With the conclusion of another worthless event in the form of a conference,can we afford to wonder who is carrying the throne of corruption in
A few years back and when Jordan was under the ownership of the late King Hussein a group of veteran politicians and political activists were discussing the issue of corruption in one of these “political salons”, when a reckless individual uttered the statement (رأس الفساد سيد البلاد). Of course, an internal intelligence schmuck of the 5 JDs-per-report variety (can you say police-state?) reported him to the “specialized-departments” and he was going to face trial (constitutionally!) for “tongue elongation”. Well, he was lucky enough to have some “connections” and was spared the (up to three years of) jail time for an observation he could not keep to himself.
Now you are free to believe that the biggest corruption scandal in
At this point it is obvious that the successive Jordanian governments, that usually reach their respective expiration dates within two years at the most, are interchangeable and practically irrelevant. Starting from the prime minister to whoever random, unqualified (technically, politically and even charismatically) names join him in the few-months “expedition”, they all have the decision-making power of a castrated slave working in a medieval palace. The sole decision-making, policy-scheming, budget-swallowing power in the country is the palace (Again, it is all constitutional).
Now, autocratic regimes adopt a Machiavellian approach in building multiple layers of beneficiaries and parasites at the highest ranks, to assure loyalty and stability of the throne, and then the regime would sponsor them, interchange them, and keep them within slapping distance if they ever think about stepping out of line. Hence, instead of corruption being a disease that needs to be uprooted, it becomes another tool in the hands of a tyrant. This leads to a state-sponsored, agreed-upon situation where corruption is a characteristic of the regime regardless how of much they act like they are “bothered” by it. [It maybe easier to imagine how such a notorious approach works if you see it on a smaller (organizational) scale. Take the “Palestinian Authority” under the late Yasser Arafat. The situation was not even close to a self-government (let alone a state) and the politically-slick Yasser Arafat managed to create a corrupt layer in such a way that when one of his parasites even thought about adopting a line slightly threatening to his absolute despotism and power-trip, then the corruption scandal is brought out, destroying all political credibility and the “once-important-government-figure” may even get publicly executed without a trial.]
It is very understandable to see people who are benefiting from such policies being the first to defend it relentlessly, and step up against the argument above. You cannot expect a quasi-illiterate parasite who ended up with power and wealth beyond belief to profess to the fact that if not for the way our country is run, and if we were a law-based society, he/she would be occupying the bottom level of the society ranks. Does anyone in their right mind expect that so-called parliament to pass any laws that could suppress high-level corruption, when 99% of its members (both elected and assigned) are THE FIGURES of corruption in
[On a humorous note just imagine if the “How did you earn that fortune?”-law was applied to the Royal Jewels. It would be really hard to come up with sources for the oil-sheikhs-like fortune, when the only documented sources of income are a used tricycle and some CIA payments].
Now, since Abu Shreek is a positive person and prefers to offer solutions other than constantly complaining, here is a suggestion to dismantle corruption and cure its effects: After the second stage of the true political reform (First stage: The palace takes a relative back seat and the historic “political figures” are eliminated from political life. Second stage: Academic research-based election laws that guarantee a capable representation that will form a palace-independent government. [See Profile: The Reform ]), the assets of every Jordanian who has ever assumed a “high rank” official position since 1990 is frozen and subjected to an independent audit. (With in-advance apologies to the three people who did not “illegally benefit from their positions” (the polite way of saying thief), but desperate times call for desperate measures). Once all the illegally earned money is confiscated their Excellencies, their Highnesses, their Holinesses, their Eminences and all the other empty titles holders can choose between enrolling on a social security payment plan (equal to that of the average retired government employee), or if they prefer to remain active, they can choose joining a re-institutionalizing program compatible with their minimal acquired skills that could benefit the society. A Former corrupt Minister of Water Resources: Train to be a skilled plumber. Former corrupt highly decorated army general who has never schemed a training maneuver let alone fought a battle: Train to be a boy scout-leader. A broker who sold the donated oil shipment in the international market: Diesel truck driver. And so on.
The regime should not treat its people as ignorant, brain-dead picture-waving masses. The regime should not choose and be satisfied with its opposition to be in the form of reactionary incompetent forces like the historically-regime-collaborating Muslim brotherhood, tribal leaders who feel left out of the pie-sharing, worthless tabloids and street rumors. And the regime should know that there are people who refuse to buy into meaningless for-show conferences featuring people lecturing anti-corruption when they ought to be serving jail time for corruption.
On a final note, despite the severity of the issue, the corruption problem remains solvable under its current regime-sponsored format. (And if you prefer a faster solution than the aforementioned five-to ten-year slightly-ambitious plan, a simpler option would be the application of law in every walk of life on every level (from the Royal family finances to traffic tickets).
But here what could be a more serious problem: If we know that there is some sort of corruption among high-ranked politicians, among the top army officers, at the top of the intelligence department, at the top of the police department, at the top of our higher-education institutes and we know that a bribe of $2000 can buy you a Jordanian nationality; and in the middle of all that the King who enjoys undisputed powers and tremendous sum of authority and respect is oblivious to it and helpless against it, then who is running the show? And where do you draw the line between a “state” and a “circus”?