There are two fatal flaws to the Jordanian vs Palestinian myth in Jordan today:
1. The erroneous conclusion that the core of Jordan's crisis is linked to the issue of origins of Jordanian/Palestinian.
2. Diminishing this country's socio-cultural and socio-political make up to a political duopoly, veiling an incredibly rich and potentially empowering multi socio-cultural mix where Jordan's true strength resides.
Until we take a vehement stand against such denial, we are a broken, lesser and weakened country. Jordan needs less exclusive attitudes and way more generous and inclusive actions. There is a scarey imagination deficit (imposed as well as self-willing) that stops us from seeing this future.
Why are we where we are today?
1. Ask the right questions we'll get the right answers. For decades, research centers and pollsters have been asking the wrong questions when it comes to understanding mindsets and diversity - especially socio-cultural and socio-political. Their sampling and the way they set their target is to derive answers based on certain assumptions. They do this out of fear, laziness, ulterior motives, sinister motives, stupidity, to conform, or simply because they've been paid to. I have yet to meet or know of true independent research and polling that takes on the work as a maverick.
2. The only media that has represented Jordan for decades has been state owned. And again, they have represented the make up of this country in an assumed image that never evolved with the times and demographic changes of the last 40+ years. And, if and when they attempted to showcase some socio-cultural diversity it was through a specimen lens. Why have they been so? Again, out of fear, laziness, ulterior motives, sinister motives, stupidity, to conform, or simply because they've been paid to. It's only in the very recent years that independent media has surfaced and has started to show Jordan its true and colorful self. And it's only until open online social networks came to existence that the range of diversity that is Jordan is being revealed to all...what I've labeled for the last couple of years as (حفلة التعارف - orientation 101) and predict this to continue for another 5-7 years.
3. The Jordanian cultural product - whether it's art for art's sake, political culture and art, or entertainment, has been driven by a poverty cultural mentality, mostly state funded or commissioned, and again, the independent of it has been in small siloed spaces and audiences where state owned media has chosen to ignore or has been too lazy or sinister to talk about and bring out from the small spaces into the mass public sphere. It's only in the recent few years that colorful, independent, brave and diverse cultural outputs have been available to a mass audience. Influencing mindsets through the such will take a generation for shift to happen. So if we gauge this to have started about 5 years ago, it's going to be another 10+ years before radical shift happens.
4. People who perceive this to be an elitist view ought to get out more. Exit the snug comfort zone and elitist attitude and get to know our Jordan. We simply don't try hard enough, and we're not paying attention. And it so happens that some elites have had the luxury of a bullhorn, which is why they are heard. But now, again, thanks to technological social tools and spaces, everybody has access to a bullhorn, and if we listen carefully the colorful Jordan that is starting to reveal itself comes from all walks of life.
5. A psychological angle: people have not heard themselves think out loud for decades, and are starting to explore what it's like, what they and others sound/look like, and are beginning to explore what choices they want to identify with. This is a fundamental part of the process towards better listening, self discovery and growing self confidence to say "this is who I am, I understand who you are, we may be very different, I may not agree with you (today or ever), but this is our Jordan, it's for all of us, and it works for me and you. I don't agree with you, but I understand and believe we share a common destiny."
For all this to happen, government, the Royal Court, the security system, and certain gatekeepers need to get rid of the cowards and the sinister, and allow some brave, open people into the system to serve. And no, the answer is not within parliament whatever the next one may look like, because the concept of representation is broken and no version of an electoral law can fix it right now. Only going through the above processes will. Without state and civic partnerships aligned and able to imagine the day after, the next 10+ years for Jordan could be very painful. With an enlightened and brave mix, with sincere drive, we can transform this country into quite a remarkable place. It is both hard, as well as very hard work. Harder than anyone has experienced in this lifetime. And yes, it is possible. So far, unfortunately, we've been quite lazy and gutless, and as a system have chosen route pathetic 101.
What gives me incredible and unwavering hope though, is knowing some brave, small collectives working as true mavericks driven by inclusion rather than exclusion. That's where shift is happening. We have the choice to ignore this, fight it and remain behind the dark curtain longer, mangled in our comfy mono/duo assumptions, or acknowledge this and embrace it now to grow and amplify so that we move faster, progressively.
What will Jordan choose? The true test of leadership and citizenship.