His Majesty King Abdullah’s heart to heart words to a group of students from the University of Jordan on Tuesday are intended also to the entire country.
The King opened up his heart to students and through them to the public and shared with them how he views the internal and external challenges facing the country. The Monarch was more than candid and forthright when he told the students, and through them the whole country, that much of the economic hardships that the country and its people face are due to external pressures.
King Abdullah confirmed what many have suspected all along, that Jordan has been receiving signals and messages from foreign nations offering to ease up Jordan’s economic and financial hardships if it would only “change” its principle and stance on Jerusalem, especially in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December last year.
For us, the King said, there is no room for wavering or even manoeuvring on Jerusalem, a city which is holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. How can Jordan bargain over the future of East Jerusalem, asked the King, when its holy shrines are his historic and religious duty.
The King, of course, touched upon other domestic issues ranging from the need to press ahead with reforms on many fronts and combating corruption and favouritism. The Kingdom needs political parties in order to perfect the parliamentary system, King Abdullah said, conceding that this would take time. “It is either that we are serious about the desire to change or we want to stay where we are,” he said.
The King is pinning high hopes on the youth as instruments for reform and change for the better. He called on the youth to “speak loudly and push politicians and officials from the base”, leaving the pressure from the top to him. At one point, the King told his audience that he is “leftist” when it comes to social rights, such as the right to health, housing, food, water and education but “rightist” when it comes to defence.
This balanced political philosophy can be expected to win the admiration of all Jordanians as the country proceeds to reform on all fronts. There is a lot, therefore, that Jordan can do, said the King, as “it is bigger than its geographic size”. How true! Especially when respect for Jordan and appreciation for the King and the country is now worldwide.