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Winners and losers in the ‘Fourth Circle’ aftermath

Jun 14,2018 - Last updated at Jun 14,2018

Jordan wins, and thats what counts most.

Attached to it is a cluster of winners, including the approach of leadership to protests that took place across the Kingdom, but the star was the nightly activity held mainly by educated middle-class youth at the Fourth Circle in Amman. 

The Hashemites proved, once again, that they know how to rule and how to remain close to the people even when others expect volcanoes to erupt. They exhibited wisdom that has deepened the country’s reputation as an oasis of peace and stability amid turbulence, unrest and bloodshed, with the Israeli bloody approach to peaceful protests included. 

Many would agree with a recent op-ed in Haaretz insisting that Jordan, not Israel, is the only democracy in this part of the world, due to the massacres Israel has committed in Gaza against defenceless people demonstrating against occupation and a choking siege. 

Certainly, winners include the young people who insisted till the last moment on keeping a lid on the slogans raised so as not to let them go beyond red lines and to preserve the peacefulness of the protests. 

This leads to the conclusion that among the biggest losers were those who sought to drag the protests into confrontations with police and gendarmes, who showed an admirable degree of self-restraint, aware that some might have been trying to steer the unprecedented event into chaos. 

The security personnel not only won, but they were also seen in a different light: They were seen as actual humans, not only men in dark uniforms, helmets, masks and batons. A gendarmerie officer appeared in a video that went viral on social media crying while holding a child during a protest and the word went that he had had a newly born child but could not go and see him because he was on duty. A huge wave of compassion swept across the platforms. 

Winners were the Arab brothers who stepped in to assist Jordan in overcoming the formidable economic challenges brought about by conditions that were beyond control of any country under similar circumstances.  

The government of Omar Razzaz, deemed an outcome of the mass protests, will surely benefit from the aid package provided by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.  Besides the fact that the new premier is popular among youth, he and his team will be working under less pressure than the situation would have been had the aid not been announced.  

There remains one category people might differ on how to classify. There have been people, educated and no less patriotic than the protestors, who supported and still support economic reforms that lead to self-reliance, including an effective and fair Income Tax Law. Individuals belonging to this segment were suppressed or hushed up amid the uproar of critics. It is a fact of life that voices of moderation cannot be heard by shouting crowds. 

Apparently, some of the very people who were at public squares chanting freely against economic policies because they were guaranteed their right to free expression jumped to silence any one who differed, even partially, with them. 

These suppressed voices have the right to be heard by the public and the new men in power. The country still needs reforms, a reasonable taxation system and a new social contract where we, the people, pay a fair share in return for quality services and self-respect ensuing from self-reliance. 

 

The writer is the deputy chief editor of The Jordan Times

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