30.4.07

Jordan of Hussein Part 1

This was something I wrote a few years back, I will shamelessly plug it in here:

As a young Jordanian living in Toronto, Canada, the most multicultural city in the world, the question of background was comfortably dropped. My response was almost always: "Jordan, you know, the country of King Hussein". That second part always seemed necessary for identifying the country, it also provoked –more often than I anticipated- a knowing smile. As if trying to convey the message that the late king was more popular in, and respected by, more people in the world than any other character of this era.

Before you think this writing is written to the glorification of Hussein of Jordan, well, just wait till I get to his downs, but first, think about the attendees of his funeral, an event that went down in the history books next to the funerals of Charles de Gaulle and Tito. That was owed to not only the number of delegations present, but also to the fact of their political diversity.

Only Hussein's funeral could have managed to bring the US President Bill Clinton and Colonel Qadaffi's son together, President Hafez Al Asad of Syria and Hamas militant group representatives were set side by side with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with three Israeli delegations, Jordan was a recent peace ally and a very welcoming ground to Israeli business and politics.

To situate dignitaries from the US Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George Bush with Tony Blair of the UK and other symbols of western democracy together with leaders of radical Arab and Muslim states was unheard of. That was just what he was famous for, even after he lost his battle with cancer.

That was one of the few battle he lost in his lifetime, always able to get the best out of every situation. He was always labeled as a pragmatic leader and yet still had the respect of being able to do so very prudently. He did create a state out of barren Jordan and did put it on the map.

While in 1950, water, sanitation, and electricity were available to only 10% of Jordanians, today these reach 99% of the population. In 1960 only 33% of Jordanians were literate, in 2003, this number climbed to 91.3%. In 1961, the average Jordanian received a daily intake of 2198 calories, and by 1992, this figure had increased by 37.5% to reach 3022 calories. UNICEF statistics show that between 1981 and 1991, Jordan achieved the world's fastest annual rate of decline in infant mortality—from 70 deaths per 1000 births in 1981 to 37 per 1000 in 1991, a fall of over 47%. King Hussein always believed that Jordan's people are its biggest asset, and he continued to encourage all—including the less fortunate, the disabled and the orphaned—to achieve more for themselves and their country.

That still doesn't get me to the point of interest; I wanted to show that a man like that was nothing but raw leader. He knew the right step to take every time and so caused Jordan to be the model state in the region. With the highest civil liberties "ceiling" amongst its neighbors, the highest literacy rate in the Arab world and the longest standing form of government in the region. He was responsible for 47 years of that.
Post a Comment