AUTHORClaire Raskob Claire Raskob is an International Politics major in the SFS. Relocating to a landscape similar to that of her home state of New Mexico, Claire will be spending the fall of her junior year in Amman, Jordan. Claire began her Arabic studies in 8 th...
October 10, 2012
November 14, 2012
The Junior Year Abroad Network (JYAN) connects Georgetown students studying abroad in a variety of cultures. Students share reflections on religion, culture, politics, and society in their host countries, commenting on topics ranging from religious freedom and interfaith dialogue to secularization, globalization, democracy, and economics.
AT THE CENTER
RELATED RESOURCES: MUSLIM
Jordanians Seek a Meaningful Democratic Voice
October 10, 2012 | 1 COMMENT
The Muslim Brotherhood called its supporters into the streets of Amman following afternoon prayers to demand better election law and more constitutional amendments from the king. Peaceful protests are commonplace in Amman, but these protests carry key differences from their counterparts in other countries in the region. Rather than protesting the king or the monarchy itself, the Muslim Brotherhood is protesting the extent of his power and policies.
Omnipresent images of the king throughout Amman mirror the general sentiment of the people of Amman: people love the king. I find portraits of various members of the monarchy nearly every place I go whether or not the building is affiliated with the government, and I would be hard pressed to find a Jordanian willing to speak directly against the king. This loyalty to the monarchy, however, does not change the fact that many Jordanians desire a meaningful voice in the government.
Some Jordanians feel that this desire has already been met, and they participate in the democratic process by voting in the elections. Others, such as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, believe that they are underrepresented in elections, and therefore participate in protests and boycott elections in order to have their voice heard.
The desire to be heard brought 15,000 citizens of Amman to downtown on October 5th. Photographers captured the images of protesters holding signs demanding a voice in the government and freedom from corruption. Although police arrested eight men for carrying knives, the majority of protesters desired a peaceful protest. Opponents of the protesters originally called a counter-demonstration to show their loyalty to the king, but this protest was rescheduled in fear that clashes between the two groups might become violent.
My colloquial Arabic teacher taught my class the phrase “safe and secure” early in the class, and Jordanians take pride in the safety and security of their country amidst turmoil in the Middle East. Although some Jordanians use protests to voice their opinions to the government there is no visible desire for these protests to topple the monarchy. The government practices caution in its response to the protesters as well, and it has made many concessions based on what the citizens demand.
Jordan walks a fine line. Conflicts around the region, particularly the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, increased the refugee population in Jordan and subsequently raised food prices. Tensions between Palestinian Jordanians and native Jordanians could surface in the face of extreme political turmoil, and therefore both the government and protesters aim to maintain peaceful protests. Both sides have made concessions regarding the other, and as Jordanians aim for a more meaningful voice in the government it is likely that more concessions must be made.
COMMENT FROM PROFESSOR ELI MCCARTHY March 19, 2013
It's quite impressive to see how the protests and government responses in this blog resembles an aura of mutual respect and political space. One of the key themes in Justice and Peace studies is the notion of a justpeace or sometimes called "positive peace." The idea seeks to illuminate the insight that peace is more than the absence of violence, i.e. mere "stability," but also the presence of 1) social justice, i.e. basic human rights--political, economic, social, etc., and 2) of thriving virtuous relationships, e.g. habits of solidarity and forgiveness. I'm curious about how Claire might analyze the situation in light of this theme of a just peace.