Saturday, March 11, 2006

Rule of law

Al Ghad has been covering the issue of health worker safety at public health facilities for the last couple of days. It seems that relatives accompanying patients are getting the impression that they are free to be rough with the doctors and nurses, as a way of showing concern for the patient. In the latest incident, a doctor was hospitalized after being beaten by relatives of a patient. This has been an ongoing issue that seems to be increasing in severity. Naturally, the Jordanian Medical Association wants something to be done about this.

The problem with the rule of law in Jordan is that there are actually two parallel laws, the official codes and the tribal codes. Invariably, after a doctor is beaten or a child is run over by a careless driver, the family of the perpetrator asks for an a'tweh (sort of a tribal truce) from the family of the victim, which eventually leads to a long process by which there is a sulhah (tribal reconciliation). While the victims' families might resist a sulhah, for the sake of justice to the victim, they typically succumb to the social pressure and agree to the reconciliation. When this happens, the victims family drops formal charges against the perpetrator, and the prosecutors office drops the case in court.

Now, it occurs to me that the only misdemeanors that get punished rigorously in Jordan are traffic violations. If the police catch you speeding, no amount of humanitarian appeal would sway them from giving you the ticket (unless you are a hot chick). But for the most part, if you are given a ticket, you pay.

Most Jordanians realize that the rigor which is used in traffic violations is a way to collect money. So, it seems to me that the only way to enforce the rule of law would to make it beneficial to government coffers. Thus, if somebody assaults a doctor in a clinic, and the punishment is a flat 1000 dinars, then you would see that the prosecutors' office wouldn't drop the issue even if there is a sulhah. Currently, a jail sentence of a week or a month is not a particularly good incentive for the government to punish the perpetrators. Prisoners in jail cost money. Better make them pay a hefty fine. Justice is served, the perp is punished painfully and the government makes some money. The same could be true for damage caused by reckless driving. The victims family can forfeit their rights, but the government would have no incentive to drop the matter .


At 4:12 PM, Blogger issam said...

Teaching by consquences ha! It works very well with children and should work with adult as well. I like the idea Khalafa! However, I do not understand how this happens in hospitals. Why doctors are the one to argue with retarted reltaives of a patient. There should be security agents who should deal with these situations, do not you think so? I mean how much to hire a big security guy like the ones we see in clubs? I believe hospitals can afford one or two, do not you think so?

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hi Issam: These are at public hospitals or clinics, and you are right. God knows how many soldiers and police are sitting around with nothing to do. It would be a simple task to assign a few to do this.

At 1:36 AM, Blogger James Fletcher Baxter said...

The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

The way we define 'human' determines our view
of self, others, relationships, institutions, life, and
future. Important? Only the Creator who made us
in His own image is qualified to define us accurately.
Choose wisely...there are results.

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV



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