His Majesty’s discussions through a linguist’s lens

He Is Peace
Robin Hashem, author of “He Is Peace: King Abdullah II’s Insights Towards Global Prosperity”, poses for a photograph. (Photo: Handout from Robin Hashem)
AMMAN — Young Jordanian researcher and writer Robin Hashem published his first book on the visions of His Majesty King Abdullah for prosperity and world peace in English titled “He Is Peace: King Abdullah II’s Insights Towards Global Prosperity.”اضافة اعلان

An applied English linguistics student at the University of Jordan, who is graduating this semester, Hashem brings his immersion in the language into his writing.

When Jordan News asked Hashem whether he wrote his book to fulfill the requirements of his graduation project or whether he wrote it out of personal duty, he said it was both — that he wanted to delve deeper into the branch of linguistics that he studied at university.

Initially, what inspired him was studying “sociolinguistics and discourse analysis,” Hashem said. “I based this book on university studies, especially those related to writing, since I had taken many writing courses while attaining my degree,” he added.

In late 2018, when Hashem was a sophomore at university, “I was studying discourse analysis and I tried to delve into the main political discourse, as it was my main focus in that branch of language,” he explained.

One of Hashem’s university professors, the late Issa Al-Salem, had an interest in Royal discourse, which encouraged Hashem to explore the field. His efforts paid off, and he gained more knowledge in that aspect of language.

The main inspiration, however, was His Majesty’s speeches, as they contain within them values and concepts that should be “kept close to our heart and acted upon” when building an inclusive society for the common good and building peace, prosperity, and encourages the protection of human rights, according to Hashem.

“I was really captivated by the linguistic strength of His Majesty and his skill in using linguistic metaphor, the aesthetics of rhetoric, and his robust ability in talking to the audience and having public speaking skills,” he highlighted. The King’s speeches also touch on the principles and values “of Arab, Islamic, and human civilization,” Hashem added.

“The journey of producing this book required immense individual effort,” from beginning to end, Hashem stressed. “Nevertheless, my small family did not hesitate to support me.”

According to Hashem, his father, a Jordanian researcher and writer, encouraged him to both read and write from a young age, in a way that nurtures knowledge and enlightens the mind.

“I have an interest in politics as a science and a cognitive approach, however I do not engage in everyday politics, and do not consider myself a political writer or thinker, nor do I have any political preferences, as I am not affiliated to any political party whatsoever,” said Hashem. He is, however, interested in politics and diplomacy academically, he elaborated.

He Is Peace represents the importance of the concept of peace and coexistence and linking them to a holistic approach. The book in its first two chapters discusses the role of language and discourse in general in making use of the concepts previously mentioned, which have been analyzed simply based on literature and linguistics to reach all audiences, and not just linguists or people experienced in that area, as remarked by Hashem.

The book also deals with the importance of the role of youth in the peace-building process and efforts to unlocking the youth’s energy in the humanitarian, intellectual, and creative fields. The focus is on the importance of holistic education as a cornerstone.

“I was also aided and inspired by important books in my academic research as references to pursue my book. One of these was “Language and Peace” by Anita L.Wenden. This book presents some of His Majesty’s efforts on building peace on the local, regional, and international level, focusing on interfaith dialogue, emphasizing the tolerance of the Islamic religion, and (touches on) combating terrorism, narcissism, extremism,” he mentioned.

Wenden’s book discusses how we can create peace through language, what the effect of political discourse on the audiences is, how peace can be built, and how wars are caused by language in speech, taken from a semantic linguistic perspective, according to Hashem.

Linguistic metaphor influenced the meaning of the title, Hashem explained, “because peace is an abstract concept that does not carry any physical meaning, referring to no image or character,” said Hashem. “When we link a person to a certain abstract meaning, it helps in understanding the principles of peace (broadly), based on the holistic approach. When such a metaphor is produced, it allows one to explore the meaning that presents the common good for generations to come.”

“I aimed to keep my use of diction and writing style simple and easy to understand and read, as the book contains concepts of everyday life, and is not aimed at a specific type of reader,” Hashem remarked. “The most challenging part of the book was the one that speaks of interfaith dialogue, as it contains many religious scripts and texts.”

When asked whether the book was a qualitative or quantitative analysis, according to Hashem, the linguistic analysis of the discourse was qualitative, because the essence of the research was based on linguistic analysis. The exploration of meaning in the research covers history, culture, and language, therefore requiring no quantitative analysis, number, figures, or statistics, depending more on attitudes and emotions, which is an inherent part of language.

“I plan to write other books in the future, specifically ones related to linguistics, ... and not books necessarily related to politics or political discourse,” Hashem said. He hoped to write books on “language and community, and subjects that call for building a better society and seeking to create prosperity, and using language as a main focus and tool to conduct those studies,” he concluded.

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