Monday, December 11, 2006

Profile: Corruption Cure

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 Jordan? Absolutely not!

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 Jordan is some obscure minister of municipality and the "mega-deal" involving some defected garbage trucks, but Abu Shreek would rather disagree. When your so-called parliament continues to be headed by two household icons of corruption, well then maybe your problem extends a little farther than a garbage truck. Corruption has an undeniable trickle-down effect and blaming or even chasing the bottom of the illness is pointless, achieves minimal gains and almost impossible. The problem is at the top, higher than you can imagine, and as the Arabic poet says “If you are courageous enough, go after the snake’s head not its tail”.

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 Jordan?! How is this assembly ( قعدة مضافة) expected to pass “The Declaration of Assets” laws when they are the main people who have to answer to it? And how does an educated, well-informed individual buy into and defend such an approach and claim that this is the only feasible option that we have?
[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”?


Anonymous said...

our neighbors, x-security types, go to Mecca each year first class at a cost of 9000JD per person, but as a Makruma (paid for by tax payers money). NINE FRIGGIN THOUSANDS TO GO TO HAJJ EVERY YEAR WHILE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF JORDANIANS ARE SUFFERING IN MISERABLE CONDITIONS HARDLY ABLE TO PAY FOR HEATING OIL LET ALONE PAY THE RENT. How in the world can you catch and expose this sort of horrific corruption? Corruption in Jordan runs deep and wide, it's a strategic policy for buying and keeping loyalties and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha might i add..after the political reform plan lets say Islamists win can we chop off the hands of Abdul-Hadi al majali and Zaid il Rifa3i now that would be the only thing fun the islamists might do. See the regime has two loyality tests the first is the ambassador to Israel the second is stealing money for princes or the big one and taking a share, Preferbly contracts with the American army in U.S., You can do both if u are good. Hence we see people like the current Prime minister and Marwan al Mi3ashir who were ambassadors in Israel. The old guard didnt have the chance to be ambassadors in Israel but they were the ones that lead the cooperation during our "state of War". I dont like to associate everything with Israel but it is a test of loyalty the King forces his "7ashiyai" to pass before stepping for ever on Jordanians necks and sucking their blood endlessly. Ofcourse they keep on shifting between Ministers in goverment and Majlis Al A3yan. Incase they didnt steal enough. If they do then they are with the King till they die because their reputation in the rest of the country is ruined and they cannot go back. As for the theifs the big ones everybody knows them the funny thing is that everybody is scared of them and shows them respect as if they lost a leg for Jordan.

Abu Shreek said...

You a right that there is not a damn thing I can do about it, but maybe we can do something about it, especially that you sound like you are not very happy with the way things are done.

Obviously you have not read (Profile: The Reform) because under the suggested election laws (or any educated variation of it) the Islamists are not going to be allowed to capitalize on the gains they established under the previous system, and would not be allowed to benefit from being the only allowed political party for the longest time. There would be a limit on their representation, at least in the early stages.
Also notice that there won’t be any hands chopping, (well maybe some minimal jail time for the biggest ones), because we may end up with a lot of Jordanians without hands. All what’s going to happen is confiscating their assets, issue them public housing, and a choice of governmental payment or a real job.

Anonymous said...

haha come on just two that wont make a difference..Ok just to comment on ur conditions for running for office, first i think its funny because i dont think anybody is going to run for office which is better than the status quo. The first condition i love it great although i want to chop of their hands plus not letting them run for office. The 2,3,4 i agree 5 is going to be a problem because dont forget ur in jordan but its also good. The sixth although un-democratic i might agree but how are u going to decide how many number of seats u are going to give to a party and would be fair to give a small party the same number of candidates a large one has and who is going to form a goverment if he doesnt have a majority unless u want communists and islamists along with loyalists to be in the same goverment now i would love to wait and see who is going to be their sorry prime minister. As for the seventh thing which academia one who is going to be from a tribe or a member in the muslim brotherhood or one who is loyal to the old guard. I bet its going to be hard to find any that arent. The eighth is perfect i love it, although it might encourage lobbies to start using money to manipulate the members, then again we can always chop off their hands. Dont forget that all the people u are execluding (especialy catgo.1) have the money although its yours and mine they still have it, and it would be easy for them to use it to so that members vote for laws that they support. Since u are going to have a parlimant of independents and small party's that wont be hard. Its a great start though..

aya almusa said...

abu shreek hl2 2areet el post ta3et (mn yo7areb el fsad bel ordon) and i read ur comments ..I AGREE WITH U 100%..

Anonymous said...

Why don't you have another blog in arabic?
I do agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that we can learn something from the American System of running their country? I know it is not flawless, but apparently they have got to be doing something right !

Anonymous said...

Dear Abu-Shreek,

Please answer this thought of mine in your next Mailbag post. I have been, until recently, a disgruntled citizen who saw the darker side of the country. Recently, my situation has changed and I have had the chance to get into the 'system' and become a parasite. Needless to say, I took the opportunity and found that life on the other side is much more comfortable, and there is almost no sense of guilt in the pleasures you take. The view of hell from up there looks beautiful too, I mean, just look at the shades of misery, how poetic and how 'nice' (blame Marie Antoinette? there are a million Antoinettes where I live now).

I am contemplating joining the masses again, but I sort of forgot what's there to do amongst the masses. Can you remind me?


Abu Shreek said...

Anon (Reminiscent),
Your case is very common and well-documented. It may even be excused in a certain sense, given the success social-standards that you have to comply with and the expectations surrounding you in a society that cannot set its priorities straight. Your case is kind of diagnosed in Profile: The Selfish and The Sellout.

As for your question on re-joining the masses and a reminder of what to do among the masses, I will be more than happy to answer it in the next mailbag, and elaborate on it in future other sections.

Anon (The American model),
The whole American experience is a different situation , I will address this very important issue in a (Review: History of the United States) (scheduled for mid January).

The American model in Government (and even its model in fighting corruption), that may appear to be working at some level (despite the many problems and injustices it has) is tailored to fit the special nature of that country and precisely its corporate-based economy.

However, a very important characteristic we can import is “Law Application”. The law applies to everyone with RELATIVE equality, and again this is what really differentiates real countries from farms: The more justice and respect for the law, the more comfortable, safe and productive the citizen would feel, and the more sense of loyalty and responsibility the citizen would towards the country.

Anonymous said...

What I need to know is this: if the USA as a working model of a capitalist system, how come an average US citizen ( working class ) can support himself, rent a house, get married and have children by getting a job as a taxi driver, or join the army. He does not need to be a "parasite" to live a good life. This contradicts with the opinion that states that the capitalist system thrives on the misery of the working class.

Anonymous 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