To whom do we leave it? If immigration is our choice whenever we face a problem with it!
To whom do we leave it? If escape is the shortest path we take in search of a better reality?
To whom do we leave our country? You will say: Why should I stay? Do I have to wait for a suitable job opportunity throughout my life? This is completely true in our Arab region, but we can not solve problems by running away, we have to strive to change as much as we can and resist the status quo to achieve reform and claim our rights.
To whom do we leave it? This is our homeland, and the concept of homeland is much greater than difficult living conditions, like most of the residents of our region, “migration” is still a dream of Jordanians, especially young people. 2019, more than 45% of Jordanians are considering emigrating outside Jordan, and the largest percentage of young people, which is double the percentage it was in 2016.
In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 18th the International Migrants Day. Here we are talking about those who decide to emigrate out of choice, not out of necessity. The reasons for emigration are many, foremost among them, deteriorating economic situation and widespread unemployment among youth. In the middle of last year, the Jordanian government said that the unemployment rate had reached 50 percent among Jordanian youth and that poverty had grown to unprecedented levels. In the same context, a report by the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) titled “Jordanian youth and their decisions regarding their futures” showed how policy in Jordan neglected the youth for a long time, which led to the continuation and exacerbation of various interrelated challenges this group faces, evidenced in the issuance of the National Youth Strategy in 2019, 10 years after the end of the previous strategy.
The report also pointed to the significant mismatch between skills acquired in academia and the needs of the labor market. Fifty-three percent of the unemployed youth in Jordan hold a university degree, however, long periods of education and hard work, and the difficulty of transitioning from education to jobs may lead to the deterioration of the youths’ professional skills, which further contributes to their exclusion from quality jobs, and this reality is a major reason for the huge frustration and disappointment experienced by youth, who eventually choose to seek opportunities outside Jordan, hence the desire to emigrate.
This video is the product of the Cultural Committee of Al Nahda Youth Network of ARDD; Jordanian artist Zuhair Al Nubani created and acts in it. The character in the video is in a state of confusion as most circumstances push him to emigrate, and a persistent and optimistic voice tells him: “There is still hope, and everything will be as we want, because the renaissance of nations is only brought about by its sons.”
“I want to emigrate” the title of the video, is excerpted from a post with the same name published by Nubani on his Facebook page some time ago, which sparked widespread controversy in the Jordanian street and brought to the fore the difficult living conditions of artists and creators in Jordan.
If Al Nobani, one of Jordan’s most important artists, wanted to emigrate due to the marginalization of art and artists, what would the unemployed youth who did not find any glimmer of hope in their homeland say?
“Qutaiba”, the name of the young man in the video was chosen for its symbolism; it is the name of a young man named Qutaiba Al Bashabsheh who had asked a former prime minister to guarantee that conditions in Jordan would improve, otherwise he would continue to search for a country to migrate to. The former prime minister advised him to abandon the idea of emigration and to work hard until his goal is achieved, but the situation remained unchanged due to the failure of including the youth in public life. The video wishes to drive in the point that the youth are the change-makers and stresses the importance of entrepreneurship and women’s participation in the economy, which is weak in the Jordanian labor market, constituting no more than 15 percent, and showing that women are the most affected by social and economic crises. It also stresses the fact that creating economic opportunities for men and women alike would help lower the rates of migration.
Through its various programs, activities, and alliances, ARDD prepares studies, issues papers and leads awareness campaigns in the media about the dangers of migration, and illegal immigration. It also calls for more efforts to be exerted to make the voices of the youth heard and to involve them in making policies that affect them and that would combat youth migration and brain drain from Jordan, especially since marginalization, unemployment and downplaying the importance of the youths’ civic participation weakens their sense of belonging.
The issue of creating job opportunities may be resolved through the provision of advice regarding the demands of the labor market, through comprehensive training and through the political inclusion of youth, thus making them drivers of renaissance and advancement in Jordan.