This op-ed from Ammon News in Jordan is directed to Jordanians only, but it describes how childishly a large part of the Arab world acts.
It’s Friday and we must have a protest in Jordan. Someone, somewhere in Jordan has done something that peeves us and makes us angry so we need to go out, block the roads, cry foul and snarl traffic because we have nothing constructive to do but protest. We seem to be doing a lot of that in Jordan lately.Westerners are so afraid of criticizing the Arab mentality the way that some brave Arabs do. But that criticism itself is a necessary precondition to forcing the Arab world to grow up. By giving them a free pass, the childish behavior is being rewarded and reinforced. This hurts everyone - including the Arabs themselves.
The latest spat is because the government has raised fuel prices that are already subsidized by another 4%. So let’s go out and protest against these government civil servants and their leadership that must be corrupt.
It cannot be that the fuel prices have been kept low for so long by subsidies that the government cannot continue to maintain due to large debts, and fuel prices that are going up. It has to be because they are corrupt.
It cannot be because we refuse to walk anymore to burn off some of the fat from our overly obese bodies (The rise of Diabetes in Jordan is staggering). Or the fact that some of us cannot walk a kilo without collapsing because of all the cigarette smoking we do and the fact that this vile, dangerous, costly, dirty habit is killing us and our children who have to live with second hand smoke (Cancer and many other disease linked to tobacco use in Jordan is growing rapidly).
We don’t want to change our poor habits. We don’t want to take a bus or taxi (because that is beneath us). We don’t want to walk or try different alternative sustainable energy methods that in the long run will make it cheaper for us and our country. We just MUST HAVE cheap fuel.
It cannot be because we are lazy and do not want to try to make things better by attempting new innovations or thinking. It’s because it must be the corrupt civil servants and their leadership that is doing this to us.
We don’t want to leave our wet nurse, we don’t want to grow up and start to think and live on our own and pay our own way. We want to be moochers of the government coffers, because after-all they are our mommy’s and daddy’s.
So when we do not get our way, we need to throw a fit. We need to go out and protest. We have to show them and the world that we can throw a tantrum just as well as a teenage kid, when they are told that they are spending too much time playing and on the phone with his friends and not studying and applying new skills.
My brothers and sisters we of all people know that we have been living like wet nursed children for so long. We know that we need to wake up and move on alternative sustainable energies. We know that we need to raise prices not just on fuel but things that we are fully aware are killing us and our children principally tobacco use.
This product must be taxed to limits that will deter its use. We know that we have to control this dangerous narcotic as we control other dangerous narcotics. But I have yet to hear a protest or demands about its flagrant use in our public building and street and at tobacco companies, who are profiting on the demise of others.
We must get our heads out of the sand and stop pretending that we do not live in the real world. When things get hard we must rise to the challenge. That does not mean we let our public officials off of performing their duty to us, but understand that things in our country must change for us to survive. So like my father used to say, “Pull up you big boy pants and get to work”.