July 17 2000

Jalal Al-Shara’abi
What did the previous parliament achieve? What has the present parliament, scheduled to expire next year, achieved so far?
The answer is pretty discouraging. Yet, what is more discouraging is the fact that the parliament does in no way deserve to be called democratic. It has been no more than an expression and embodiment of hegemony by certain social groups that dominated partisan and political life.
The Sheikh is still the absolute master controlling people and their properties. You are even subject to eviction from your land any time he wishes. And he has the power to expropriate harvest of your land. You are still merely a tenant subject to eviction any time if you disobey his orders. You are lucky if you are not locked up in his private jail. Ironically, he is the same sheikh who had benefited from democracy and chose to be part of a more powerful political party to continue serving his own interests.
The parliament is viewed as some sort of a stigma in the so-called democracy of our country. The parliament has not been selected in a truly democratic manner. In their discussions, the members do not often assume any democratic criteria but rather behave, in a way just to please their masters.
About a third of the MPs are incapable of reading and writing. The remainder of them are on committees with which they have nothing to do. Little wonder that their discussions are always away from the main spirit of the subject at hand.
They blindly fight tooth and nail to support the stands of their parties disregarding credibility. Their main concerns are to obtain allowances and pursue their relatives’ files applying for recruitment in government jobs.
Do we really need a parliament whose members fight to speak first even before reading the articles presented for discussions? Is there a need for a parliament whose main job is endorsing decisions passed by the cabinet?
Our parliament is the last to know what is going on outside the beautiful building of the parliament.
Instead of joining hands to work for the people, the members busy themselves exchanging invectives.
Issues are discussed to be endorsed by the needed majority and despite all, people still suffer from errors of their judgment for electing wrong individuals as their representatives.
Some members, if have the power, would strongly object to what is going on in the parliament. However, they cannot escape blame for being inactive because, thereby, they are betraying the people who elected them to ventilate their legitimate grievances.