December 7 2022 8:33 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

We, too, have a war to fight and a victory to win

Amman (Photo: Pixabay)
Since Friday, May 22, Jordanians, along with Arabs and Muslims, have been celebrating what they perceive as a Palestinian victory over Israel. We have heard analysts talking about a changed balance of power, and optimists talking about the beginning of the end for occupation.اضافة اعلان

For Jordan, a substantial and positive change was this unity observed among all Jordanians at all levels in support of the Palestinians and in defense of Jerusalem, its people, and holy sites.

On the night of Independence Day, and despite the fact that there were no nationwide celebrations planned, cars loaded with teenagers paraded through the streets of Amman, honking, waving flags, and singing with exuberant patriotic feeling — and breaking every traffic law in effect.

The celebrations were there, but not the spirit of winners, in my opinion. I do not know about social media users and their definition of victory, or the partying youth in Abdoun and their definition of what independence means, but to me, I did not even try to analyze the new reality after the Gaza ceasefire, because I know that if there had been a victory, the nation would have entered a new age with a new spirit and a fresh look on life.

We here in Jordan are still — or should be — fighting a vicious war against stubborn challenges and patterns of behavior, especially at the grassroots level; problems that are atypical of a nation whose founders toiled to establish a modern country where institutions rule, the law is respected, and the state-citizen relation is based on the rights and obligations inherent in citizenship. Ruining a national occasion with speeding and reckless driving without any consideration for the safety of others is not patriotic at all, regardless of what song is played on your car’s sound system. Corruption, bribery, wasta, littering, double parking, excessive water consumption, leaving garbage behind at the public park after a picnic, and any uncivilized act kill the spirit of independence and are not the behavior of the victorious.

At a higher level, we need to achieve victory in the arena of political reform, not a gradual or evolutionary process, but a here-and-now shift to a new mode and a new path that takes us to a public administration steered by meritocracy.

We need to win the economic war, with the endgame being self-reliance, out-of-the-box solutions to water scarcity, genuine partnership with the private sector to generate jobs, and a revision of higher education policies so the outcome of the educational process meets the needs of the labor market.

The victorious make history. If we fail to bring about the envisioned change, we need to rethink our definition of independence and triumph.

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