November 24, 2005

reform ?

how? how do we fix what is wrong with the middle east in general in light of what happened in Jordan? democracy? yes, that's the obvious solution. but how? baby steps of reform? there are so many issues and many more questions...but really, the government needs a major overhaul.
it's interesting that the int'l media and the jordanian govt keep playing on this idea that jordanian was such a hub of tranquility and peace. yes, it was, on the surface. jordanians are some of the highest taxed citizens in the world. over the past decade or so, FDI has poured into the country, the king's privatization programs have been underway, and the war on iraq brought millions (literally) to help with things such as border protection and training troops. but there was money allocated for non-military programs. for economic and social programs. where did it go? there's not accountability. the average jordanian hasn't seen changes. i go there every summer. the potholes are still there. the towns are beat up. the people are unemplyed. there is hunger. the only changes i see are in amman. more foreigners, many more. more malls for them and posh hotels for them. it's really easy to figure it out. take a stroll in mecca mall... u will find that nobody is carrying a shopping bag, seriously, nobody can afford anything in there, except the foreigners. jordanians go there to hang out. nothing wrong with that, but don't tell me, look amman is booming, business is flourishing. it's not flourishing because of jordanians. they're not gaining anything.

what KILLS me though, is that they still defend the king, and they have reached a level of hopelessness and carelessness that i have not seen before. we complain about the long lines in govt offices, the corruption, the bad schools, etc...tell someone to go talk about it to an elected official, they will laugh in your face.
sometimes i feel like i expect too much from them, telling them to go talk to public officials, hey, jordan ain't america you know. u can't knock on the congressman's office and tell him what's bothering you. but still, there should be an impetus for change, not just accepting the status quo, a crappy one that is.

i don't know what to say. i was watching jordanian tv this morning, announcements about the new government, bla bla bla... what does it all mean really? some old guy "resigned" and some new old guy was appointed in his place. they follow the same rules, face the same limitations, and work under the same rules for the past god knows how many years.
i will try not to judge this new initiative by the king, so we'll see what happens.
it's hard not to be cynical, but i want to see the impact of such "reforms" on the average jordanian. that's what's needed for people to really feel a change. not just 'official' announcements and decrees on tv.
we're in the 21st century, people can see now what goes on outside their borders. they don't need state television anymore.

we need serious reform.



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