x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Jordan is the victim of a short-sighted view

In an opinion piece for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat, the columnist Salah al Qallab analysed the causes that triggered recent clashes in a number of cities and villages across Jordan.

In an opinion piece for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat, the columnist Salah al Qallab analysed the causes that triggered recent clashes in a number of cities and villages across Jordan.

Violence also affected public universities, including the well-established University of Jordan, which might turn Jordan into a site of serious social violence.

This is due to several reasons. First, Jordan has endured demographic transformation due to massive migration, which has put pressure on scarce domestic resources. Thousands have moved from rural areas to cities, while the country hosts half a million Iraqis and a similar number of Egyptians. The increasing urban population and expansion of cities at the expense of villages have destabilised a long-standing system of values and introduced new ones.

Second, a short-sighted understanding of the true meaning of democracy among the public is also to blame. Some think that freedoms granted by laws reflect rather the weakness of the state, and thus they dare to challenge its authority by attacking security forces and assaulting public property.

Those holding this narrow-minded view represent a marginal minority among Jordanian youth, but they are visible through their violent acts in various cities and academic institutions.


The Arabic language is vital to identity

It has been reported recently that a fine of Dh10,000 will be imposed on hotels and restaurants which fail to use Arabic in dealing with customers, noted Dr Fatima al Briki in an opinion article for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan.

"I do not know whether this decision is a good one or not, but I shall look at it from the bright side. Highlighting Arabic language is a recognition of its role in confirming our idenity, even though this is a late move."

But is it enough to sanction restaurants and hotels so that people realise the importance of valuing their mother tongue, while there are other places where Arabic is still marginalised?

"This question leads me to ask whether government departments use correct Arabic. Although the UAE has adopted Arabic as its official language, some administrative documents are often mired in grammatical and spelling mistakes in addition to stylistic defects."

This is due to lack of a mastery of Arabic and also of English in case of translation. Facing with badly written documents in Arabic, users shift to read the English version instead.

While the sovereign decisions have assertively encouraged the use of Arabic and its promotion across all fields of government communication activities, intellectuals and thinkers should assume also their role in developing the use of Arabic, being a national identity symbol.


Lebanon prepares for a leap into the unknown

Politically and constitutionally speaking, it was clear from the start that the resignation of ministers from the Lebanese cabinet was nothing but a leap into the unknown, observed the columnist Rajeh al Khouri in the Lebanese daily Annahar.

The decision to resign seemed like a last-minute race with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's (STL) indictments expected to be published by next week. The opposition opted to resign from the government before indictments were made public, regardless of their content.

However, the fact remains that despite pressure to obstruct their issuance, the indictments will be published and the STL will take its course.

But what would such resignations achieve? If the aim was to disable the Lebanese government, it has already been dysfunctional for some time. If the objective was to have no executive authority to coordinate and cooperate with the tribunal, it is common knowledge that the government wouldn't have been able to bring suspects to justice, especially if they were members of Hizbollah. If the goal was to form a new cabinet that could achieve what its predecessor refused to do, that would be unlikely since it would be quite difficult to form any new government that doesn't include Mr Hariri and March 14 representatives.

The STL will not stop and the indictments will be published.


Palestinians need a new strategy

Has the Israeli-Palestinian political negotiation course collapsed definitively? asked the columnist Hussam Kanafani in the Emirati daily Al Khaleej.

It is the question in Palestine now, especially following the US failure to revive talks, whether direct or indirect, with the Netanyahu government.

The situation hasn't changed today. The US door is still closed to the Palestinians and its protective shield over Israel is still as strong as ever despite apparent tensions between the US president and the Israeli prime minister. In the end, US politics are governed by continuity and can't be subject to the whims of presidents or administrations.

Palestinians should keep this fact in mind, especially as they observe the collapse of the Lebanese compromise or what was known recently as the Saudi-Syrian understanding.

Palestinians are taking notes that might diverge with the current strategy of international assistance that the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is using. It is a strategy that would definitely fail unless it receives US blessing. All the international recognitions of an independent Palestinian state would not stand ground to a US veto at the UN Security Council.

Mr Abbas had better devise an alternative strategy.

Digest compiled by the Translation Desk