Thursday, 09 December 2021 12:53 GMT

The Jordanians' Resort to CynicismBy Jumana Ghunaimat


(MENAFN- Alghad Newspaper)

Let us take a moment to reflect on what is happening these days, in reality as well as on social media, in terms of society, culture and the behavioural shifts among Jordanians.

Change is never without cause, as constant as it is. In Jordan, just as well, change has its own set of enablers and drivers of this change.

All around us are signs that we take for granted.

The recent events, however, deserve a moment of us to ponder.

Incidents like armed robbery, murder, assault, communal violence and various other behaviours widespread of late are not entirely novel in our society. The same goes for every society around the world. Violence, theft and other unlawful behaviour is not exclusive to Jordan.

In some parts of the world, incidents of the sort happen every minute. Which is not the case in Jordan.

Such practices were never so widespread, ever, in the modern history of Jordan, to the best of our knowledge and memory.

However, crimes of various sorts are spreading at an unprecedented rate in Jordan, and it only confirms that change in our society is taking place at the most fundamental levels over these last few years.

Judging by how it looks now, it is highly likely that the next few years will bring about even more change. And if we keep this course, then we may very well find ourselves facing a society we longer recognise only years from now!

It is not easy to explain. But this change manifests in way that vary both in scale and complication, and it has a lot to do with to socio-cultural, economic and political dynamics at play.

Change starts at home, from families breaking down to child abuse. The many cases respective family protection services deal with on an annual basis are proof of this change.

The reality is that all the values and morals we have carried on through the decades are now crashing at the shores of a sudden, abrupt harsh reality!

Children and parents slaughtering each other! Not to mention the skyrocketing divorce rates! These are crimes that are unfathomable to us all, or to the most of us, at least!

Drug abuse is on the rise, which is not an isolated issue when it comes to change in society. Children, teens, boys, girls and adults alike are using drugs. This may very well have to do with increase in suicide rate, among other things!

Overall, the current state of affairs is painful, if not infuriating!

No less infuriating is the fact that Jordanians are far more prone today to cynicism and sarcasm, even when it comes to some of the most critical and crucial issues!

The moment an issue is brought to light, or an incident takes place, no matter the gravity of it, the waves of Jordanian ridicule reduce it all to dust and jokes!

Let us trace the public's reaction to events in these past six years.

Back in 2011, Fayez Tarawneh's government signed up for the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s economic reform agreement. Abdullah Nsoor's government implemented the programme Tarwaneh signed up for, while in the meantime negotiating the current one, current being implemented by Hani Mulqi's government.

The outcome of these programmes included primarily unprecedented leaps in prices and the costs of living for Jordanians. Starting from Nsoor's decision to float fuel prices, notwithstanding the latest tax revamps and laws, all seeking to up domestic income and revenues.

Nsoor's government departed the Fourth Circle but nothing changed.

The lives of Jordanians were not made better by the arrival of new governments in office. In fact, it was only worsened.

The faces of ministers and officials have changed, yes, but not the policies!

In these last two years alone, Mulqi's government pushed several amendments, the last of which was the General Budget Bill.

However, entailed in this Bill were amendments to the Tax Law, later enacted, which have proven to be most encompassing and disruptive.

The public, of course, took it all with unprecedented cynicism and sarcasm!

That said, these latest decisions have not yet reflected on the people's lives. So, it is safe to say that these most recent incidents, have nothing to do with any of it!

It may have, on the other hand, reinforced the public's sense of distrust in the government's performance, driving the people's confidence, or whatever is left of it, to the ground!

In just these last few days, these armed robberies have only magnified negative sentiments towards to the state and its institutions, adding to the people's growing sense of insecurity and disappointment!

Banks, shops and cars were robbed in broad daylight, and this is just what we know of as of yet!

Much more is to come!

In the meantime, it is frightening to see how Jordanians dealt with these incidents. The account of sarcasm, as though these actions are neither illegal nor threatening to their own security, is taunting!

Nonetheless, the truth is that the public mood is only reflective of an accumulating frustrations, disappointments, disenfranchisement and hardship.

This is all a result of the government's misguided and relentless self-proclaimed economic reform policies. The costs of which are paid by none other than the average Jordanian!

Years have passed since these policies were first enacted, Jordanians still see no tangible results.

Meanwhile, the aspects of economic reforms that could really enhance the lives of Jordanians are put off indefinitely. Whether it is deliberate or just plain ignorance doesn't, we have no way of telling for sure!

What we do know is that further delays in development will only worsen life for Jordanians, which is not an assumption to be taken lightly!

The Jordanians have resorted to sarcasm to deal with their reality, for now!

What if this sarcasm is just a mirroring phenomenon, reflecting an unarticulated but overwhelming sense of uncertainty and concern for the future?

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.

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