Bravery Comes from the Blood, Courage Comes from the Thought

It is true that this deeply rooted change in Jordan is not yet physically visible and does not necessarily generate spectacular media fallout, However, major peaceful transformations often happen flying on a dove’s wings.

His Majesty King Abdullah II received on Tuesday in the French capital the Political Courage Prize, presented to His Majesty by the French Sorbonne Society for International Policy. Source: Communication & Information Division – Royal Hashemite Court. Paris, Sorbonne University, September 30, 2003. Photo © E/S.

Queen Rania and King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Sorbonne – Photo © E-S

Paris, France — (C&ID) September 30, 2003 — During the ceremony of receiving the prize, which was attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Minister of the Royal Court, Foreign Minister, Planning Minister, Chief Commissioner of Aqaba Special Economic Zone and the Jordanian Ambassador in Paris, the King said that the prize is an honor for my people and the region, « who are creating a new vision and a new future. »The King added « our basic aim is a society that empowers its people, and offers opportunity to all. That means an inclusive, democratic civil society, one that provides real hope and real solutions-political and economic stability, economic growth, and genuine social empowerment. » The King stressed that the Jordanian youth stimulates our vision for the future and enrich our society with energy and inspire us with their feelings and idealism.

Promoting moderation and implementing reform cannot be fully succeed while conflict in the Middle East continues, the King told an audience senior politicians, scholar and opinion leaders. « My friends, the international community must address itself to solve, and solve now, the Arab Israeli conflict, » the King said.

« Achieving this will require more than words and wishes. It will require real commitment, from the international community as well as the parties- commitment that will test our leadership, resources, and yeas, our deepest morality, » King Abdullah said.

Queen Rania and King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Sorbonne – Photo © E-S

Addressing the ceremony was editor-in-chief of the « International Policy Magazine » Patrick Wajsman, who highly appreciated King Abdullah’s sagacious policy Following is the full text of his address:

Your Majesty,

The Republic loves Kings.. especially when they are democrats in your image. It also loves courageous leaders. Napoleon used to say, « Bravery comes from the blood, courage comes from the thought ». well, you have both of these qualities.

You also realized instinctive, that one can have deep conviction while still being a man of reason, you realized, instinctively, that real strength is the one which moderates itself and real grandeur is the one set itself certain limits.

I will soon go back to the policies which, for four and a half years, you have marked with your own imprint. But I would like everyday to understand, from the beginning of the ceremony, that it is these very virtues that we are honoring you today, you are here amongst your own.

Everyone of us remembers that upon succeeding to His King Hussein, your father, the usual horde of embittered forecasters and disillusioned critics predicted, with much self-importance, the worst of catastrophes.

The permanently bitter ones show a faultless art to reach systematically the wrong conclusion, but above all they don not want that your life becomes destiny.

« King Abdullah of Jordan-they used to say- is too young! He will not show the wisdom owed to experience. » Within four and half years, you provided them with the proof of the opposite. You demonstrated to them that accumulating years is not necessarily a guarantee of talent. You demonstrated to them that the age that we consider young is irrelevant and that, whenever we are young, it is for a lifetime…A painter is not as old as his arteries are: he is as old as his paintings. A poet is as old as his poems. A statesman is as old as his own enthusiasm, his own imagination, his own vision of the future. After all, Bonaparte was 27 at the Arcole Bridge and William Pitt, who was rightly considered as one of the greatest British statesmen of his time, became Prime Minister when 24 years old.

Queen Rania and King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Sorbonne with Patrick Wajsman – Photo © E-S

I am adding that this sacrosanct intellectual and practical « experience, was acquired from a lifelong closeness to the late king Hussein, to the people of Jordan, with whom you mingled with the greatest simplicity, to the best Army Corps of your Country, to some prestigious British and American Military Academies, and to some of the most famous Universities on the earth, notably Oxford and Georgetown where you studied International relations.

I Just mentioned wisdom and vision. They were necessary, indeed, to maintain- as You Knew how to do it- stability and unity of the Kingdom within the often uncontrollable context, the second Palestinian Intifada on one side, and Iraq’s troubles on the other, seeing Jordan in such a regional context while maintaining itself  » a peaceful oasis » is to speak, a miracle, Henceforth these miracles must be maintained, should they not, Your Majesty? I would add that at the same time, You are acknowledged as having re-established a trustful relationship with several States in the region- and all of this while still enhancing your friendly traditional (and indispensable) links with the Western Democracies, primarily the USA.

I wish to mention, at last, that you had the courage to resist to pressures from those who wanted you to break a way from Israel and that You have rather once again, and for the Good of all, been acting as a moderator, betting upon dialogue (as in Aqaba), rejecting what looks sometimes like a tragic fatality of confrontation. I do not know whether such a word exists, thus I shall say You are a  »tamer » of fatality.

Beyond such steps, there is naturally a faith in mankind and in human progress that we recognize while looking at Your democratic policy.

You made democratization an authentic national strategy, an irreversible and quite obsessive goal of Your own action. As I mentioned earlier, You always deemed that politics is designed for the well- being of citizens, and not that of politicians! You believed with reason in the power of civil society.

On the other hand, You organized, a few months ago, Your first Parliamentary elections- from a unanimous point of view, the most transparent and the most flawless in man’s remembrance.

So there is nothing left to chance if, having set political freedom as the core of Your action, you wanted to complement it with genuine economic freedom, based upon a very dynamic and daring privatization program. You want to make yourself the Chairman of  » Jordan Inc », You want as you mentioned it Yourself, that Jordan becomes  » a Switzerland or a Singapore in the Middle East » and You are providing Yourself with the appropriate means to do so. Basically, You have found the secret enabling you to be both the very respectful heir of a Dynasty which entered History more than eight centuries ago… and at the same time a modern man, Internet generation prone, and fascinated by future challenges.

It is true that this deeply rooted change in Jordan is not yet physically visible and does not necessarily generate spectacular media fallout, However, major peaceful transformations often happen flying on a dove’s wings.

Diplomatic moderation, political democratization, economic liberalization, modernity: I must also cite Your endless struggle against the bureaucratic burden, against corruption- that You just cast as horror- against violations of Human Rights (You have also created an interesting Center of Human Rights in that regard), against social inequities. Without omitting, of course, your daily struggle to protect and educate children, to improve the standard of living, and to promote women throughout the Arab World.

Needless to go into detail. Moreover, we must remember that within those field outlined: children, women, living standards, there is beside you one person who plays an immense role: Queen Rania whose intelligence, generosity and grace contribute- I think we can assert so- to the brilliance of Your reign.

We cannot ignore that You still have a lot to do. Especially that Jordan is not developing in a situation of weightlessness, on her own, within a neutral environment. Nevertheless, You will succeed.

You will succeed because You already Knew, in a short period of time, how to show that You are more than capable to bring to fruition the political and moral inheritance which You have received.

You will succeed because You made clear, courageous choice, because You knew to take the risk of being moderate and because moderation is the silk thread linking together all the pearls of virtue.

You will succeed because there are no limits to what a strong will can achieve and because everyone will always find enough strength to achieve what he is convinced of.

In one word, we remain confident. We know that thanks to You, to those who resemble You and to those who support You, the future can end up being shaped up according to Your dreams…


— Because of who You are,
— Because of what You already achieved,
— Because of what you will further on achieve, I would like to say to You, quite simply:
— Bravo and May God protect you.

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