The Jordan Pavilion triggered an international crisis that led to protests, arrests, vandalism and the cancellation of at least one foreign leader’s visit, all within the first few weeks of a world’s fair whose official slogan was “Peace Through Understanding.”
At a time when the Jordanian economy is struggling and people are barely able to pay bills, the lavish wedding felt inappropriate. Year after year, the freedoms of Jordanians are being restricted and power is taken from them and handed over to the royal family. So when the campaign to publicize the wedding came out nationally and internationally and was titled “We rejoice,” we launched a parallel campaign with a slogan that roughly translated to “Rejoice, you little shits.”
Although tribal law was officially abolished in 1976, many Jordanians continue to resort to it when calamity strikes, and the government continues to enforce it. While critics say it undermines Jordan’s written laws and constitution, proponents argue it serves the public good, preventing revenge attacks and further bloodshed.
Jordan’s water minister claimed he was preventing a tsunami by draining a dam that supplied vital irrigation for local farmers. Others say it was a cover-up for a far worse problem. Either way, the corruption in the sector is strangling livelihoods and the environment.
Jordan’s King Abdullah was a central headline in the Pandora Papers scandal. But far from denting his reputation, the elites he draws his power from are seeing it as an attack on Jordan, giving rise to speculation bordering on conspiracy as to who’s behind it, reversioning other political events of the past year. As a result, sympathy for the king has only grown.
This week in Jordan sees the start of a trial for sedition and incitement, with charges brought against a member of the royal family and a formerly trusted adviser to the king, and the king’s half-brother Prince Hamzah taking the stand as a witness. Lydia Wilson uncovers how this unprecedented threat of instability to the kingdom feels to Jordanians.
Prince Hassan bin Talal, ex-Crown Prince of Jordan, has no “delusions of grandeur” for himself but plenty of ambitious plans for his country. He talks to Newlines about his vision for a more participatory system in which the legion problems facing both the planet and human societies are addressed together.