Jordanian MP pulls gun, raises bar for bad parliamentary behavior

Jordanian MP pulls gun, raises bar for bad parliamentary behavior

Clausewitz said that war is the extension of politics by other means. But Jordanian lawmaker Mohammed Shawabka seems to have gotten the Prussian military strategist’s aphorism backwards. Last Thursday, Shawabka heaved his shoe and then pointed a pistol at Mansour Seif-Eddine Murad, an activist-turned-politician, during a televised debate about the violence in Syria.  

According to The National the two traded insults on Jordanian satellite channel Jo Sat with Murad eventually accusing Shawabka of being an Israeli Mossad agent and a thief. Violence quickly ensued:

"Mr Shawabka first threw his shoe at Mr Murad, who dodged with aplomb, and then pulled a gun. Furniture toppled as the show’s host desperately tried to separate the two. And then the credits rolled."

On Monday, the AP reported that Shawabka is being investigated for his role in the altercation. According to the prosecutor, Shawabka could be charged with attempted murder, although he conceded that this might be a stretch because the lawmaker did not appear to take aim at his fellow debater.

The incident ups the ante on what has already been an exciting year for parliamentary antics. In June, former parliamentarian and current spokesman for Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party Ilias Kasidiaris grew enraged during a televised debate and threw water on one guest before slapping another in the face repeatedly.

Only weeks before a brawl broke out in the Ukrainian parliament as lawmakers debated a bill that would make Russian and "equal" second language in roughly half of the country. According to the New York Times, the so-called "rumble in Rada" left "at least one opposition politician bloodied and saw another flipped over a banister, his feet flailing in the air."

In Lebanon things heated up in November 2011, when Mustafa Alloush from the pro-Western Future Movement and Fayez Shukr of the Baath Arab Socialist Party began hurling insults-as well as water, pens, and paper-across the table from one another as they discussed the Syrian situation on Lebanese TV.

In recent years, parliamentarians have also come to fisticuffs in Somalia, Iraq, South Korea, Czech Republic, Bolivia, Argentina, Georgia, Taiwan, and Nigeria, To my knowledge, however, Jordan’s Mohammed Shawabka is the only one who has introduced firearms into the mix.