May 30,2017 – JORDAN TIMES – Hasan Abu Nimah
Last week, Jordanians celebrated their country’s 71st birthday.
Their distinct joy emanates from the fact that, despite mounting challenges and surrounding troubles, the country remains in great health, sound and well.
Most unfortunately, being caught in a visit abroad, I was deprived of the great pleasure of directly participating in the usual ceremonies. But it was also fun, as well as a rich source of pride, to watch all that from a vantage point, like many Jordanians who live outside their beloved land but do demonstrate their national pride and organise celebrations their own way wherever they are.
May 25 is the Independence Day, or the National Day of Jordan; it is celebrated annually in various ways, in addition to the usual official formalities that normally include military parades and grand official receptions to which all components of the Jordanian society are often invited.
This year’s festivities included a gala night hosted by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania. It was heartening to see Their Majesties, surrounded by members of the Royal family as well as a large audience of guests, listening to traditional Jordanian songs and visibly interacting with much joy.
Legendary singer Samira Tawfiq who, half a century ago, had a pioneering role in revitalising Jordanian folk songs at the Jordanian Broadcasting Service, animated the gala evening with some of her most popular songs, generating massive jubilation and crowd interaction.
Both King Abdullah and Queen Rania were visibly moved by Tawfiq’s nostalgic performance.
But it was not her singing that delighted the party as much as her symbolic presence, which added significantly to the aura.
With her year count almost equal to that of Jordan, her voice was a bit tired and so was her body. And yet, she was very warmly welcomed and her participation, rekindling memories of Jordan’s glorious past, was highly appreciated.
Jordanians’ pride seems to be nourished by a number of factors.
The country continues to be a unique oasis of political stability and safety in the middle of a turbulent region. That remains the case despite the impact of the surrounding crises on the young country and its very modest resources.
It is not only the influx of refugees into Jordan, which has been almost constant for decades, that is the main concern; rather it is the security threat from the many extremist terrorist organisations operating in neighbouring Syria and Iraq — and many other places in the region — that puts our security forces on perpetual alert along Jordan’s 750 kilometre-long borders with these two neighbouring countries.
The gala evening on Independence Day this year was not just entertainment. It was also a telling demonstration of the unity and ironclad solidarity of all the components of the Jordanian family around their Hashemite leadership.
Social harmony has indeed been a unique Jordanian feature since the state was created.
It is not a coincidence of history that the Kingdom’s march towards a brighter future despite the challenges continues; rather, it is the country’s unity of purpose and its resolve to put its interests ahead of any other considerations, within he limits of its international obligations, naturally.
A third factor is that the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah, an uninterrupted continuation of a Royal Family tradition, has placed Jordan well on the international map as a serious, moderate, responsible and a peace-loving member of the international community; thus, a highly respected and deserving state.
King Abdullah’s relentless efforts, not only for Jordan, but also for regional peace and the elimination of extremist and nihilist groups that are currently spreading chaos, has been appreciated and well heard worldwide.
As a matter of fact, the stability of Jordan had been key to regional stability all along.
No wonder, then, that with a wise and focused Hashemite leadership, a distinctly mature populace and an efficient security forces, Jordan is a reason for pride for all its people