Sunday, April 24, 2011

Democracy and Intolerance

EGYPT: Muslims protest Coptic Christian governor in Qena | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times: "Thousands of mostly Muslim protesters swelled through the streets of the Egyptian city of Qena on Friday to demonstrate against the recent appointment of a new Coptic Christian governor.

Crowds gathered Immediately after prayers outside the city’s mosques, chanting against Gov. Emad Mikhael and Prime Minister Essam Sharaf: “Oh Sharaf, say the truth … you’re being unfair to us or not?” and “Oh freedom where are you ... Mikhael is standing between us and you.”

Mikhael, a police general who served under former President Hosni Mubarak, is the only Copt among 18 new governors named by Sharaf on April 14. The decision was met by anger and exasperation from the city’s Islamic extremists and ultra-conservative Salafi groups.

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Democracy will bring out the worst in any people - Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.

The people of the Middle East should learn from the (brief) democratic experience of the world. The democracies unleashed two major wars in the previous century. The first has been described as the "most democratic war in history" by historian J.M.Roberts.

The question of whether democracy promotes violence is an old one and goes back to Thucydides (his answer was 'Yes'). Two thousand years later, Thomas Hobbes translated Thucydides to reveal the horrors of democracy.

The free world in history stands in sharp contrast to the subjugation of the rest of the world by it over 500 violent years. Where there was parliament, there was violence inflicted mostly on foreigners.

China could have conquered the world, and started out to do so, but then stopped. The Portuguese took up where they left off.

In Bangladesh, lynching - absolutely unknown during dictatorship - has become so commonplace, nobody even notices. In 2007, the country nearly experienced civil war between the two political parties, and the west had to call in the army to restore sanity.

We must remember that it's a western idea - democracy - that's causing all the mayhem.

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