What we need is a reform plan!

06-06-2021 11:38 AM

BY Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh

Reform in any society or country is an ongoing process, to meet the emerging variables and developments.

Clearly, the same principle applies to us in Jordan: Reform should be ongoing, especially since we are a developing country with so much expected of us to achieve at so many levels.

In addition to this, however, there have been increasing demands from the various stakeholders, including the country’s top leadership, to expedite the process of reform.

In other words, all in the country are in agreement about the need for reform. And this is good.

The problem, however, lies in the following:

One, we talk a lot and do little. So many people at so many levels: Government officials, parliamentarians, activists, journalists and ordinary people speak of reform. None, unfortunately, is either proposing workable, implementable ideas or doing anything meaningful.

And this is a major problem in our culture, attributable perhaps to our educational system which emphasises the theoretical and the discursive over the practical and the concrete.

A lot of wishful thinking, with neither organised realistic thinking or action.

Two, there is no agreement on the kind of reform needed, and at which levels. Most people call for political reform, which is dominating the scene at this point in time.

What about reform at other levels? What about social reform, reform in the transportation sector, economic reform, administrative reform, religious reform, etc.?

To be sure, political reform is needed, but it should not be underlined and prioritised at the expense of reform in other equally crucial spheres.

Additionally, the argument by some that we do political reform first and then other reforms will follow is erroneous thinking, as political reform is not more important than other reforms and as we can always do things in parallel and not necessarily in sequence.

Just as a lot of people are speaking loudly about political reform, and these are mainly people with political engagement or aspirations; many others, whose voices are less heard, are calling for other types of reform which are equally important, if not more important.

In fact, I happen to think that societal and cultural reform are more important and more encompassing than political reform, since society is the backbone of the state and culture informs and influences everything we do, and since society and culture are more difficult to address.

But they are more crucial in bringing about the leap we all have been calling for and expecting for decades.

Three, we have no plan. Change does not happen by itself; neither does it happen by wishes or even vocal demands.

For change to happen, we a need a plan: One that spells out clearly and skillfully what we want, how we achieve what we want, when to achieve it, etc.; and what funds are necessary to make available, in addition to all other requirements.

To cut a long story short, what we need is a reform plan: One that is all-encompassing, taking into account reform at all the levels needed, at least the major ones; and one that all stakeholders take part in preparing and agreeing upon it.

Consensus here is crucial here, as one of the main problems in our society, which has been impeding movement or progress in the right direction, is the clash of or discrepant opinions on what should be done and how to do it.

What I am proposing here, now that we are celebrating the country’s centenary this year, is a 10-year plan of reform drawn carefully and professionally, with all the stakeholders contributing to it, then adopting it, and then meticulously implementing it.

Other than that, we continue to talk, whine, clash, and promote a status quo that is not satisfactory to anyone.

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