A reluctant rant
Today marks the 12th day since the “historic” speech took place. A 25- minute Wednesday morning speech squeezed between House sessions discussing the Libby case and Sewage management (seriously). The historic “I Must Speak” speech that was filled with generalities (bordering superficiality) that one would think it was delivered by mother Teresa, not by the ruler of a country who hosts more than 2 million Palestinian refugees dreaming of return.
For the 12th straight day (not counting the two weeks preceding the speech) every daily news paper had at least one editorial, column or an opinion section dancing, waving hands and blowing horns in celebration of the historic speech. The first-page columnists have already written two articles each. One (more liberal) daily took a shorter route and just permanently pasted a link to the full speech on its electronic first page. “Celebrating” the speech has officially replaced his majesty’s birthday as the longest celebrated occasion of the year (and that is no small feat). Just keep in mind that all this coverage is far from being an objective debate about the “positives” and “negatives”, or the “likes or dislikes”. It is a simply a non-stop festival of picture-waving, “dabkeh” dancing, “Hashmi Hashmi” yelling over an irrelevant event.
Here is what practically happened: all four editors-in-chief of the Jordanian dailies were invited to join his majesty on the historic trip and join the exceptionally inflated accompanying delegation (which despite all the coverage, one could not find the exact list of people joining the trip, or the names of the guests in her majesty’s box). On the way home, each of the editors-in-chief was issued a bag of party whistles and was instructed to distribute them to his employees (one whistle per so-called journalist) and keep blowing them until they all choke. And that is the first step in installing free independent press that will monitor all three branches of the government.(Of course, the next step is the infamous criminalizing publications laws).
Now, over the past few years (well, few decades) one got used to the local news papers being practically a press release of the palace. Here is a quick example: Pick a random day from the electronic archives of any daily and there is no doubt that the three opening headlines, at least, are king related (not that there is anything wrong with that). About a month ago the leading daily AlRai featured SEVEN “His majesty did..” stories on its first page!! On the bright side his majesty is not really involved in the political life and he maintains an honorary and advisory role that is not allowed to be questioned.
All of this is understood, after all this is not
Here is an excerpt from the 2 millionth “historic speecht” article:
جلالة الملك حقق اختراقا مهما في السياسة الأميركية فلأول مرة يجلس الرئيس الاميركي جورج بوش مع جلالته وهو يضع ورقة وقلماً ويقول لجلالة الملك ماذا تقترح علي أن اعمل؟ ومع وأين؟ وغيرها من الأسئلة المهمة التي تؤشر
“His majesty the king has achieved an important breakthrough in the American policy. For the first time George Bush holds a paper and a pen and asks his majesty: What should I do? What doYou suggest? And many other important questions”.
Honestly whether this is another form of “creative” writing or not, I could not but imagine his majesty resting back, crossing his legs in Bush’s face and dictating some suggestions to him, while poor Bush is writing down the tips in confusion: (“So you suggest we pressure them into NOT demolishing the Aqsaa mosque? Mmm, interesting! So… Do you spell Aqsaa with one A or two AAs?”). The only reason that one may be skeptical about such an incident, is the fact that there was no reported official meeting that took place between his majesty and president Bush, at least according to the unreliable American papers and the white house press releases! “The President and Mrs. Bush hosted the King and Queen of
Again, this should not be a big deal. From the Jordanian perspective
What is more alarming is when the 1984-ish phenomenon of actively and retroactively distorting the truth extends to polish tainted characters of lesser stature than the king. When you get to a point where you are referring to the current Head of Parliament using the sentence: “I recall that he was always democratic, understanding of differences, and receptive to arguments”!! Because nothing screams democracy more than the guy who was the chief of the police department under extended periods of “Martial Laws”. That is the same guy who threatened to use violence and to arrest a journalist, under the parliaments dome, a month ago!(And by the way, that Audi police cars deal we always joked about, according to the above “distinguished” columnist, turned out to be a great investment deal that generated revenue since the cars were eventually sold at a higher price!).
I just can’t wait to see the articles written when (when not if) the convicted ex-head of the intelligence department is released from jail (Oops, I mean returns from
As a closer, some words of wisdom to live by: “In my days in
Just wondering: “In the improbable case that some random Jordanian felt that his majesty did not represent him/her accurately in front of the congress for whatever reason, could this citizen “speak”, or is it a perquisite that he or she lived, currently lives or was able to afford the luxury of an education… in New England?”