Sunday, March 27, 2011

A personal message on recent events in Amman

Friday, March 25, 2011 will be marked as a sad day in the history of Jordan. It is the day we were bombarded with images of Jordanians throwing rocks and insults at other Jordanians who were protesting peacefully in the streets of Amman, demanding real reform. This group was not chanting "down with the regime" or the king. They just wanted a better country and were inspired into action by events in Egypt and Tunisia. Reckless, yes. Admirable, definitely.

The more I read about this, the more I became convinced that this was a case of a simple misunderstanding (I use "simple" in the loosest meaning of the word). Most of the stone throwers seemed convinced that the protesters had only one intention: To dethrone the King and establish an Islamic Palestinian state in Jordan. Those Jordanians truly believed they were defending their country. Misguided, yes. Needs addressing, definitely.

I know that many young Jordanians who were hopeful about a better country had a rude awakening this weekend: Their country is too divided to be reformed. To quote Naseem Tarawnah in his brilliant, yet depressing account of the events "For how a can a society this small and yet this divided be able to function in a democratic state?"

Now I come from a country even smaller than Jordan, a million times more divided. A country that sought to deal with its differences through an endless supply of mini-wars, where every person is weary of the other, afraid their aim is to strip them of their legitimacy and right to live. This fear is further propagated by those in power, seeking to maintain the status quo.

But to Tarawnah, and all those who share his worry, I tell you that I believe it's possible to build a society in this mess. How? By people like you: A new generation of educated, courageous and proud individuals who are bent on bridging gaps and communicating endlessly. It is possible to reach out to the other side, and correct the misconceptions, wherever they are found. It takes time, just like it will take time for Egypt to get its feet on the ground and start grappling with its reality.

There is a bu3bu3 (monster) that's creeping our countries out, and that bu3bu3 is scaring some more than others. This fear needs to be faced and quelled. It's a tough job, I know. But someone's got to do it.


مياسي said...

Well, I hope what happened answers ur questions about ppl I spoke about before, there is a huge gap that must be filled yes, but how? i don't want to think about it bcoz i know what the answer is!.

hallouleh said...

I like the positive energy radiating from your article :) specially after reading Naseem's.
Yes, there will always be hope, but perseverance is the only way to achieve success

samia said...

Clear message from you Lama.
My sense is that fear seems to be the overwhelming driving factor for those against reform, not hate.
If that holds true then there is hope.
The depressing events of March 24th/25th clearly highlighted the huge gap between different segments of Jordanian society. The journey towards democratic reform will not be a short one in Jordan, Egypt or anywhere else in the region. People don't seem to understand we are amateurs at this and that mistakes will be made.
I do believe though that there is no going back even if we are only at the start line.

Hamza said...

Very refreshing indeed. It takes looking @ an outsider's point of view to properly grasp things. Yet, you aren't really an outsider. Your views actually convey those of an insi(ght)der.

We are so distorted, like to make knots out of ropes, & it truly takes some discipline & a wee bit of being focused to get things into perspective.

I thoroughly enjoyed your article, many thanks :)