September 25 2022 7:44 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

The Senate president speaks about division

Maher abu tair
Maher Abu Tair (Photo: Jordan News)
The remarks we heard yesterday were dangerous, but not new. Many have warned that we would reach this stage, but the warnings were not heeded, and even the whistleblowers were considered the enemy.اضافة اعلان

When the Senate speaker goes public to tell representatives of civil society organizations that there is division in Jordanian society and that there are certain parties that try to sow sedition, it’s not news, because the division he talked about has been noted and warnings issued regarding its social aspect, economic classism, mistrust between the state and the public, the spread of injustice, people’s aligning along sub-identities, which replaced the collective identity, and the debate over justice, whether it exists or not, in the first place.

Looking into this diagnosis by the Senate president, we raise several questions about the causes that drove us to this situation, which, by the way, are not a secret. In fact, the only mystery is why this division has not been addressed, and why it has been left to chance, wrapped in apathy.

The economic dangers of division are embodied in the fact that the middle class has been crushed, while the lower class has expanded, and the wealthy have created their own isolated world, dealing with their own problems. The socio-economic structures have been dismantled, so much so that we cannot see before us a one unified Jordanian society, even in terms of an economic identity. This means that society will see rising hate, envy and grudges, a lack of justice and traded accusations of corruption and accountability, along with the side effects of these, including widespread anger, violence, divorce, and all the negative behaviors that deepen this state of division.

We see this division also manifested at the level of national identity.  Seeking the protection of an influenced lawmaker or a friend in some state agency is the key to ensuring your safety and safeguarding your interests, not the law. It is social influence, family, origin, religion, or race that are in many cases the means of protection, instead of the law and the legal system. We find ourselves seeking protection under our sub-identities and seeking extra guarantees for further support, reflecting a sense of inadequate protection from the Constitution, laws, and institutions that regulate the lives of all Jordanians, while quotas stipulated in election laws enhance, in a legal manner, sub-identities and deepen division.

This does not stop here. See the division that surfaces when any issue is opened. Then we see that Jordanians are not unified over controversial or major issues. Every crisis that emerges unveils division of every type and shape. While some see this as a healthy sign, as it reflects diversity, in our case it demonstrates that we are groups that contradict each other, with clashing interests, visions, ideas, and views over any issue, a matter which threatens the safety of the Jordanian domestic structure, weakens the state and renders it vulnerable to emerging dangers.

In discussing division, we cannot avoid identifying its root causes, foremost of which are elections, municipalities, and decentralization laws, which have divided people into small rivaling groups, overwhelmed by conflict, even at the level of the family, whose members might be fighting for a single House seat up for grabs. This leaves behind enmity and a lack of justice regarding rights, because the influential would trespass on the rights of the underdogs. For its part, the economic decline begets very harmful effects. There is also the absence of a national enterprise where all unite, let alone the way governments create and manage crises, which leads to further chaos. This approach also involves submission to pressures and the requirements of social alignments, instead of following universal law. This entire situation generates frustration among the public and a sense of dissatisfaction that take their turns to produce more divisions at the level of individuals, families and politicized groups.

If there were a party that seeks to sow sedition, the response should be purifying the environment in Jordan in a way that ensures the failure of these attempts. The diagnosis might be important, but more important is forging solutions.  Jordan should not be left stranded alone in the face of these problems, against which wise people warned about years ago. Nobody cared and here we are, watching the local community with all its complications heading towards the abyss, at a time when we resort to same patterns of therapy, without strategic thinking that acknowledges the risks and then suggests solutions.

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