King Abdullah II of Jordan has left two comments this past weekend on Jordanian websites, including the local daily newspaper, Ad-Dustour (Arabic), and blogger Naseem Tarawnah's The Black Iris. The King's comments were generally in response to a recent, candid interview with the local press in which he cleared up a series of controversies that had gripped the country for the past several weeks. In his comment, the King thanked the people for their feedback and encouraged everyone to continue to comment boldly and without fear.
“Thank you all for your feedback and comments. I am very happy and proud to see so many responsible citizens engaging in this dialogue. People must not be afraid to express their opinions without using aliases. We are a country of freedom, tolerance, diversity and openness, and everyone has the right to express their thoughts – no matter what they are – in an atmosphere of respect, so long as they are not personally offending others, attempting character assassination or undermining the nation's interest. Your comments only indicate how deeply you care about Jordan and its future and I am happy that we are partners in the development process.”
Viewed largely as indicative of the King's support for the media – specifically online -warious Jordanian bloggers have reacted to the King's comment on their own blogs:
“I am absolutely amazed, that a leader of a country, who probably has a million things to do, takes the time to read the views and opinions of ordinary citizens to communicate with them. He's more humble than your average Jordanian. If only more politicians would follow in his footsteps!” – Farah of “Observations of a Jordanian”
In a post entitled “The Jordanian Exception”, Farah Sharif states:
“Upon reading His Majesty's commentary on Black Iris and the daily which is dearest to my heart and mind, Addustour, I've never been more struck with the sheer power that the relationship between a leader and his people can hold.”
Even the Danish Ambassador to Amman, Thomas Lund-Sørensen, had something to say about the news on his personal blog:
Apart from the content of HM's comment I think this also mark an important day for the Jordanian blogosphere – more and more people are paying attention to what is going on in this media including at the highest level.