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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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Forum Editor

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Flak999

Yet again, you've entirely missed my point. I haven't said that Muslim countries are shining examples of working democracies, so why are you repeatedly citing instances of countries where there has been strife?

What I said was that Muslim people, and people all over the world want self determination. They want the freedom to elect their own form of government. You're making the simplistic mistake of assuming that because this or that country isn't a democracy the people don't want it, or even worse, that they aren't 'ready' for it.

You've already seen on contributor saying that it took centuries for Britain to evolve a form of democracy, yet here you are, saying that because it hasn't happened in Iraq or Libya within a very short timescale o=it means the people don't want a democratic government. They want it desperately, but it doesn't happen overnight. There's unrest in Egypt because a court has suspended the elections planned for next month. The situation is far from stable, but the Egyptian people will get there, with help.

That help is likely to come from America, where President Obama is under pressure to ensure that the pledge of US $450 million of American taxpayers' money for Egypt isn't going to be wasted. In addition, the promise of $4.5 billion from the IMF is going to be tied to some tough conditions regarding political stability. Diplomatic endeavours will be under way to get Morsi to toe the line.

All new democracies have problems establishing - some more than others. It doesn't mean - as you seem to think - that people don't want self-determination.

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Flak999

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fourm member

"you'd find that the consensus is that the glass is half full."

Really! Who's glass is that, ours or their's? I'm sure their's is more than half full, with all the foreign aid that's swilling around that benighted continent.

Not so sure about ours though, last time I looked it was very much half empty!

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Flak999

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Forum Editor

OK, Guess we'll just have to do our usual! (agree to differ, that is!)

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fourm member

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Flak999

Of course, I didn't expect to enlighten your ignorance but I thought it was worth letting other people know that the situation in Africa is not irredeemably awful.

I could even have turned to the extreme pariah of African politics to point out that Mugabe has managed to adapt to a coalition with Morgan Tsvangirai. Though there have been plenty of dirty tricks, there hasn't been the sort of tragedy seen in Rwanda.

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Flak999

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fourm member

"I didn't expect to enlighten your ignorance"

Come on now fm, no need for name calling is there? Your letting that superiority complex of yours start to show again! ;-)

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Forum Editor

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Flak999

"Guess we'll just have to do our usual! (agree to differ, that is!)"

Agreed. I'm sure that after all this time we would feel strange if it was any other way.

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fourm member

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Flak999

That is not name calling. By painting a picture of Africa as a complete failure from a democratic viewpoint you are demonstrating your lack of familiarity with what happens in that continent.

In other words, you are ignorant of the range of political activities.

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john bunyan

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fourm member

In my earlier post I agreed with Flak999 on Africa. Yes there are, in some countries some signs of improvement as you mention, but the main problem is that of corruption. I have personal knowledge of it in Kenya some years ago, which went to the very top. Some charities try to ensure their donations are not filched on route to the causes they support; government aid has been spent on presidential aeroplanes in some places. If there were true democracy the corruption - endemic in most African countries - would reduce.

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fourm member

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john bunyan

'endemic in most African countries'

The word 'African' is unnecessary. Abuse of power occurs in almost every country you care to mention.

When I lived in Zambia, in the 1970s, what struck most was how little corruption there was in spite of the dire economic problems.

If I was travelling to meet a government official, 200 miles from where I lived, I might be asked to take some washing powder or whatever was in short supply in the capital. When I did, the official would pay for the product refusing to accept it as a gift.

If you want to call that corruption, have a look at how many lunches the previous boss of HMRC had with companies like Vodafone.

I know that, at that time, you couldn't pass a roadblock in Nigeria without paying the police but it is too simplistic to write off a whole continent based on a fixed mindset.

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john bunyan

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fourm member

I think, Zambia, and one or two others,are the exception to the rule. A close friend was born an educated there and speaks two local languages fluently, and he shares you view. However the majority of African states are regrettably riddled with corruption, and one can only hope things improve. BTW it is good to have a healthy debate on these issues as threads have been a bit sparse of late.

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