Saturday, July 05, 2008

Cleaning up the mess

Last week, the king gave an unprecedented interview, in which he clearly articulated his views on the issues that are concerning Jordanians these days. I must say that the frankness in the king’s latest interview was a breath of fresh air. After the public discourse was taken over by fear mongering and slander, this interview should set the stage for an honest and open discussion on the issues that we face. Thanks for Nasim for taking the trouble to translate it.

The five most important points (to me) were:

1- We should do our best to attract investments now, because the oil boom in the Gulf will not last forever.

2- It is legitimate debate to question how the money from selling land will be spent, but selling land in itself does not mean that it will leave Jordanian sovereignty.

3- The government owns 80% of land in Jordan (I didn’t know that).

4- The Royal Court has no jurisdiction over the government according to the constitution, and the king is insisting that this is how things are and how they will be.

5- The king is aware of the gossip and rumors, and admonished people to look for facts rather than sensational lies.

Now, the interview was needed simply because the country has been immersed in all kind of rumor and innuendo for the last five months. I agree with the king’s point that this style of interviews should not become a routine thing. However, not doing it would have led to a growing credibility gap between the state and the people. And I thing I should elaborate on this.

First, it is not the king’s job to explain the government’s thinking. It is the government’s job. Because they failed to do this, the credibility gap grew. Actually, it was the PM who started the land sales rumors, and when he lost control he resorted to trying to bury people in bullshit rather than the honest, straightforward approach that the king took.

Second, the fictional “returning of constitutional authority of the government” has only come to public discourse since Dahabi took office. I always thought that this is a ridiculous issue, given that the government has much more power than it really should in Jordan. Of course, this term is a code reference to Bassem Awadallah taking over the government’s mandate, and has taken on unfortunate sectarian overtones. Of course, the Royal Court does not have constitutional mandate over the government. If Dahabi feels that he has to lick Awadallah’s shoe, that’s his problem, not Awadallah’s. Dahabi should stop the cry baby routine acted out through his proxies.

Third, the Jarash festival issue was totally mismanaged by the government from start to finish. Again, this has been through the actions that it took and poor communication with the public.

The interview was necessitated by poor performance of the government and the bickering between the PM and the head of the Royal Court, pure and simple. I would respectably submit that it is not the people’s fault that there are rumors, as it is the people in power who are starting them and using them to further their agendas. This is where the blame should be placed.

8 Comments:

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Khaled said...

Khalef I have an issue with these 2 points
A The Royal Court has no jurisdiction over the government according to the constitution, and the king is insisting that this is how things are and how they will be.
B The king is aware of the gossip and rumors, and admonished people to look for facts rather than sensational lies.

I believe the king is not being honest and forthcoming when he said point A, because the truth is that he hire and fire the governments and he hand picks the PM and all the ministers, so I believe he was not honest in that statement and I believe he as a head of a state should be responsible and accounted for something.
As for point B the king said that we shouldn’t believe rumors but search for facts, could he tell us how can we search and find facts, we don’t have a fair and balanced media in Jordan, every thing in monitored and controlled by the mokhabarat so are these the facts that he is talking about.
I really believe that the king is going in the wrong direction, he and the people around him mismanaged the country for so long and we the people just let them do what ever they want….this will take us all to a dark future

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Khaled: The king has massive influence on the PM. That is clear, and it is how the constitution was written. However, the same should not be true regarding the head of the royal court. Now, to be perfectly blunt, any complaints about the RC interfering with the government are complaints about the king interfering. If the PM can't handle that, he should resign.

As for the lack of information, I totally agree. Things are worse when the centers of power use disinformation against each other, as I pointed out already.

 
At 6:54 AM, Blogger Habchawi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7:20 AM, Blogger Habchawi said...

I think the debate should be about what kind of influence.....does he put the high level policy of the country or does he (personally and/or through the RC) micro manage how those policies are implemented.
while I agree with most points of the interview. I think the problem in Jordan different governments, is that they think that people are inherently stupid and must be shown what’s right or wrong for them. So, our wise gov do whatever they feel is right and if we complain or try to question government action they just try shut everybody up, and hide behind this rhetoric
(انكار الانجازات جريمة بحق الوطن
المشككون )
It kind of reminds me of a totalitarian regime, now we even have to think like they do...........

 
At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did you conclude that Nasim translated it?

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Because he didn't link to the original source. Of course, I might be wrong.

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger Masalha1 said...

Khalaf,
our governments simply gotten bigger and slower, they're too busy setting in their airconditioned offices and loosing touch with people, passing laws by bribing parliament members with more money and fringe benefits,and getting so involved with rumores and gossip to the point that they forgot how to govern, which gave Bassim Awadallah a reason to make some moves the government should have been making them and because we have a very weak and paralyzed government it became apparent that he is running the government rather than Dahabi.
At the end the king speech is fine for the moment but unless the government start acting like one and stop acting like a cry baby and face the music and stop hiding behinde his majesty every time somthing goes wrong, rumores will start again and the government will continue to run things like a chicken with its head cut off.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger qloob said...

:)
thank you soooo much
شات-منتدى-شات كتابي

 

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