The Emirates are at it now

1 Dec, '05

following the leads of Kuwait, Bahrain and even Saudi, the Emirates now decides to have a shot at democracy. Good on them. The more the better.

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  1. anonymous says:

    The Emirates are at it now

    Nice one, at least they wont kill or rape their own people like ” our democracy “. Mahmood i dont know why wrote [i]following the leads of Kuwait, [b]Bahrain [/b]and even Saudi,[/i] do you consider the democracy in bahrain as a DEMOCRACY !

    Hashem

  2. anonymous says:

    The Emirates are at it now

    Good for them. This is definately because the U.S. has urged them to open up in order to pave the way to signing an FTA, or else they can forget about it.

    Khalid

  3. anonymous says:

    The Emirates are at it now

    Well, only to offer a more opinionated ground, I’m not too keen on democracy as the grand solution to improvement in the political or social life in Bahrain, or any field for that matter, nor for country for the other matter.

    Let’s face it, there are only too many lame-politicians in Bahrain, and I bet if you went up to them and asked them about what democracy entails, you won’t get an answer that would ever satiate. And, who (in their right mind) said that the western style of democracy, that the gulf is so facinated about and so eager to achieve, is even working so well for the western world. It only takes a few clicks away to google the governmental scandels, union strikes, public humiliations and embarresments, and the list goes on.

    I think people in Bahrain aren’t (shouldn’t even) be looking for democracy. At least, it’s not what they are in need of. What they need is a bleeding major reality check on how far the human race have extended their insight and view. They need to step up. If you’d like, they need an update of symantic’s norton antivirus definitions even!! What a wierd analogy you’d think. Well, people in Bahrain, they operate like bloody Windows 95, barely run on 32 RAM carts, full of errors, boot errors, DirectX errors, and believe it or not, they have developed a chronic blue screen syndrom.

    Maybe we should dismantel the country, refurbish it to a holiday “kingdom” and live abroad on the income. Maybe we all can move into one country, somewhere nice, say Italy or Spain (we’ve been there haven’t we), and settle in “settlement” and build “security walls” and maybe, just maybe, decide to fight for independence, and even better, name it the “not-so-much-holy-land”. Get it.. Get it..

    Okay, It’s 3AM here in Britain, it’s freezing cold, I’m lacking motivation, and I’ve ran out of cookies, so excuse my.. no actually don’t excuse it.. Freedom of speech right 😉

    Off to make some tea, and back to finish off a piece of work.

    Hamad

    p.s. to Mahmood: I’ve never had so much admiration for someone whom I haven’t even met.

  4. anonymous says:

    The Emirates are at it now

    Democracy? Voting. An extremely limited form of voting. High control needs? Low trust of the people’s ability to make wise choices?

  5. [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392 says:

    Re: The Emirates are at it now

    You err in comparing democracy to an ideal rather than comparing it to the other, lesser forms of government. You will never stop corruption in any government. The difference is that democracy tends to expose corruption and correct it while other forms of government hide corruption and allow it to fester.

    Only utopians believe in improving government by rehabilitating human beings. That was the error of the French revolutionaries in remaking their people into Citizens, the Soviet revolutionaries in remaking their people into the New Soviet Man, and the Wahhabis in remaking the world into Wahhabis. Democracies accept that people are imperfect and seek to curb their imperfections with well-made institutions. You should expect to see a certain amount of low-level corruption constantly exposed in a good honest government. You should expect to see constant coverups of corruption in a bad and dishonest government.

    So I would recommend you take heart in the public exposure of petty corruption in democracies. That’s proof that democracy works.

    Steve

  6. [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392 says:

    Re: The Emirates are at it now

    The old Japan of the early twentieth century fits your description above. It hardly seemed like a promising candidate for democracy under Togo. Yet it is a functioning democracy now.

    Nazi Germany did not look like fertile ground for democracy either.

    India had no democratic tradition. Neither did South Korea.

    So I don’t see where a Western tradition is a necessary prerequisite for democracy. Democracy has proven to take root nicely in a variety of soils.

    Steve

  7. anonymous says:

    Re(1): The Emirates are at it now

    No my friend, I am not comparing democracy to an ideal, nor to anything else. I’m not comparing anything what so ever. I respect you view of what you think I’m saying, but I must say that I could do without someone’s else’s words in my mouth.

    What I am saying is that Bahraini’s concept of democracy isn’t anything but an illusion, if anything, of what seems to fit the definition of any solution to their everyday misery.

    [quote]Only utopians believe in improving government by rehabilitating human beings[/quote]
    I didn’t say improve goverment, I said improve human beings!! the latter, not the former, is the end goal.

    Sorry but I’m not going to attempt commenting on the rest of the message, and leave it for the audience’s judgement.

    Hamad

  8. anonymous says:

    The Emirates are at it now

    Democracy’s contagious – once Bahrain had an elected parliament and gave women the vote its put massive pressure on the neighbours. It opened the gates.

  9. anonymous says:

    The Emirates are at it now

    Actually “democracy” in the ME scares me. Why – because you aren’t any good at it (**). Or if you are, it is so completely under the radar (i.e. not reported in the press or discussed in schools) that most westerners don’t know about the successes.

    If you look at the history of democracy in the west, it has been an ongoing experiment for over 2000 years. That is a lot of time to practice, get it wrong, realize we got it wrong, and try to fix it. Democracy in the ME is not desired because democracy embodies any sense of righteous living, but that democracy is a cure-all for a host of ills.

    The idea that democracy is a magic bullet is as stupid as any other magic bullet that has been introduced. I remember a lot of hype when internet access became common: the internet will allow you to talk to people all over the world. TRUE. The downside, some of those people are stalkers and criminals and why the heck would you want to talk with them, let alone give them your VISA card numbers. Since I do love talking to people from all over the world, I would not want to give up the internet, but it is not, nor ever will be, this perfect technological vehicle for human/social transformation that it was once described as.

    Democracy is the same way. It takes work. {The ME has no history of working in a democratic framework.} Takes willingness to work with the opposition. {In the ME, the opposition is not only your enemy, he is the enemy of God as well.} It takes a sense of personal responsibility. {The ME is a shame based and not guilt based society.} It takes a sense of equality. {The ME is both a tribal/hierarchial society.}

    The idea that people in the ME are too stupid to understand democracy or do not deserve the benefits that do come with a democracy is racist and repugnant. But I think it is fair to say you do not share Hellenistic {Athens/Ancient Greek} cultural roots of the West, which is the basis for our democracy. Nor do you share the historical turning points: the Magna Carta, the American Civil War, the Protestant Reformation (***).

    Since I have never gone to school in the ME, and do not know the curriculum, am I wrong? What do you learn about {ancient} Greece and what do you learn to be the necessary ingredients for democracy? Does knowing about the American Civil War influence how you view slavery? Does knowing about the Magna Carta influence how you feel about limiting the behavior of your sovereign? Does knowing about the Protestant Reformation influence how you feel about the recognition of minority rights?

    Those are ‘big picture’ kinds of things. What about details/procedural things like, Robert’s Rules of Order, do you have a Bahraini version on how an assembly of citizens/people do business? Do all proposals for new laws get assigned a number so all activity can be reviewed (transparency). Things like that…

    (**) The reason this is scary to me is because when using a democratic framework does not produce the desired results, e.g. a better economy in the ME countries that are experimenting with it, than people like myself – an American – are demonized for merely living in a democratic society because, obviously, if Allah approved of democracy, it would have worked. Since we are obviously enemies of Allah, further jihad, not “hey, we need to keep working on this democracy thing for 2000 years or so” is going to be in the immediate future. {I know from what I have read on your blog, that you have a very different view of jihad. But even you admit, there are people preach hate in the name of religion.}

    (***)Are there “historically equivalent” events from the ME that you feel should influence western democracy? e.g. I think Turkistan had woman’s suffrage before the US did, although Turkistan is not exactly the ME, is it?

  10. anonymous says:

    The Emirates are at it now

    Wow Hashem, I never heard of any bahraini being “killed” or “raped”.. That is just brutal! You provide substantial evidence to back up such a sharp statement which is why I support every word you say! You Go Man!

    Ahmed

  11. anonymous says:

    Re(2): The Emirates are at it now

    Hamad,
    “What I am saying is that Bahraini’s concept of democracy isn’t anything but an illusion, if anything, of what seems to fit the definition of any solution to their everyday misery.” – What? Can you please explain this using straightforward english language? Don’t take it personally, but I really didn’t get anything.. I am probably too slow.

    Sincerely,
    Ahmed

  12. anonymous says:

    Re(3): The Emirates are at it now

    Hello Ahmed,

    I’m sorry for the complicated syntax. After having done 3 years of psychology in Britain I’ve managed to only use such longitudinal, complex structured, sentences. I got the “can you talk in plain English?” reaction from more than one forum, and it seems to be a very tolerable one to myself, even though I’m talking in plain English, and not in a language from the future.

    To the matter though; what I mean is, put very simply, people in bahrain seem to ask for democracy to solve all their problems, as if it is a magical wand. BAM!! and WHOOOOOOSH!! and everything will be fine.

    Example:
    [i]Person A: We can’t get shrimps anymore for another couple of months.
    Person B: YES!! BLOODY GOVERNMENT!! WHERE IS THE DEMOCRACY!!!

    Person A: what?! calm down.. oh shoot!! my mobile signal is low.
    Person B: I’M TELLING YOU BLOODY BATELCO, GOVERNMENT, NO DEMOCRACY!!!

    Person A: yeah sure, well anyway, what do you reckon we should have for lunch instead?
    Person B: DEMOCRACY!!

    Person A: dude, are you alright?
    Person B: YES!! NO!! PROTEST!! DEMOCRACY!! [/i]

    you see where this is going…

    some people cry “democracy” for all they want, some cry “bomb them” for all they want.

    Hamad

  13. chalk66x says:

    Re: The Emirates are at it now

    We didn’t exactly have it easy in the first years. There were the Whisky Rebellion, Shay’s Rebellion, Gabriel’s Rebellion, John Brown at Harpers ferry, the Civil War. Why should the ME be any different than us since it took us years to learn that democracy works best thru the vote not the gun.

    The ME is changing maybe not at the pace most of us want but it is changing for the better. To bad we cant see what it will be like in 100 years. My prediction is it will be uninhabitable due to global warming so buy in Canada.

    billT

  14. mahmood says:

    Re(4): The Emirates are at it now

    Hi Hamad, thanks for the kind words. I understand what you’re saying, everyone here thinks democracy is the magic panacea that will fix everything. It will not, for sure, but having democratic tools will ensure that what needs fixing is at least exposed and transparently treated.

    I agree with you too that we need to educate people what democracy is and what to realistically expect from it. However with glaring continuous transgressions by ALL sides, this democracy will take a little bit longer to inculcate than what maybe you and me would want.

    So to elevate the human, my cure is to emphasise education and continuously chip away at ancient institutions which took it as their God given right to steal in broad daylight without any accountability whatsoever, because they know that should they be discovered they will simply be rotated, given a promotion or both without any possibility of even getting a slap on the wrist.

  15. anonymous says:

    Re(1): The Emirates are at it now

    billT
    You are right. The US didn’t have it easy only it wasn’t in just the first years. Big problems mired the US until the Mid 1960’s with the Civil Rights issue. Granted some problems still exist but they are open and transparent and being engaged and things have vastly improved since then. Just as a democracy should function.

    There have been peaks and valleys but for the most part the US has grown as a democratic form and continues to do so and you can see a steady climb up the “democratic” ladder over the past 228+ years towards a more refined form of government. [b]I kind of like to view democracy as a marriage. YOU HAVE TO WORK AT IT to MAKE IT successful.[/b] Sitting around bitching (or causing mayhem in Manama)after less than 5 years of introduced democratic reforms that things aren’t perfect or going my way is childish to say the least. These things will not fix themselves overnight.

    ps billT. You better stop Hawaii from falling into the Pacific. You just lost 44 acres of coastline!

  16. chalk66x says:

    Re(2): The Emirates are at it now

    Better to loose 44 beach front acres than to have some speculator buy it and drive the real estate prices higher. 🙂

    billT

  17. anonymous says:

    Re(1): The Emirates are at it now

    Apples and oranges.

    The Whiskey Rebellion (1794) was one of many definitions to the course of American Democracy.

    The Magna Carta (1215) which formalized in principle the limitations on a ruling body is applicable to any form of democratic government.

    By the time the Whiskey Rebellion happened, the cultural impact of the Magna Carta had over 500 years to propagate – in the cultures of the people who produced it! specifically, western european and anglic peoples who settled and developed the Americas.

    How is a democratic milestone like the Magna Carta applicable to the modern Arab/Muslim world? Does they inherit the Magna Carta simply by being interested in democracy? For the last 1000+ years, the Muslim world 1)ignored or 2)vilified the culture that produced it (thereby blunting the impact of the very idea that leaders are restrained for apx. 700 years). And, with the rise of Islamism, is more actively vilifying and out-and-out attacking the producing culture than they have for the last 900 years.

    This, to me, suggests that the modern Arab world has no interest in democracy – they have only hopes for democratic solutions. For example, the current Turkish Prime Minister has been quoted as saying “Democracy is like a bus. When you reach your destination, you get off.”

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