Second centenary: What do we want?

Fahed Khitan (Photo: JNews)
We are entering the Kingdom’s second centenary without a project or vision that would manifest our aspirations and ambitions for the future.

A century ago, the generation of founders laid out a projection of the promised state and mapped out the landmarks for a Kingdom that would form the core of a greater Arab state. Colonialist plans have however shattered the dreams of Arabs and Hashemite kings; but contrary to expectations, Jordan survived and remained the brightest beacon for the dream of a unified Arab state. اضافة اعلان

The unity project has collapsed completely and we have no delusions on the matter. The documents and literature of bygone centuries no longer serve to build the second centenary’s narrative.

Today, Jordan is an Arab state that is proud of its heritage and the principles of the Great Arab Revolt. And throughout the decades of the first centenary, the Kingdom has worked closely to consolidate its existence and legitimacy, and to renew its rhetoric through a series of national charters that set forth the milestone of each stage. The latest national charter may have been the last of these stages, taking into consideration other documents that are not of lesser importance in the age of the fourth kingdom. 

Some of us believe that His Majesty King Abdullah’s Discussion Papers can lay the foundations for the Jordanian state going into the second centenary but this opinion is controversial from the standpoint of some others.

I personally believe that the King’s Discussion Papers are the cornerstone of an ambitious royal project that has come face to face with major challenges on both sides of the equation; deep state institutions and the political opposition that could not rise above its preexisting flaws and limited awareness.

As for the national charter, it has become obsolete over the course of various events and developments.

In his last interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra, the King provided detailed answers on his vision for Jordan during its second centenary and his aspirations for the future. I believe that what the King said could set the stage for worthwhile national exchanges, which in turn could lead to what we can call the “centenary announcement.”  A brief announcement that lays out the landmarks of our future and represents the narrative that has been missing for generations of Jordanian youth who are looking for their identity, destiny, and future, and dream of a prosperous nation and a dignified life. 

Many questions need to be asked bravely and discussed with the utmost objectivity; most notably, I believe is whether Jordan truly was a unique benchmark in the region, and why we once could surpass our neighbors? Have we really lost our advantage? Were we truly exceptional or was that merely a false impression?

We could go beyond these questions, as some of us believe that by going back to our previous experiences in administration, politics, and economy, we could find solutions to today’s problems. 

In conclusion, we find ourselves in a state of suspension, suffering from a disturbing sense of uncertainty; mourning the past, lamenting the present, and unaware of the future.

We must find our way out of this unnerving state quickly, and start constructing new national rhetoric that outlines the vision of the new centenary. The centenary announcement can be a kind of Jordanian “manifesto” that unites us. 

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