After the grief and vestiges of anger seen in the Jordanian street following the killing of Dr. Mohammed Abu Risha, who was stabbed to death in front of his house, a large volume of opinions emerged from the daily newspapers, concerned with the direct and indirect reasons for the incident.
The writer Jihad al-Mheisen mentioned previous warnings of lawlessness. In the case of attacks on state employees in general, and in particular the phenomenon of the abuse of workers in the nursing and medical field, he pointed to the many cases of abuse that preceded the killing “in cold blood” of Abu Risha.
Al-Mheisen believes that the killing of Dr. Abu Risha opens the door to “the silence that is the reality of Jordanian society” and presents as fact the fragility of the value system and legal structure of the society and the state. It also, in his view, brought to the forefront calls for genuine review of serious phenomenon that threaten the security of the state, society and social peace.
The writer asserted that punitive measures are insufficient or not an effective deterrent to the kind of behavior which resulted in the killing of Abu Risha. He pointed out the need for real and effective punitive measures against such acts, and concluded with the recitation of the proverb: “Hit the stalled so that all who work on the farm will take lesson from that.” The proverb refers to making an example of a stalled ox through a visible punishment that serves to deter other would-be offenders from attempting similar acts.
The writer Jihad Mansi broadened the scope of this inquiry into wondering about the changes evident in Jordanian society. He reached the conclusion that the fights and killings that have become an almost daily occurrence culminated with the death of Abu Risha.
Mansi also raised the forgotten inquiry about the duty of all institutions of state, government, executive, legislative, political parties, trade unions, the media and the security apparatus. In studying what is going on in the community, the reasons and justifications behind it, and the proposed solutions to be taken to limit this disturbing phenomena, he stressed that the state apparatus needs to read what is going on from these societal shifts, which are now clearly affecting the psyches and behavior of human beings.
The solution lies, in the opinion of Mansi, in “the activation of the democratic and civil state and determining the path which we want them to walk, in not hesitating to promote the concepts of dialogue and democracy to the younger generation, along with imparting respect for the law and its activation, human rights, and the promotion of justice and equality.”
The writer Khaled Fukheda, warned that there is a question about the limitations of the prestige of the law following the death of Abu Risha. Along those same lines, he pointed out that three official universities experienced break-ins into their presidential offices.
According to Fukheda, it has been shown that even a doctor who is allegedly protected by legislation and by his profession is still vulnerable to attack.
Fukheda also expressed surprise that government officials describe the conditions of society as within the “normal range,” and dodge responsibility for the events, claiming them instead to be mainly media hype.
As for the writer Abdullahadi al-Majali, commenting on the killing of Abu Risha, he wrote, “Do you blame the laws that you tolerated in your right, do you blame the procedures? Cumbersome bureaucracy? Do you blame the society that has become a fierce bear in every sense of the meaning? Do we blame ourselves for our silence and for exhausting in our opposition to governments and so-called public affairs?”
Al-Majali stressed the need for self-review, as well as the need for review of laws that protect doctors. He said that as long as a man can be killed outside of his own home, not only are the houses unsafe but so too are the streets and the workplace.
Al-Majali concluded by describing the killing of Abu Risha as a “scream” in the face of state and society and by calling for retribution for his killer.
*The Arabic of this article appeared on May 13, 2015
Translated by Julia Norris