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The anguish of a struggle for democratic government


Forum Editor

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You would think, wouldn't you, that establishing a democratic government in a country would be a fairly straightforward process, once you have removed power from a previous dictatorship?

That it isn't straightforward at all is beautifully illustrated by what's going on in Egypt at the moment.

I can't help the feeling that the situation there is heading towards a series of serious confrontations between the populace and the military.

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morddwyd

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"Russia has an appetite, it seems, for a strong leader"

As one of their leaders once said (can't remember if it was a Czar or a Bolshevik) "Russia can only be ruled by the lash and the knout"!

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Aitchbee

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namtas

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I don't think that you will ever have true democracy in any country, there will always be someone who decides otherwise.

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Bing.alau

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Is democracy anything to do with the equality that we are all supposed to be sharing?

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wee eddie

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I don't suppose anyone ever said that a democratically Elected Government would be a good Government. After all, Hitler was democratically Elected!

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Forum Editor

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Flak999

You're really missing the point here. What you're doing is taking a look at what happens in other countries and making judgements based on hindsight and your experience of our own country.

That you're doing this is highlighted by the fact that you say "Muslim countries don't want democracy, they want a Government who will govern under sharia law. they are so indoctrinated into their own particular version of the God delusion that they cannot see any other alternative".

Have you actually been to a Muslim country? If you had, you would know that your statement is fundamentally wrong -you're making the error of assuming that all Muslims feel the same as the high-profile fundamentalists you see on TV and in the newspapers. The truth is that the vast majority of ordinary Muslims want the right to decide for themselves how they will be governed - they want self-determination, which is another way of saying they want to live and worship in a democratic society. Islam and democracy are not mutually exclusive, although there are obstacles to be overcome.

A good example of how a people can have both an Islamic country and a democracy is Malaysia, it's a federal constitutional monarchy where the state religion is Islam - it's laid down in the constitution.

Your sweeping statement that all Muslim countries have a "hidebound belief in the ridiculous" is in itself ridiculous. Islam is a belief system for which you obviously have no respect, and to go on and say that Muslim beliefs are a bar to the functioning of a "modern functioning western style democracy" is a breathtakingly naïve approach. You talk about a western style democracy as if it's that or nothing, but of course the reality is that democracy is an idealogy, not an inflexible formula. It can take different forms, and work perfectly well - the key aspects being the rule of law and free elections.

The key to progress is, as I've said before, education. Provide a people with that, and the rest will follow.

"What does China do to it's people when they ask for democracy? It runs them down with tanks! Unfortunately some countries and some peoples are not yet ready for democracy"

You make my point perfectly with that first sentence, and you exhibit your extraordinary arrogance with the second.

China is an oppressive, totalitarian communist state. The government's record when it comes to human rights is one of the most appalling on the planet. The Peoples Republic of China (described, laughably, by Mao as a 'democratic dictatorship') came into existence in 1949. The vast majority of Chinese people alive today have never known any other form of government.

Go there, talk to Chinese people about their hopes and aspirations and within a fairly short time you'll realise two things - they want a standard of living that's on a par with western nations, and they want the freedom of self-determination.

Saying that entire nations are "not yet ready for democracy" is arrogance and ignorance combined. A country is ready when its people demonstrate the desire, and the fact that totalitarian states prioritise military strength is an indication that all peoples have demonstrated the desire. Communist China has the largest standing army in the world, not because it needs to fight land battles on an international stage but because the government is frightened of its own people.

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Forum Editor

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wee eddie

"I don't suppose anyone ever said that a democratically Elected Government would be a good Government."

Exactly. A democratically elected government is one thing, and one thing only - it's the government that the people have elected. The electoral system may not be perfect, but it allows for each citizen to cast a vote. What follows may be good, or it may be not so good - there has certainly never been (or will be) a democracy which benefited all of the people according to their expectations. The best that can be said of democracy is that it enshrines the right of the people to be governed by freely elected representatives.

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wee eddie

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FE, you're on a roll here. Sense all the way. Congratulations

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Flak999

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Forum Editor

If only your rose tinted version of the coming enlightenment was in any sense realistic! You accuse me of having no respect for Islam, that is true! But then I have no respect for any religion, it's all nonsense as far as I am concerned.

Your moving description of these poor down trodden masses yearning for the rule of law and democratic freedom just doesn't ring true I'm afraid! Let us take for example some of the countries that we benevolent westerners have bestowed the gift of freedom and democracy upon.

Lets start with Iraq, we have freed the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussain at the cost of thousands of western lives and countless billions of dollars. We have withdrawn after setting up the structures of democracy and the rule of law, is the country now a shining beacon of democratic good governance?

We both know the answer to that!

For our next example, lets take Lybia. Oh, how the Libyan opposition pleaded with us to come and free them from the yoke of the tyrant Gaddafi, we duly obliged and gave the people who were yearning for peace love and the democratic way their wish. Where do we now find ourselves? We have created another country ripe for insurrection fought over by tribal warlords who repay us by murdering the American ambassador and burning the US embassy!

Where to now? Egypt! As has been said earlier the peoples desire for freedom now equates to an elected dictator called Morsi from the religious Muslim brotherhood. Another example of a failure of democracy.

Now we head to Afghanistan, more blood and treasure expended, to attempt the impossible and try to drag a fourteenth century feudal society which indulges in paedophilia as a national pastime kicking and screaming up to 21st century standards. Failure was a given from the start, as I said earlier I would wager good money on our being gone six months and the country will be back to square one. The totally corrupt Hamid Karzai will either have been strung up by the Taliban or he will be on the last helicopter from the roof of the US embassy in Kabul, history repeating itself again!

Why do we never learn?

I won't even start on Africa, I would be here all day. I can go on Ad infinitum, but what's the point? You (Apparently) believe that these peoples and states are capable of running a stable law abiding democracy, I don't!

We shall just have to watch events unfold and see which one of us is right!

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fourm member

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Flak999

'I won't even start on Africa'

That's a pity because if you did you'd find that the consensus is that the glass is half full. Though there are undoubtedly problems about the fairness of elections in many countries, elections do take place.

Many more African countries are multi-party than was the case 40 years ago. It is easy to get a distorted view by only looking at what is wrong. That can be because, as always, good news is not news. Were you aware that in March last year the long-serving president in Senegal stood down without fuss after a younger man defeated him in a fair election?

It is easy, of course, to find problems with countries that are supposed to be democracies.

Political parties led by members of an elite group from one tribe. Constituencies drawn up to distort the result of elections. Political power in the hands of unelected bodies. Secret services collecting information on those said to be a threat to the regime. Courts where evidence can be presented in secret and withheld from the defence.

I wonder if Kritiek999 despairs of the UK ever being anything other than a corrupt country peopled by those 'don't understand what a true democracy really is'.

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