Law enforcement regardless!

Crowding protesters are being held back by security personnel
Crowding protesters are being held back by security personnel in Karama near the border during anti-Israel demonstrations on May 15, 2021. (Photo: Ameer Khalifa/Jordan News)
When Singapore came to existence as a state in 1965, it was a small country with meager resources (doesn’t that ring a bell). Its founder, Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away in 2015 aged 91, left behind him an impressive legacy that can be iconized in one simple rule: The chewing gum ban.اضافة اعلان

Two decades ago, part of Jordan’s reform rhetoric was that the country, being very similar to Singapore in terms of area, resources, and strategic location, was seeking to become another Singapore or something like it. Where are we now?

We consciously missed a key factor that made the island a “first-world oasis in a third-world region” — a successful pursuit of perfection: Zero violations. As a young man then, my reaction when I read about the chewing gum theory of Lee Kuan Yew was: “Why would a prime minister with this track record be so preoccupied with banning chewing gum?” As I matured, I realized that when it comes to law enforcement, even the most trivial thing is as important as constitutional law. In Singapore, according to a BBC report, other taboos include “litter, graffiti, jaywalking, (and) spitting”.

So back to our reality here: What if the matter is about something much more serious than chewing gum? What if it is about life and death; ours, our loved ones’, and that of the economy? Yes, I am talking about the current defense law that is supposed to save us and our livelihoods.

In principle, standing by Palestinians is a noble cause and never an issue to dispute. However, epidemiologists say that a third wave of COVID-19 is inevitable. Perhaps it will not as severe as the second wave due to the increasing momentum in the vaccination drive and the fact that more than 700,000 have been already infected, but the loss of one life is as tragic as the loss of thousands.

A Jordan News reporter covering a rally in the Jordan Valley says that of the hundreds that were there expressing anger at Israel and supporting the Palestinians, almost none wore a mask, and that social distancing protocols and other precautionary measures were totally ignored, as if they never existed or are irrelevant.

I won’t say how strange it is that no official has said anything about abiding by the law of the land, simply because this is historically the way our governments behave when the tide is so high. What I really lament is why organizers and promoters of public rallies, who are supposed to be educated people and pro-reform figures, did not bother to even advise people to wear masks.

They could have even done better had they suggested other forms of protests that serve two purposes: Expressing our noble sentiments and taking care of our health. What about booths, or drive-in tents to collect donations for Palestinians? What’s wrong with a human chain, with social distancing extending from Amman to Karama near the border? People might not listen, but it is these leaders who should be reminding the crowds that we are also fighting a ruthless enemy that has claimed thousands of lives since November.

Ironically, a high-profile partisan leader in an interview with Jordan News said the popular response to developments in Palestine is “more important than the health measures.”

What can one say?!

Forget about the Singapore model: Only imagine!

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