Democracy Lives?
Egypt Military: No Radical
Islamic Government Here
by Dan Ehrlich

Egypt's ruling generals say they won't allow extremist groups to take over the country, preferring to see a moderate religious ideology prevail in the mainly Muslim nation. But would this be the democracy Egyptians and western liberals were hoping to see established there?

And given the choice between a democratically elected Islamic republic and a stable dictatorship, what would western governments prefer? The main reason America has tolerated, and even backed, Middle East dictatorships is the same reason it backed Latin American dictators. They provide stable governments that repress dissent and can be relied upon as business and military partners.

Yet, in the chaotic Arab world can progressive democracy take root? That term “progressive” is the key. Arab countries, by their very nature, have been locked in a time capsule sealed in the Middle Ages.

And, even though that capsule may now have been breached, it will take time for these ancient people to catch up with the present day. They're very conservative, most steeped in a religion that makes Southern Baptists seem like agnostics.

For example, the simmering Arab-Israeli standoff isn’t about refugee Palestinians, people who many other Arabs dislike. It’s about the Arab inability to accept a non-Arabic, non-Muslim nation on their tribal turf and even worse, in a position of power. Oddly, the rabid anti Semitism spanning the Islamic world today is similar to Nazi and Catholic anti Semitism of past ages.

If you, as an Arab, have been raised on a doctrine of the superiority of the true faith and the decadence of the Infidel, how can you explain or justify a once passive Infidel minority group maintaining its own nation by defeating the armies of the believers? They must be in league with the devil, or worse, America.

So, let’s say the planned parliamentary election in Egypt has the Muslim Brotherhood win a majority. Would the Army nullify the democratic poll? That’s what its generals say. Would their undemocratic actions be condemned or applauded by the Western nations? Or perhaps they would just remain silent.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for September and there’s growing fears among moderate and secular Egyptians as well as the Christian minority — about 10 percent of the country's more than 80 million people — that Islamist groups could dominate the vote or win enough seats to influence policies. But, wouldn’t that be democracy in action?

I’ve said this before and I will say it again…democracy offers no guarantee of freedom or liberty. It’s only as good and decent as the people who vote and the people who are elected. The Nazis proved how democracy could be perverted and destroyed from within. And, a similar policy is evident in present-day Iran, where a so-called democracy actively persecutes other minorities and dissenters.

It’s wishful thinking to hope that progressive democracies will take root in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain or other Arab nations that rebel against their autocrats. However, the rebellions taking place in the region are based on a wish for a better lifestyle not religion. Libyans aren't fighting because of Koran burning in America, but because their country is burning up from it rotten government.

The revolution now sweeping the Middle East is part and parcel of Arab nationalism they gained after WW1…It’s just now, thanks to television and the Internet, they can see more clearly who has been selling then short. Yet, they still have their bigoted attitudes, prejudices and hatreds for perceived enemies of Islam.

But, religion is a galvanizing force here and more than likely moderate Islamic based parliaments may be the first step after the dust clears. Still, if they don’t better the popular condition, hard lime Islamists may win in the end, providing the militaries will allow them. The West waits, anxiously.

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