Like their Yemeni compatriots currently marching towards the presidential palace in Samaa, taking their cue and courage from jubilant Egyptians, thirty-six tribal leaders submitted a collective criticism of Jordan’s Queen Rania, according to an AFP report. Of Palestinian origin and born in Kuwait, the Queen married then Prince Abdullah II in 1993. An international celebrity and Green Prophet favorite, she is well-known for her work to protect Jordan’s environment. But the tribes accuse her and her family of corruption and for leading an unfairly lavish lifestyle.
Criticism of Jordan’s Royal family usually comes with a three-year prison sentence, but defiance of such draconian policies is sweeping through the Middle East.
Most recently, Queen Rania has become the target of political dissension. Last September she threw a “colossal” “lavish” party in Wadi Rum to mark her 40th birthday, winning herself harsh criticism.
“They do not like the queen’s lifestyle and overexposure, especially on local political appointments,” human rights activist Labib Qamhawi told AFP.
Representing 40 percent of Jordan’s population, the statement urged the “trial of the corrupt who have looted the country and public funds, regardless of who they are and irrespective of their rank and importance,” according to AFP.
They compared Queen Rania to Ben Ali’s wife, and accuse her of boosting her own interests against the will of Jordanians and Hashemites.
Ominously, the group threatened an uprising similar to those which toppled both the oppressive Egyptian and Tunisian regimes over the last several weeks.
Washington Post readers are split over their opinion. Supporters claim that Queen Rania’s outspoken style and international acclaim are to cause for conservative criticism in a society where women are typically expected to defer to their male counterparts. Opponents call her the “King’s expensive wife.”
A country with few high-profile environmental voices, we will be keeping a close eye on whether Jordanians will take up the baton passed by Algerian, Egyptian, Tunisian and now Yemini protesters.
More About Queen Rania’s Role in Jordan:
Queen Rania Says Environmental Education Is Also Important
Queen Rania To Help Jordanian Farmers To Go Organic