Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Profile: Royal Constitution

The Jordanian royal family needs to revaluate the situation and realize that Jordan is neither an oil sheikhdom nor a banana republic.

Browsing through the depressingly delusional Jordanian daily newspapers, Abu Shreek came across the following headline (literally translated): “The King and Queen Rania meets with (Elizabeth)”! Abu Shreek tried to come up with a reason why the king and queen of Jordan would be more deserving of the royal title than their British counterpart, and then realized how obvious it was: Elizabeth is a symbol of Britain and the “dignified” part of the government. Elizabeth is the beneficiary of a government fixed allowance that is subjected to income taxes. On the other hand, His and Her Majesty are the OWNERS of a piece of land (which ironically enough was assigned to him by Elizabeth’s people) and everything on it. His and Her Majesty has unlimited, unconditional, and unquestionable powers, and they are going to enjoy it whether you like it or not. Now that is royalty.

The Jordanian Royal Prerogative (The body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity belonging to the Crown) continues to rest the fate of the whole nation in the hands of one (under qualified at best) man. His majesty was never groomed to hold this position and even as he continues hands-on-learning experience, it is obvious that his decisions lack the political expertise of his late father. (After all the transition from “The head of the Jordanian football federation” (The highest official position he ever held as a prince) to an autocratic ruler can be a daring task, and it is just impossible to expect wisdom and wit to mysteriously drop from the sky the moment one holds the throne).

The part of the Jordanian constitution that guaranteed the king these powers (and that criminalize his criticism) was copied from the British version. The British constitution has been constantly updated to guarantee a modern form of government, stripping the Crown of decision-making powers and awarding the “efficient government” role with its political authority to the parliament and the cabinet (as early as the 19th century). In the meantime, Jordan continues its literal interpretation of the royal constitutional articles and the idea of updating them is not even remotely acknowledged! The constitution is not a divine document. It can be amended, updated and reinterpreted to achieve its purpose: The well-being and convenience of the citizens. (Even if we ignore the whole awkwardly unstable era of king Talal when the Jordanian constitution was instated, Abu Shreek could swear that the elementary social studies book said something about that King of Jordan has to be the son of two Arab parents, but that is (kind of) besides the point.)

Even if we were willing to overlook the king’s behavior considering that he is the monarch, sovereign and the infallible “43rd direct grandson of the prophet Mohammad” (highly doubtful), the issue of the other so-called royal family members has to be considered. Here is another page from the book of the British masters:

-The number of people who receives the designation Royal Family is limited and is stated by the law. The number of current members of the British Royal family is around 22 people. Not every third cousin of the late or the current king and his kids are royal family. A lot of these people should be considered collateral to the Royal families and their roles should not exceed attending private family functions. At this point, we have completely lost track of who are these members and how many” Whatever Bin Whatever”s are out there.

-They are all held responsible in front of the law. Only the Queen has immunity. The Queen’s daughter Princess Royal has a criminal record (for not keeping her dog under control). In Some other places, you have power-spoiled individuals, suffering from inferiority complexes, who are carrying themselves as if they are the actual king, and of course behave in complete disregard to the law.

-The amount of money assigned for the Queen and some members of the royal family (who carry out public duties) are stated by the law and is paid from the Civil List and the Parliamentary Annuity funds. The Duke of Edinburgh receives 359,000 pounds per year. The Queen’s private estate (shareholdings, royal jewelry, real estate) is also subject to taxes.

It is not enough that the headlines of every newspaper are a daily documentation of his majesty’s activities (no matter how trivial they are), people have to put up with a unlimited stream of insignificant people doing insignificant things. (For historic accuracy, a random look at any one month period would reveal that at least 75% of the opening headlines feature the king. At many occasions the three opening stories are king related (with three different photos in a variety of poses). [As a random example, January 2005: The king was in the headlines 19 out of 31 possible days. Three days were a religious holiday. For Seven days he was not even in the country. So that means 19 out of 23 possible days. And that is without considering that he usually takes Sundays off]. The question is what are these people credentials and why are they being shoved down our throats? Who pays their bills? Do they even have jobs? Or are they just dedicating their lives to sponsor, attend, open, participate, host, meet, travel, and play the act of world humanitarians on Jordan’s tab?


One personal note: As a student in the University of Jordan I shared the same road routes with the king, ever since he was a prince. Many times his car parked two cars down the cab I took to school on the Jubilee Circle stoplights. He would pleasantly exchange smiles with people and wave back. Actually one time, at Al-Assaff stoplights, the king and the queen next to him noticed that I was unexcitingly looking their way across the intersection and they started waving! BUT, the fact that they are superficially nice, falsely modest, and friendly does not mean they should not be held responsible for their decisions and should not award them the unconditional right to treat the country as their personal farm.

There has to be an area for the educated constructive criticism of the decisions and the behavior of the royal family outside of street whispers and sleazy tabloids. The king should not shy away from it, if he is truly willing to follow a progressive approach. (At this point this claim is as credible as Americans bringing democracy to the middle east).

If the people of Jordan are willing to forgive the historic Hashemite treasons (From Abdullah I deal with Golda Meir to Hussein’s infamous visit of ’73 and beyond), and accept the Palace as the initiator and buffer towards a constitutional democratic monarchy, the king should be more serious in instigating a process that question his own decisions, observers his spending (the first step towrds fighting all sorts of corruption), and limit his power in favor of an accountable authority, and that could be the true historic change that could be his real legacy.

14 comments:

onzlo said...

Actually technically Queen Elizabeth is also owner of all the land and everything on it, the current system of land ownership in the UK is a result of different areas of land being delegated to nobles a few hundred years ago who then leased or sold these lands yet the Queen remains the only real owner of the land.
Similarly the British constitution as you well know is not written as such but contained in different laws, documents, traditions and such making it easier to strip away some of the royal prerogative yet this was done by a strong parliament and usually quite slowly and subtly, I don't feel that anything similar can take place in Jordan under the present conditions.
In general I agree with the general drift of your argument that its about time the role of the monarchy in Jordan was modernised (instead we seem to be experiancing a regression) yet I feel the amount of bile which seems to accompany any statement you ever make about the monarchy just ends up clouding your judgement and makes you simply sound bitter.

Anonymous said...

abushreek, plz go to syria and plan a revolt against these hashemites! cuz we jorddanians are dying while the king & his wife are eating palistinian babies 4 dinner. All the problems in jordan and the middle east are cuz of the hashimites...they sold palistine to the jews and now their sellin jordan!

Anonymous said...

Reply to anonymous 2: when you see the security and stability in Jordan and the lack of random executions which is rife in other arab countries; when you see the mess the Palestinians made out of their cause, first by selling their land to the Jews in the past, and the number of Palestinian agents working for the Israelis, then one can conclude that your accusation of the Hashemites as the source of all problems, is vindictive and lacks logic and reasonable argument.

As to the article by Abu Shreek, there is no doubt that absolute power corrupts and there is no doubt that all aspects of Jordanian life, including the monarchy, should fall under the law of accountability and transparency. Only then, we will have a true democracy. But we must not forget if talks between King Abdullah I and Golda Meir had succeeded, and he was not assassinated by the Palestinians, there would be a lot more of Palestine today. Also, had Jordan fallen into the hands of Baathists and the like, then we would be living in the horrifying political and social mess that some of our neighbours are suffering. Let us be reasonable in our arguments, with the aim of keeping a stable and strong Jordan that gave a safe house to our suffering brothers and sisters of Palestine and beyond. It's funny how we all hope to have a unified Arab world, and yet some of us try their best to create discord and disunity which can only benefit our true enemy - Zionism.

Anonymous said...

Actually Onzlo, it is the Crown and not the Queen who owns the land etc in UK. In a way it belongs to the country and to the reigning Head of State and not a person. T

Abu Shreek said...

Onzlo,
I feel that you are reluctantly trying to agree with my argument but kind od holding back (it is normal don't worry), and the point you made about the Queens land ownership proves that if there is an outdated abusive law or article in the constiution, modern states find a way around it to make it more functional and logical.
The situation is definitely maddening. However I did not let my bitterness and anger “cloud my judgment” and I just tried to present facts and solutions.

Anon2 (ambiguous),
I cannot figure out if your comment is “sarcastic” or serious, but either way, you are not making any sense really. You definitely have problems using language to express yourself. Either way Who the heck mentioned anything about Syria or a revolt ??!! (That’s where I think you were trying to be sarcastic….did not work). If you were trying to be serious, I think you were again unfortunate in using harsh words, and even though the Hashemites have a historically suspicious role in the region and continue to be a strong CIA ally (fact), one cannot blame them for ALL the problems in the middle east (unless you are trying to be sarcastic again….also did not work).

Anon3 (also confused):
For your first point please read (The Worship Idols). The comparison to other Arab countries and Palestinians is not an acceptable argument anymore. (It is just like saying it is Okay that we are getting raped but at least it is not anal rape like our neighbors)

You start your second point really well and you completely lost track of what you wanted to say by jumping to a completely different issue.
However, answering to your Abdullah I- Golda Meir talks, they DID succeed, and Abdullah got to keep his piece of land and even expended it. At that point any connection with the Zionists regarding “the division resolution” was a straight out TREASON and he deserved to get shot for it. Remember that if not for him and his likes of traitors there could be a lot more Palestine today.
And finally who said anything about disunity and disorder? Is asking for the right to live in a country under the rule of the law without masters and slaves and without a one-man show system a call for instability and an attempt to divide the people? This is just ridiculous.

Anon4,
No matter who owns the land in the state, he/she is not going around selling it to “investors” and transferring the revenue to personal bank accounts. It is a formality and I really do not see the Queen (who volunteered to pay all sorts of taxes) abusing this technicality.

Anonymous said...

You ready for some shock?...(and I expect a whole lot of grief for what i am about to say!) if there are any people around the world who should be respected for their efforts on forging a united democracy, it is Israel. There you go, i said it. For once i would like to see the Arabs of the world take responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming all mishaps in the middle east on the Jews, the Americans, the Shia's, Jesus, or whoever you feel is the cause of our constant demise.

The way Israel forged her country was unlike any other in history. I am not saying that the random killings of innocent Palestinians, expulsion from homes, demolishing of infrastructure, is the correct way of forging a country. But with every conflict, there are two sides. For every conflict there will be arguments on who is right and who is wrong. The constant death and destruction in Israel / Palestine is disgusting. Both sides need to stop. Israel has shown throughout its history that it will not hold back when using its military might. Even on defenseless civilians. What should the Palestinians do in return? Blow themselves and as many Israelis as possible into pieces? Well...correct me if i am wrong, but i don't think that has gotten us anywhere. What happened to the days when Palestinians would stand in front of tanks. No bombs, no guns, just people. At the outbreak of the first Intifada, this is what happened. And the whole world was watching as Israel advanced on innocence. This is the attention we need. Has anyone ever heard of Gandhi for god's sake? I mean if there is any country that should serve as an example of gaining independence from a foreign power, its India. And Gandhi with his no-violence campaign was the major catalyst to the country’s independence. Yes the situation in Israel is different, but if violence is not working, its worth a shot no? Of course when you read posts like Anon 1 saying that the Hashemites eat Palestinian babies, it kinda sheds light on why we have been stuck in this conflict for years. Get it through your head people. Israel is not going anywhere. And at the rate we are going, it will even outlast us! So instead of making use of one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world which is right at our doorstep, we shun them because THEY ARE JEWS!


Ok i went on a tantrum with the whole Israel Palestine deal. The topic here is the Hashemites. I must say Abul Shreek, there are many points that i agree with you on. The royal family has distanced itself from the Jordanian people at an astonishing rate. I miss the days when our king would go to our football games and cheer the hell out of those players. That picture with his arms in the air cheering for our team gave me a sense of pride and brought me closer to the king. Unfortunately we don't see things like that anymore.

Let me shed some light on an issue though. And yes i am going to compare Jordan to other countries around the world because i think it is very relevant to do so. On an international level, our king could not be doing better. We have good relations with most countries around the world which has been and remains essential for the survival of Jordan. He is the best ambassador not only for Jordan, but the Middle East as a whole. When i turn on the TV and see idiots that are the leaders of other Middle East countries, it saddens me. Most cannot speak a word of sense (if they are able to communicate in a language other than their mother tongue that is). Our king however can talk up a storm. The same goes for our Queen. When i see her out there on the international level, i am proud to say that she represents me. Does she represent the women living in Wadi Mussa who live one day at a time? Probably not. But as long as the world can look at Jordan as a formidable presence in the Middle East, i am content.

Another point i want to raise, and here is where i am going to make comparisons to our fellow "arab" states. Out of any Middle Eastern country in the world, i truly believe that the citizens of Jordan are the luckiest. Give me any Middle Eastern country (excluding the Emirates which in my opinion cannot be called Arab) and I will argue that the Jordanian people are better off successfully. From Gulf states who's citizens are taken care of but lack any freedom what so ever, to other countries such as Lebanon who have the most freedom but lack any political stability. Jordan lies smack in the middle of all Arab states. Yes our freedom is limited, yes our monarchy is arguably distant from its people, but considering what Jordan has, the country has done all it can to remain Jordan!

Are the Hashemites traitors for making deals with Israel? The fact that we are still here, have avoided countless wars, and remain a sovereign state proves that our course was sound. Is Jordan a puppet of the west? The fact that we are still here, have avoided countless wars, and remain a sovereign state proves that our course was sound. Has Jordan continuously turned its back on other Arabs around the world? The fact that we are still here, have avoided countless wars, and remain a sovereign state proves that our course was sound. Are the policies of our government and edicts of our constitution inadequate and degenerate? Maybe, but again the fact that we are still here, have avoided countless wars, and remain a sovereign state proves that our course was sound.

Yes some changes need to be made, but until the Israeli Palestinian conflict is resolved…and as long as countless other conflicts rage on around our border...long live the king...

Abu Shreek said...

Anon5,
I am going to leave the whole Palestinian passive peaceful resistance and the other related issues for a different occasion, but I have to make one point clear: No matter how technologically advanced or dominant the Zionist state is we do not have to acknowledge it and we do not have to normalize our relations with them, not because they are Jews but because they are the enemy. Whether we reach a temporary peace settlement with them (obviously not happening anytime soon) or not, they will always be the occupying force who gathered people from different nationalities and settled them in an occupied piece of land based on their religion, forming the most racist discriminating entity in modern history.

I did not mention anything about blaming anybody other than ourselves. I blame myself and you.
Notice how conflicting your argument is. You are willing to put up with treason, American complete control (as you called it puppets to the west), conspiring against the Arab causes (in Palestine and elsewhere), inadequate and degenerate constitution and government (by government I am sure you meant the king, since we all know that the short-living successive cabinets have simple municipality and services power where decisions are made in the palace), in exchange of “avoiding countless wars and sovereignty”. What sovereignty are you talking about if by your own admission we are a puppets, traitors and beggars who depend on charity to satisfy our most basic needs? In the meantime you “SHOCK” us by presenting the example of the Zionist state as the example of democracy and success. That state did not become that entity that it is today (and that you are obviously impressed by) by surrendering its fate to an autocrat and definitely did not shy away from wars.

Your closing point is also as conflicting and it is the typical argument that has been used by all Arab dictatorships since the beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict: We have to continue to live in an emergency status until this issue is resolved. We have to remain puppets, traitors and any reform should be put on hold until the Palestine issue is resolved and the solution for all the conflicts raging on our borders will be solved by the king!!! I hope you realize how ridiculous this sounds and again I wonder why your role-model Zionist state did not follow such an approach when faced with crisis.

For the comparison to other Arab countries, you can checkout (The Worship Idols). The most confusing part is that you believe that Jordan is much better than its neighbors. You exclude UAE (which is just another farm that is not better than Jordan by any means, except that their Royal family spends a little more than ours (after all they can afford it, contrary to ours that spends without even having the resources), and then you claim that people in Jordan are better off than all the others. Well, “I hope you are ready for some shock”: You are completely mistaken. Just because the king and queen are excellent posers does not mean that we are enjoying the best regime in the area (not to mention the life quality of the average citizen). The fact that they dress well and carry themselves as if they are European royalty DOES NOT make Jordan Europe and it is actually a huge and shameful misrepresentation.
The issue here is not the royal family being in touch with the people by going to football games or eating at Hashem. The issue is if we are willing to install a modern governing system, and stop trying to find excuses of the variety : “The King speaks excellent English and the Queen dresses well so it is Okay that the palace treat the country as their farm”. And maybe then we can start building countries as stable, sovereign and proud as that of the Zionists.

Anonymous said...

إلى يــاســر عــرفــات


بعهــا فــأنت لمــا سواهــا أبيـع *** لك عـارها ولهـا المقـام الأرفــــع

لك وصمـة التـاريخ أنت لمثلهــا *** أهــل ومثـلك في الـمذلــة يرتــــع

شبـح مضى والنـاس بيـن مكذب *** ومصــدق ويــد الكــرامة تـقطــع

ضيعت جهـد المخلصيــن كأنهــم *** لــم يبـذلــوا جهـدا ولـم يتبـرعـوا

والله مـا أحسنـت ظنـي فـي الـذي *** تــدعــو ولا مثـلي بمثـلك يخـدع

وقـــرأت فـي عينيك قصـة غــادر *** أمسـى على درب الهـوى يتسكـع

وعلمت أنك ابن اسرائيل لم تفطم *** وأنــك مــن هــواهــــا ترضــع

لكــن بعض القـوم قـد خــدعـوا *** بمـا نمّـقته فتـأثـروا وتـــــسرعـوا

ظنـــوك منقــذهــم ولــو علمـــوا *** بما تخفي وأنك في الرئاسة تطمع

لرمـــاك بالأحجــار طفــل شامخ *** مـا زال يحـرس ما هجرت ويمنع

يـا مـن تزوجت القضية خـدعـــة *** وحـلفــت أنــك بالحقيقـة تصــدع

عجبــا لــزوج لا يغــــار فقـلبـــه *** متحجـــــر وعــيــونـه لا تدمـــع

عجبــا لــزوج بـاع ثوب عروسه *** لا ينــزوي خجـــلا ولا يــــورع

يـا بـائـع الأوطـان بيعـك خـاســر *** بيـــع السفيـــه لمثلــه لا يشــرع

هــذي فلسطين العــزيزة لم تــزل *** فــــي كــــل قلب مسلــم تتـــربع

مســرى النبـي بهـــا وأول قبلـــة *** فيهــــا وفيهــــا للبطولــــة مهيع

فيهـــا عقــــول بالرشـــاد مضيئة *** فيهـــا حمـــاس وجهها لا يصفع

هـــذي فلسطين العــزيزة ثــوبهـا *** مــن طلعة الفجر المضيئة يصنع

هـــذي فلسطين العــزيزة طفلهـــا *** متــوثب لا يستكيـــن ويخضــــع

هــي أرض كــل موحـد لا بيـع من *** باعــوا يتمّ ولا الدعـاوى تسمع

سيجــيء يـــوم حافـــل بجهـادنـــا *** لخيــل تصهــل والصوارم تلمع

قــد طــال ليــل الكفـر لكنــــي أرى *** مـن خلفه شمس العقيدة تسطع

Batir said...

A very interesting post. let me please share with you my own list of the biggest mistakes committed by the Hashemite regime in Jordan.
1- The unity with the westbank in 1950: this was a forced unity due to the aspirations of the regime to establish a unified arab state. However, since then Jordanians and their regime were accused of every little piece of shit that was flowing all over the area. The best thing happened in 1988 with the disengagement but we are still labelled as traitors while all others are pure.
2- The regime has never allowed the natural evolution of a national Jordanian political movement. To cement the rule by controlling both factions of the society the regime wanted all Jordanians to be military personel and palestinians were allowed to be politicians and economists. Now we are a community based on tribalism and regressive thoughts and we have no political culture at all to develop the country.
3- The regime participated in 1967 war to save itself from the usual accusation of treason even knowing that the battle was only prepared in the Egyptian radio. Worst still we gave the command of our army to a useless Egyptian general and we lost the war. Again our army was labelled as incompetent and our regime was labelled as "sold it".
4- Being so soft on the ferocious behaviour of the PLO militians prior to 1970. They grew in number, arms and then wanted to control the country and through away the regime and were harrassing the Jordanian people. The cost of the military intervention in 1970 was so huge and it could have been less had the PLO was not allowed to operate from Jordan and inside Jordan in the first place, just like what the heart of resistance in Syria done.
5- Synthesizing a political elite that was based on loyalty to the position, money, benefits and not to the country. The same elite composed of East and west Jordanians still relates loyalty to his/her bank account.
This is a very important list of mistakes my friend and it proves your point.

Abu Shreek said...

Anonymous poem guy,
I was tempted to delete your comment for the following reasons:
1. The complete irrelevance to the issue in discussion.
2. The amateurish (actually childish) style of the poem and its complete lack of value from a literature OR an argument point of view. The rhythm, images, use of language is at a third-grade level, and did not offer any new substance, re-wording some recycled points that we are all familiar with.
3. The idiocy and complete ignorance behind the method of response: You decided that the best possible argument you are capable of making is: “yes the king of Jordan is a corrupt dictator but Yasser Arafat sold Palestine too” !!!! Of course hoping that the person criticizing the king is a Palestinian who will get offended by such a brilliant idea!! Just Pathetic. And again, if you read the article above or any previous ones (which is very obvious that you DO NOT bother with trivialities as reading) you could have noticed that the “At least the king is not….” comparisons is not a valid argument.

Anyway, I am going to practice freedom of speech and allow such art work (notice the last verse…cannot possibly end on a higher note) to remain here, with a last disclaimer that the literature is full of better articulated, informative and artistic work that could have helped you better to make the irrelevant point , which of course you did not even bother to look for.

Batir,
Thanks for not shying away from the argument and for making valid debatable points that acknowledge the existence of a problem (the first step towards a solution).
One more point here, that I agree that we sometimes tend to rush into the “traitor” tag whenever such issues are brought up (although it is really hard to see the secret historic ties with the jews, the CIA payrolls and other documented incidents and not feel bothered and cheated, all this unfortunately could be seen as “politics”). But as I said above, regardless of history, we are trying to look ahead and improve the situation other than dwelling on the past.
We will continue on with this discussion since it is VITAL to our overall situation.

Anonymous said...

so what is it exactly that u r proposing... i would like to see u make decisions... if u were the king, what would ur cousine be called?

Abu Shreek said...

I am prposing a system in which the decision maker is actually subject to questioning. (sorry I cannot dumb it down more).
And If I were a king (which I hope I won't get to be, neither should anyone else, since such a title is moe suitable for the middle ages (which surprisingly enough is over at some places of the world not named Retarded) my cousin would be called Mohammad, his actual name)

Dundun said...

Hi,
I happened to find your blog through google and I love it, I am going to read all your posts.

Very intelligent views by you and the people who comment.

Ahmed Ashraf said...

رئيسية الموقع :
مصر اليوم
اخر مواضيع منتديات مصر اليوم :
ترددات قنوات النايل سات الجديدة
اسعار السيارات فى مصر 2012 بالصور

اسعار السيارات فى مصر 2012

مشاركة ارباح ادسنس

اهلا بكم , اضع لكم موقعى لتتطلعوا عليه

منتديات مصر اليوم هى منتديات عامة تهتم بالكثير من الاشياء المصرية . منتديات مصر اليوم هى منتديات عربية عموما مصرية خصوصا و هى منتديات عامة تهتم بكل ما يهتم به الشباب المصرى من الحوار او النقاش او اخر الاخبار او جديد الصور و الاغانى و الالبومات و الكليبات و الافلام و النكت و الفيديوهات و الموبايلات و تحتوى على اقسام مميزة مثل قسم اللغة الانجليزية و قسم اصحاب المواقع و المنتديات و قسم البرامج و القسم الاسلامى و قسم المرأة و قسم الرومانسية و الرياضة المصرية و الكثير ....
شاهد اقسام المنتدى :
اخبار مصر صور نكت مصرية اغانى قنوات و ترددات اخبار الرياضة المصرية مشاهدة مباريات بث مباشر اسعار السيارات