Nas of the Black Iris of Jordan has posed a question on his blog about whether we Jordanians decide our fates, and I'm glad to answer that question with a simple No.
We've gotten used to the idea of passive participation in society, out of fear of "Authority" or mere indifference to what goes around us, and the former can and in many cases did lead to the latter. But why are we passive? We've grown accustomed to the tribal idea of the collective father figure who decides what's best for us, and we oblige out of "loyalty". The father figure was reincarnated in the government, which decides what the tribe/people's best interest is and acts accordingly.
Society is a living organism, this is what French sociologist Emile Durkheim suggests, and he explains that the relationship between the elements of any society; Family, Law..etc, are examined as they interact with each other as well as other elements to achieve social needs, which eventually function into the stability and survival of the society, much like any living organism, including humans.
The problem with our society is that despite it being a living organism in the anthropological meaning of the argument, it actually lacks the tools of free interaction with other elements; And if we want to call things by their names, I'd explain that our freedoms are deficient; people have the right to protest, but their protest has to be licensed, or else their exercise of their right to protest would be deemed illegal, and the most recent example of this was the protest which took place outside the ministry of Agriculture a few weeks ago. On the other side of the coin, The Parliament; the supposed representative of the will of the people isn't representing the people anymore, I'm not even sure it ever did, at least in the past 10 years or so, besides the way it's elected in the first place, and we've all seen the latest episodes of the war of attrition between the parliament and the press, two of the most important pillars of any country's social conscience.
Now the buck should stop at the members of the civil society, NGOs and other institutions in the broader social scene, but those, as the black iris observed, are based on a select group of people, who end up patronising the rest of the society with their elitist approach to social activism. And in many cases, the members of those NGOs and civil society institutions are in one way or another connected to non civil society institutions, which voids their attempt to balance the scale of social interaction between the government and the rest of the society from its point.
Whether we accept it or not, ours is a pastoral society, The Pastor -in his many forms- directs us towards our best interest and we gladly follow, we've had attempts to grow up, but we haven't figured out a way to do it yet, out of frustration from our failure or our tribal loyalty to the pastor, and until both the pastor and the flock understand that they both belong to the very same farm; bearing in mind George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”; Until we establish that All are equal, and that some aren’t more equal than others, our control of our fates will be deficient, as will our control of our country’s fate.
On a different note, today marks the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing, and to celebrate the occasion, here's a song for you.