At the Celebration of Accession to the Throne, the Anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt and Army Day
8 June 2010
In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,
Dear brothers and sisters,
God bless your efforts, and welcome everyone,
We meet today as we celebrate two of our cherished national occasions: Army Day and the anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt. It is our duty to remember with respect and appreciation the leaders of the revolt, its men and their great sacrifices, with the late Al Hussein bin Ali at the forefront. We must also stress our loyalty and commitment to the principles of the revolt and its great message – the revolt that took place for the freedom and unity of the Arabs. It is on these principles that Jordan was founded and, likewise, the Arab Army. Jordan has been and will continue to be loyal to the message of this revolt: freedom, unity and the preservation of human dignity.
On this occasion, I salute, with pride and appreciation, the brave comrades in arms – the protectors of the country and its march, the symbol of dedication, sacrifice and heroism – in the Arab Army and security forces and every citizen in Jordan, which has always embraced the Arabs and their unity. I say to them all, congratulations.
I am pleased to meet with you today. You are the elite of the charitable and dedicated people of this country as leaders of your local communities. Many of you have been in positions of responsibility, and some of you still are. We meet in order to speak frankly and with a sense of responsibility about some of our domestic affairs as we approach the date of parliamentary elections that reflect our keenness to strengthen our democratic process and to protect it from those who seek to harm or derail it.
Before we go into the details, I want to reassure everyone that we are committed to conducting parliamentary elections in the last quarter of this year, as has already been announced. Measures and preparations to ensure the elections are held with utmost transparency and integrity will be put in place by the government in order to reach a parliament that represents the hopes and aspirations of our people. Here, everyone is required to work to expand participation in these elections.
I know the economic situation is uncomfortable and that citizens are suffering, but we all must know that we are not the only country suffering from tough economic conditions and that our condition is affected, one way or another, by economic conditions in the world around us. It is our duty to confront these conditions with all possible means and to reduce their impact on our people. The government is moving to face this major challenge with a clear vision and working plans and programmes tied to specific timelines. But it will take some time to achieve their objectives and for citizens to feel their positive impact. In other words, a little patience is needed, my brothers. But I want citizens to be aware of all the government and state institutions' plans and programmes to address the economic situation in order for them to be assured that we are capable of overcoming these conditions and that things will improve, God willing.
One of the issues on people's minds is the ample talk about corruption, nepotism and favoritism. I think talk about this phenomenon is slightly exaggerated and overblown, but our position on this issue is clear, which is to emphasise the fight against all forms of corruption, nepotism and favoritism and to apply the law impartially on everyone who is proven guilty of corruption – without favouritism, without discrimination and with full transparency and integrity. This is a directive to the government and all state institutions: apply the law to everyone in order to achieve justice for all.
Other subjects that have been much talked about every now and then include the so-called alternative homeland, the Jordan option and resettlement as well as national unity. Without getting into the details, let me reiterate what I said earlier: that national unity is a responsibility and one that hangs around the neck of each one of us. For national unity is the pillar of our stability and the guarantor of our future, and it is a red line we will not allow anyone to cross. We must all confront anyone who tries to tamper with this unity that is a source of pride for all of us and that we must protect with all possible means. I want all of us to remember, and I say this to everyone without exception, the words of Al Hussein, may he rest in peace: “Anyone who tries to tamper with national unity or undermine it is my enemy until the Day of Judgment.” That person is also the enemy of Abdullah bin Al Hussein and the enemy of all Jordanians.
I said before and I reiterate today that patriotism and national belonging are measured by what people give to this country and not by what they take or by any other considerations. I want you, brothers, to be sure that we will not accept, under any condition or in any form, any solution to the Palestinian question at Jordan's expense. We will not accept any solution to the Palestinian question at Jordan's expense, and Jordan will have no role in the West Bank. At the same time, we will not abandon our duty and historic role in supporting the Palestinians until they establish their independent state on their national soil. Any talk to the contrary is pressure exerted by external parties on Jordan because of its support for the Palestinian people. It is unfortunate that due to the faltering peace process, this kind of talk is finding supporters inside Jordan – some of them may be here with us now – intentionally or unintentionally, who use the issue as a tool to grandstand in the service of achieving personal interests or fleeting popularity on the threshold of Parliamentary elections.
On the other hand, there are some phenomena alien to our society and its reputation of noble values of brotherhood, tolerance and compassion among the members of the one community and the larger Jordanian family. Among these unacceptable and alien phenomena is that of violence and challenging the rule of law and deviating from norms and traditions of this society. This phenomenon sometimes takes the form of an attack on individuals or vandalism of public institutions for the pettiest of reasons, without justification. There are repeated attacks on teachers and doctors and hospitals as well as public security personnel. In some cases, there are attacks on public or private property.
The teacher, my brothers, is like a father. He is the shaper of generations and the builder of the future. His mission in this life is the noblest and the greatest. The teacher should always enjoy everyone's full support, respect and appreciation. We always talk about human rights and the dignity of Jordanians, which is most important to me and above all other considerations. Why do we then assault the dignity of the teacher or the doctor or the policeman or an employee? These people serve their country and community with honesty and dedication. They are our sons and brothers. Why assault their dignity and sometimes threaten their lives? Is this reasonable brothers? On the other hand, the public servant must know that he is in this job to serve the people and that he has no right to attack the dignity or rights of a citizen. I have said before that the dignity of citizens to me is more important and valuable than anything else.
What is even more unfortunate is when two people differ and fight, and then without justification this simple difference between two people becomes a brawl between two tribes or two villages. Firearms are used and officers of the law are assaulted along with public and private property, as if there is no state or no law or no institutions or no norms and traditions. Do these actions reflect the morals of Jordanians or their noble customs and traditions? No, my brothers, these are not our traditions. They are not our morals or our values.
The tribe has always been a basic pillar of this society and complements and supports public and security institutions in preserving security and stability. The tribe has always been a symbol of noble values and patriotism. I hope that each tribe will preserve this positive and bright image, of which we are all proud, and not allow anyone to tarnish it. Violence can never be the solution to any problem. On the contrary, it is in itself a problem. Any difference between two people, any problem whether big or small, can be resolved through dialogue and reason or by applying the law.
My brothers, as it concerns peoples' rights to freedom of expression, I have said before and I will say it again, freedom does not mean violating the law or the spirit of the Constitution. Nor does it mean inciting fitna or transgressing the rights and freedoms of others.
I want to emphasise that the state is capable of controlling the situation and applying the law at a moment's notice, and no one is stronger than the state. Nor is anyone above the law. But I would like to urge you – and the youth across the country of whom I am proud – that we be as one hand in confronting these alien phenomena and that we oppose them unequivocally.
We often speak of the blessing of security and stability in this cherished country, and we talk about comprehensive development, modernisation and progress, the state of institutions and the rule of law. Without security and stability and the rule of law there can be no development, no modernisation and no progress. It is true that some laws may need to be amended or that new legislation may be needed, but I urge you to bear in mind that each one of us should be motivated to reflect his sense of belonging to this country. This sense of belonging and personal conviction is what should prevent a person from erring, rather than fear of the law or punishment.
You and everyone across the country have a responsibility, and everyone is expected to confront such phenomena and transgressions and anyone who violates the law or tampers with security, stability and national unity or who otherwise incites fitna and chaos among the members of the one Jordanian family. In turn, the state will continue to do its duty in protecting lives, property, national unity and in enforcing the rule of law to achieve justice and equality for all.
Despite the aforementioned, I am fully confident and hopeful about the future. I know my own people, and I know their patriotism and their dedication to their country. I know that with their conscientiousness and strong will and unity, we will be able to challenge any conspiracy or any party that tries to harm Jordan's security or stability. I know they are ready to protect this country with our blood and our lives, as I am.
Once again, congratulations to Jordan and all Jordanians.
God bless you and bless your efforts.