Good Jordanians don’t protest: corrupt politicians call in militias to stop activists
Husam al Abdallat speaking from his hospital bed.
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It is an often told story that former prime minister of Jordan, Abdul Raouf Rawabdeh stole millions from the country during his time in office. The Irbid native was only in power for fifteen months but rumors of corruption persist to this day.
So it came as no surprise that he was a target for opposition group, United Jordan Opposition (UJO). The activists were looking to take their allegations of corruption to the worst culprits in Jordan.
First on the list was Dr. Imad Fakhoury, Director of the King’s Office. UJO members turned up to his house and posed the allegations without incident.
But it was a different story when they got to the former prime minister’s villa, set in a sleepy suburb of the capital. After three days camped out on his doorstep, the 73-year-old ex-politician called in reinforcements to deal with the pesky activists.
14 protestors arrived by car at the house on Sunday and were met by nearly 1000 members of Rawabdeh’s tribe, complete with AK47s and wooden bats: it was hardly a fair fight.
Leader of the activists, Husam al Abdallat, was beaten so badly that he spent the night in the ICU, giving interviews to local TV networks. He acknowledged that he had something of a personal vendetta against Rawabdeh but claimed he had done nothing wrong. In scenes reminiscent of the beginning of the Egyptian revolution, Abdallat spoke out against the impunity of tribal leaders in the Kingdom.
His attorney and cousin, Moussa al Abdallat, put out a statement last night calling the ex-PM’s tribe a ‘militia’:
“My relative’s life is in danger. The regime is responsible for what happened,” he said.
In a strange twist of fate, members of Abdallat’s tribe began rallying to get revenge for their relative’s injuries. Husam said he was currently fielding angry phone calls and trying to avoid all-out tribal war.
The events were a hotly discussed topic on local TV stations with commentators coming on air to argue the case. But there was very little support for the activists in Jordan. In fact, most of the talking heads said they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Sidelining the whole issue of corruption, one said: “The Egyptians lost their kindness when they had their revolution. Good kind hearted Jordanians wouldn’t do this.”
Do you think tribes have too much power in the Middle East? Should protestors be allowed to hold demonstrations? Tell us what you think below.
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