You can call me whatever you want after reading this, but it is a post that I have been longing to write and today seemed like a good day. Today, we celebrate the 52nd Birthday of HM King Abdullah the II of Jordan. I recently went to a conference which circled the issue of political problems in the Middle East and the impact foreign agendas. When the speaker and the audience knew I was from Jordan, they all had one question: ‘how is your King surviving midst a volcano of Arab Springs?’. I wasn’t surprised really, it is a question worth thinking about especially when we are living under a monarchy and not a presidential country (meaning we don’t vote for our ruler, it is a hereditary position).
Many will probably say ‘you are a سحيجة’ after reading this, which is a term used to describe those who rally for their Kings/rulers, but what I am trying to reflect here is Jordan’s position in a very terrifying stage for the Middle East through an objective eye. Before the Arab Spring was sparkled in Tunisia, King Abdullah was well known for his reform vision and his democratic ways. I remember a theatre play which was written and acted by extremely talented local artists where it touched the King as a position and used satire to represent issues with the authority. On one of the show nights, the King made an appearance, watched the whole thing and went on stage to salute the actors, actresses, screen writer and the director. It was such a magnificent thing to see especially when people of other countries suffered from the inexistent right of freedom of speech.
Jordan opened its gates for Syrian refugees which flooded the area after the increasingly disastrous situation in the neighbouring country. It is worth mentioning that Turkey, which claims to support the Syrian ‘revolution’ closed its borders, while Jordan never did. King Abdullah, although put in the spotlight, never supported or badmouthed the regime or the opposition of Syria and supported the humanitarian cause of helping the refugees and making their stay less hurtful. It is quite difficult for a country as small as Jordan with little resources to accommodate with more than 1 million refugees, but he gladly did it, and we as the people also greet that because ‘الناس لبعض’. King Abdullah and Jordan however still receive backlashes from all sides of the Syrian situation; the regime accuses Jordan of sending weapons to Syria, the opposition accuses Jordan of standing with the regime and the refugees accuse Jordan of bad treatment. It is truly frustrating that no one sees how much Jordan has helped in the situation and how much the army and police have had to deal with the overload of security problems. We see people complaining and arguing, but the King announced a while ago that he will NOT order the shutting down of our borders with Syria.
The King, as a young man was trained in the military for many many years, and so keeps visiting Jordanian military bases on a regular schedule. You can see members of the army thrilled to see their leader visiting and doing chores just like any one of them. The King is also known for his surprise visits to villages and different tribes. He goes and sits down with the people there, helps and interacts with them to make sure their needs are satisfied (Maybe you’re thinking ‘So what he is a human being and there are cameras’) Well I tell you since the beginning of Jordan the Hashemite family is known for their humbleness and their genuine beings. Many have seen King Abdullah surrounded with his people, in the absence of cameras, but still he embraced them in his arms. The late King Hussein (his father), was also known for his extremely loveable nature and sweet soul. He was loved by everyone and his funeral was one of the biggest in centuries with countless presidents and world leaders attending, and most importantly 6 million mourning hearts.
For me, I have never felt pressured or afraid whenever I want to say anything, whether it is with or against the monarchy. Constructive criticism builds and we should make sure we do that with respect and in the vision of seeing our country improve and develop.
The journey continues with King Abdullah, and if you ask me why he is the best to lead my county in this crucial and critical phase, I have one thing to tell you:
He is moderate. He is moderate religiously and politically.
That is the most important thing.
Happy Birthday Your Majesty!