I am majorly disappointed with the lack of coverage over King Abdullah II’s dismissal of the Jordanian government and subsequent appointment of a new prime minister.
When this upheaval happened on Jan. 31, it was CNN’s fourth top story mentioned down towards the middle of the page. Now, if you type “Jordan” into Google News, it pulls up a bunch of stuff about basketball and you have to scroll through to page 2 before winding up at something relevant.
Even the post politically inclined people I know either haven’t heard about this at all, or haven’t heard enough to hold an adequate conversation on the matter. We are all enthralled with Tunisia, because it was a major upheaval; Egypt, because we poor money into their country and hold high stakes in the outcome; and Yemen, because we need them to fight terrorism for us (even though the protests have had little to no effect on the standing government).
But what about Jordan? Maybe we are bored with this country. It is, after all, jokingly referred to as the “Heshemite Kingdom of Boredom” because of its outstanding stability for a country that borders (think counterclockwise) Israel and Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Their record of human rights, while certainly not stunning, are the best in the region. They haven’t picked fights with Israel, they’ve stayed decently out of the way of terrorism organizations, and the reward for their good behavior is no international coverage of their time of turmoil.
We toss them aside in favor of frustrating negotiations with Egypt, an altogether uncontrollable situation in Tunisia and a largely less-than-notable attempt at revolt in Yemen.
Maybe its just my penchant for political matters trumping here, but I find that absurd. It could also be because I spend several days in Jordan this summer teaching a debate camp over Middle Eastern politics at the King’s School with the NCPA. For good measure, here is a picture of the school. …and a picture of me riding a camel in Petra, just for fun.
I feel that my experience there simply alerted me of the fact that we need to spend more time focusing on those Middle Eastern countries that don’t need billions of dollars of annual aid, or constant threats of military actions, or international sanctions to keep their act together. I’m by no means saying we shouldn’t focus on those that often need some nudging, but for purposes of international sanity, we should also focus on those that don’t…at least occasionally.
And since its already tomorrow in Jordan, making it Feb.7, the 12th anniversary of King Hussein’s death and thus the 12th anniversary of the day Abdullah took up his father’s post, maybe its even more important that we realize it today.