Comment by Khalid Amayreh
It is really difficult to blame millions of young men and women throughout the Third World, especially in the Muslim world, for their mounting disenchantment with western democracy.
A few years ago, many people in this part of the world were made to believe that the “American way” would empower the masses and help build a society based on liberty and justice which would also eventually produce economic prosperity.
However, these people soon discovered that they had been duped and deceived as they saw how democracy looked like “in action” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and, of course, in Palestine.
The often pornographic dichotomy between the ritualistic pronouncements by western leaders on democracy and human rights, on the one hand, and their scandalous actions, behaviors, and policies, on the other, served only to deepen people’s disillusionment with a “democracy” that preaches one thing and does the opposite.
In his second inaugural address, George W. Bush, emphasized the centrality of “democracy” in his administration’s foreign policy.
“It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”
In reality, however, we all saw that instead of supporting democracy and discouraging tyranny, Bush did quite the opposite by fighting democracy and encouraging tyranny in many parts of the world.
Indeed, in most countries in the Middle East, especially the Arab world, criminal violations of human rights and civil liberties are now more pervasive than when Bush became President nearly eight years ago.
Torture is widespread and such state-of-the-art torture tactics, e.g. “water-boarding,” are being introduced to a number of Arab states under benevolent American supervision. This is in addition to the scandalous “renditions”, which became an essential part of fostering democracy in the Arab world.
Today, virtually all American-allied regimes in the Middle East are full-fledged repressive police states where citizens venturing to exercise even a modicum of their civil rights and liberties are persecuted, imprisoned and tortured or dismissed from their jobs.
In some countries, thousands of people are rounded up like cattle and placed in mass prisons in order to prevent them from taking part in local or parliamentary elections. And this is done while western democracies keep blathering about democracy and human rights.
In occupied Palestine, George Bush’s hypocrisy cries out to the seventh heaven. In 2006, Palestinians held parliamentary elections at the urging of the man in the White House. However, when the Palestinian people elected a political party which Bush and Ariel Sharon didn’t like, all hell broke loose, and the Palestinian people were subjected to a harsh blockade unseen since the disciples of Hitler besieged Ghetto Warsaw in 1943.
And when Gaza children were being starved and killed in droves, as they continue to be even as I write this commentary, the Bush administration’s reaction was voiced by its secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, that unethical and lying lady, who congratulated Tzipi Livni, the equally criminal-minded Israeli foreign minister, on the “remarkable success” of the blockade, saying “It is working, and we are glad that it is.”
But Rice is by no means inventing anything. Madeline Albright, Secretary of State during the Clinton administration, had uttered even more virulent sound-bites when asked what she thought about the estimated one million Iraqis annihilated by the US-led sanctions during the 1990s. She reportedly said rather nonchalantly that “if it is good for America, it is worth it.”
Well, I imagine that Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin as well as all other mass murderers, past and present, would have made the same argument to justify their crimes against humanity.
Yes, many people in our part of the world thought, probably out of naivety, that western democracy was ethical, moral, just and humane, but reality showed that it is often unethical, immoral, unjust, inhumane and outright criminal.
Ask the Afghan civilians whose families have been exterminated and homes destroyed by wanton western bombardment of their villages. Ask them what they think about American democracy? Ask the Iraqis whose country has been bombed out back into the Middle Ages. Ask them if they are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein.
Ask the Palestinians whose children have to succumb to illness and disease because the “only democracy in the Middle East” wouldn’t allow them access to adequate medical care.
Ask them, and they will tell you the truth.
Of course, George Bush is by no means the only villain in the arena. Most of the “democracies” of Western Europe have played a shameful role in effecting the genocidal wars in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, and they all, with a few appreciable exceptions, have done so in the name of democracy and human rights.
We saw recently how the leaders of Germany, Italy, France and Britain embraced the Nazi-like Israeli state on its 60th anniversary, the state whose very existence is a crime against humanity.
Similarly, we saw how British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently described the extirpation of the Palestinian people from its ancestral homeland and the creation thereon of the terrorist state as the “greatest event in the 20th century.”
This is the leader of the very country that had enabled Zionism to rape Palestine and expel its native inhabitants to the four corners of the world.
And at the top of all this monumental oppression, British leaders still have the moral and intellectual depravity to denounce us as “terrorists” for resisting our tormentors and wanting to be free.
Today, western democracies are busy fostering “democracy and human rights” in occupied Palestine by funding a police state apparatus where political activists are abducted and tortured and even killed, and journalists and university professors are incarcerated and maltreated by young, ignorant security cadres who would do anything for a few hundred dollars at the end of the month.
This is indeed the “democracy” that is being exported to us and which the West in coordination with Israel is trying to force down our throats.
Well, sorry guys, your democracy is killing us, we don’t want to have any part of it.