I was honoured to meet His Majesty King Abdullah at a lunch with some Jordanian businessmen and activists. The meeting was held in a casual atmosphere.
His Majesty wanted to hear from us about our thoughts for the future and the challenges we fear. I heard how understanding our King can be, but that meeting was a wake-up call.
Our King is more tolerant and more democratic than most people I have met. He did not give a speech or overwhelm us with slogans. He was practical in his approach and he listened more than he talked. No questions were censored.
We acted freely in the presence of the King. He made each one of us feel important as he implied that we are his strength and support system. His respect for each and every party or group in Jordan, despite their varied political views, made me proud to realise how tolerant and inclusive his approach is.
His Majesty is not running for elections and does not need our votes, yet he definitely made us feel the way no other politician in Jordan came close to achieving. We felt we could make a difference to the future of the country. We felt he believed in us and in our abilities to make the changes we wanted.
Even when one attendee conveyed his worry about any future limitation of some of his Majesty’s powers and his lack of trust in the future parliamentarian governments, it was the King who comforted us and gave us hope.
I do not think this ever happens anywhere in the world.
No party or person represents my views at this time, but I do know that His Majesty does speak on my behalf and I trust his vision. I can only hope to have politicians in Jordan with some of His Majesty’s charisma, tolerance and acceptance.
I am sure having King Hussein, as a father and a mentor, was a great help in moulding King Abdullah’s character, but his political maturity in these difficult times is unsurpassed.
Not all had King Hussein as a father, but we all have King Abdullah as a leader — let’s start by learning from him.
Deema I. Alam