The already struggling economy of Jordan has been ravaged by government measures that aim to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. This has resulted in even more financial strains on the country's population. The most recent example of the economic pressures was evident in a university student's decision to set himself on fire after a university official refused to meet him to negotiate delayed tuition fees, that have prompted the university's decision to stop him from attending final exams.
-فوضى #كورونا عارمة.— Qutaiba F.Bashabsheh (@qutaiba_f) September 15, 2020
-شاب يحرق نفسه لعدم استجابة رئيس #جامعة_الإسراء لظرفه الصعب.
-#وليد_الكردي يغرم فقط ب٧ مليون من أصل ٧٠٠ مليون سرقها.
-تطبيق مناعة القطيع.
-وزراء يتخبطون وإدارة بالحضيض.
-ارتفاع نسبة البطالة.
وبدكوا الأردني يتفائل؟
الله يعين الأردني.#الأردن
Translation: "The COVID-19 chaos is overwhelming: A young man has burned himself after Al-Isra University's president refused to see him. Walid Al Kurdi has been fined 7 million JDs of the 700 million JDs he has stolen. We're heading towards herd immunity, our officials are contradicting themselves. The national debt is higher than ever, unemployment is too. How can Jordanians see hope?"
According to family and friends of Ahmad Al-Shakhanbah, the student in the civil engineering department at the Al-Isra University near the Jordanian capital, the young student had been trying to meet with the head of the private university to ask him for an extension of his late tuition fees deadline, a request that has been rejected several times.
Consequently, Ahmad's growing frustration promoted him to pour gasoline on himself before he caught himself on fire, which has resulted in severe burns and eventually ending up in a critical condition in the hospital.
Translation: "Ministry of Higher Education: We're closely following up with the news of a student who's burned himself at Al-Isra University."
As soon as Al-Shakhanbah's news broke, the internet was flooded with angry comments blaming the government's decisions for the economic worsening crisis and highlighting the lack of regulations to ease pressure suffered by individuals to pay their dues.
Social media users also highlighted the government's spending on the education of high ranking officials, saying that hundreds of thousands are being spent to educate students from already well-off backgrounds while ignoring the ones in need.
لمدة أسبوعين وهو يذهب يومياً لمقابلة رئيس الجامعه من السابعه صباحاً وحتى نهاية الدوام، حتى يشرح لرئيس الجامعه عدم مقدرته دفع مبلغ زهيد متبقي عليه، ويرفض الرئيس مقابلته ليصل مرحلة القهر ويقوم باحراق نفسه.#أحمد_الشخانبه طالب الهندسه الذي أحرق نفسه قهراً pic.twitter.com/bu5VGkQiPG— رأفت العوايدة (@ALHAMAIDEH90) September 14, 2020
Translation: "For two weeks from 7 am till the end of work hours, he tried to meet the University's president to explain why he can't pay his tuition fees, but received no answers. The frustration of engineering student Ahmad Al-Shakhanbah ended up with him burning himself."
Additionally, many online voices have condemned what they described as "the apathy" of the university's official who allegedly refused to see the student over two weeks and demanded that the president of the university be fired, saying that he and other people in leadership positions should put more time into listening to others' concerns.
Translation: "The president and the whole board should go so humans are no longer looked at as cash walking around."
Al-Isra University, however has released an online statement in which they expressed their sadness over the incident and claimed that the student "didn't try to meet the university officials" and that he rather "angrily demanded an immediate solution to his problem." The statement also argued that Al-Shakhanbah had quickly resorted to setting himself on fire instead of engaging in discussions."
دستورياً... الأردنييون متساوون في الحقوق والواجبات..— ALI R AL-TARAWNEH (@ALI_R_Tarawneh) September 14, 2020
* تكلفة دراسة بنات مدير مكتب رئيس الديوان الملكي السابق تتجاوز 325 ألف دينار سنوياً على نفقة الديوان الملكي.
* أحمد يُحرق نفسه لعدم قدرته على دفع مبلغ زهيد ليحصل على شهادته الجامعية#اقالة_رئيس_جامعة_الأسراء
Translation: "According to the constitution, all Jordanians have the same rights and duties, but in reality, the education of a former official's children is financed by the Royal Court even though the cost nears 325k JDs annually. Ahmad has burned himself because of a few JDs he couldn't pay to finish his education."
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