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In this interview, His Majesty speaks to the Jordanian people from the Mayo Clinic in the United States for the first time since his admission there for treatment of lymphoma on July 14. In the interview, he speaks frankly with Jordan Television correspondents about his condition, the type of treatment he will undergo and his thoughts about the future.


Interview with Jordan Television

July 28, 1998

Interviewers: Suzanne ‘Afanah, Kassab Samawi, Ahmed al-Debbas


Suzanne ‘Afanah: Your Majesty, There's been a great sense of relief and happiness over the news that you are feeling much better, and responding extremely well to treatment. So, how is your condition now and what other stages of treatment are expected?

King Hussein: My condition has vastly improved. The temperatures, and colds, and chills that I have suffered over almost three weeks before I started the treatment have completely gone with the first day of the administration of chemotherapy to me. The first cycle has ended the day before yesterday. It is a four-day cycle, and I feel considerably better.

The diagnosis is of lymphoma type B. They are very optimistic here that this is one of the strands of cancer that respond very very well to treatment, and of a complete recovery, hopefully. As far as I am concerned, the morale factor is very high, and I am determined to contribute towards that eventuality to the best of my ability. I have always been a firm believer, and it is God's will that one faces another battle. But I am determined to do my best to win it. And it seems to me that from all I hear from all our friends here in Mayo that hopefully we are on the way towards a complete recovery. It will take a bit of time.

We have six cycles of treatment. One of them is down, five to go. But, between one and the other, there are about three weeks, and we have to watch against infections which are caused by the chemotherapy itself and the depressed immune system which occurs towards the end of each cycle of separation between one treatment and another. I am ready to be on the plane and back home if there is ever any need, and all Jordanians live in my heart and soul every minute of my life. I am so grateful to them and to friends throughout the Arab world and Muslim world and throughout the world, who have once again shown me such concern and support. I am ever proud to belong to a family called the Jordanian family.

Suzanne ‘Afanah: Your Majesty, you've always been frank with your people in everything, including your own health; something quite rare in this part of the world. But, as is expected, your health is of great concern to all of us here and to observers in the region and the world who seem to link it with the stability of the country and the region. Your Majesty, would you care to address this phenomenon of speculation?

King Hussein: Well, speculation, I suppose there has always been. And, there is life and there is an end to life, and that is the way with every one who has preceded us in this world, great people, normal people, every human being. But rest assured, I am not over and done with. I am in good shape, and I am fighting fit and doing my best on my side, and I have the best medical care in the world. And, at the same time, the assurance of the doctors is great that we will get over this particular illness rather soon.


(The following interview segment is translated from the original Arabic)


Kassab Samawi: Your Majesty, good day to you, and welcome on your television via satellite.

King Hussein: Bless you, and bless all the beloved people in dear Jordan.

Kassab Samawi: Everyone here is looking forward to seeing the head of the family and being reassured about your dear health. God be praised, you look in very good shape, with God's help.

King Hussein: God be praised. The treatment has begun, and the first phase was completed the day before yesterday. Chemotherapy treatment took place for the disease from which I suffer. It proved to be lymphoma B type. However, it can be treated, and the doctors are fully reassured that the treatment will be full and thorough, and God willing, all the results will be good. On my side, the part I can contribute is the morale after depending on God.

I convey my love to every Jordanian man and woman. I hope to see them at the time the doctors here allow in the near future. I hope to see them in good shape. I am kept updated with their news. I am full of thanks and appreciation for all of them for this flow of noble feelings, which they have always shown. Thanks and appreciation too for the brothers in the Arab and Islamic worlds and in whole world in fact. I receive endless messages and I follow all the news with full attention. This is what duty dictates toward the dear homeland at this stage.

Kassab Samawi: Your Majesty, allow me to leave the question to our colleague Ahmed al-Dabbas, for this is an opportunity for him now because he is with Your Majesty at the Mayo Clinic. He is receiving treatment there as a result of King Hussein’s deeds. Ahmed, you can ask your question now.

Ahmed Al-Dabbas: Your Majesty, praise be to God on your safety. Your Majesty, the sons of the one Jordanian family are eager to be reassured about your majesty's health and the results of the examinations. What does Your Majesty have to say now?

King Hussein: I say, praise be to God, there is full medical care here in the full sense of the word. The truth is that doctors at the Mayo Clinic, in addition to the fact that they have done all that is possible to diagnose the disease, they have managed to contact their colleagues in the United States. For example, the head of the National Center for Combating Cancer visited me, as well as a number of very famous doctors. They cooperate with each other. This is a phenomenon which, I hope it will prevail in all walks of life in our homeland. If one is specialized in a certain field and has confidence in himself, this should not allow him to isolate himself from others or to fail to consult with them.

They all agreed that diagnosis is lymphoma B type, and that this kind of cancer is curable. God willing, I will recover completely. This will take some time. There are three weeks between one session and another. There are six sessions, during which they believe that immunity will drop down before the new session as a result of the treatment itself. This is why they are very concerned about monitoring and follow-up so as to treat anything new. Anyway, antibiotic treatment is continuing to check any future possibility.

Praise be to God, my temperature has dropped to normal after the first day of chemotherapy. Praise be to God, my general condition is excellent, my mind is free from worry, and my morale is high. God bless every individual who flooded me, as the Jordanians have always done, with their noble feelings. They are my family and beloved ones, my sons, daughters, grandchildren, and brothers. God bless them and bless our dear, precious homeland.

Ahmed al-Debbas: Thank God for your safety, Your Majesty.

Kassab Samawi: Your Majesty, the happiness of your one, large family with the excellent news, you have just reported to us, cannot be described. The news is also reassuring to us all, the children of your faithful people, whom you love, and they return your love in kind. You have devoted your life to serve them and they sacrifice their lives for your sake. They all beseech God Almighty to protect you, to preserve you, and to return you to us safe and healthy, God willing, to live, as you have always done, in our hearts.

King Hussein: God bless you. God bless them all. They are all in the heart, the family and all the beloved ones and all of you have always been, and will always be, in my heart.

Kassab Samawi: Your Majesty, when a leader speaks to his people with such transparency and clarity about his health condition, as he does in all cases, this is a precedence in our surroundings which is full of speculations in the absence of such transparency. This mutual confidence between you and your people, Sir, is the main source for our firmness when dealing with all the difficulties and challenges facing us. Despite this frankness, Sir, there were attempts at making speculations or casting doubts. Can Your Majesty give us instructions in this regard?

King Hussein: No, Sir. Therefore, throughout my life I have always been frank and clear. Maybe at certain times in the past, the doctors themselves, and this was in Jordan and not here, wanted to cover a few things. Officials also felt that the clear, transparent picture may affect the people's morale. But there is nothing in this life except transparency, honesty, and clarity. This is the full picture about my condition and, praise be God, I am satisfied with the treatment and care I am receiving here. This is yet another battle we have to fight. Thank God for everything He willed. We seek His support to overcome this problem in full, God willing. I do not have any concern or worry, except for the fact that I am far from the homeland and the family. But, praise be to God, the trust is in good hands as regards my brother the crown prince, and as regards the government, and above all, as regards every Jordanian man and woman who are shouldering the responsibility in all cases and circumstances. In their cohesion lies the secret of our own existence, continuity, and our triumph over all challenges and threats. God willing, everything will be good.

Kassab Samawi: Your Majesty, we hope to see you always in good health. Yesterday, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan spoke to the stalwarts of the country [Army troops] and reassured them about your high morale. He told them that his majesty's high morale is enough for all of us. Our morale is part of your morale. God willing, your morale is high.

King Hussein: God bless you. My morale is solid as iron, praise be to God.

Kassab Samawi: We will meet in Amman, shortly, God willing.

King Hussein: God willing. By the way, I talk about chemotherapy, cancer, and what have you. But, if they need me, God forbid—and I know that they are secure—the plane is close by and I will be with them within hours.

Kassab Samawi: Welcome Your Majesty. This is our hope and we hope to see you soon.

King Hussein: God bless you.