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For Thee, Hiba, you may flee as the calves lost, and the land no longer fit for cultivation

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Eng. Saleem Al Batayneh

The Polish poet of contradictions, Nobel Prize winner in literature in 1996, Wisława Szymborska, says (I apologize for big questions with small answers!).

Today we have a new story and a message of frustration for an issue that stirred controversy and interaction on social media. It is the story of the young lawyer (Hiba Al-Shamaileh), who spoke before Prime Minister Dr. Bisher Al-Khasawneh. She said that she is not the daughter of a minister or deputy and does not want to leave the country because only the calves of the country plow its soil.

Yes, it’s true: if any one individual could embody all the meanings of self-reliance and the importance of self-effort in building the nation and ensuring its safety and future, it would be that simple folk saying: “Only the calves plow the land!”

Your story, Hiba, reminds me of the story of the young man from Al-Ramtha, Qutaiba, who wrote on his page five years ago that he wants to emigrate and leave the country after being struck by despair and frustration in searching for job opportunities! At that time, Prime Minister Dr. Omar Al-Razzaz addressed him with his famous sentence: “Don’t emigrate, Qutaiba.” I then wrote an article published by the London newspaper “Rai Al-Youm,” and it was picked up by various Jordanian and non-Jordanian news sites, titled “Flee, Qutaiba!”

Suffering and frustration, and I don’t know what to tell you, Hiba! Sometimes dreams blend into reality, and we don’t know when the dream begins and reality ends. Today, we don’t see in our youth, products of the era of defeats, anything but suppressed potential and psychological stress, a state of helplessness that led to despair. Our youth have become captives of fear, closer to being lost as if the truth is absent and unknown…

The painful question arises, but Hiba, and doesn’t acknowledge anything. It’s as if it’s saying, “Where is the truth? Are we cattle to plow the land for so-and-so who parachutes down on us?”

Our youth are stifled by depression, and their visions have been exhausted of dreams and future aspirations. They have the right to question in the midst of the current wave of despair and discouragement: What are you doing for us?

Everyone complains and no one answers. It’s as if those responsible for managing our affairs are telling us that they have no connection and no concern for what’s happening. This has pushed Jordanians towards frustration, despair, and escaping from the country, making them passive citizens who neither participate nor contribute to anything… Our difficult living conditions don’t need evidence or proof. The criteria that confirm that the state deserves the title of “parent” to its citizens are numerous, well-known, and obvious to all.

I know, Hiba, that your index is filled with disturbing words. The homeland is no longer the four directions to you, nor is it the heart and the vein! Your dreams roll from one room to another and are sometimes kicked… The homeland, Hiba, has been consumed and exhausted for years, and we don’t know where it’s sailing! The youth like you and Qutaiba must bear, more than others, the consequences of the country’s crises and their negative outcomes.

We are faced with frustrations that prevent many of competent individuals from participating in building their country and placing them in losing bets. The reason is the political elite that struggles for influence and gains at the expense of the nation. Let’s not forget that the phenomenon of parachuting contributed to the migration of the competent, and parachute operations are expanding horizontally. Most of the state’s leadership descended by parachute.

It’s a situation that Sigmund Freud (the famous Austrian psychologist) can’t explain. We’ve become anxious people! This is a social and psychological situation that few people understand. From this anxiety, our identity was formed, and losing it means losing ourselves.

I feel sadness and sorrow as I recall the image of the southern boy with torn shoes! More than five years ago, the photographer of Al-Rai newspaper (Mohammed Al-Qaralla) captured the worn-out shoe of a student at the Al-Barbaita School in Al-Tafilah. It tells of the extent of poverty and misery that children there live with. It revealed the worst images of wasting students’ rights within the school compound. It affected everyone who saw it, and I challenge any of the parachutists who descended on us to visit or know its location!

Ask, Hiba, about the conditions of the students at Al-Hasa Elementary School: Are they well? Do they suffer from cold in the winter? Do they have shoes to wear?

My article may be provocative to some! Or the wording of my questions might not be rosy. The suffering is greater than can be described! We don’t need shouts to recognize it. Always, in Jordan, there’s a missing piece of the puzzle. It’s said that there’s a critical point where falsehood reaches its peak and strength! It’s a point where truth reaches its utmost adversity.

The article is melancholic and is meant to raise concern if there are those who are concerned… The image suggests despair, and there’s nothing to rejoice in, no reassuring steps. People, in general, are preoccupied with the situation, and nothing travels through the self except pain! Flee Hiba, and emigrate before the feeling of frustration and depression destroys you, for we are not ready bulls for plowing! And peace is the end.

All Batayneh was a former member of the Jordanian Parliament and a columnist in a number of media outlets