The cat i' the adage

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" Karl Popper (1902 - 1994)

Monday, January 31, 2005

Grasping democracy

Among the accounts of many Iraqi bloggers, I particularly enjoyed this from Ali in Baghdad:

The voting center that was chosen in our district is a high school in the middle of the Neighborhood . This was the same place I went in 1996 to cast my vote in a poll asking if we wanted to have Saddam as a president for life or not. I had to go at that time. The threats for anyone who refused to take that poll were no less than the death penalty...

This time we went by choice and the threat was exactly the opposite.


I hope those who have been lecturing us on how Islam and democracy are opposing concepts feel ashamed of themselves. Little chance of that I suspect.

But won't democracy just lead to Shia domination of the Sunni minority? Well the Shia form the majority population so in a democracy you would expect them to have a majority. As far as memory serves, nobody on the left thought it a good argument against free elections in South Africa that they would lead to the dominance of the ANC and the marginalisation of the Afrikaaner minority. In short, this is a plausible sounding argument of convenience to those who would deny liberty to Iraqis on the grounds that anything "imposed" by the US must be worse than what they had before. And if the "sophisticates" think that the Shia are going to institute a theocracy on the Iranian model, it is clear that they have not been listening to the political debate that has been going on in Iraq.

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