Nas at Black Iris has addressed the issue of skepticism amongst Jordanians over changes promised in the upcoming national agenda, a 10-year political and economic reform plan. Well, I have to admit I’m one of those skeptics, particularly when it comes to the agenda’s ambitious plan of "removing legal discrimination against women," as discussed by Marwan Muasher in this news article.
I’m not sure how removing the "legal discrimination against women" will be achieved without facing social, religious and even tribal obstacles. Will this national agenda give my future children — who will have a non-Jordanian father — the right to Jordanian citizenship? Or will they always need a visa every time they enter Jordan, as is the case today for children with foreign fathers? Is it really possible that Jordanian women will become the only women in the Arab world that can pass their citizenship on to their children?
As it has been explained to me many times -– off the record, of course — this rule was created to stop Palestinians from getting citizenship by marrying non-Palestinian Arabs! I’m not really sure how accurate this explanation is. But if it is accurate, would the Jordanian government ever find the fortitude to set this political dilemma aside so women could have the basic human right of granting their children citizenship?
Will Jordanian women, regardless of their religion, ever be granted their full share of the inheritance and not be given half the share that their male siblings get? Will Jordan be able to put the Sharia law aside and treat women equally when it comes to inheritance? Will the Jordanian government be able to face the theological and the social challenges that will come with this step?
Will Jordanian women ever dream of becoming prime ministers? Will a patriarchal society ever be able to digest this idea?
Will those committing honor crimes ever be given the punishment they deserve instead of getting away with their barbaric deeds with only a few months in jail? Will the society ever digest the idea that women practicing non-marital sex should not — in any case — be punished with death?
Will such changes ever happen? Is this really what those behind the national agenda are striving to achieve? Could such drastic changes ever occur? The optimist in me says it is possible. But the skeptic in me is convinced that I will never live to see the day. Only time will tell.