Let Me Speak My Mind: a Trend of Political Bigotry in Jordan?

I have not written anything in this blog in a long time. I have tried to start writing many times, but I never could finish. I have been, for the past few months, increasingly frustrated with the stiuation in Jordan; while the government is doing some right moves, politically, I became largely frustrated with the wave of bigotry that has swept our society off its feet. Bigotry in politics is almost deeply enthralled in the hearts and minds of many Jordanians, across classes, political views, roles, and perspectives.

Pro-Government protesters are bigoted against Pro-Reform protesters, considering them unthankful, unpatriotic “scum”.

Pro-Reform protesters are themselves bigoted against Pro-Government protesters, thinking they are government-funded thugs who want ot beat them.

Pro-Government media is bigoted agaisnt many political movements, consdiering them outside-fundedp lots against our security.

Anti-Government media is even more bigoted: against the government, police, and their supporters. Every policy is an evil plot, every anti-Government journalist is a hero, every incident is an attack, every violence is targetting thme, and every politician is corrupt.

Events are blown out of proportion at times, and are silenced at others. Every Jordanian reads the news they agree with, and stop: never the opposite perspectives. Our opponents’ political view does not exist. Our opponents’ perspectives are always unfounded. Our rivals are always bigoted, nonsensical, idiots, and fools–never us.

We need a national dialogue, yet all we do is push each other around. Videos of our protests are sad scenes of people yelling at people, fighting with others, and never listening. Never mind that some are reporters and other are policemen, neverm ind that some are politicians and others are activists, all act the same: Like the stereotypical impulsive man, violent, angry, bigoted, and never listens.

I try to go both ways, sometimes criticize the government, and at others support it, depending on what I think (though recently I admit I am doing more support than criticize, but I’m convinced I’m still rational about it). Yet, whenever I criticize, or express the need for a reform, I am called naive by some, and anti-Jordanian by others. And when I express that I don’t think the government was wrong in X, or that the government is doing the right thing in Y, I am either uneducated or have some sort of interest.

After debates with some, I often hear that people are surprised how there is someone smart who thinks differently. So let me be very clear:

People subscribe to all sorts of thoughts, beliefs, and views. Some views might be better than others, but all are debatable. Nothing is obviously true, and very little is obviously false. Most of those who subscribe to views possess a well-thought, legitimate reason, and many philosophical arguments, that lead them to possess a view. No view, belief, or side is exclusively more intelligent or just. My view can still be better than yours, and I will continue to defend it with confidence, but never condescension.

Political reform is essential, but the society must also rise up. We need a new atmosphere where one is not ridiculed for speaking his mind.

My Problem with Sheer Exaggeration and Loaded Words in Argumentation

Prelude

I have been thinking about this one for a while. You see, I am very interested in regional politics (“region” here comes from the Latin “to Middle East“…), and I like to read about it in as many places I could, including blog posts of course, and I often comment when I feel compelled to share or add.

But I dislike exaggerated points and wrong facts, logical fallacies, an unfounded appeal for emotion, loaded non-arguments, etc. In normal conversations, these might not be that common, but when conversation shifts to politics or religion, where people are passionate about their arguments, often extremely committed to one side — blind to all the rest, these logical “mishaps” become more and more imminent.

When reading such points, I am often compelled to write back, with a counterargument.

The reason I share this now is because, in the Jordanian blogosphere, most points that bother me just so happen to be concentrated on one side, and as a result, most counterarguments I make happen to be concentrated on the inverse side. And I’m not a hard-liner-loyalist, but increasingly I feel that this is what it seems. And its something I’m used to, anti-religious friends, upon conversation, often deem me as extremely religious, while religious friends often deem me as extremely anti-religious. That is because, by my very nature, I like to respond to one-sided arguments (arguably, all passionate arguments are one-sided, but I disagree) with a one-sided counter-argument.

But to cut the crap, and go directly to the real unambiguous point:

Jordan, is a state with its own strengths and weaknesses, achievements and counter-achievements, perks and downsides, and ultimately, the government, is both right and wrong, depending on the issue. I am all for the continuous improvement of the country, society, and the establishment, and I understand and support that this entails criticism of the wrong.

As such, the arguments I try to fight are those that say its all good and dandy, and those that entail its all bad and horrible. But can’t we engage in more balanced critique where we can actually know where Jordan really stands — what are the upsides and downsides of establishment, where to improve, where to reform, where to revolutionize, and where to simply support?

Just because one might be dissatisfied by Jordan’s attitudes towards certain aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, doesn’t mean that we should criticize the Abdali Regeneration project as a plan to suppress Ammanis, or even criticize all aspects of the attitudes towards the conflict to begin with. And when one is dissatisfied by internal policies, linking them to a national plan of intellectual suppression isn’t helpful either; it ignores real growth and real improvement in some places. All I say is, know where you stand, know where Jordan stands, and then engage in activism accordingly.