A couple days ago this Books@Cafe story in Jordan slapped me with incredible clarity about many things I’ve been struggling with for a while. When I first read it I thought, give me a break, that was predictable, another year of the same old confusion. Then I realized this story comes shortly after this remarkable Jordanian blogger calls it quits. After seemingly never ending tales of corruption revolving around public officials. While reckless brokers were collapsing after bad trading, ruining lives. Amidst a country facing political, economic and social challenges all taking a heavy toll. A local media in a perpetual downward spiral. And an extremely frustrated people.
Brand Jordan is bust. Brand Jordan is in the worse shape ever it seems. And no sooner had I come to that revelation, this appeared. Country brand ranking. I’m not big on rankings, but it is some kind of gauge. So not only is brand Jordan aching from the inside, but it’s also aching from out there.
Brand Jordan needs to evolve into amazing so as to regain the trust of those who love it. Brand Jordan needs it’s diverse lovers to find new ways of existing on common ground. Brand Jordan needs to reignite the fires of compassion in everyone.
While reading the wide range of comments on Madian’s Books@Café story I realized every single one was right. Nobody was wrong. Not only was every contribution right, but each was put out there with so much passion.
So if they are all right and the passion is felt, what's the problem?
The lack of vision is the problem. Brand Jordan has failed to keep the vision alive and the lights are dimming. Brand Jordan fell off the track at some point. Why does that matter? Because passionate people need a vision to be able to achieve their goals, fulfill their desires, face their fears, overcome their challenges. Passion helps us define the spheres we want to be in. Vision helps us see the journey. And when brand Jordan is bust, we can’t see.
Vision is for everybody. If we can share the vision of the Jordan we want so that we all see it, the passion in everyone finds direction. And these passions that come in diverse origins, faiths, ethnicities, classes, political affiliations, cultural choices, colors, ages, shapes and sizes, will all find their places on the road forward.
Shutting down Books@Café and the other F&B outlets around the country in a way that allows the system to abuse it’s own system is the saddest low point we can get to. It does nothing but drive us to lose faith and cultivate apathy. A license should be honored. A rule should be respected. Common sense should be heard. Public servants should not forget that they are there to serve. The business of fear, amnesia and anesthesia should not be allowed to prevail.
If our vision includes a Jordan with special rules during Ramadan, everyone will respect that. If the vision includes business as usual twelve months a year, everyone will respect that. But when we dishonor our own rules, disrespect our own diversity, deny our own realities, we become a broken people with a broken country brand. And no matter how hard we try, how much we invest, how loud we shout, we will not get it right. All that happens is that we pollute the intellectual, physical and spiritual landscape.
Vision is why we are able to devour change and challenges passionately when everyone else says not possible. Brand Jordan is shrieking out. Defining, sharing the vision for, and fixing brand Jordan must be our absolute priority. If we know where we want to go, we can better define who we each need to be for the journey.
An edited version also on ArabComment
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