Sunday, May 11, 2008

A tough crowd

Members of parliament were not particularly impressed by Mullah Nader's explanation on the land sale issue. Some even called on him to resign. It is possible that they were speaking to the cameras, but still the same this reflects widespread dissolution and skepticism on the management of the economy in general and the land sale issue in particular.

Nariman Rousan, who has a penchant for saying embarrassing things, accused the government of being run from behind the scenes by Bassem Awadallah. She said that all these deals are "suspicious" and compared Awadallah to Israeli Spy Eli Cohen (who almost became defense minister of Syria). A crowd pleaser that embarrassed the parliament speaker (who had previously helped torpedo Awadallah's appointment as minister of finance) into disavowing these statements.

Many people suspect Awadallah to be behind many of the initiatives to sell state property, among other things. However, this is not a personal issue.

Most of the MP's comments on the land sale defense were skeptical and angry. Samih Bino suggested that a "high security official" owns a lot of land in the area, and that Dahabi consulted with him on the issue. Abelraouf Rawabdeh pointed out that once the land becomes under the control of a private company (even if run by the SSC), then it will be out of the jurisdiction of parliament to monitor what happens. He also pointed out that this land was originally confiscated for the public benefit, and not private investment.

In summation, Mamdouh Abbadi estimated that 95% of the deputies were against the sale. An account by MP Bassam Haddadin suggests that the afternoon session, without the cameras, was less rowdy.

Editorial comments on the meeting were also interesting. Majid Toubeh (Al Ghad) highlighted the widespread anger throughout the country as a main driving force for the "parliamentary intifada". The PM's explanations were not convincing, and parliamentarians accused him of insulting people's intelligence and for not being forthright.

Other columnists took a wider view, discussing the debate on wider economic policies. Mohammad Abu Ruman slipped up by suggesting that only the "neoliberal" economic team have any concrete plans, unlike their opponents. Samih Maitah took a different track, and said that everybody has the same plan, although there is skepticism over the intentions of the "neoliberals", and a belief that they don't care about the social ramifications of their decisions.

Anyway, none of these discussions will amount to a hill of beans. If they did, we might hear something different.


At 10:21 AM, Blogger Hani Obaid said...

What upset me the most was that it was confiscated for public benefit. I don't believe how many people I've heard saying their land/home was confiscated in this way, some without compensation. What is worse is that if they don't find a way to use it or sell it they force the original owner to buy it back even though they didn't pay them for it to begin with. At first I thought it was just exaggerated gossip, but then a close friend told me it happened to his father. It is highway robbery.

At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf, I like your blog and i like the way you analyze the issues. I see in most of the comments that there is a demand for transparency from the government. I have an issue with that, there is a saying " you cannot teach an old dog new tricks" so the government will never be transparent . The government will only use transparency as a cover up for something else, so what we know is the tip of the iceberg. The other thing I see is that people are all talk, I do not see any action. All through history there was no change with no sacrifice, if jordanians can do it differently then we will be the first nation to do so. Corruption in jordan is at all levels, and no one wants to sacrifice to make a change, so it will continue the way it is and most likely it will get worse. I will leave you with a saying from a friend "If you do not make a decision someone else will make it for you"
Keep the good work. Good Luck!

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raed, although I agree with you on the issue of transparency, I cannot help myself from pointing out the hypocrisy that is embedded within your comment. You say in your comment “The other thing I see is that people are all talk, I do not see any action…no one wants to sacrifice to make a change, so it will continue the way it is and most likely it will get worse.” Though I wonder what sacrifices have you done other than “talk” on this blog. It is also true that people lack the incentive to sacrifice, but a pessimistic approach can only make these incentives even harder to reach. We should remind ourselves just how Jordan was when HM the late King Hussein became a King, and how it became when he died. I doubt that HM the late King Hussein, nor HM King Abdullah II share the same pessimistic outlook that you have shown.

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear A, Probably we all have hypocrisies inherent in our being, Since you do not know me and what sacrifices I made I do not think you can fairly judge me. Even if I never sacrificed I will always appreciate those who did and will admit they are better than me. The issue here is not me or you, it is what we do and what we believe in doing. There is no guarantee that sacrifices will yield anything, this is why they call it a sacrifice. If an incentive was expected from a sacrifice then it is no longer called "sacrifice" it is then called "Deal". Sacrifices are made to make a change.
MY pessimism comes from the fact that our accomplishments are not as great as we think. Fact: Jordan Ranks 86 on the Human Development Index. Do you know that countries like Libya and Cuba rank much better than Jordan? Lets talk about unemployment, Lets talk about the economy, Did you see the article in The Nation about corruption in jordan? did you see the Human Rights Watch report on Jordan?
Lets talk about vision and accomplishments, As a generation what are we leaving for our kids? I will not talk about the incentives. I am just thinking will there ever be a better motive for us to sacrifice?


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