(MENAFN - Jordan Times) What does the Jordanian citizen want from the government, from parliament, from his/her fellow citizens and the international and regional "friends and partners"?
What is it that the Jordanian citizen expects from all these together when they sit down and write policy that will impact his/her life?
Do these policy makers, legislators and influence bearers actually even consider the Jordanian citizen as they move the pieces on their strategic maps and brainstorm for their plans for future action?
These questions have started to haunt me lately as I realised that even I, as a writer, am becoming caught up in the political language and bartering surrounding the stability versus reform "Jordanian debacle", and the "regional context", "limited resources", "border security", "spread of radicalism", "rentier state", "sustainable energy resources" and all those hoity-toity statements that camouflage what are basically games of strategic bargaining to ensure the interests, be they political, economic or downright personal (corruption), of this side against those of that side.
Is it in my interest, as a citizen, to have to pay a 9 per cent tax on the value of my primary home to the government, based on an exaggerated evaluation aimed only at sharing my home and its financial benefits with me?
Is it in my interest to have to pay this every time I sell and buy, and how did the government become my partner in my own home?
This is paid on top of the ridiculous musaqqafat (annual fees) that are ostensibly payment for the so-called services that the government provides me with.
How is it that I pay the sellers or buyers a share of that amazing fee while commercial housing companies are exempt, as an "incentive" to them and to ensure their "profitable" margins?
Why am I not incentivised to own my home and pocket my profit without this ridiculous surcharge that at best is unfair and qualifies as usury?
Is it in my interest to pay more for, water and telephone usage in order to bankroll not only the increase in energy prices - a worldwide problem - but also fund the thousands of public sector employees that are only employed as a conciliation prize to potentially politically destabilising groups of the population?
Is it in my interest to bankroll through my tax money public universities which are not in fact that open to the public and effectively serve pockets of the population that are discriminately selected for entry without proper qualification or even interest in their subject of study, while better qualified students are left behind without hope of achieving their dreams?
Is it in my interest that our universities fail to produce graduates capable of understanding politics or economics, or anything of value to strategic planning for the country?
Is it in my interest to pay hordes of ministers, parliamentarians, municipality council members who are rolled into their jobs and out of them without entry qualifications or valuable output?
Is it in my interest to have "superior" committees congregate to give their opinion on political reform and economic strategies when those strategists cannot tell the citizen how to balance a home budget after the menu of government taxes and fees?
Let us go down another road of so-called discussions about political planning. Why don't we drag all Jordanians into the dead-end and quite dividing dialogue about quotas, and assigned privileges and carving the pie again, so that three would benefit from here and five from there and 10 nationally?
Really, this begs the question: Am I as a citizen concerned about who gets to parliament when clearly MPs' only duty appears to be to put their thumb prints where they are told to and sign off benefits to themselves?
Let us not kid ourselves. The game of reform may have been played by all the players who have an interest so far, but the game cannot be considered won until the Jordanian citizen is invited as an equal player.
The lesson of the year since the beginning of the Arab Spring may just be that all these strategists for change who we saw come and go over the past year forgot who they were mandated to create change for: the Jordanian citizen.