Modernized culture vs Jordanians: The great paradox

Abdullah Habahbeh
“The social fabric of Jordan is divided into three factions: Modernized, neutralized, and traditionalized,” writes Jordan News columnist Abdullah Habahbeh. (Photo: Pixabay)
The Jordanian social fabric seems to have been woven with tribal ethos, customs, and traditions that do not accept any attempt at modernization.

Observers of the cultural scene in Jordan may feel that people are living in blissful ignorance while still being attached to older centuries, when they were once the leaders in arts and culture.

However, the current situation of Jordanian culture can only be described by saying that we are stuck at a stage where there is no urge to move forward; a comfort zone, so to speak.

Being stuck in this kind of inherited mentality gave birth to the existing culturally-based stigma that we are facing nowadays in Jordan.

The societal rejection of what is new and different is rooted mainly in the culture acquired by individuals.

It is worth focusing here on the concept of culture for most of Jordanians, as the idea of culture does not go beyond the systemic image of nationalism.

When you go through the Jordanian archives, all you will find is the glorification of patriotism.

Unfortunately, this concept is rooted in the Jordanian cultural identity.

There is no harm in patriotic sentiment and integrating it into societal culture, but that should not cancel the importance of accepting the global concept of culture, which defines a country's characteristics and its people.

The social fabric of Jordan is divided into three factions: Modernized, neutralized, and traditionalized.

The traditionalized segment comprises the majority, who are the ones who resist any act of change, and feel threatened and exploited when another angle of the Jordanian culture — the real one — is shown.

Our education system’s and our government’s approach are the only ones to blame, and it is saddening to witness such societal and cultural withdrawal putting restraints on the next generation.

It feels as though the majority of the next generation are being armed by inherited ignorance to complete the process of destroying culture and any attempt at restoration, revival, and growth.

The government’s centralized mechanism fuels such behavior.

Having only one city in the country in possession of art, cultural institutions, and community programs is nothing but an act of war against other governorates in Jordan.

We cannot blame the people for their educational background and limited knowledge of what is new; we can only blame those who managed to teach them to reject what is new and different instead of teaching them to accept, understand and respect.

If only we worked together and closed the gap between us, we would prevail and rise again.

Jordan’s social factions are in a constant war, and without unity, Jordan will never take a step closer towards modernism, even after a hundred years, as we would still be unable to accept change and development.

Nonetheless, there is a revolution, an act of resistance, which tries to eradicate the Jordanian cultural stigma and allows the change to take form and shape a new revolutionized cultural identity that represents all Jordanians.

Our differences should be a tool to achieve Jordan's renaissance, not the other way around.

A leap of faith into the modernized culture is a must; a role model should be set and fully supported by those in power to reflect the true essence of the Jordanian social fabric.

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