The King’s Speech (that wasn’t)

Fellow citizens,

I speak to you today amidst extraordinary circumstances surrounding our country. With revolutions and unrest spreading in the region, and the winds of change sweeping across the Arab world, we face a situation in which we muse make critical decisions.

Today, we have to ensure a choice between starting to reform ourselves now, or waiting until we are forced to reform. In a fast-moving world, we need to make that choice quickly. We simply cannot afford to be late.

My family has been honored to serve the people of this great country for centuries. And as a King for the past few years, I have been humbled by the unlimited love and support you generously extended to me. My responsibility as a leader of this young nation obliges me to be frank with you.

The challenges ahead of us are enormous, and to overcome these challenges many sacrifices must be made. After deep thinking and long deliberation, and after consulting my family members and close advisers, I have concluded that to make sure a bright future of our country we must move forward with a clear vision and a real drive for reform. Therefore, I have decided on a set of measures to be taken in a timely manner, and they are as follows:

To signal my personal commitment to turn the state into a constitutional monarchy, I have ordered the formation of committee composed of a diverse group from the country’s finest men and women, coming from different backgrounds that show the richness and complexity of our society. The committee will be responsible for writing a national constitution over the next twelve months. Once the constitution draft is ready, the people will vote on it in a national referendum.

This constitution, which will derive its content from our history and traditions while looking forward into the future, will serve as a social contract between the people and the state, stating that the people are the source of power. It will emphasize the separation of the three branches of government: the executive, judicial and legislative. It will also reaffirm the equality of all citizens before law to ensure justice and equal opportunity.

The constitution will unequivocally state responsibility of the state in guaranteeing human rights, protecting the right to peaceful expression of opinion, and reinforce public freedoms, including the right to form political and professional associations, leading to a fully elected parliament and fully elected government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The constitution will, in no ambiguous terms, stress the role of women as full partners in building our country, and will reflect the government commitment to empower them and ensure that no discrimination is being practiced against them.

To indicate my goodwill and show my true commitment to reform according to the aforementioned principles, I have given these orders to be effective immediately:

  • I have ordered the release of all political prisoners.
  • I have ordered to lift the ban on women’s driving.
  • I have ordered to stop all forms of censorship.

Fellow citizens, it is my hope that these first steps will lead to comprehensive political and social reforms, and will allow us to move into the future with confidence and pride. God bless you, and may God bless our great country.

Your King

PS. After it was announced that the King will give a speech, I started to imagine what it would be like. What you read above is the result of my imagination. I believe King Abdullah’s actual speech last Friday was loved by the people, and the royal decrees that followed it will benefit wide segments of society. I just had something different in mind, and I wanted to share it with you here.