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Democracy, Presidential Election and the Lobby: Part 1
by Dr. Habib Siddiqui
2008-05-04 09:58:47
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Is Democracy Becoming a Joke?

Democracy is becoming a joke these days. This assertion is not true just for failed and illiberal democracies like Zimbabwe and Palestine but also for matured and yet imperfect, liberal democracies like France, the UK and the USA. and

Democracy, which became synonymous with election when Arafat was alive, was pushed from outside by the USA and its allies on the people of Palestine. Interestingly, Palestine is not even a de jure state! Its people have endured an occupation that can only be described as brutal, murderous, psychotic and sadistic, thanks to Israel - the "only democracy" in the Middle East – and her western backers. Bush Administration didn't talk to Arafat who was declared 'not a partner' for peace. Abbas, instead, was deemed a 'partner' and became President with western blessing soon after Arafat's mysterious death (in Nov. 11, 2004), which possibly was caused by the Israeli government. Tired of corruption and gangsterism of the PLO, and a 'peace' process that was anything but peaceful and a Bush-scripted 'roadmap' that was only meant for legalizing more illegal settlement, humiliation and subjugation, and a total surrender to the Zionist regime, the people voted the Hamas in the Parliamentary election of 2006.

For the last two years, they are told they have made a fatal mistake in electing a 'terrorist' party and are thus mercilessly punished by Israel, the USA, the UK and several western states for exercising their democratic rights. Through their divisive policy and inhuman economic embargo, these democratic countries have triggered in a civil war in which Palestinians are killing each other, something that Israel had always longed for but could not really finish the job. It may not be an overstatement if I were to say that democracy, since signing of the Oslo Accord, has brought nothing but misery to the Palestinian people.

France had its presidential election last year in which Nicolas Sarkozy, son of immigrant parents of mixed Jewish-Christian faith, was elected with brilliant media support. He represented a center-right party (UMP), which was formed by financiers to “break the mould of adversary party politics.” As Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi has observed, to win the election, Sarkozy had to "steal the doctrines of the extreme-right nationalist Le Pen." Not to be forgotten in this context also, as the Minister of the Interior in Dominique de Villepin's government (2005-2007), Sarkozy provoked the 2005 autumn civil unrest in France by calling young delinquents from housing projects “rabble” and hoodlums.

His racist and tough attitude against the mostly immigrant community from North Africa rallied the 'liberal' French people to choose him as the symbol of national pride and unity. Emerging in the Gaullist cloak of unifying the nation, Sarkozy, a playboy all his life, was photographed before an enormous stone cross at the grave of De Gaulle. To perfect his credentials he publicly declared that his favorite modern classic was Celine, who while a master of the French language was also a rabid anti-Semite.

The British Parliament, which had bragged for decades of the rule of Habeas Corpus, the right to trial, and the protection from arrest without trial (of which we are genuinely pleased) - have rescinded all those human rights in the aftermath of 9/11. And yet Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was unashamed about reminding Bangladesh on honoring such civic rights that her own husband had denied to tens of Muslim youths entrapped behind the bar. The only difference between the so-called anti-terrorist activities of the British government and those of the Tsarist State is that the Imperial Russia hid the presence of the agent provocateur, while the corrupt British democracy actually brags of the success of its 'entrapment' operations. As has duly been noted by Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, there cannot be justice for the accused.

The security policies of the British democratic state are barbarous and shameful. While millions of pounds are spent on entrapment of would-be terrorists, streets of major cities of Britain are witnessing bloody massacres. Soon the murder rate by the Christian street terrorists will outnumber the victims of London Underground bombing.

How about America that has been transformed (and if I may add: not so quietly, sometimes with approval of the elected representatives) in post-9/11 era into what may only be called a Bush-country (surely this is not the USA envisioned by the founding fathers) with criminal government practices that are sure recipes for enigma and embarrassment to its best supporters? What law has not the current Administration flouted, ridiculing decades-long achievements, in matters of human rights – foreign and domestic? This Republican Administration is guilty of spying, wire-tapping, electronic-monitoring and surveillance, indefinite imprisonment without any charges of its own citizens under the pretext of preventing home-grown terrorism. Entrapment is widely used to arrest delinquents, morons and social misfits.

Its Guantanamo Bay detention center has appositely been branded “the gulag of our times” by the Amnesty International. There have been allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls for its closure. The inhuman solitary confinement cells there have already resulted in the suicidal deaths of some detainees; at least ten percent of the detainees are now believed to have lost mental balance and become crazy because of appalling, torturous condition they have been subjected to. The Bush Administration is making a mockery of fair trial process of these detainees. We would probably never know if they truly deserved such inhuman treatment for which they were detained there.

Until very recently, we were told that the top officials in the Bush Administration did not authorize torture, e.g., like water-boarding, of foreign detainees. However, an ABC News report of April 9, 2008 showed just the opposite: our government has lied to us. In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Ashcroft, Rice and Tenet discussed and approved torture and other abuses against high-value al-Qaeda suspects by the CIA. The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed that some of interrogation sessions were almost choreographed down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic. What is happening with this country? We have some of the worst war criminals running the country that is soiling the image of America - home and abroad. As Republican John McCain would tell you if Abe Lincoln were alive he won't recognize today's Republican Party that he had founded.

It was only 18 months ago that the American electorate, faced with military catastrophe, changed the composition in the Capitol Hill by voting in the Democratic Party, opposed to the war, in order to end it. The result was that the American Senate ordered an end to the War on behalf of the electorate, only to be told that the War would continue. Not only that, as if Iraq was not sufficient enough, we are told that Bush Administration is preparing for another war in Iran. With President's approval rating at 27 percent (per Zogby International - the most reliable poll conducting group), Bush probably dreams of leaving the office with a winning score rather than as a sore loser.

Part two

[Dr. Siddiqui lives in Pennsylvania and can be reached at saeva@aol.com. His book – Wisdom of Mankind – is now available in Bangladesh.]

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