Thursday 26 January 2006

Living with the results of true democracy

In search of Arabian Democracy
The clamour for reform on the basis of democratic change in the Middle East has been so deafening that one is surprised that unexpected news filters through loud and clear.
Part of the supposed goal of winning the war on terror is to help Arabians have more say in the way they are governed and loosen the grip of those potentates that have been in power since the world began.
We, the mortals in leadership
In the last 6 months death has separated four of the rulers from thrones of their fiefdoms; they being, Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Maktoum of Dubai and Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah of Kuwait.
More so, human frailties of health lead the successor to the Emir of Kuwait to give up the throne by the urging of parliament having ruled for just 8 days – Oh! That he be so honoured with a portrait in the chamber of kings – caption “He ruled with great wisdom for a week and a day”.
Apparently, these developments about human mortality and vulnerability might not have been read and understood those who have lead their countries into abject privation in Africa; having plundered resource and reserves leaving legacies of corruption and disaster.
Then there have been ripples of reform in Syria, waves of tumult in Israel with the forming of Ariel Sharon’s Kadima; the cantankerous but interesting pronouncements of the Doctor-Engineer Ahmadinejad in Iraq with the enduring prominence of the Pharaoh Mubarak of Egypt.
New home for the insurgency
One could nervously say that the war in Iraq has brought change on the wings of missiles and laser-guided bombs, as they are enlightened with white phosphorus and the people entertained by the insurgency of emigrants wielding terror who have settled in Iraq from Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Now that we are getting what we have wished for, there is a lot of back-tracking that one wonders what we really want for the people.
The White House usually promotes democracy as just the ability to go out and vote; so vote they have done in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Iran, in Egypt and in Palestine.
The people have spoken
The people have chosen their leaders; that is democracy. Democracy does not include the refinement; you are only democratically elected if you will be a stooge of the West or are liked by the West.
It explains why America cannot get on with the popularly elected Hugo “do not meddle in my backyard” Chavez of Venezuela as they definitely did not speak up loud enough about the coup that overthrew him for 4 days.
More so, with Evo Morales in Bolivia, it would be interesting to see how they deal with another popularly elected leader of the people who also happens to champion the growing of coca.
Somehow, the Americans have not noticed that the drug problem is at home in the United States and not the coca growing fields of Central America that are rendered useless for anything else because of pesticides.
Anyway, the West has tried to pre-empt the electioneering in Palestine by warning that an elected Hamas cannot be a partner for peace.
Doers are deserving of government
However, Hamas is a multi-faceted organ of Palestinian desire, they fight for the land through what is commonly known here as terrorism, but known there as freedom fighting – intafada. They are also the only organ apart from NGOs that have done well to provide social services to their people.
Even without having the kind of funds that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority have, hospitals, schools, jobs and daily essentials to alleviate suffering form another platform of their principles.
It is unfortunate that they still look to see the end of Israel and though that is contemporaneously wrong; there is a grievance of deprivation, oppression, exploitation and global diffidence if not indifference to be assessed as it fuels the clash of civilisations that now plague the West.
Indeed, the people have spoken
The fact is, the people have voted for those they think can best represent them and shunned those who the West has feted and befriended without engaging them properly about reforming themselves for electoral success.
This is the case especially for Palestine, though not as clear from Iran.
With Hamas having taken 58% of the seats of the parliament, better than George W. Bush in his second term victory of 51% percent, it can be said that the Hamas has a better mandate than the American president to speak for and govern their people. So, it can be said for the leaders of Venezuela, Bolivia, Iran and even Chile.
Democracy however, would not go scot-free, as work would commence to destabilise ‘so-called’ hostile regimes that are unfriendly to America just because they have refused to conform to that standard that allows the embodiment of their civilisation to be emasculated by markets and ideas that provide no local value.
Read the results out loud again
We hear that the current president of the Palestinian people who happens to have lead the blundering and corrupt Fatah movement is being urged to retain his seat; in the light of not having a legislative base to carry out reforms he could not pass through the erstwhile parliament that he supposedly should have had more influence over.
It makes one wonder whether we all know the many meanings of democracy.
Whilst the last time I looked, it appeared that it was purely the government of the people, by the people, for the people – somehow, the first is right and the last two have gone by way of the wind.
We end up being governed no doubt, but by some people for their pockets.
The Secretary of the Arab League clearly depicts the dilemma of democracy – “America cannot promote democracy and then reject the results of this democracy” [1] – even I cannot fail to see the insincerity of purpose in this one.

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