Book: Our Last Best Chance by King Abdullah II

Spikekid was reading this book, and I figured, I’ll read it also! I was kinda in a pickle on what to read!

I read it in 4 days, to be honest, I thought it would be boring, but I really enjoyed it! I read a book either written by or about our late King Hussein may he RIP few years ago, i cant recall the name of it…but I didn’t really enjoy it as much as this one.

On the third day of reading this book, I visited my aunts house, her husband is an old man whose into politics and knows alot, I started talking about this book, and asked him a lot of questions regarding King Abdullah, Because honestly I didn’t know a lot about him before the passing of our late king, he started telling me stories about his military service, in the end of a long visit, he said that King Abdullah is the son of the army, a fine soldier! admittedly i always thought that since he was a royalty, his service would be kind of easy, more of a symbolic service, but i was wrong.

What I didn’t really enjoy in the book is the politics part, specifically the Israeli palestinian struggle, because of two things, one: whenever you see our king in the international media, he is ALWAYS talking about it, trying as best as he can whenever he can, I was more interested to know our king, the father, the family man, the son of a great king, second: the last few books i read talks about the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and i want to break away from the topic.

In the book, the King is very candid, he talks about his days in school and uni, family stories, how he met Queen Rania, and how he asked her out and leading to the marriage, his days in the military, his relationship with his father, the last days before he passed, the challenges after he sat on the throne, regional and international problems / conflicts with a lot of emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

If you are interested in knowing about King Abdullah II from another perspective, read this book! interesting and at many parts a page turner.

I was surprised to see how many quotes i highlighted in this book, a total of 73 for a relatively small book! here is a few:

His Trainer in Sandhurst:

He said, “Mr. Abdullah, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.” He paused for effect. “You’re always going to be in the shit. It’s just the depth that’s going to vary.” I adopted that as my motto, and to this day still think of his words whenever I am facing a tough situation.

Talking to his father around the time of Queen Elizabeth visit:

As the day approached I asked my father: if somebody fires at me I’ll fire back, but how far do you want me to go?
“If somebody fires at the queen,” he said, “you will put yourself in the way. And if it means losing your life to protect our guest, you bloody well do it. Otherwise I’ll shoot you myself!”

Describing a night near the dead sea few days before war on iraq:

It was the kind of night you find only out in the desert, with a faint light coming from the pale moon overhead. Because there is so little man-made light in the desert, you see many more stars than you do in a city. It feels like you are standing on the edge of the universe, looking in.

On his way home after a long time time in the army without leave:

I had been living on beans and tinned spaghetti for the last two months, so the prospect of a real dinner was too good to turn down.

North Korean Airlines:

One of the world’s least modern airlines, Air Koryo, the North Korean state airline, is currently banned from operating in the European Union due to its poor safety record. The plane looked like a Russian copy of a Boeing 727, and inside the “first class” section, rather than rows of seats we found a couple of couches. To reach the bathroom you would have to make your way past boxes and crates stuffed into the back of the plane.

North Korean paranoia or stupidity:

“What is the meaning of the clock?” the general continued. I was stumped. But as it was nearly one in the morning and I was keen to get to bed, I remembered one of the basic rules of international diplomacy and started making stuff up.
“The clock,” I said, “signifies the precious time my father and the Great Leader spent together at Tito’s funeral, and the time that has passed since then.” The generals nodded in unison and began scribbling furiously in their notebooks. Getting into the spirit, I continued, “The dagger is a gift from one warrior to another.”
The general asked, “And the wedding box?” I said, “I look on the Great Leader as a father, and so this is a gift from my recent wedding, from a grateful son.”

Calling Queen Rania to get a date:

I introduced myself and said that I was hoping to see her again. “I’ve heard things about you,” she said. She did not finish the sentence, but the implication was that what she had heard was not entirely favorable. “I’m no angel,” I replied, “but at least half the things you hear are just idle gossip.” She was not convinced and said she would need to think about it.

After a date:

It was my father, who loved to play matchmaker. “So,” he said, “when can I meet her parents?”

Undercover King:

Over time, my penchant for secret visits resulted in “Elvis” sightings. For each visit I actually made, there were reports that I had been spotted in another thirty or forty places. We heard of one such sighting at a tomato-packing plant up in the north of Jordan. A long line of farmers were waiting in their trucks for the plant to process their cargo, which might spoil in the sun. One farmer, as he pulled in to the gate, said he thought he had seen the king in disguise, waiting in one of the trucks. Whether he actually thought he had seen me or was just being cunning, no one will ever know, but the effect was the same. Pretty soon the line started moving at top speed.

The father:

As soon as he got through the door, he said, “Hi, I have homework to do, so I’ll see you all later.” Hussein going to do his homework? That was a shocker.

On Islam:

Islam is a religion that requires believers to perform daily rituals that act as a framework for the exercise of faith. But its deeper meaning lies in the spiritual values it awakens within its faithful, and the way believers come to manifest these values in daily life

The best one in the collection:

Speaking in the name of God can all too easily serve as a justification to suppress debate. Putting yourself on a moral and spiritual pedestal allows you to condemn any challenger as morally bankrupt. And this absolutist view becomes dangerous when it is combined with politics.

Doomish:
Brave, Courageous and bold.
Long live his fame
and long live his glory.
Long may his worthless posts be told.

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7 Comments

  1. NOUB

    Looks like the king can write well 🙂

    The book I started is left at the initial few pages thanks to my current assignment. I should get back to it!

    Reply
  2. Haitham

    It is a cool book, but I think it reflects King Abdullah II’s political gullibility, which is understandable in the case of a military man.

    A friend of mine brought to my attention the Arabic version and told me that reading the book can’t be complete without comparing the two versions, which is a valid point of view, but I will not be reading the Arabic version no matter what; I am dead sure that the Arabic one will be dull and boring as hell simply because he will be King again, in the Middle Eastern sense of the word.

    Reply
  3. kinzi

    Doomish, great review! Spikekid and the same impressions, adn I can’t wait to read it now. But first we have to give it back to MommaBean and her MIL, who allowed us to borrow it before they had read it 🙂

    Reply
  4. Doomish

    @Haitham:
    Thanks for pointing this out, ill skim through an arabic version if i find one with my friends

    Reply

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