The Kingdom of Jordan enjoys the privileged status of being one of the most stable countries within the Middle East, a region that in recent decades has been characterised by brutal wars, genocidal conflict, religious extremism, corrupt tyrannies and oppressive human rights abuses. Compared to its neighbours (with the possible exceptions of Israel and Lebanon), Jordan is a veritable oasis of calm in a swirling storm. Undoubtedly a great deal of this stability comes from the presence of Jordan’s Royal Family, with the Jordanian monarchy providing a solid foundation on which the nation’s government can be built and draw strength from.
So it should come as no surprise that as the nation began the centennial celebrations this Thursday of its first movements towards independence during the Great Arab Revolt of 1916 that HM King Abdullah II of Jordan and the rest of the Jordanian Royal Family should take centre stage of the proceedings. The Revolt was led primarily by His Majesty’s great-great grandfather, King Sharif Hussein of Hejaz, who sought to liberate the Arab peoples of the Levant from Ottoman rule, which had neglected and abused the region for the past century. The Revolt found support from Allied forces during the First World War who sought to destabilise the Ottoman Empire, although King Sharif was soon dismayed to realise that they had no intention of fulfilling his ambition of a single independent Arab kingdom encompassing the entirety of the Levant. Instead it was divided between the French and the British, leading to the creation of the modern day states of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan (formerly Transjordan), and Israel. The Kingdom of Jordan achieved independence from the United Kingdom on the 17th of June 1946.
The centennial celebration of the Great Arab Revolt saw King Abdullah II driven in a Royal Motorcade through the streets of his capital, Amman, where he was greeted by thousands of his cheering subjects. Travelling this way to the Royal Hashemite Court, a military parade was held containing over 1,000 military personel, during which the King presented the Great Arab Revolt banner to the Jordanian Armed Force’s “mother unit”. Among the attendees were descendants of those who fought during the Great Revolt. His Majesty was joined by his wife; Queen Rania, Crown Prince Hussein, Princess Salma bint Abdullah, Princess Muna Al Hussein, and various members of the Jordanian government.
In addition the military parade, events marking the Great Arab Revolt had also included art shows, performances of traditional local music, a fireworks display, and various games for children. Large screens had also been set up in several parts of Amman so that events can be broadcaster live to the populace of the city.