Mar 20, 2011

When Birthdays Turn Political

The Arab region has been in frenzy of demands for political reform for quite a while now, it is arguably turning into a new "trend". These demands are powered by outspoken youth and enforced by one the newly discovered hidden power of social networking. These demands have caused a widespread of marches, public speeches and days of "rage" every weekend in the Arab region.

Jordan has not been at the least immune to these new regional outbreaks of demands for political reform. And in the midst of this Jordanian political wake up calling for constitutional reforms headed by the demand for a constitutional monarchy which serves the rights of the people to enjoy their rights in democratic way to choose their governments.

In the very near past we have seen a wave of a fairly new social behavior, the celebration of the King's birthday, which was widely blessed by governmental officials and the King himself, which has turned into, basically, a rally of support by Jordanians expressing their loyalty to the throne. The question that surfaces here is: If the people love the King so much (celebrating his birthday more than a month after) then why are there substantial movements demanding to tie his hands with the constitution?

I think the answer to that was phrased in a very accurate manner by the former director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University, Nathan Brown, in an article discussing the Jordanian political movement, by saying: It is quite easy to explain the expression of the people of Jordan towards the upkeep of the throne; as it is based on their doubts towards each other rather than their loyalty to the throne.

Jordanians are doubtful of each others intentions behind reform more than they are loyal to the throne. This issue in enforced very strongly by the complexity of the society which is made up of a mix of Jordanians with Palestinian origins and Eastern Jordanians (in reference to east of the Jordan river). It is debated which are the majority, but clearly whichever side is the majority, it is that only by a very thin margin. This complexity comes into play when it comes to demands for political reform. Political parties in the country have always been labeled to be on either side of this complexity.

These birthday celebrations have been politicized and used to carry different internal messages. They carry a message to reform seekers that the government might, and I say might, be reformed if u try hard enough, as for the King, well it's not going to be that easy!

PS: To whom it may concern: Children should be in school getting education, not marching to make statements. If you have to make statements find a way that doesn't involve children, our educational system is bad enough already ..

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