Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Middle East of 2006 ain't Germany of 1933

Since electing President Ahmadi Neghad to office it seems many have welcome this opportunity to implement that Middleasterns in general and Iranian people in particular are not worthy of democracy. Palestinians also have helped this idea by electing Hamas[1] to the office. A rather large number of journalists, scholars and politicians have been saying that even if democratic systems are established in the Middle East these are the radicals whom people will be choosing to the office. The environment has become so poisonous that any small move or angry comment, like those of 1980’s, serves as testimony to this widespread false conclusion.

A much popular practice is to draw parallel to that of Germany in 1930’s, where Hitler came SECOND in a presidential election. Many are suggesting like Germans of 1930’s Middleasterns are embracing Fascism and one must get ready to deal with them, to liberate them from themselves. This notion has been extremely popular in the White House. Those, who had been conveniently absent in Vietnam War, are seeking their own Hitler in order to achieve the glory bestowed on the GI’s of WWII as the liberators of Europe. In their fantasies they forget one small piece of fact: Middle East is not Europe; Middleasterns, and particularly Iranians are NOT Germans of 1933.

In the absence of efficient government systems, in a region where in almost every country oligarchy of royal families, or military officers or religious elite has absolute political power there is no surprise to see people turn to the guys who are similar to them. For past decades in most Arab countries the secular elite, supported by west, have been ruling a desperate people, an impoverished one. They have seen their demands have been neglected. They have suffered from taxation without representations. They have witnessed that they do not have much role in running things, their obedience is needed not their participation. They are not embracing Fascism. They simply voted for people who have promised them a better life.

If one listens to Ahmadineghad, he does not wish to wipe out a certain country in every speech, but in every occasion he promises to build gyms for women (he actually says: ladies first!), to find jobs for unemployed, to construct roads, hospitals and schools. Many know he won’t come through with so many promises, but at least he gives masses of desperate people, forgotten by central government and corrupt politicians some glimpse of hope that their lives could be better.

It is easy to understand that why western politicians want to see their ivory league classmates in charge in the region. Why they are more comfortable with men wearing suit and silk neck ties, but are they in control? Events of last year tell us: “not anymore” Like any other region in the world the Middle East has its own variety of political factions. Radicals have come to power in the absence of efficiency and freedom of expression in many cases under the rule of those ivory league classmates who turned out to be corrupt and serve their own interests.

Those who talk of Fascism in the Middle East seek to sabotage the cause of democracy in this region. Their arguments help the current dictators, Mubarak of Egypt, Asad of Syria, King of Jordan, Emirs of Persian Gulf Countries and life time Presidents of Central Asian countries to argue that their presence is much needed to fight Fascism. Their grip on power is the main reason for people to seek some sort of representation for their demands; these tyrants want to keep it to eliminate all potential alternative representation for their nations.

Instead of letting Stalins of region guard their people from hypothetical Hitlers, it might be wiser for western politicians to remind their colleagues in the region and former classmates that they had better listen to their people. They have been grunting for a pretty long time. They will be yelling in a short while.
[1] Of course FATH corrupt administration who rely on western and Arab aids and treat that as personal pocket cash did not help this choice at all.

No comments: