28 March, 2006

Arabs Wary of 'Western' Democracy

Interesting view on modernising the GCC, from IPS:

UAE: After Iraq, Arabs Wary of 'Western' Democracy

''Democracy,'' said Hamzawi, ''is a popular demand in some countries (but) not so in the Gulf region as the people don't suffer severe economic problems and have different concerns.'' ''The situation here is completely different and each case should be handled separately. Democracy is unacceptable if it affects the culture it is meant to govern in a negative way.''

Hmmmm. Article worth reading in totality.

1 comment:

BD said...

The availability of a democratic model that can be exported everywhere is nonsense and has no moral credibility because of the U.S. tragedies and disasters in Iraq.

Democracy's failure in Iraq has nothing to due with where the "model" comes from. That failure is due to the fact that war and insurrection continue to rage there. Any system which attempts to give the people a voice in Iraq cannot work as long as the levels of violence there remain largely unchecked. The US is trying to hurry democracy along partly due to critics' accusations that the US military and not the people of Iraq are governing the country. This policy--of hurrying democracy along--while the security situation is so unstable is the problem, not the "model" of democracy.

Whether starting the war was right or wrong, the US government needs to ignore critics' complaints about who is in control and concentrate on makng the country secure, before trying to introduce democracy.

Democracy is unacceptable if it affects the culture it is meant to govern in a negative way.

Democracy's intent is simply to give people a voice. What is "the culture"? The clothes you wear, the food you eat, the existence or non-existence of the rule of law as oppossed to the rule of a governing minority within a country? Cultur is a nebulous entity which encompasses many aspects of a people's life. Anything can upset that whether it is the introduction of a new politcal form or the simple introduction into the society of something like television.

A culture that is inflexible will eventually cease to exist like the primative cultures of the Amazon or pygmie Africa. The tendency in the world today is clearly economic globalism and that cannot happen without having some profound effect on every aspect of life including culture.

The Gulf countries have thusfar managed successfully to integrate global economics into their societies. As democracy in one form or other is part of this process of economic globalization it will also have to be integrated into society in some way--China faces the same challege.

The article linked to infact speaks of this sort of thing, however, the quotes in the article attributed to Hamzawi sound like trill rhetoric, and an attempt to hide behind a semi-sacred notion of culture.

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