided between two groups; some with Zeid Rifai and others with Mudar Badran, and decades before them there were similar divisions. On the sidelines of the two main groups, other teams rose to compete with both parties.

During the fourth Kingdom, the equation changed completely thanks to objective and personal conditions; but the general characteristic of the political elites of Jordan remained intact.

Nothing new to necessitate these campaigns of mistrust and skepticism, initiated whenever a political opinion is said in a lecture or an interview. In the last decade, we have seen marathon debates about reforms in Jordan, which surpassed all limits and considered the finer details. We did not agree on everything, however, everyone was convinced that we are moving forward, and in the worst case said that we are running in the middle of the road.

We were unable to create a framework for political life; naturally, the political process in the country was still based on individual phenomena, and sometimes personal biases. The person who is the most tired of managing such cases is the decision-maker.

Each statesman that came to power was not satisfied with the other; the former premier criticizes his predecessors and his successor, and likewise in the other decision-making circles.

Admittedly, though, the discussion developed recently become a debate about programs and visions. Samir Rifai proposing a program offset by Marouf Bakhit with a different vision, while the liberal Marwan Muasher proposes another idea and then Ahmed Obeidat proposes his ideas that we knew for years. The Islamists are in the scene, too, and did not leave the yard sparring as did their counterparts in other countries; maybe divided, but they understand the equation of Jordan better than ever before.

Abdul Karim Kabariti appears in the scene after a voluntary absence, and says words that are profound and important that we have not heard in years. Will his rare appearance at a seminar in the "Shoman" lay the foundation for an upcoming return to politics? We do not know yet, though the man adheres to his retirement from political action so far.

Such atmosphere is not peculiar to Jordan; thus we have lived for decades. Of course, we do not want to continue like this. These generations aspire to a life based on partisan institutions and a stable democracy. But the road is still long, it seems.

If a citizen of Syria or Libya followed up on the responses, reactions, and politics, they would have been surprised by our situation; we do not tolerate the contrary view, and we consider them a threat to the state and national unity... etc, while people these are dying by the dozen, and lack the minimum sense of security and stability.

There is no reason for us to be afraid of each other; Jordan has been like this since it was established, and as such it will remain. 



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.