26 January 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For: Democracy and Hamas

It has been a key focus of our republic since its inception over 2 centuries ago to foster democracy around the world. Though a noble and revolutionary idea at heart, this pursuit has its dangers. Case in point, the Islamic world. Muslims are like Southern Baptists on steroids, with an uncompromising fanatacism that is ruthless. Not all muslims of course, there is a small percentage of 'secular' muslims that know a greater disdain than those of us who are secular here in the US.

Never the less, the Palestinian territories just had their first truly democratic election in history. Big surprise to the international media, but no surprise to those of us who have been there and seen the situation first hand, Hamas won by a landslide (76/132 seats) and will now govern.

Hamas is a wolf in sheeps clothing, cloaking the repeated mass murder of Israelis by building hospitals for Palestinians. They accept zero dissent in their ranks and will likely make a hard push to instate Sharia (Islamic Law) in the West Bank and Gaza. They are a terrorist organization who has been legitimately elected. Congratulations, democracy at work in the Islamic world.

If little bush has his way, Egypt will be next, as Mubaraks rule is resented by the masses there, his party is seen as widely corrupt, and the islamists have the hearts and minds of a majority of the populace. Further, look at the debacle of an election in Iraq, where the strictest form of Islam, the Shia, have a solid majority and may push for an Iranian style theocracy in time. Thrusting the gift of democracy on a people not ready for it is a disaster, and will ultimately lead to exponentially greater turmoil in the long run.

Let us not forget what makes democracy work, a large and well educated middle class (obviously among other things). Without this dynamic social component, it either turns into a tyrrany of the majority or a corrupt falacy of democracy (which is the direction our own democracy is heading).