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Political Reform and Rebalancing: Transforming the Nobility and Achieving Genuine Revision

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Eng. Saleem Al Batayneh

Renowned American political scientist Gabriel A. Almond (1911-2002) recognized the transformative power of change within a political system. By redistributing power and influence within the state, comprehensive changes at the structural level can be realized. However, privileged groups and oligarchies often hinder such changes.

In the realm of politics, as Plato aptly observed, there exist hidden elements and parasites that only become apparent when the smell of decay reaches our nostrils. Algerian writer Malik Haddad poetically states that zeros revolve around themselves, underscoring the need for introspection.

Let us engage in constructive dialogue or engage in a spirited debate, as the weight of criticism highlights a deep-seated crisis within our state. Now, more than ever, we require a culture rooted in self-criticism and accountability.

Perhaps this is the first time I write under the sway of enthusiasm. For many years, comprehensive and objective assessments have been absent, leaving critical concerns regarding Jordan’s future unaddressed. This evaluation must encompass a period marked by depleted coffers, a struggling education and sick healthcare system, widespread poverty, and high unemployment. Sadly, the ultimate aspiration of our youth has become emigration, seeking opportunities elsewhere. To bring about these necessary revisions demands political courage and learning from past experiences.

Presently, a longing for change permeates the Jordanian streets. One only needs to ask a vegetable vendor, who, with a warm smile, can swiftly provide an answer. There is no need to burden them with numerous inquiries, as their time is valuable, spent toiling each day to secure their family’s livelihood.

The conviction that change is an essential and urgent objective, rather than an optional course of action, is vital to transform the political landscape. It requires abandoning the practice of diluting public life and alleviating the prevalent discontent, congestion, and frustration that have reached unprecedented levels. Only through a comprehensive shift in concepts and perceptions can we liberate ourselves from an uncomfortable reality and allow fresh air to fill the suffocated and despondent public sphere.

Opinion polls consistently indicate that the majority of Jordanians lack trust in political and legislative institutions. Their unbridled desire for change extends beyond mere rhetoric; they seek a fundamental transformation of the deteriorating political elite, encompassing its structure, discourse, and behaviour. Regrettably, numerous opportunities to reformulate the core of Jordanian decision-making have been squandered.

The current trend of clinging to power and revolving positions fails to inspire optimism, particularly when some insist on outdated strategies that have proven ineffective in recent times. These individuals exhibit an inability to learn from history and suffer from deficiencies in their perception and understanding

Undoubtedly, we acknowledge the existence of certain individuals, symbols, and competencies within the system. However, the lack of scrutiny in their selection has only reinforced the erosion of trust. The same familiar faces resurface time and again, necessitating a sincere cessation of imposing unsuccessful personalities who have been rejected by the Jordanian people.

Relying exclusively on a specific group is indicative of a politically deficient country. It is imperative that we refrain from narrowing the political landscape and accept that our problems can only be solved by a predetermined group of individuals as if they were bestowed upon us from the heavens. Suggesting that they represent the elite of the nation throughout the entire country is unjustifiable.

All of this compels us to pose the following questions: Are we capable of effecting change? Is change forbidden in Jordan? Who or what is obstructing it? What does Jordan require to emerge from its current decline? What must be done to awaken from our slumber? Who bears the responsibility for our situation? Has the political arena, both regionally and globally, remained unchanged?

Change always comes at a price, and the greater the aspirations of the people, the more significant the change is required. It contributes to strengthening and sustaining political stability. We must overcome role confusion, address the unconsciousness and irrationality that plague us, and adopt a fresh approach to future planning. Deepening relations with various countries will ensure a diversified range of options.

Our current economic, social, and political conditions represent the nadir of our circumstances, and the underlying cause is the absence of a comprehensive national vision. Observers of our situation today would argue that what we need is the emergence of a political and advisory body characterized by wisdom, selflessness, and professionalism in the realm of politics. Additionally, the establishment of a think tank would be essential in developed countries to provide insightful and objective advice on political, economic, and social crises. This body should be accompanied by a media organization characterized by strategic thinking, possessing a comprehensive national identity, and the ability to persuade and influence public opinion.

It appears that the race is still filled with contenders, losers, and opportunists. The persistent question we pose is: How can we believe that relying on the same old faces will bring about a new Jordan?

The issue at hand extends beyond reactions to individual events; it necessitates a comprehensive change of failed approaches and experiences in decision-making.

I wish I could find even a sliver of compliment! During every economic discussion, I am dismayed by the shallow understanding exhibited by officials. Those in charge of this domain consistently move from one failure to another. I still recall a discussion I had with two former ministers on the economic front, during which I was astounded to discover that one of them failed to distinguish between economic growth and economic development. Their understanding of the state economy was deficient. As for the other minister, regrettably, they lacked comprehension of the difference between inflation and the rising costs of goods and services. The worst part is that they perceive the economy solely in terms of trade, profit, and loss.

Our current reality is not a fleeting moment or a coincidental occurrence; it is the product of a system that prioritized its own interests, dedicating efforts to accumulating influence and wealth through a political arena that is ignorant of even the most basic principles and behaviours. We have neglected many individuals of integrity and intellect, forsaking them. The previous stages only brought forth knights without horses or swords—bewildered and shaken. While the system may have managed to manipulate the game for extended periods, it has ultimately failed against the tide of time

Jordan is a nation for all its citizens, a principle that has been upheld since its inception and will continue to guide its future. However, the current state of affairs can no longer tolerate a government that lacks diversity and is limited in its perspectives. It is evident from the experiences of various administrations that power lies predominantly outside the government itself, within what is commonly referred to as the deep state. Consequently, governments no longer possess true ruling authority. The House of Representatives, once a legislative body, has lost its efficacy, with important agreements being forged in secrecy, circumventing constitutional institutions of the state. Examples include the gas agreement, the Jordan debt scheduling agreement with the Paris Club in 2008, and the infamous casino agreement in 2007, which sparked a major scandal during the Bakhit government. Additionally, even if the peace agreement, considered highly controversial, was presented to the House of Representatives, what is in the aftermath thereto?

Al Batayneh was a former Member of the Jordanian Parliament.