Lets call a spade, a spade

I recently had a discussion with someone about the definition of democracy. And although this person could not clearly define it for me, she was adamant that it was the right way forward for the Muslim world.

I find it quite interesting that the word democracy can mean different things to different people. The ambiguity around the term can be dangerous, particularly when nations seem to be initiating wars to propagate democracy and foreign policies of very powerful states revolve around it. If not at all-out-war, much of the western world seems bent on telling the rest of the world that democracy is synonymous to justice and that they need to tread on the same path that the west did through its history to reach there.

In this they make a grave assumption: an assumption that democracy is the best system and that every undemocratic nation wants to become like the countries in the west. Whilst it is true that the west enjoys greater wealth and many would like to escape from the grip of poverty in the third world, I would argue that it isn’t the democratic system that has given the west its wealth, but rather its colonialism (which continues today albeit in a different style) and usurping of other nations resources that has allowed for the economic prosperity enjoyed by the west.For many, democracy has a monopoly over accountability of governments. I don’t think this is an informed opinion at all. It is those that benefit from the democratic system that propagate it to be the only viable option whilst silencing any other alternative. Sure democratic governments may allow protests to go ahead; harsh words be said about parties, political figures etc; or opposition to be vocal. However, when the masses believe in the same system of governance, there are no alternatives or real threats for politicians to really worry about. So people may riot on Labour Day, damage some property mostly covered by insurance companies anyway and complain for a while on the internet. But there isn’t any real threat from them, in no way will these people have any real influence, furthermore, they will work for change within the same crooked system that has caused the problems in the first place. The true colours are revealed when people begin to provide a viable alternative that would potentially shift the balance of power in favour of the other. As Bush famously told a crowd in Missouri that the terrorists believe “that they should establish a caliphate, a governing body, a governing organization, based upon their ideology of hate that extends, initially, from Indonesia to Spain. That is their declared intention.”

The reality is that there are increasing calls for Islam in the Muslim world. Now I’m no supporter of Hamas, Ahmedinijad, the Saudis or the Taliban. However, it’s interesting to note how politicians will come out and state a blatant NO to Islam as a system in the part of the world where most of its people believe in it and struggle to uphold it. Where is the democracy now? And this is partly the reason why much of the Muslim world is sceptical about the west’s plan in the Middle East and frequently uses terms such as ‘double standards’ to describe the west.

The wars and meddling in the rest of the world are not about democracy, justice, human rights or freedom. The acceptance by the west, of dictatorships in the Muslim world is a testimony to that. The western governments can’t afford to lose their grip on the Muslim world and will never allow for them to have self-governance as this situation is not in the national interests of western powers. So let’s cut through the chase and call a spade a spade.

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