Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Will Jordan's Youth be the Force of Change They Could?

So, the quasi-confirmed Parliamentary elections are to be held in the fourth quarter of this year(2010). Since the nomination date hasn't been set yet, there is a chance for us, Jordanians to do something about the cycle of incompetence that has been: the parliament. In countries around the world, the legislative branch is supposed to be the force that balances the influence of the executive. However, what we have seen in Jordan is that the parliament seems to always go along with limited opposition to what the government proposes in the name of national unity, appease the royal family, and attack whomever tries to shed a light on their perpetual impotence.
Therefore, as we have seen in the growing effects of social media, the increased connectedness of Jordanians, and the apparent willingness for youth to do something to better their future, the opportunity is now to have a say in the upcoming elections and break the cycle of electing members of parliament according to tribal connections and based on name recognition. It's not an easy thing to do. But, it is possible.

Can we change minds in order to write a better future? -not to sound overly cliché- Yes, we can!
To ensuring youth participation in Jordan's upcoming parliamentary elections is a way to capitalize on the oft-cited statistical demographic of the Middle East: xy% is between 18 and 30 years of age. That number for Jordan is close to 30% of the population. (here for a more comprehensive break down of age groups). In a country of more than 6 Million, a 2MM is more than enough to enforce change, not just demand it.
My view of a start to that change is to crowd-source a data base of candidates to give potential voters a better objective look at their pasts, experiences, and what their political agenda might be. This data base could allow for an opposing argument to be posted along side the candidate agenda or all candidates in the same district be grouped together in one page.
The date base would be a wiki styled website where potential voters are able to find:

  • the role the parliament plays in keeping the balance of power by countering the influence of the executive branch
  • candidates by district/governorate
  • "know the candidate" section
  • stats on voting demographics
  • educate the voters on issues actively debated by candidates
  • help the voters make an educated decision away from tribalism
  • information on the dangers of vote buying
  • the historical progress of former parliamentarians
  • a list of laws passed by the government as "temporary laws" in the absence of parliament
  • a list laws/bills up for debate and voting once parliament is in session

the list goes on for aspects of electing a viable parliament that could be included in such a website. The goal all along must be to avoid the kind of disappointing group of members of the just dissolved parliament.

Monday, October 5, 2009

To Where Do Jordanians Immigrate?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"The problems of the Arab world are almost always the fault of it's leaders and politicians"

That is King Hussein as quoted in Lion of Jordan by Avi Shlaim. The book so far has been very interesting and "asskinssingless"! Recommended.

Friday, June 26, 2009

On the Jordanian Political Parties law

A quick read of Jordan's Political Parties Law reveals how arbitrary the permission granting process is. Section B1 of article 5 says the following:
ب. 1. يجوز لعشرة من الاردنيين على الاقل من الراغببين في تأسيس حزب ، التقدم للوزير بالمبادئ والافكار الاولية للحزب ، وللوزير الموافقة على ممارسة انشطتهم السياسية التحضيرية والترويج لهذه الافكار على ان يتقدموا بطلب التأسيس عند استكمال الشروط المنصوص عليها في هذا القانون وخلال مدة لا تزيد على ستة اشهر من تاريخ تلك الموافقة
B. 1. It is permissible for at least ten Jordanians, who have a desire in founding a party, to submit to the Minister [of interior] the principles and preliminary ideas of the party, and it is up to the minister to grant consent to exercise their preparatory political activities and the promotion of these ideas so they could submit the establishing application upon completion of the conditions Set forth in this law, within a period not exceeding six months from the date of such consent. source
In a country where joining political parties is still a stigmatized taboo, the government is still making it more the harder on average jordanians to found a political party that has a chance in being approved, let alone changing the status quo. The law puts too much power in the hands of the Interior Minister to decide what suits the public and what is allowed to be promoted as principles and ideals. Jordan has a little chance in advancing the tiny crumbs of democracy into a real and competent force of change if the whole process is carried out in the most undemocratic manner.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Language is Jordanians' main factor in deciding where to Immigrate?

Jordanians are certainly one people that would like to get the hell out of the country in search of prosperity in many parts of the world. The chronic economical, social, and civil rights problems are the motivation behind almost all those lining up in front of various embassies in Amman. A few of the 65 Consulates/Embassies receive the lion's share of interest. Aside form the typical Arab destinations, such as UAE and KSA, English speaking countries are the most popular. Countries like the US, Australia, and Canada are the top preference.

It just seams to be a huge limitation to confine the search for a better life to a place where you would still need to learn the way the language is spoken locally (believe me. MOE English curriculum is garbage). Saying "How do you do?" in the US won't get yo punched in the face, but will put the letters "FOB" on your forehead immediately. And that not to mention that European countries are actually closer culturally to Jordan than the US and Canada are.

Take for example Spain. The Spanish language is very close to English, contains more words of Arabic origin than any other language, and it already includes the sound TH (as in ثغرة عصفور)! In addition, the people are great, still celebrate the Islamic mark in their history, and it is home to a lot of North African Arabs. Also, Scandinavian countries have been shown to be the best in terms of happiness, least Corrupted,and Human development. And, Most European countries are within 6 hours of flight time and not 12-20 hours as is the case with the US.

So, there are other destinations in the world that actually welcome immigrants more than others. Some countries are struggling to coup with a declining population, such as Italy and Spain and others would like to enhance their communities with diverse cultures. And, although the US, Canada, and Australia remain good choices, let's not ignore others that might prove better in the long run.