NEXT!

30 Dec, '06

Today’s Eid is a lot sweeter knowing that Saddam has been consigned to history’s rubbish heap. Sure he will be mentioned and might even be celebrated by some, to me however, I have not and will not shed a single tear on hearing of his demise. “Good riddance”, was one thought, another was, “okay, who’s next?”

And I will be looking to adding his picture hanging from the gallows to this composition:

Saddam Montage, Hanged

Well, okay, Saddam is a part of historical lore of this turbulent area of the world, but most certainly he will not be the last. Every despot in the world should now sit up and take notice, and he might as well hang a sign which should be in his constant field of vision which says “I could be next”, maybe then they will have some measure of decency and look into bettering the affairs of their people, and bring their countries to be counted as part of this modern world, one that should be built on the respect of human rights and the freedom of the individual.

The especially poignant question remains to the “leaders” of our Arab world: Who’s next? Let that resonate in their own minds, and add this fact to it too, it won’t take the Americans to do the job again, but their own people who have been empowered, yes empowered, by the fate of Saddam.

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  1. Thogba says:

    I’m happy too. Saddam had a fair trial which he didn’t allow millions to have during his reign.
    Now he’s in hell having another trial.

    But will other tyrants learn a lesson from this event? Will the 3-brick man comprehend the justice of history?

    Saddam was more than a person; he was a symbol of brutality, injustice and inhumanity.

    God says in the holy Hadeeth:”The tyrant is my slave. I take revenge on him and with him” I hope my translation was good but “on him = saddam” and “with him = America”.

    My last thought: I’d like to live to the day when I will see the tyrants of Bahrain being hanged.

  2. Thogba says:

    BBC has got a web service called Have Your Say.
    You can read cooments and post your comments.

    This is a link about Saddam’s execution.

    http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?threadID=5096&&&edition=2&ttl=20061230092259

  3. Anonymous says:

    Americans should have killed him on the day they caught him. They gave him a platform to speak freely and express his evil thoughts,, to people who are easly influenced. One thing we all should agree on, they guy may have done SOME good things particularly to do with the Palastinian cause (Better than many Arab states), but all in all, he was evil to humanity.

    WHo is Next?

    Let us say, everyone who treated humans like pigs, in Bahrain and out side bahrain.

  4. sohail says:

    saddam was a great leader strong leader saddam may allah grant him jannat el ferdous , all did by america he fell into the trap just as the whole middle east is in americas hand what is actually bahrain kuwait saudi or any country. when people starting using guns we arabs were busy in knives and swords or daggers come on take a lesson now think we are living in heaven but we are in hell , 8) 8) 8)
    people who want to give silly comments are welcomed also come on atleast know 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Thogba says:

    May Allah also join Sohail with Saddam on the Justice Day. Prophet Muhammed said “Who loves other people’s actions shall join them on the Justice Day”

  6. Riffa says:

    Sohail, Its enough for me what he did to Kuwait not to mention the Iraqi people!!! … Do I think he should have been killed in this fashion with the Americans and a trial, and all the crap. No I think it glorifys him, they should have let him out on the street and he’ll get justice. They’ll probably drag him by a car, or remove his testicles like they did with past leaders and feed them to him.

  7. sohail says:

    😆 😆 😆 😆
    this is not good that is not good not happy with bahrain nor iraq this problem that problem come on see ur own collars not everyday shawarma or pizaa think of other things also with brain. you say only we are cheated we are tortured we are been done injustice come on play your part in the society and saddam was a good man who knows allah knows who is right and wrong leave it on him , who are u to decide

  8. sohail says:

    it means what some people say go khalifa go stepp down you have done injustice are u comparing somethings with iraq or saddam why are u people always crying are u thinking america will come to the rescue or hezbullah or iran or something as iran is helping somebody in the kingdom come on except the truth :yes: :yes: :yes:

  9. mahmood says:

    Sohail, I’m not sure if you’re playing the devil’s advocate here (and I don’t particularly care) but could you please take the time to write in good enough English for everyone to actually understand your point of view?

    From what I understand, you seem to be a Saddam supporter, that’s fine, that’s your choice. But I invite you to state your position (without too many smilies please as they take away from your message) in a clear language so that we can actually enter in to a healthy debate. Otherwise, all your entries are just childish bickering which we’ll just ignore.

  10. KHAL says:

    What a Great News, Mahmood..

    Congratulations for you all, except the Saddamies
    LOL 😆 :love: :love: 😆

  11. KHAL says:

    Hopefully the Next turn is for the rest of the arab tyrants, especially ours =P

  12. Kastana says:

    The especially poignant question remains to the “leaders” of our Arab world:

    Is it upto to the reader to figure out which “leaders” of the Arab World are being refered to? How about some names or even a list! 🙂

    Surely they deserve to be named or is it shamed? 🙂

    Once upon a time, the children clapped for Saddam, and people showered him with praise and fine prose. Images of him riding a beauiful white horse.
    Supposedly..the father of a nation.

    If you close your eyes for a minute, and remove the name Saddam…who do you see? lol

    Eid Mubarak!

  13. KHAL says:

    If you close your eyes for a minute, and remove the name Saddam…who do you see? lol

    eheheheh…loool
    Gootchaaaaa 😆 😆 😆 😆

  14. Don Cox says:

    The obvious “next” are Ghaddafi and Assad. But let’s hope they can be arrested and tried by their own fellow-citizens, without needing outside intervention.

    In Iraq, this was not possible. Saddam had such a ferocious grip on the country that a revolt against him was impossible. Maybe this is true in Syria and Libya too.

    Bahrain seems to be relatively free. Mahmood is not in jail being tortured.

  15. can we talk says:

    the obvious next is G W Bush, actually.. for crimes against humanity!

  16. docspencer says:

    I agree with Mahmood and Don Cox’s message. Don’t go overboard guys. I don’t think that you saw in any other country as much killing of innocent people as under Saddam, AND HIS TOP MANAGEMENT. So first people in his top management need to be tried by the Iraqi court and sentenced. Then the rest of the world will see that ALL WHO PARTICIPATED in such high crimes, are paying for it. Mahmood, one example, Saddam, is not enough.

    I am sorry, but what is going on in Bahrain, is nowhere near what Saddam was doing. It is totally unfair to compare the two. Just remind yourselves of the long list of what Saddam and his management did to his people.

    Kim Jong Il in North Korea probably killed a lot of his people. But did not gas his neighbor. He has many terror camps for his own people. Iran, Syria, Egypt and Saudi is certainly suppressing a good part of its people.

    But their and your leadership should have the opportunity to take steps, even if gradual steps to make improvements each year. In many areas like Bahrain, Kuwait and the others, they certainly should have that peaceful chance to give more and more power to the people, and finally step aside unless royal family members are elected by the population. Violence just kills a lot of people on both sides, and it is an absolute last resort in a tightly controlled dictatorship. It also destroys your economy for a decade. Many may have no idea how bad that is. Just look at Palestine. That is how bad life could be.

    We Americans cannot affort to keep helping and dropping $300 billion per year per country like in Iraq and have thousands of our own soldiers and civilians die, to affect such a change as in Iraq, and believe me, we want to be out of there as soon as Iraq can defend itself. And no, we are not even getting underpriced oil as some in your region think. No one is paying us for this, but we sure get a lot of unfair (and some fair) criticism, because we are far from perfect, like anybody else. The only people who are running “Thank you America” ads in the USA are the Kurds. They are doing well, construction is booming and they are attracting investment even from Turkey. We are happy for them. Everyone is friendly to Americans there. That is what all of Iraq could be some day. We hope sooner than later.

    And be happy that Saddam’s two sons are dead. In my opinion, they would have been a lot worse then papa.

    I would like to humbly suggest that you focus first in your region on those who commit terrorism in the name of Islam against innocent people just about anywhere in the world. Those are the people who hurt you the most and hurt Islam the most in a world community.

    Eid Mubarak!

    Vic

  17. People will think I’m NUTS but, here goes:

    Saddam Hussein was a CIA asset since about 1954. One reason that Iraq was invaded was because he was selling oil to pay off his loans from the international banksters. Now, NO oil is flowing. The war is going in perfect accordance with the plans of the New World Order. The plan is to throw the region into perpetual turmoil.

    Saddam’s execution was NOT public. We are to take the word of only 20 witnesses. Videos are easy to fake. Yet we do not even have the benefit of a video of his execution.

    Mahmood, if you come across a video of the actual execution, please post it. I, for one, have been looking all over the Internet and cannot find one.

  18. Viewer says:

    for all who want to see the actual execution, it’s actually ALL over Iraqi TV channels (in between all the Eid celebrations) for once Iraqi channels got stuff that utube and google video and others dont have 🙂 they then show you the body too… if i was them, we could even do some live autopsy live on television so that we ALL KNOW that this is him 🙂 Saddam brains anyone or his teeth??

  19. the hanging of saddam i think will cause more blood shed then if the invasion never took place watsoever. The americans claim that they have helped to liberate the people of iraq but looking at the current state of the country, what kind of liberation are they referring to exactly? women,men and children alike dying everyday and for what i ask?! Saddam was no doubt an evil and horrific man, but it may have been more of a punishment if he was kept alive to live with his sins rather than killed.

  20. Viewer: How do I see this? Please post a link.

  21. CQ

    You can pick the link up on Drudge and watch the video as well.

  22. CerebralWaste: Maybe it’s just me but, I can’t find the link. Will you, or anyone, for that matter, please post a direct link?

  23. Anonymous says:

    The full movie of the execution

    http://www.shanasheal.net/files/a3dam.3gp

  24. KHAL says:

    that was my post

  25. A learner of Arabic says:

    I think there would have been better ways to punish him than simply hanging. In my opinion he should have been exhibited in a cage for the rest of his life. Yes: a cage. It would have brought it home to the people that this man who once was powerful enough to decide who’s to live and who’s to die, is now just a ridiculous little bearded git in a cage who cannot command anyone anymore. THAT should have sent the tyrants of the Arabic world trembling.

  26. A Veteran STRAYCATer BBS! says:

    Well! Assuming that Saddam was not a foreign power puppet (Citizen Quasar, like many others, believes that Saddam was a CIA agent) and assuming that the trial was fair, I agree that Saddam received fair punishment. However, was it right to execute him on this holly day? What was the point?

    Nevertheless, let us please not get carried away and make insinuating remarks about who should be next. I agree with DocSpencer and Don Cox that there are no comparison between Saddam’s regime and our leaders. Bahrain is definitely living an era of political openness and liberty. Things might be taking little time but the light at the end of the tunnel is bright enough. Let us also remember that leaders do mistakes … even the Americans have problems with gates!

  27. Anonymous says:

    the arab leaders think that it is only their right to question, hang and kill the people they lead… not the opposite. This is why they stood agaist the trial from the start, because it gives the people in general a well to do the same to their dectators. They oppose what is happening in Lebanon, and they appose what happened to their dearest fellow Sadam.

    I wish they also know that, Americans do not care about them, and they can turn blind in a blink!

    I wish someone from any american think-tank start planning to get rid of the man who governed bahrain for more than 30 odd years!

    I also wish that the americans and British, who supported sadam in his war against his own people and Iran, and as they supplied him with the gas wapon, I wish they bring to justice all those who were involved and profitted from the death of more 1000000 people.\

  28. Chap says:

    The Latin: Sic Semper Tyrannis.

    Thus it will always be to tyrants.

    Who’s next?

  29. Skippy-san says:

    The question “Who’s next?” goes to the heart of why the Arabs are where they are. And why they will never advance as a people until they can put their tribalism, religious violence and grudges behind them.

    Judging by the comments here, it seems they cannot.

  30. Barry says:

    Saddam got a fairer and more humane death than he ever gave any of his own people. I am glad however that his two bastard sons died a more incredibly horrible death than their father.

  31. Ingrid says:

    who’s next? I am thinking in a different vain and think Iran will be next. This whole Operation Iraqi Freedom was all about preventing Saddam Hussein’s switch to petroeuros from petro dollars. Whatever excuse will be given for any war, it’s all about ‘follow the money trail’. The dollar is in big time debt, and the euro is pretty strong with no debt. It might not be as an emotionally charged or interesting subject, but trust me, therein lies the real reason. Don’t upset the dollar apple cart..
    Ingrid
    naturally, SH deserved to pay for all his crimes, but he was also doing the US’ proxy business and according to the US domestic crime laws, that would be considered aiding and abetting, even if ‘you’ did not commit the crimes yourself. Like a previous commenter mentioned, there are those here in the US who are just as guilty.

  32. bikeshed says:

    Still think they should have dragged his body through the streets for all to see

  33. Where the f*ck is the video?????

  34. MHMLK says:

    Saddam and his family were vicious, depraved, stupid killers. I don’t think any other leader in the Arab world comes anywhere close. Even Gaddafi probably isn’t that bad. I suspect Bashir Asad is probably a half way decent character who has no alternative but to carry on his father’s hardline policies to save his skin. Basically the Arab world needs to find a way of changing it’s leaders that does not involve horrific bloodshed. It needs to find a middle way between idolising them and butchering them. To break the cycle of endless reprisals.

    As for Saddam, bad as he was, he deserved a fair trial. And I always find the death penalty physically repugnant. No person has the right to take another’s life in my opinion. The executioner becomes a murderer.

  35. Viewer says:

    now that i think of it.. i am surprised that Kuwait did not utter a word except that it’s upto the Iraqis to choose his fate.. i mean woww.. a country which was invaded because of this guy and that’s all they say??? .. and i also dont buy the argument about him being a martyr for all arabs under the control of foreign invaders stuff.. the guy committed crimes which are unbelievable to see.. the guy deserves to do die fair and square..

  36. I have seen videos from Iraq where people had their heads cut off. Here in Oklahoma, on the weekly evening news, I see death and destruction in Iraq. This includes bodies strewn all over the place.
    So…Can I PLEASE see a video of Saddam Hussein being hanged? No…because it was all staged. All I get to see is a noose being put around his neck.

    HE IS NOT DEAD. IT WAS ALL STAGED!!!

    Prove me wrong!!!

  37. mahmood says:

    MHMLK: Basically the Arab world needs to find a way of changing it’s leaders that does not involve horrific bloodshed. It needs to find a middle way between idolising them and butchering them. To break the cycle of endless reprisals.

    This is the crux of the question. And I personally think that the only way to reach this stage is to have elected leaders with defined terms over which they cannot, constitutionally, ever be elected again, or at least don’t have consequential terms in office. This will remove the halo from the tops of their heads and people will start believing that their elected leaders are human too who could be held to account through constitutional instruments and removed from office by impeachment.

    The safe and peaceful transfer of power is paramount to not only our development as peoples, but our development as nations at par with the rest of the world, and one that will ensure peaceful and prosperous existence.

    At the moment, what we have are not leaders, but demigods who demand worship.

    A Veteran STRAYCATer BBS! I agree with DocSpencer and Don Cox that there are no comparison between Saddam’s regime and our leaders. Bahrain is definitely living an era of political openness and liberty. Things might be taking little time but the light at the end of the tunnel is bright enough. Let us also remember that leaders do mistakes … even the Americans have problems with gates!

    Then let us transfer the message to those who do rule that they are not demigods and should rule constitutionally as they agreed and let the head of government at least to be elected. They can be constitutional monarchs, all of them, and be the figureheads whom we shall respect as they will manifest the ideal of national unity. And also hold them accountable for their actions, just as other mortals.

    And thanks for bringing back very very fond memories!

  38. nurox says:

    Citizen Q,

    here’s the link for the whole execution, provided Mahmood doesn’t mind I have it posted ofcourse.

    HEre.

  39. mahmood says:

    Nurox, you should have left CQ “hanging” for a few more days before you provided the link! I was having fun mentally watching him running hither and thither after such a morbid video!

    LET ME WARN EVERYONE that the video link posted above contains graphic material and is not safe for some peoples sensibilities. I will allow it to remain here for those who do wish to view it, BUT YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

    I have not watched it, nor do I have the desire to do so.

  40. It is very dangerous ground when people start reveling in the death of another human being. In my opinion no one deserves to be hanged to death, no matter how evil they are. We are supposed to be civilised and the best we can come up with is a brutal medieval execution after a trial of which the fairness is being contested.

    No doubt he was evil, but was this the only way to make a point

    http://chrisamillion.com/blog/?p=162

  41. LuLu says:

    Ok I realize this is totally not the appropriate place for my comment, but it’s just convenient!

    I just wanted to say happy new year and thanks for visiting my blog & 4 encouraging me! Always an honor! :yes:

    PLus, I have a thought: I’m starting to appreciate anyone who blogs in Bahrain nowdays. Since the Eid vacation and I’m forced to do this from home and the internet connection is killing me! Batelco’s home connection is unbelievably-slooooooooow. By the time I get to open my access page, ten-minuts have already passed and I already lost any thought in my head (except anti-Batelco criminal thoughts).

    All the best, LuL.

  42. aroeng says:

    All leaders are at risks to face such a disgraceful end of life or careers, regardless whether they are oppressive tyrants, noble kings, democratically elected presidents, or corporate leaders.

    Hope that NEXT will not be a person, but it rather be the death of oppression and greediness, and the emergence of peace and justice era in the region. Whilst it may sound like an utopia now and it seems quite remote, we just need to keep working on it.

  43. milter says:

    Dear Citizenquasar,

    I really feel sorry for you.

    Isn’t it just so unfair! Here you have a chance to watch the last moments of a man’s life, to witness the bewilderment of a once powerful person who knows his neck will soon be broken!

    And then, goddamnit, the rest of the world has once more ganged up on you.

    And, by the way, don’t tell this to anybody, but the Americans never went to the moon. It was a big fake. And last years tsunami wan’t really created by an earthquake on the seabed. It was created by a nuclear blast, funded by The World Bank (the Jews, you know).

  44. bikeshed says:

    commrade quasar is right…he is not dead. saddam is living on a secret island in complete luxury along with Elvis, Marylin, JFK and Rafik Hariri

  45. Iraqna says:

    ina lilah wa ina elayh rajee3on.. a tragic end to a great hero. Sadam is considered as a true arab who in my opinion pledged and sacrificed his life for his country. I was always against sadam in some aspects in which he ran his country but hanging him on Eid is something really sad and that’s exactly what the American government wanted and that is to have a psychological effect on Muslims. I am really ashamed to see some arabs satisfied with the artificial trial of this great hero. Even though you didn’t support sadam as a dictator you should be disgusted with the American government for choosing Eid for as the day of sadam’s end.” Good Riddance” my AS$ :no:

  46. I’ve always been against capital punishment, but somehow I don’t feel that way in this case…

    However, the question that we should all be asking remains how come Saddam wasn’t stopped when he was really bad (and powerful) and in fact the was supported (against Iran) When he was on his knees America decides to get rid of him.
    I’m not sayiing he shouldn’t be got rid off. Even if things are unstable now I think Iraqis will be better off in the long term, but why wasn’t it done 20 years ago?

  47. Tariq

    The US also supported Iran against Saddam. We played both sides against the middle in the hopes they would both inflict great and lasting harm to each other.

  48. mahmood says:

    Iraqna I am disgusted that you put such a criminal as a hero. But people deserve what they support, and you most certainly do NOT speak in my stead. As to “America” choosing Eid to “humiliate us Arabs” let me just respond that Saddam in all his years at the helm of Iraq was infinitely more humiliating to us very Arabs than hanging this despot on that very auspicious day.

    As to executing him on Eid or any other day of the year, who really gives a damn? What significance does that have? And why is it an “insult” for basically carrying the will of Allah? Where in the Quran does it say that no heads will be chopped on Eid or any other day?

    He’s gone now and is no longer our concern. Ours is to diligently work to making a better Iraq and better our own countries, rather than hold such criminals as our leading lights.

    Go read some Iraqi press and blogs and see how they themselves feel about this issue.

  49. nurox says:

    Mahmood, nice one! But i was already getting worried the weird theories would go too far! 😆

  50. mahmood says:

    man this will never stop it, we were having a good and intellectual discussion before he came in like a headless chicken looking for gore.

    the discussion is thankfully getting restored now and hope it will continue to do so.

  51. milter says:

    Iraqna,

    You wrote:

    a tragic end to a great hero. Sadam is considered as a true arab who in my opinion pledged and sacrificed his life for his country. I was always against sadam in some aspects in which he ran his country

    How can you use the word “hero” about a man who in his craving for power caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people?

    Is it because he brought the idea of one great Arab nation back to life in some peoples minds? If it is, how many more lives will it take before that dream comes true?

  52. M says:

    “a tragic end to a great hero. Sadam is considered as a true arab who in my opinion pledged and sacrificed his life for his country.”

    So what do you say to the thousands of Iraqis and their families that he and his cohorts killed or maimed over the years? So sorry about that! Them’s the breaks. Sucks to be you!

    They are the true Iraqi heros, and it’s too bad the world didn’t care enough to value them and their lives over the status quo.

  53. Salawi says:

    You can find the video here:



    These two links have an English translation of what happened:

    YahooNY Times

  54. Will says:

    I understand why, but it seems wrong that the hangmen are wearing masks.

    Who said “An eye for and eye makes the whole world blind”?

    Love is more powerful than hatred.

  55. Wrong the hangmen wore masks? Should you wish for their faces to be plastered everywhere and then have them fear for their lives for doing their job?

    Wearing masks was the right call.

  56. nurox says:

    CerebralWaste,

    true, the wearing of masks was for their own safety, even the official video had one person not wearing a mask censored out.

  57. dont really care says:

    i wish the same to 3 ppl in bahrain khofo, khafra & monqara.

  58. And, by the way, don’t tell this to anybody, but the Americans never went to the moon. It was a big fake. And last years tsunami wan’t really created by an earthquake on the seabed. It was created by a nuclear blast, funded by The World Bank (the Jews, you know).

    Milter: Your attempt to humiliate me has failed. You are a total whack job to throw this at me. TRUST YOUR GOVERNMENT!!

  59. tooners says:

    Well, I agree on the hangmen wearing masks. If their faces were shown, they’d surely be dead w/in the coming weeks. But, w/ this said, I don’t believe in the death penalty/capital punishment. I knew it would happen though and was only waiting for the day that they’d kill him. I didn’t think it would happen so fast and on the first day of Eid. Was there some significance to that?

  60. Will says:

    Again I understand why they were wearing masks. It is just that they look so much like the terrorists that we all despise.

  61. docspencer says:

    “And, by the way, don’t tell this to anybody, but the Americans never went to the moon. It was a big fake. And last years tsunami wan’t really created by an earthquake on the seabed. It was created by a nuclear blast, funded by The World Bank (the Jews, you know).”

    CQ, if you really believe this, you should see a psychiatrist instead of “chokin’ da chicken” so much.

  62. Barry says:

    Iraqna: if you believe saddam is a true hero, I feel incredibly sorry for you. To me, you’re almost on par with white supremcists who believe that Hitler was a hero. Also what’s so significant about choosing Eid? Are you disgusted with those suicide bombers who kill during Ramadan? Were you outraged at that? Were you outraged that bombings on Ramadan took place?

    I don’t know what’s worse, willful ignorance, or ignorance to “prove” a point?

  63. Barry says:

    Oh and citizen quasar: You’re actually being used by intelligent machines as a source of power. Your body is in stasis while a super computer displays this world as if it were your reality! Here’s a blue pill and a red pill, take your pick!

    Also: if you wear aluminum foil on your head, you’ll block those radio waves the government sends out to control your thoughts. The American government is the illuminati you know.

  64. milter says:

    I just watched the “unofficial” video of the execution on BBC with an interpretation of the words that were shouted at Saddam during the last moments of his life.

    If the translation is correct I think it’s a disgrace. Apparently some people that were present took advantage of having the upper hand to humiliate a person they knew they were going to kill a few seconds later.

    No matter how bad that person was or how many lives had been lost because of his regime, he still deserved to be left to die in a more dignified way.

    I know there wasn’t much dignity in the life of this person but, at a moment like this, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to just leave him in peace.

  65. BCHR says:

    Why does Amnesty International oppose the death penalty?
    Questions and Answers
    http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGACT500012000

  66. Tom says:

    Something on the subject written by someone far brighter than me … maybe enough to give all of us pause for thought.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/01/01/do0102.xml

  67. AJJ says:

    Bahrain should not forget Saddam tried to kill hundreds of innocent Bahrainis in 1991 when he directed many scuds at these islands and he didn’t give a shit where they landed. I don’t like people trying to kill me and I am glad he is really gone and hopefully soon to be forgotten.

  68. Playing the devil’s advocate here…

    On the other hand, Saddam was good for small minorities in Iraq (Christians, Turkman etc all left after his downfall) and he was also good to the Palestinians. Just because someone does some things wrong, doesn’t mean he doesn’t do some things right.
    Also, it may be that a strongman, not democracy, is what is best for Iraq. Saddam was clearly an idiot and his stubborness brought obout his own downfall. But could Iraq have been better under his rule?

    Personally I don’t think so…I think that in the long run things will become better, but only time will tell I guess.

  69. nurox says:

    Tariq,

    The only minority (not minorities) that Saddam help in Iraq was his own supporters, not even Baath party members were given room to voice opinions different than his own. So nope, not a single person was safe!

    Just because someone does some things wrong, doesn’t mean he doesn’t do some things right.

    Whatever his motives behind the “right” moves he has made, the wrong still outweighs the “good” by a landslide. In a just system, you get punished for your wrongdoing, regardless what good you are.

    Unfortunately, I really wished they’d try saddam for his other atrocities. To provide other Iraqis with closure, even though that’d be a looong process…

  70. ahmed says:

    Mahmood: Being a Shia, I think this moment is a celebration for you, so enjoy it to the fullest. You and I, in fact we all know that Iraq is on the brink of a grand massacre; and the Shia will be receiving the greater share. Why? Simply because if the Sunni Islamist groups can defeat the most powerful army, they can organize a pretty big massacre. That day there would be no Saddam, no Arab identity; just Shia and Sunni. Sorry for painting a grim picture but even all of your best case scenarios also look grim

  71. thogba says:

    It is great sorrow to read on http://www.aljazeera.net (Arabic)today that a 9-year old boy hanged himself
    imitating the execution of Saddam after he’d seen the execution on Pakistan’s TV.

    It’s the mistakes of his parents and I will blame the Iraqi TV, Pakistan’s TV and all TV’s that broadcast the video.

    The news article may be read in Arabic at
    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/7BE143FE-896E-4D5D-9112-8E5116D68395.htm

    and can be translated into english at
    http://www.google.com/language_tools

  72. “The only minority (not minorities) that Saddam help in Iraq was his own supporters, not even Baath party members were given room to voice opinions different than his own. So nope, not a single person was safe!”

    That’s one way of looking at it. But minorities rarely try to voice such opinions. Mostly they try not to stand out and the fact remains that Saddam’s regime was secure enough to protect them.
    Again, just playing the devil’s advocate here, but these are some of the things that CNN and other Western media don’t show. I learned this stuff from Al Jazira.

  73. nurox says:

    Tariq,

    we’d be going in a loop if i told you that the “minority” hadn’t voiced it’s opinions about the regime in fear of retribution. It was also clear that everyone who wanted to keep safe had to go out and buy the “I Love Saddam” t-shirts sold at Saddam-a-Marts everywhere, people “loving” their governments or rulers just to stay safe from it isn’t how a country should be, a government and/or “elected” president should be serving the people, not the other way round.

    As for saying that Saddam’s regime was secure enough to protect them, c’mon! if they weren’t agreeing with every bit he said, they’d be the victims, i doubt there was much of a middle ground for criticism there. Let alone that either side of the fence Iraqis were, they still were dragged into three wars just because of him!

    Mind my sarcasm Tariq btw, it’s just a bit past my bedtime :sleeping:

  74. MHMLK says:

    There is a very good item here about Saddam’s execution:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1981174,00.html

  75. bikeshed says:

    Ahmad from Germany: While I am loathe to speak for Mahmood, I feel it safe to say that he is not deriving any personal satisfaction from Saddam’s demise, rather, expessing his overall sense of justice. I think we can all agree that he was undeniably guilty of crimes against humanity and got what he deserved in the end (Saddam, not Mahmood), the timing of it aside.

    The picture you draw is not grim frankly speaking, it is macabre as you seem to be waiting for this ‘Grand Massacre’ with bated breath. The truth is that Iraq is living this grand massacre each and every day, which brings me to these so-called Islamists.

    At last count, 3,000 US soldiers were killed since the start of hostilities while estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths are put at around 30,000 to 40,000 (some put it as high as 100,000). That means for each American soldier, 10-12 Iraqi’s had to die, mostly children and the elderly. At this rate, the Islamists would have to kill the entire population of Iraq before they get rid of all the occupying forces which seems somewhat counter-intuitive to me, but it does not seem to be stopping them.

    Sadly, all parties have been drawn into the ensuing melee and it is difficult now to tell who did what to whom. I will say however, that the Shia have made a pretty good showing for themselves over the past year and can probably lay more claim to the defeat of the most powerful army in the world in Southern Lebanon.

    I have always held that if you put a Sunni, a Shia, a Christian and a Kurd in a room together, they would all be sharing jokes, drinking tea, smoking cigarettes and talking about how bad it was under Saddam (been there and seen it many times myself). The sad bit starts when people like you come in and start talking about arab identity and all that other clap-trap that that was designed to divide. Half the speeches for Radio Al Kahera back in the 50’s were either written or veted in DC, check it out.

    What this is about is the fact that we are all human beings with unalienable rights that must be respected by whatever body that ultimately governs us. I am sick of hearing shit like, “Only a strong ruler can lead the Arabs” Why can’t he (or she) be both strong and benevolent? Why can’t we think to the future, rather than dwell in the past? Why can’t this be an opportunity to make something better than what existed before?

    (no points for spotting the optimist)

  76. Lujayn says:

    Mahmood, although I agree with you on the good riddance to Saddam, I would have preferred that to take on the form of a prison sentence after a fair trial that saw him held accountable for all his crimes, not just one. What we saw play out was a lynching, complete with taunts and open hatred, and while many would say he didn’t deserve a fair trial having committed atrocities, I think the principles of fairness and justice must be applied regardless of the magnitude of the crime.

    That’s what I expect of post-Saddam Iraq. Instead we got a replay of Saddam practices, but with different faces and maybe slightly more “humane” executions. I definitely don’t want to see that repeated anywhere else in the Arab world. I want deserving leaders to be held accountable for their atrocities, not lynched by a revenge-hungry new regime that has yet to prove it is any better.

  77. mahmood says:

    Ahmed, your basic premise is unfortunately incorrect. I am not a Shi’i, nor am I a Sunni, I’m rather just Bahraini.

    As to the turmoil you refer to due to the execution of Saddam, of course you could be correct, but I contend that these programmed acts of madness will peter out now that one of their causes has disappeared from view and his voice is not longer heard.

    Time heals if the cause of the disease is taken care of, and I believe that it has.

  78. mahmood says:

    thanks bikeshed

  79. TariqKhonji says:

    Nurox,
    The question is, is democracy something that works everywhere for all people or is it just another cheap American export?
    You are right, of course, there was no room for any kind of opposition to Saddam’s regime, but looking at the situation now it may be that a strongman dictator is what is best for Iraq, especially if the alternative is chaos. I agree that Saddam was too much, but it remains to be seen if Iraq is ready for a democracy. I hope that it is, but only time will tell, not a couple of guys arguing on an internet message board because neither of us can see into the future.

  80. mahmood says:

    Lujayn, I too would have preferred to see fairer trials and a life-long prison sentence for Saddam. I think in the first case a good attempt (though incomplete) was made, at least the trial he received was fairer by far than any in his era, in the second, I don’t think it is practical. Just because of his presence he lent some fuel to the insurgencies and reprisals. In 50 years or so, or maybe in 3 or 4 generations – I hope – that we can actually think like that rather than revenge.

    Iraq in this unfortunate case needed definite closure. If he was thrown in prison I would have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that they would have pulled some puppet strings and effected more carnage. He was an extremely powerful person to the very last second of his life. I am not impressed by that, rather saddened really to see a person turn to be so completely inhuman as he most definitely was.

    Iraq is now better without him. This is closure for them and I hope and pray that they will use this opportunity to look forward to lead the Arab world with democracy and demonstrate how that could be a much more benevolent and better way to rule. They could now lead by example and they already have on several levels. It’s not perfect, but better than it was.

  81. mahmood says:

    The question is, is democracy something that works everywhere for all people or is it just another cheap American export?

    :shocked:

    looking at the situation now it may be that a strongman dictator is what is best for Iraq

    :shocked:

    it remains to be seen if Iraq is ready for a democracy

    :shocked:

    I am just at a loss for words Tariq, hence the use of the “shocked” smilie. And all of these gems coming from a celebrated columnist in the widest circulation English paper in Bahrain?

    Tariq, my dear dear friend. You need your head examined. PRONTO.

  82. TariqKhonji says:

    No Mahmood, I’m just a pragmatist. If democracy is going to be applied it should be applied properly, that is to say with a complete seperation of religion and state (not to mention ethnicity). Since that is not the case, then Iraq is not ready for a true democracy in my view.

  83. mahmood says:

    That is the definition of idealist view, Tariq, if you will forgive me for pointing that out, rather than a pragmatic view of a situation.

    Pragmatism requires realistic solutions to problems, and the reality is that no country on Earth (or anywhere else for that matter) would be ready for democracy should your metric be the measure for its application.

  84. bikeshed says:

    Uhh, perhaps it is worth revisiting the Platonic ideal of a democracy in order to verify it’s proper application…if all citizens of the republic had equal say, who would shovel the shit? Why, the slaves of course! And many would argue that we already have too many examples of Plato’s two classes of citizenry and slaves in the region. Having said that, there is no cookie-cutter approach statehood and any system that is applied must emerge organically from the desire of people to live in an environment that addresses their needs for liberty, security and stability.

    cheers Mahmood, will try to make it to the bloggers meeting if I can’t finagle an invite to the gala dinner for Inter…

  85. TariqKhonji says:

    On the contrary Mahmood, I think taht forcing an ideal (such as democracy) to work in a place and time that it is not suited is idealism. I’m thinking more along the lines that if having a ‘democracy’ in place is going to result in more death and than not having one then the the latter is clearly preferable.
    For the record, I’m not saying that Iraq couldn’t at some point in the future be democratic or that there should be a timeline for its implementation. I’m not against democracy. I just think that at the present time an Iraqi democracy is more likely to result in three different countries split along religious and ethnic lines than a country with different ethnic groups working together in a democratic way.

  86. Sorry that should have said “SHOULDN’T be a timeline”.

  87. nurox says:

    Tariq,

    I respect your point of view, and I hope you’re not taking our conversation as an arguement, it’s merely sharing our opinions regardless of how similar/different they are.

    That out of the way. I question democracy’s application in the context you suggest, separation of state and religion is merely a few lines on paper, the majority, if not all democracies are influenced by ethnic as well as religious beliefs, and that in my opinion is unavoidable. And yes, i do agree with your point that maybe Iraq isn’t ready for a democracy today, but that being said, when will it ever be if it’s not put to the test, it took the US over 100 years before discrimination was abolished based on ethnicity, and those 100 years were filled with bloodshed and suffering.

    It’s the international community’s responsibility to keep putting this system to the test, otherwise what alternative’s can we come up with?

  88. sh33p says:

    I saw Saddam in hell a while ago. He passed he on a Harley, with 55 virgins on the back. :devil:

  89. the bahraini/kuwaiti/saudi despots next!!!

  90. mahmood says:

    Tariq, that’s the short term view. Democracy by definition will work and it is always a “work in progress.” Hence, it should be enacted immediately in order for people to take their first steps, then, in another generation or two democratic principals would have been inculcated and viewed as the norm.

    We should also not be afraid to apply tried and tested models and mold them to our own situations, therefore, there should not be any problem of borrowing from the excellent constitutions of the United States or established European democracies, nor should there be any problem with us adopting their Bill of Rights, which our very own Charter is very close to.

    Democratic principals are known, hence their adoption should not be an overly onerous task. Those principals should be non-negotiable. What are and what should be adapted are the laws, rules and regulations.

    Put in other words: the Constitution should declare the principals that govern the land, hopefully without too much religious interference although non-contentious limited religious influence would be accepted (not telling lies, and doing good to thy neighbour and the like, general humanistic principals but don’t go to the level of detail as in how much interest – if any – should be charged); while the laws should take care of the details and those should never allow religion and its dogma to be encoded within them.

    Taking the above into consideration Tariq, no democracy – by definition – could be forced on a country or community, and no country or community exist that does not inherently value and accepts democratic principals, it’s human nature, pure and simple.

  91. A learner of Arabic says:

    Mahmood, a Charter is just fine, but have you got a constitutional court too – I mean a court of justice that could outlaw a political party if it is purposefully trying to put those democratic principles out of use?

    I mean, democracy is not just about majority rule and voting. Democracy is also about rule of law and observation of certain principles, which cannot be voted out of existence even by a majority. Without such restraints, checks and balances, a democracy is not a democracy, but mob rule.

  92. mahmood says:

    Yes we do. The constitutional court was enacted at the same time as parliament I think and it up and running and is looking at cases.

    The non-negotiable points of the constitution at the moment are the hereditary rule of the Al-Khalifa clan from father to son, and the official religion of the land from which laws are derived (but not the sole source of legislation) is Islam.

    Everything else as far as I understand is negotiable by set instruments which are by design very difficult to enact (2/3rds of the National Assembly approval, that is, 53 member aggregate majority from both houses of parliament in which 40 are directly elected and 40 are selected by the King.)

  93. I agree that it is a work in progress and that it can take years of suffering for a democracy to work. I just think that things should be done in the right order because, as you yourself stated Mahmood, we know the ingredients of making a democracy work. So, first there should be seperation of religion and state (as well as other rules to prevent a tyranny of the majority) and second we can have a complete open democracy. Having said that I am not at all defending a situation like Saddam’s regime. But look at Egypt for example. It’s another third world country with extreme poverty on one end and a very educated and literate class on the other end (like Iraq at various stages in its recent history). The Egyptian leadership, though corrupt in many ways, is not in the same class as Saddam.
    If you had a real democracy there, it’s very very likely that they would elect a militant and that would be dangerous to them and to all the other countries in the region. Mubarak is a kind of dictator that may be good for Egypt at this time in its history.
    Sometimes you need certain wierd rules in place to keep certain groups down for the sake of protecting lives, freedom and stability.

  94. mahmood says:

    Sometimes you need certain wierd rules in place to keep certain groups down for the sake of protecting lives, freedom and stability.

    Tariq, you’re really worrying me now.

    I do not agree with you one bit in your conclusion. You are looking at the situation from a very short term perspective which you cannot and should not approach democratic thinking with. None at all.

    I understand your concern and appreciate them; however, there is no way that I would categorically design exclusive laws like the ones you suggest. Doing so would be tantamount to agreeing with tyranny “for the sake of peace” which is not only ironic, but disastrous. Because you cannot have “designer” democracy which exclude rather than include citizens!

    When bringing democratic examples, I would not (read never) cite an Arab or Muslim country. None qualify, so you bringing Iraq and Egypt into the discussion is a moot point. They are (currently) not worthy, with only Iraq offering a glimmer of hope.

    So would I willingly suffer in the short term by accepting full democracy which might bring “unsavoury types” into the democratic institutions? Yes I wholeheartedly will.

    But it needn’t be like that at all because in Constitutions rules can be designed to ensure that no change can occur on a particular principal unless certain circumstances manifest themselves, or design it in a way to say that the it as a whole cannot be touched for a period of 50 or even 100 years.

    But in order to do that in the first place, we must insist on a modern and mutually binding constitution.

    edit: link corrected, sorry!

  95. Let me repeat again, I am not against democracy. I stated above that there could be some sort of timeline towards a democracy. If the Arabs are not ready for it now, they may be ready in ten or 15 or 20 years or whatever. So don’t exclude people, but tread carefully.
    To shock the system in countries that have for centuries been based on trabilism, religion and tradition by imposing a system that was essentially developed in the West may not be the right way to go about it. This was the theory on which the US government based its removal of Saddam Hussain and it looks like they were wrong (although there is still a chance that things could turn around)
    I appreciate that launching some sort of democratic process may speed things up because it would force people to work under the system, but at what cost? How many deaths would it take for it to be worth it? It’s a hard question to answer and I don’t pretend to know the answer.
    You said that no Arab country is a good example and I agree. There are no Arab democracies and one should wonder why that is the case? Is there something in Arab or Islamic culture that needs to give in order for democracy to work? I think so. It’s probably the same something that makes them run riot when someone publishes some stupid cartoon about the prophet or when the pope says something ill-advised about Islam. Clearly some people need to be educated about what democracy is all about so teach them what it is before you give it to them.
    Do things in the right order or you may regret it especially since that order is now known to us after being developed for centuries in other countries. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just modify it to suit our region. That’s all I’m saying.

  96. mahmood says:

    We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just modify it to suit our region. That’s all I’m saying.

    Yes, I agree with you there.

    I stated above that there could be some sort of timeline towards a democracy.

    I agree with you again.

    If the Arabs are not ready for it now, they may be ready in ten or 15 or 20 years or whatever.

    I unfortunately do not agree with you on the basic premise that “we are not ready for this democracy thing yet,” as that implies that we do not value human dignity, let alone peaceful coexistence. There is no switch that could be thrown from which the timeline could be initiated. In fact, it is very possible under our wise collective Arab leadership that had there been such a switch, it would have been resolutely placed behind bullet proof glass in order “to protect ourselves” from the vagaries of those imported principals.

    We need that switch to be thrown now not a second or two later, but NOW so that we can, in time, fully rule with democratic institutions and get those principals to be inculcated within our societies.

    I suspect – in fact I almost am certain – that this is a ploy employed to deter us from ever thinking of democracy, or rather, think it but stop at that stage, because we don’t want the ogre to come and eat us now do we?

    To shock the system in countries that have for centuries been based on trabilism, religion and tradition by imposing a system that was essentially developed in the West may not be the right way to go about it.

    My friend, for better or worse, we should welcome that shock with open arms and minds, because without it we will never move forward on the democracy road. A knowledgeable man once said that a body at rest will remain at rest until acted upon. Shock will provide that force that will get that body to move, and it will also provide the momentum for it to remain moving.

    There are no Arab democracies and one should wonder why that is the case? Is there something in Arab or Islamic culture that needs to give in order for democracy to work?

    The reason why there isn’t a solitary Arab or Muslim democracy is astute corruption and its supporting classes.

    Further, that Amawid-era fatwa which stipulated that a Muslim must resolutely and obediently follow the directives of those in power as they have been placed there by Allah Himself, or at least remain there as a manifestation of His will. Ask both the Asalah and Menber groups about that and you will probably discover why they are so adamantly opposed to constitutional amendments (as that is the domain of the ruler himself, ie, politics is his God-given right, not theirs, but it is theirs to defend his right) and only concern themselves exclusively with municipal affairs)

    Needless to say that the rulers throughout the ages have milked that ideology to their advantage. It is after all detrimental to their existence to be thought of in different lights.

    So you see, that is the main purportedly Islamicly sanctified glue allowing them to stick to their seats… until someone stronger comes around and prize them off to occupy the seat anew, and reutilise that rule once again after an interim period in which terror reigns.

    Look all this up in the history books. You will be amazed at how many times we fall for the very same trick!

    To conclude, I invite you to rethink your stance toward democracy and the Arabs/Muslims particularly. And further think of us not as neophytes not knowing the course that we should be dictated to, but as intelligent human beings who can be depended upon to rule ourselves with timeless democratic instruments, which ironically are required by the Quran of every Muslim to do so!

    Didn’t you read that Ayah that said that when a king enters a village he destroys it? What’s that all about? Could it possibly mean that hereditary rule is against Islamic principle?

  97. “My friend, for better or worse, we should welcome that shock with open arms and minds, because without it we will never move forward on the democracy road.”

    I thought you may say something like that, which is why I addressed it in my previous post. I myself think that Iraq and the region has been through enough shocks and I don’t think it can take much more. And I don’t think that Newton was referring to politics when he came up with the laws of motion.

    However, I agree with you on the corruption issue. Perhaps religion is but the easiest tool that can be used to keep this corruption going and there are many others.

    I know Islam’s stance towards democracy, but the the quran often contradicts itself about many matters, as do other religions. I wouldn’t take that as proof that it is compatible with liberal democracies as they are defined today.

  98. mahmood says:

    Can you elucidate on the “shock” aspect, I would like to hear your specific thoughts on that. As to Newton’s law, it could be applied to a lot more than just physical situations, and this is one of them. Humour me, think it out. As to the contradictions within the Quran, I defer to you and I trust you have sources and examples for the uninitiated.

    Allow me to disagree with you as to the shocks as we really didn’t have any; we’ve had conflicts by proxy (as far as Bahrain is concerned specifically) through out my 44 years on this Earth, but I daresay we have not had any shocks. All of those conflicts were “managed” and we were told how to receive and process them, and then how to expound on the issues to demonstrate our loyalty to a cause, but we have not been able to dissent even in describing our opinions. For instance, try telling anyone that you think that Israel might be right in some aspect, any aspect and wait for the repercussions. Okay, leave a thorny issue like Israel out, and go out and try to discuss the fact that the Quran contains contradictions. Tell me when you’re going to do that so I can make sure that my video camera is rolling!

    The first real shock which was completely out of our control is the Iraqi conflict. I foresee another happening in our very Bahrain; think a few years down the line and think the indigenous population becoming a minority.

  99. spam says:

    the sad fact is you people will always be slaves to the very few, especially you tariq you will forever be georges boy over at that gdn

  100. mahmood says:

    and this unwarranted personal attack enriches the discussion how exactly?

  101. bikeshed says:

    to alleviate spam’s frustrations at being a slave

  102. “The first real shock which was completely out of our control is the Iraqi conflict.”

    As far as shocks are concerned, I was talking about Iraq more than anything else. There were three Iraqi conflicts. Three shocks out of our control, not one. The second conclict (the invasion of Kuwait) was a particularly negative shock for the region’s economy (Saudi Arabia actually went into deficite for a short while!). The next ‘shock’ is likely to be the splitting of Iraq into two or three countries, one for the Shi’ite majority, another for the Kurds and maybe one for the Sunnis as a token gesture. I think the reprecussions of such a conflict on the region will be extremely severe.

    Secondly, as far as Newton’s law. I still don’t see how you can equate a physical law with politics. A shock by nature is unpredictable and I for one would like to avoid such unpredictability because it may move people to action as you say in ways that will not be good.

    Finally, as for Islam’s view of democracy. It’s obvious that its view towardsd women, for example, is not in line with current international standards. It just won’t fit with the norms of what we refer to as a modern liberal democracy. One simple example is the fact that a female witnesses are only worth half a man in court. Men are allowed to marry four times and women only one. Men can divorse, women can’t. There are so many.

  103. docspencer says:

    Tariq, conversion to a “form” of democracy that is suitable in the ME will take time, like everywhere else. We took close to 100 years. Germany after WWII took 8 years or so. There were many terrorist attacks that have been forgotten. Japan took about 5 yrs after WWII because we had royal family support that is part of the Japanese religion (a mix of Buddhism and Shintoism). Iraq is more like the German case. A lot depends on establishing local criminal and civil laws (separate them from religion), a constitution, and trained legal system and law enforcement on the ground. And small adjustments are made along the way. The law enforcement part is very weak in Iraq in my opinion, needing the most work. But it will get done. More effort will go into this this year.

    This being the first such effort in the ME, there is a lot of interference from the outside, but I think that will fail. The people are ripe for this change.

    In addition, I see US soldiers, who have a tough job in Iraq. Yet many that I spoke to made friends with local Iraqis and want to go back and help them. One of them lost a leg, got a high tech replacement right here in my city, became very good in using it and just got permission to go back. He made I think life long friends there among a few Iraqi families. This happened also in Germany and Japan, but to a much lesser extent. Of course our Western papers say nothing about the good, rebuilding homes and schools and so on, but only the nasty bloody details.

  104. Neilufar says:

    All i want to say is that without any doubt, Saddam killed and caused misery to thousands of people. But if we are claiming to want fairness then who can say with total beleif that Saddam was under a fair trial. For Gods sake, if they had planned to put this guy under trial they should’ve done that in the international court. Otherwise, what was was a total mess! Obviously the intent to hang him was from the very start, but being a she3a myself, i found the whole scene very savage and shamefull. Why did those she3a put themselves in such a shamefull position when they could’ve shown the whole world that Saddam was a criminal. They (in my opinion) disgusted most of the people that watched that video, and instead of showing the evil in Saddam, they showed as being evil and made his figure seem like he was a fallen hero.

    Its just very dissapointing. And one last thing, i just read today in Akhbar AlKhaleej that they are holding a 3aza for “SHAHEED AL OMAH ALARABIYA SADDAM” in Bahrain!!! Now Saddam is a hero! what else can i say!

  105. Sami says:

    Mahmoud, why do you think this is a happy and sweet Eid… I feel totally different. I feel the Arabic nation has been humiliated by the assassination of one the Arabic figures! when the Americans give the orders to the menial government in Iraq to kill Saddam in the first day of the biggest Muslim holiday, this is humiliation to every thing Arabic and Muslim… Muslims sacrifice sheep in this holiday and the Americans sacrificed one of the Arab leaders… Not to mention the “plays” known as trials of Saddam, Saddam was a tyrant, but we have many in the Arab world, he was not the worse, yet he said “NO” for America and “Israel”… furthermore The execution was held in Shiite Militia post and not in a governmental death chamber, all this is set up to increase the sectarian violence in Iraq.. That’s what America want. I hope you think farther than your nose…

  106. billT says:

    It doesn’t matter if you have all the trappings of democracy or not. As long as you have so many guns in the region and the tribal and religious mindset to use them peaceful democracy wont be attainable.

  107. josh says:

    money and power the root of all evil

  108. mahmood says:

    Sami, thinking much farther than my nose, I cannot understand how you imply that killing a criminal by all standards regardless on whatever day his fate was chosen with “Arabic nation has been humiliated by the assassination“. Obviously you do not regard the hundreds that die every day in Iraq because of Saddam and his supporters to this day as humiliating. Let me invite you to widen the view of your myopic vision and think a little before you get your feelings to take the better of you.

    Neilufar, I agree with you. Putting him in an international trial would have had the intended results of (1) steps toward national reconciliation, (2) document his atrocities for posterity, (3) show his guilt resolutely, and (4) achieve closure on his era or terror.

    I know that there is no way that he could ever have been found innocent; any of the massacres he did would have sufficed his just end, but procedure and decorum are important. His trials and the gloating people at his death were incorrect, but both do not for a second condone any of his actions over the span of his murderous rule in Iraq.

    i just read today in Akhbar AlKhaleej that they are holding a 3aza for “SHAHEED AL OMAH ALARABIYA SADDAM” in Bahrain!!! Now Saddam is a hero! what else can i say!

    Yes, unfortunately people will generalise and say that the whole of Bahrain is lamenting his death; little do they know that it is a few bigoted Ba’athists who are doing this and in no way do they represent the majority of Bahrainis. Democracy of course allows them that rite and allows me to peacefully disagree with them. You will not see me standing in line to sign the condolence book though. I suspect that you will see (I hope) demonstrations in front of wherever they are holding their circus to show the people’s disgust with them.

    docspencer:

    This being the first such effort in the ME, there is a lot of interference from the outside, but I think that will fail. The people are ripe for this change.

    In view of our neophyte status as far as democracy is concerned, I wouldn’t have chosen the term “external interference” but rather “external aid” which should be cautiously welcomed.

  109. mahmood says:

    Tariq, we differ in our definition of what constitutes a “shock.” Further, the “we” I used encompasses the full Arab nation rather than a small sub-section.

    We also differ in the acceptance of the metaphoric applicability of the laws of physics to everyday political or life aspects, forgive me for being an engineer, for that is probably the background I borrow from to demonstrate that allegory which I still hold as germane.

    Going back to the substance of our discussion, do you now agree that your interpretation of the applicability of democratic principles to the Arab and Muslim nations are not contingent upon prior educational preparations which imply our substandard ideological status?

  110. “Iraq is more like the German case.”

    While there is much to learn from the German example, I think that is not the same at all…it is much more difficult. Germany actually had a history of democracy. Adolf Hitler was even elected democratically. Iraq does not. It’s going to take much longer than eight years to make a nation steeped in tribalism, tradition and religion accept a democracy the way that you think of it. Much more likely is a situation like Iran, a so-called “Islamic democracy” (an oxymoron if ever one existed)

    Mahmood,
    I don’t think we differ in our opinons of what is a shock. What we differ on is whether the shock will necessarily bring about a good outcome. You are absolutely right that major, usually violent, events do bring about change. We differ in whether we believe these chagnes are necessarily going to be good. I’ve heard this argument that you present before and it’s true that a lot of good has come from certain revolutionary acts but a lot of bad come out of it as well. It is one of the reasons that terrorism is so successful in bringing about change. Look at 9.11 for example. There was a big shock, but was the outcome good? I don’t think so, not so far at least, because it made the US go on the defensive and perhaps made the world a more dangerous place.

    “Going back to the substance of our discussion, do you now agree that your interpretation of the applicability of democratic principles to the Arab and Muslim nations are not contingent upon prior educational preparations which imply our substandard ideological status?”

    Well, that’s the chicken or the egg argument, isn’t it? Neither of us can say for sure if plunging the region into a democracy isn’t going to be good in the long-run. It may or may not. But in the short-term we know that it is already proving disastrous and will probably continue to be so for the next few decades. That is why I advise caution. Perhaps the time is not right for this kind of experiment.

  111. “Much more likely is a situation like Iran, a so-called “Islamic democracy” (an oxymoron if ever one existed)”

    To expand on this, I meant that an Islamic democracy may arise if the countries split up. If they remain together we will have a pseudo-democracy like in Lebanon where different posts are elected based on ethnicity, which also doesn’t make sense.

  112. mahmood says:

    Perhaps the time is not right for this kind of experiment.

    Never the twain shall meet…

    I completely disagree with the quoted statement and it shows your position clearly; you regard democracy as nothing more than “an experiment” and you prefer deferring it to a time unknown.

    I regard democracy as a basic human right and that the time for its implementation is right now not a second or two later.

    Let us then agree to disagree Tariq, because our positions cannot be reconciled. Unfortunately.

  113. mahmood says:

    Neilufar, I was right, Al-Wasat Newspaper has a report that a sit in is in effect in front of the Nationalist Democratic Rally Society in front of their headquarters in New Zinj yesterday, and most probably throughout their condolence period.

  114. Luttapi says:

    What should we do the president responsible to put atom boambs in japan?
    What should we do for the president responsible to put boambs in viatnam?
    What should we do for the president responsible to put boambs in afganistan?

    Lets wait and see

  115. I guess we will have to Mahmood. A frequent criticism of the International Declarataion of Human Rights is that it is based on Western values and is not compabible with Islamic law or the cultures of many other countries. If the Islamic countries are to adopt this principle of participation being a human right, they will have to adopt all the others as well. Since that is not happening anytime soon, who can say any one of these 30 articles is more important than the others?

  116. Maverick says:

    Mahmood is right again. Democracy is a right. The word is derived from the Greek Demos+Kratos=Self Government.

    There cannot be partial democracy, otherwise it is a constitutional monarchy like in Bahrain or UK. Then again UK is democratic with the Queen as a mere figure head, somthing Bahrain is not yet ready for. however I firmly belive Bahrain is more than ready for what is being served to the public. This sectarianism and bipolarity that is being dished out to the masses is uncalled for especially by some clerics and their supporters.

    Saddam’s death has sealed secrets he could have told. Tariq Aziz was not allowed to speak before his execution. Why did the appeals court uphold the verdict so fast? Makes you think. Saddam, during his life, killed and tried to kill to servive and perpertrate his belief and his way of life.

    In death, Saddam met the same or better fate that he dished out to others.

  117. chan'ad says:

    Tariq said:

    If the Islamic countries are to adopt this principle of participation being a human right, they will have to adopt all the others as well. Since that is not happening anytime soon, who can say any one of these 30 articles is more important than the others?

    As you said, who is to say which article is more important than the others? They are all important. Just because some people are unwilling to agree on one article does not mean we should rip up the whole declaration and forget about human rights.

    We can and must work to implement all of the articles simultaneously. Yes, some will take longer than others, but we can’t be held hostage by one.

    Also Tariq, the argument you make is the one that all oppressors tell their oppressed to maintain the divide between haves and have-nots. This is the argument that the colonizers told the colonized, what the men told the women, what the white man told to the blacks. It’s always the same story.

    If you read Charles Belgraves book ‘Personal Column’, written sometime in the late 1950s I believe, he too uses the same argument about Bahrain. Bahrainis just are not ready for democracy yet, he wrote. Almost half a century later, and Bahrainis are still being told the same story.

    The reason why Islamists have so much influence in society today is because most of the so-called “liberals” in Bahrain today (read as ‘bourgeoisie’) do nothing but complain and support the status quo. If we try we might actually achieve something

  118. “We can and must work to implement all of the articles simultaneously.”

    Even if by the attempt to implement one you are sacrificing most of the others at the same time? That seems to be what is happening. I say, go for the ones that are acheivable and realistic first.

  119. mahmood says:

    Can you list them please?

  120. “The reason why Islamists have so much influence in society today is because most of the so-called “liberals” in Bahrain today (read as ‘bourgeoisie’) do nothing but complain and support the status quo.”

    There is much more to it than that one reason…the religion is ingrained in the culture so deeply that it cannot be questioned. Bahrain has active liberal groups but the only way they can make any headway politically is by attatching themselves to the religios ones. On their own they wouldn’t be able achieve anything at all. That says it all, I think.

  121. “Can you list them please?”

    OK.

    “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

    All HUMAN BEINGs, not just all Muslims or people of the book.

    “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

    “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

    And several others similar to these. This is currently not happening in Iraq and won’t for some time thanks to the democratic experiment. Admittedly, it wasn’t happening under Saddam either, but the rate of deaths has increased.

    “(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”

    This is clearly in conflict with Islamic law.

    “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

    “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

    These are the biggies. These freedoms have a strict limits where Islamic values are applied.

    “(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.”

    Can women work at any job they want? Some in Bahrain say they are not suitable to be municipal councillors because the work is too dirty.

  122. mahmood says:

    That wasn’t the question Tariq.

    The question was for you to list those items of the Declaration of Human Rights which you believe should take precedence on democracy.

  123. Well there are a few of them right there. I repeat yet again that I’m not against the principles of democracy at all, I’m all for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and so on.
    I’m just arguing that a liberal democracy according to the modern definition may do more harm than good.

    We already have an example of an attempt to initiate a democratic process in this region. It’s called Iran. They’ve been struggling with it for over 25 years! People are still poor, they have less personal freedom, there is still corruption (something that is impossible to eradicate but can only be reduced; how much of a reduction would be worth the other sacrifices?)And on top of it all, there is a Supreme leader who is not elected and cannot be overruled no matter what. So what’s the difference between this and a non-democracy?
    Now we have another attempt at democracy in Iraq and look at the chaos that has ensued.

    I’m arging that this is the more likely outcome of attempts to install democracy too fast in this region than one in which the people will actually be better off. The culture will just not support it.

  124. mahmood says:

    That wasn’t the question Tariq.

    The question was for you to list those items of the Declaration of Human Rights which you believe should take precedence on democracy.

  125. I answered your question Mahmood. I’d rather live a good life than have an electoral process that is likely to damage it for the rest of my lifetime and possibly future generations as well.

  126. mahmood says:

    I rest my case with you Tariq.

    I hope the years and more exposure and experience will change your mind, because with your current mindset about this rather basic subject, and being a writer in a newspaper, you are a danger in a position of responsibility who could adversely affect the minds of your readers.

  127. Well, I keep an open mind. I could always change my my mind, but nothing I have seen so far makes me think that the stranglehold that religion has over this reason will make a modern electoral process possible anytime soon, although I do hope we get some of the broader principles (freedom of thought, etc) in place at some point.

  128. chan'ad says:

    Tariq said:

    I’d rather live a good life than have an electoral process that is likely to damage it for the rest of my lifetime and possibly future generations as well.

    You and I have the privilege of saying this because we were born with silver spoons in our mouths. We won’t gain that much materially from democracy.

    But the majority of people in Bahrain and the Arab are not so lucky to be born into “a good life”. They want a share of the wealth of the power that they see hoarded by a few, and they will get it one way or another. The Islamic revolution in Iran came about because the people were denied democracy by the Shah and his CIA backers.

    So we can choose between Islamists in parliament who are engaged in mainstream politics (e.g. J&D in Turkey), or deal with Islamists who turn to revolution (see GIA in Algeria, or Iran).

    Having said this, I agree that a democracy imposed by a foreign occupying army, such as what we’re seeing in Iraq, is not democracy.

  129. “They want a share of the wealth of the power that they see hoarded by a few, and they will get it one way or another. The Islamic revolution in Iran came about because the people were denied democracy by the Shah and his CIA backers.”

    But you assume that a democracy will immediately solve these issues. Have-nots coming into power usually are more corrupt (at least initially) than haves who have been in power for a while. How many years do you think it will take for them to settle down?
    Iran is a perfect example. They got their revolution and what has it done for them? More killing and more corruption.

    It would be great if these things worked out, but history has shown otherwise, but it just hasn’t and I don’t think it will for some time. I’m just being realistic here…

  130. But I do agree Chanad that dialogue and the involvement of different groups, including religios ones, will help to tame them somewhat.
    But opening things up too fast so that such people actually have a chance of taking over, would be a huge, huge blunder.

  131. chan'ad says:

    Tariq said:

    the religion is ingrained in the culture so deeply that it cannot be questioned. Bahrain has active liberal groups but the only way they can make any headway politically is by attatching themselves to the religios ones. On their own they wouldn’t be able achieve anything at all. That says it all, I think.

    Tariq, the Islamists only got a monopoly over politics in Bahrain in the late 70s. Before that the progressive movement was relatively popular — it dominated local politics. These things are not “ingrained”.

    If we support those brave few progressives, they might actually have a chance. But your approach is defeatist.

  132. Yes Chanad, Bahrain was like that for a brief period and then the Islamists came back with avengence (largely due to the Iranian revolution) and religion once again became a dominant force in the region.

  133. Tom says:

    Mahmood,
    Unfortunately, it is not Tariq who is unable to listen. It seems to me that the one who is being obstinate is you. You refer to the “Arab nation” – who or what in earth is that? Iraq is the easiest way to discredit your argument but it is too easy. Look at Lebanon – not much evidence of a nation at all there, is there? What about the Magic Kingdom? Descartes and other writers during the Enlightenment/French Revolutionary period set out the basic parameters of the nation state. It is not hugely useful to blame the British Foreign Office in the early years of the last century for ignoring much of their arguments but … Tariq is right. Democracy is not a right, it is a responsibility. And if people are determined to define themselves by their religion, then democracy is a non-starter. Democracy is in effect secular – because France and the ‘West’ is essentially secular.
    By the way, neither Israel, Egypt nor Iran qualify as practicing democracies.

  134. Tom says:

    And … just while I am paying attention. Tariq has listed some interesting clauses from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why don’t you (I wish I knew how to make that bold) show us how neatly they coincide with Islam. My initial reaction (I’d forgotten how Judeo-Christian they were) is that you won’t be able to.

  135. MHMLK says:

    Personally I think the British constitutional monarchy provides a good model for the Middle East. The Queen provides a respected figurehead who is not involved in day to day decision making. But she is there to advise and consult. And her very presence deprives politicians of additional powers.

    I worry about the American presidential system. The President is revered as the Head of State and he is also making the important political decisions. Critics of his policies are then held to be unpatriotic. That’s no good – the essence of good democracy has to be that politicians are subject to constant criticism – how else do they know when they are making mistakes.

  136. mahmood says:

    Tom, the issue at hand is not whether democracy is commensurate with Islam. I did not raise that point and I didn’t discuss it in this particular topic, I have in others so please be my guest to look through the archive.

    The question specifically is whether “we” are ready for democracy. Tariq does not believe that we are and he would rather attack other aspects of our life before we invite democracy in, while I contend that we are indeed ready, and have been for millennia by virtue of our constitution of human beings makes its acceptance inherent in our make-up.

    Notice I never – in this discussion – define the specifics of democracy either, I did adopt the general attitude that we need a democracy that would allow us to live in dignity. And that, I am sure you will agree, is also a universal requirement of human life.

    So Tom, please read the discussion in full before jumping to conclusions or mounting that soap box.

  137. mahmood says:

    Tom, to make a word or sentence bold, just highlight the text you wish and then click on the “B” in the “Quicktags” above. The other functions available to you in there are:

    B = Bold
    I = Italics
    B-Quote =

    Blockquote

    Code = Code
    Link = to enter a hyperlink

    and Closetags is used to close all the tags at the very end, this is message, it is best to highlight the word or the passage you wish first and then click on the Quicktag which will properly open and close the correct tags.

  138. mahmood says:

    Tom:

    Tariq has listed some interesting clauses from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why don’t you (I wish I knew how to make that bold) show us how neatly they coincide with Islam.

    As indicated in the response above, this was never the question in discussion. Had it been, and had you read just a few articles in the archive, you would have seen that my position is rather static in this regard. To save you the trouble of looking back over the more than 2400 articles I have written, let me state it here again:

    Islam is NOT compatible with the modern interpretation of Human Rights and never has. I resolutely and fully stand on the side of Human Rights and call, once again, for the reinterpretation of the Muslim religion to be more in tune with the modern world and remove all passages within its texts which go against the values of Human Rights.

  139. nurox says:

    seeing as how this particular topic has given us the opportunity to see various views on this matter, I wanted to foremost thank Tariq on keeping this topic quite lively with some interesting points, Mahmood as always, you never failed in giving some very unique views as well.

    Personally, I believe that the democratic process and its application in our countries is a complicated issue on the whole, however, that shouldn’t stop us in perusing this objective. From the discussion I feel compelled to mention that one cannot view Democracy as EITHER a Right or a Responsibility, I believe it should be viewed as BOTH. The combination of having individuals hold Democracy as their own right and elected officials as a responsibility is the case that should be.

    With regards to timing, the sooner Democracy is put into place the better, which makes NOW better than in a few years time. The democratic process is a learning process as well, we shouldn’t look at it as a cause of our destruction as with it people will have to eventually learn, and that takes time, but I doubt you can teach the masses without having it in place! Studying a theory is a completely different thing than actually practicing it, so delaying democracy in a country doesn’t actually help in educating the public, regardless of their beliefs or whether they’re liberals or Islamists etc. Hence being a liberal or an Islamist doesn’t make one hold the flagship of Democracy and wave it around as if it’s their own. It’s actual practice of this process that helps develop our understanding of democracy. So why should we let people wait and deprive them of their Right/Privilege/Responsibility (The middle is probably what some believe it to be in Bahrain unfortunately) to practice Democracy on the pretense of them not being ready for it? How would they ever be ready?

  140. docspencer says:

    Sami:
    “I feel the Arabic nation has been humiliated by the assassination of one the Arabic figures! when the Americans give the orders to the menial government in Iraq to kill Saddam in the first day of the biggest Muslim holiday, this is humiliation to every thing Arabic and Muslim… Muslims sacrifice sheep in this holiday and the Americans sacrificed one of the Arab leaders… Not to mention the “plays” known as trials of Saddam, Saddam was a tyrant, but we have many in the Arab world, he was not the worse, yet he said “NO” for America and “Israel”… furthermore The execution was held in Shiite Militia post and not in a governmental death chamber, all this is set up to increase the sectarian violence in Iraq.. That’s what America want.”
    Sami, you are incredibly anti-American, no matter how it was done, and without any clue for the facts. Saddam and his cohorts were incredible murderers, like Nazis. Maybe even more inhuman than that. Why do you use an American flag after your name? Do you actually live in the USA? Are you part of an Al Qaida cell in the USA? You certainly sound like one.

    Mahmood:
    docspencer quote: “This being the first such effort in the ME, there is a lot of interference from the outside, but I think that will fail. The people are ripe for this change.”

    Mahmood reply: “In view of our neophyte status as far as democracy is concerned, I wouldn’t have chosen the term “external interference” but rather “external aid” which should be cautiously welcomed.”

    Mahmood, by external interference I meant those coming in thru Syria and Iran mostly to try to defeat the US “democratization” of Iraq.

    That will take time and education as in every case historically, like bringing up a child until the child has grown into an adult and is able to administer the law inside and able to defend itself from enemies. We will do that or a large enough UN contingent could do that, giving the new nation as much as they can handle.

    You and I virtually never disagree, so here is one possibility. Forgive me. You cannot just take over from one day to the next and form a democracy in Bahrain or anywhere else. If the current power base, royal, religious or otherwise as in Bahrain, is willing to hand over power, it should be gradual under some specific agreed upon plan over several years. That way everyone can avoid a very destructive forced takeover, that can easily set a country back a decade or more. With a dictatorship like Saddam’s, a sufficiently large military force was needed to throw out the bad guys. There is always a lot of destruction with such a method and a long economic recovery. Decades. We, the US, know now that we did not plan well enough for the recovery in Iraq, beyond the brief initial military takeover, executed with forces that were too small for the job thanks to Mr. Bush and Rumsfeld. And thanks to very poor planning by us for the postwar recovery (again Rumsfeld and Bush). I suspect we learned a big lesson.

    When you do not have large enough forces to achieve military victory AND secure captured territory instead of leaving a vacuum as we did, you stay for many decades in a terrible economic shape living a terrible life like the Palestinians have been doing.

    So based on historical evidence, and having been involved in such changes, in my opinion the best way is to negotiate a written agreement with the current ad-infinitum ruling parties (political as in royalty, and religious leaders as in the case of most ME countries) about a change, if such a thing is possible, with at least quarterly steps, covering constitutional changes, civil and criminal law changes, election law including term limits and so on. The ruling class (both religious and civil)are not stupid, and they could lose a lot of assets if they had to be forced out. And the population would lose a lot also. There could be a lot of destruction. Talking about and negotiating a way to a democracy is the least costly and easiest way to go. But it is a very difficult road especially with persons of religion.

    So one needs to assess the odds by talking to a lot of key high ranking people to assure support, before one goes ahead with TRYING to make such changes.

    Also it would be better to put some effort into normalizing Iraq, as you the people would like to see it first, so that you have a good example first, before you dream about anything else.

    And believe me. Bahrain is one of the best in the ME. A lot of care should be taken not to screw it up in trying to make it better, by leaving any hot heads out of the process.

    One can make headway by negotiating the plan a piece at a time, if negotiating an entire plan is not possible – a high probability outcome.

    Best regards,

    Vic

  141. mahmood says:

    Vic:

    You cannot just take over from one day to the next and form a democracy in Bahrain or anywhere else. If the current power base, royal, religious or otherwise as in Bahrain, is willing to hand over power, it should be gradual under some specific agreed upon plan over several years. That way everyone can avoid a very destructive forced takeover, that can easily set a country back a decade or more.

    No no no no! There could never be a big red switch that should be thrown from OFF to ON to completely flip a culture from totalitarian tribal and/or religious regime into a full democratic one! If I gave that impression, I am sorry! As that was not my intention.

    The ONLY way to have a sustained democracy is if the majority subscribes to its tenets and practice it in their daily lives.

    When I wrote that I want democracy now is that we should declare that we are on the road to democracy starting immediately with defined steps and timelines. NOT to switch the countries’ infrastructure from one end of the spectrum to the other, this would most definitely create chaotic situations that we do not need.

    We DO need democracy NOW and by that I mean that there should be a declared intention to move to full democratic instruments at an agreed pace and timeframe per country.

    Vic:

    So based on historical evidence, and having been involved in such changes, in my opinion the best way is to negotiate a written agreement with the current ad-infinitum ruling parties (political as in royalty, and religious leaders as in the case of most ME countries) about a change, if such a thing is possible, with at least quarterly steps, covering constitutional changes, civil and criminal law changes, election law including term limits and so on.

    Oh most indubitably! And the way forward could be:

    1. Declare the intention to move to a democracy, and set a target date for full completion of the move, say 50 years or whatever period that is agreed between the party.

    2. Put that agreement in the current constitution.

    3. Create a group to monitor and push along the process.

    4. Enable the various government and civil devices to permeate the change.

    I hope that makes the position clearer.

  142. “When I wrote that I want democracy now is that we should declare that we are on the road to democracy starting immediately with defined steps and timelines.”

    Hellow again Mahmood.
    This is what I meant when I said, maybe they’ll be ready in 10, 15 or 20 years. And I said there should be a timeline. But you disagreed.

  143. mahmood says:

    Tariq, your thoughts were that you were against even the initiation of democracy now “as we don’t deserve it”.

    No where in any of your comments did you qualify that!

    I questioned you several times about your position and you specifically said:

    Even if by the attempt to implement one you are sacrificing most of the others at the same time? That seems to be what is happening. I say, go for the ones that are acheivable and realistic first.

    and when I questioned you:

    The question was for you to list those items of the Declaration of Human Rights which you believe should take precedence on democracy.

    you prevaricated, and then came up with:

    I’d rather live a good life than have an electoral process that is likely to damage it for the rest of my lifetime and possibly future generations as well.

    Giving you the benefit of the doubt in this case is not available. You made your disagreement with the implementation of democracy in this area of the world quite plain, and that, not to put it too fine a point on it, that we essentially don’t deserve it.

    Maybe you should re-read the thread to come to a conclusion. My position was static; I said:

    I completely disagree with the quoted statement and it shows your position clearly; you regard democracy as nothing more than “an experiment” and you prefer deferring it to a time unknown.

    I regard democracy as a basic human right and that the time for its implementation is right now not a second or two later.

    Let us then agree to disagree Tariq, because our positions cannot be reconciled. Unfortunately.

  144. Nope Mahmood….I clearly stated that we are not ready now and that Im not against democracy. Several times in fact. Go back and read. All those statements you reeferred to was about the present time. I still believe that we are not ready for it now. Its totally consisted within the context of all my comments. When I say I want to live a good life, I’m talking about the present, not if at some point in the future people in this region are less fanatical nad more educated.

    And I mentioned the timeline idea you brought up again and followed it up with the setnencee about how many years it may take. You agreed with the former sentence and disagreed with the second even though it was an extension of the same idea. Perhaps we disagree with how soon a democracy can be implemented. I don’t see it happening for several decades maybe not even within our lifetimes. But if it does, then I’m all for it. I’ve made this quite clear.

    Then you went on to say that democracy is a right that every human being should have, which implied that it should be regardless of the stage of development that a country or region or group is at.

  145. Throughout my posts I kept referring to the fact that Iraq or the region isn’t “ready”. This clearly implies that it may be in the future. Here are some of my previous quotes in which I state this view more clearly. Maybe you chose to selectively ignnore them:

    “For the record, I’m not saying that Iraq couldn’t at some point in the future be democratic or that there should be a timeline for its implementation. I’m not against democracy. I just think that at the present time an Iraqi democracy is more likely to result in three different countries split along religious and ethnic lines than a country with different ethnic groups working together in a democratic way.”

    “It would be great if these things worked out, but history has shown otherwise, but it just hasn’t and I don’t think it will for some time. I’m just being realistic here…”

    “I’m arging that this is the more likely outcome of attempts to install democracy too fast in this region than one in which the people will actually be better off. The culture will just not support it.”

  146. docspencer says:

    Tariq and Mahmood, excuse me for jumping in the middle, but sounds to me that Tariq pretty much sees things as we do. He may be a bit more pessimistic about timing than we, but that’s OK. After all, we really don’t know how long it actually would take. I really read him this way, I am pretty good at that.

    This is how negotiation will go. People getting to know actually what the other means – by talking to each other.

    I wish the Israelis and Palestinians did that along with Hamas and HezbAllah. I wish all parties were willing to keep talking until they agree. That means each party understanding the other and willing to give a little here and there – for peace.

    Vic

  147. mahmood says:

    Okay Tariq, we should leave it as it is as we both seem to have held the wrong end of the stick, the same stick it seems, but wrong ends.

  148. F says:

    Tariq,

    I concur with you about Democracy, Iraq and region.

    Issue of Saddam, it was a political execution
    and the US wanted it. Plus, it would bolster the
    image of a no-nonsense policy by the present Iraqi government.

    Execution on Eid holiday is just not acceptable.
    In the West, I’m sure no condemned man would be
    executed on religious holidays.

    The handling of the execution was done in bad taste. It showed the Iraqi ‘security’ to be sectarian thugs.

    I think the new Iraq will be in turnmoil for a while. The coalition forces will have to leave
    and anarchy will reign for a while. At the end,
    another leader will take power and, like previous
    leaders, through brute force.

    The US has an interest in this region. Till the
    area is weakened beyond belief and their interests
    dried up, the US will leave this place as it found
    it – a desert.

  149. can we talk says:

    Vic,
    you wrote:
    “Sami, you are incredibly anti-American, no matter how it was done, and without any clue for the facts. Saddam and his cohorts were incredible murderers, like Nazis. Maybe even more inhuman than that. Why do you use an American flag after your name? Do you actually live in the USA? Are you part of an Al Qaida cell in the USA? You certainly sound like one.”
    to me sounds like you are the one with less than all the clues! it is precisely this sort of action which has created the “anti-american” feeling in many in this part of the world. personally, i am against the death penalty, as are most civilized people, i think, but i shall put that aside in this case because i will hear responses of the need for closure and fears that he would not remain in custody if he was merely detained for life. so, i’ll let that go.

    the eid issue is, however, another story. i am sure that many in your country would find it distasteful and unacceptable to execute someone on christmas day or thanksgiving day when people are praying and giving thanks. the choice of day is either an intential “up yours” or complete lack of sensitivity and ignorance. i don’t see a third possible explanation. Both are bad.

    as for being anti-american, it is funny how that pops up everytime anyone criticizes any behaviour committed by the US. and yet america has the right to criticize anyone and everyone for anything and everything that doesn’t serve its purposes at that time.
    I don’t know Sami from Adam, but what he said doesn’t make him alqaeda, what you said makes you sound like you have blinkers on.

    you also said
    “We, the US, know now that we did not plan well enough for the recovery in Iraq, beyond the brief initial military takeover, executed with forces that were too small for the job thanks to Mr. Bush and Rumsfeld. And thanks to very poor planning by us for the postwar recovery (again Rumsfeld and Bush). I suspect we learned a big lesson.”

    the rest of the world knew the US were going about it the wrong way, the only ones who didn’t know or didn’t care were them. but NO, they had to go through the whole bloody experience, sacrifice thousands of people, allow anarchy to take place, allow the country to break up into warring factions, they devalued the currency with no plan for how to fix the situation, they cancelled the police system without enough people to maintain law and order, they released all the prisoners, many of whom were innocent but also many of whom were hardened criminals, who then went on to commit further crimes. They SHOULD have known that before they went in. the rest of the world did. why didn’t they? Either they didn’t know because they didn’t trouble themselves to evaluate the situation, or they didn’t care. Both are bad.

    America has a lot of great things but it also has much that can be criticized. Speaking out against its actions does not make one anti-american. Americanism is not a belief system or a philosophy or a political party that one can be for or against. America is a very large country that includes the super educated and the super ignorant. And we shouldn’t elevate it more than it deserves, as one would to any country.

    Yes, there are a lot of great things about America. For example, it brought us technology in a way that totally changed our lives, we now have access to information which we can only be grateful for. It brought us National Geographic, Hollywood Oprah and CSI, opening our minds to the possibilities, for humanity and human understanding. but it also brought us Jerry Springer and the Maury Povitch and showed the world the depths of its seedy side.

    I don’t want my country to be the kind of place that homeless people sit in the street holding cardboard notices saying “I haven’t eaten in a week, feed me”, nor the kind of place where people get turned away from hospitals because they don’t have health insurance or the kind of place where the president can have the power to make decisions despite the will of the people nor the kind of place where university students don’t know where central America is let alone the rest of the world, who is the prime minister of their closest ally, or can’t imagine why the rest of the world isn’t in love with everything American. That is not to say that some aspects of life in the US are not wonderful, although some freedoms and rights have recently been eroded there as well. My reading of the last elections is that people were not so much voting pro-democrat as anti-Bush. One can maybe excuse them voting him in the first time, but giving him a second term cannot be excused by any means. What I’m saying is that the US is not Utopia and the world is not black and white and one is not either pro-american or pro-alqaeda, with you or against you.

    As for the issue of whether or not we are ready for democracy, to me TK and Mahmood are saying the same thing in reality. Mahmood says we need to prepare starting now for implementing it later, TK says we cannot implement now. Mahmood says separate religion and state. TK says we can’t now. At the moment, we can’t, it’s true, simply because the basic rights some of which TK mentioned contradict the Sharia law, the most obvious being anything related to females. The masses who are supposed to buy into democracy would not, under current circumstances, be willing to give up what they see as basic tenets to their faith. Any democracy they are willing to buy into would be confined within the space defined by those tenets, nullifying the basic principles TK mentioned, essentially making half of the population become second class citizens under the guise of honouring them. And enough time has passed to give credence to those leaders for whom it is convenient to promote these tenets. They are not now going to lie down and play dead so you can have your version of democracy (ie, true democracy).
    And another thing, with many proponents of democracy here now, I don’t think that the belief is really there, because practice does not illustrate this belief. It is not practiced in most (IMO) homes, at schools or within marriages. The result of applying democratic rule bound by other beliefs is that the majority rule without respecting individual rights and freedoms. We saw that in the last parliament. they think it means you vote on everything for everyone.
    If democracy were to be applied now without truly appreciating and understanding it, we would lose our freedoms and our rights. Women would be relegated and it would be legal. As a human being, my personal freedoms to work where I want and dress how I want and be treated with respect are very important to me and a majority rule would take those away. I read above that sacrifices must be made, as in Iraq sacrifices are being made and it will be worth it in the end. I wonder if the mothers who lost several of their children or the child who lost seven siblings would agree that the cost was worth the gain. Maybe the cost is worth it when it is someone else’s children who are being sacrificed.

    If I were in the majority, I would probably be quite happy to march for democracy, but if I am in the minority and minorities are going to have their rights and freedoms curtailed by the majority who does not understand that my personal rights and freedoms are none of their business, then I might as well start filling out immigration forms to greener pastures.

  150. A Veteran STRAYCATer BBS! says:

    Very well said “can we talk“.

  151. docspencer says:

    Can we talk (CWT), very well said and I accept all the points that you raised with me. Sami, I did not like your tone, and some of your comments, but I insulted you and should not have. I apologize for that and hope I will hear from you also.

    Just a technicality CWT, was Saddam executed on Eid, or technically before Eid, if Eid starts at sunrise? He was executed before sunrise. Even if this is true, I would agree with you about chosing the execution to be so close to Eid. I would imagine that a number of smart people gave some serious thought to the timing both on the US and Iraqi side. I would love to know the reasons pro and con, but I don’t imagine it will be aired.

    You made very good points about my comments to Sami and I appreciate them very much. I did a Web site about my visit to Bahrain and Dubai in March 06 (www.bahraindubai.info), and it has a page on Islam, mostly for our benefit in non-Islamic countries. Most of us here and in Europe know virtually nothing about your world and Islam and the objective of my Web site is to close some of those gaps but “wrapped” in a touristy report on the trip which was a great experience. I put my Conclusions at the end of the Islam page. Would you be willing to critique those conclusions for me as candidly as my blog to Sami? I would REALLY appreciate that.

    Thanks and best regards,

    Vic

  152. milter says:

    can we talk,

    I think you have made a very clear description of the situation as it is right now. Your analysis is, in my opinion, very accurate.

    The masses who are supposed to buy into democracy would not, under current circumstances, be willing to give up what they see as basic tenets to their faith.

    Until recently the religious leaders had no real competition in the contest for souls. They could convince people that only they (the scholars) could lead them to living a just life with a place in Heaven guarenteed.

    Now more and more are beginning to question their authority and that hurts. To those that have for years believed in the sanctity and infallability of the sources of Islam, it hurts to suddenly realize that they may not always be right and that they may not have answers that are palatable to a modern human being.

    The scholars will fight back, some of them resorting to the use of threats to hold on to their power. Ordinary people will have to give up ancient beliefs (or, at least some of them) and it is painful to realize that some of the tenets you considered sacred are no longer so. It means having to admit that you have been living on a lie. The easy, and less painful solution to that conflict, is denying its existence or trying to look for a conspiracy to explain it.

    Others, that can’t give up the idea of The Quran and The Hadith being “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” try to find a philosophical approach to their dilemma. One such person is a Danish Muslim/politician/debator, Sherin Khankan. She has chosen the Sufi version of Islam and is in a book advocating the idea of a more spiritual interpretation of The Quran. She is well educated and may sound convincing, trying to explain how the application of Shariah can find a place in a modern society but, what she is really saying is: “I know it says so but it doesn’t really mean what it says”.

    Mahmood’s declaration:

    Islam is NOT compatible with the modern interpretation of Human Rights and never has. I resolutely and fully stand on the side of Human Rights and call, once again, for the reinterpretation of the Muslim religion to be more in tune with the modern world and remove all passages within its texts which go against the values of Human Rights.

    is very brave and hopefully more will join him.

  153. mahmood says:

    CWT:

    No arguments as to your portrayal of America and the Iraqi situation.

    If democracy were to be applied now without truly appreciating and understanding it, we would lose our freedoms and our rights. Women would be relegated and it would be legal.

    This is very true. But when is this march to democracy ever going to start if we just become afraid of scenarios as you describe?

    I personally am not afraid of the Islamists, with the furore that we have had during the Nancy Ajram afair, they got to know immediately that people would stand against them, and they did, so they didn’t dare even utter a single objection when not only Nancy graced our shores again, but was joined by three other ladies and a guy who sang their hearts out for a reported $50k each for the privilege, and people paid approximately $1k a ticket for the pleasure of being in their company for a few hours.

    What I’m saying is that the feared Islamists in Bahrain would not dare further change our way of life, intrinsically, because the people of Bahrain are more liberal than they think!

    But I agree with you, fears do exist and must be addressed. Constitutionally, guarantees are present to allay those fears. Those guarantees must now be translated into laws in which individual are protected and their lives and individual freedoms are respected. Yes there are laws even for these, but the problem – I think you will agree – are in the poor implementation. So.. the first step toward democracy is to make sure that those laws are implemented, and we are well on our way.

    So given that our constitution – with reservations – is a workable one (I wouldn’t use the word good in this context) we should immediately work at making it better and put in place a point in time at which we should achieve everything being called for: full constitutional democracy. Again, I personally don’t mind if that period is 25 or even 50 years, but let us make a start now and put that target in sight.

    I think it is imperative to start this now, the sooner the better. Because the alternative, as Chan’ad mentioned above regarding the writings and thoughts of Belgrave, in 50 years our children will be in probably the same situation we are in now, and they will ask, when the hell are we going to be “ready” for this democracy thing? If the situation veers towards that condition, I would rather my children make plans now to emigrate to an area of the world that guarantees their rights.

  154. mahmood says:

    CWT: The masses who are supposed to buy into democracy would not, under current circumstances, be willing to give up what they see as basic tenets to their faith.

    Milter: Until recently the religious leaders had no real competition in the contest for souls. They could convince people that only they (the scholars) could lead them to living a just life with a place in Heaven guarenteed.

    A good friend of mine told me a joke which actually demonstrates the flexibility of Islam, maybe the following is exaggerated, but clearly indicates that given the freedom to interpret Islam in a modern way, maybe we will find that it could be made as compatible with modern democracies!

    He say: A guy was brought in front of a Shari’a judge charged with being a cheat and a thief. He was apprehended for selling “guaranteed tickets to Heaven,” the judge was furious; “How dare you do such a thing, this is Haram” and carried on harranguing the guy, at the end, the judge asked “what do you have to say for yourself?”

    The guy replied: “Your eminence, bring me a single person whom I sold a ticket to and did not enter Heaven!”

    The judge ordered his release.

    I am sure there are many other examples that could be brought forth, maybe much better than the above, which could demonstrate the flexibility of Islam. It’s interpreters just need to loosen up a little and be less dogmatic in their interpretation.

  155. docspencer says:

    Mahmood, is there a way for you guys to have conversations with the head of your royal family, very frank conversations, about becoming more progressive and moving toward a form of democracy. And discuss what is needed. I met his father once accidentally in a park a long time ago during one of my first trips to Bahrain. He was a very nice man, very interested in everything, and we had a really great conversation as we walked around. The next day I found out who he was, his picture was in the paper. I was stunned. I imagine his son would have many of his qualities, and with such a man you could very openly discuss the democracy subject. I know someone your current ruler went to school with, so maybe I could help.

    You are right in that the best progression could be an agreement up front about an end goal, followed by an agreement about the detailed steps that lead there. I believe that this would be a great way to kick off such progression. The best in my opinion.

    Religions started during very difficult times. Tribal conflicts and very hard times. Same with Jesus and the same in then Arabia with the Prophet Muhammad. None of these Prophets knew what the future will be like worldwide after 2000 and 1400 years. Obviously they needed to include in the Holy Books many things that apply forever, and some things that related to the tough life and conflicts then. Life was full of armed conflicts and the killing of innocent people and children then. So modernization has been inevitable in Christianity (hence the Reformation in Christianity) and will be in Islam as well. Christians have been leaving the religion in Western Europe by the droves for decades. The churches are empty, which is bad, but it is for this reason. Inflexibility. In America church attendance is high, but the variety of Christian religions is very large, to cater to slightly different needs within the population. And I mean very small, 2-3% changes. And we have the extreme fringe also. About 5%. I don’t want to offend any of you with this, it is just an idea and food for thought. We do have a successful separation of church and state, but each side needs to adjust with time. Religion perhaps every few centuries, and the government almost constantly.

    Maybe Islam needs a 2-4% adjustment to define interpretations that are creating problems today for the image of Islam worldwide. For example it should be very clear that what the terrorists are doing is not in accordance with Islam as they claim. And we can take criticism also.

    God=Allah is merciful, the wisest, fair and just. I don’t think anyone would argue that on the Muslim or Christian side. That is all we all want. To be fair and just, to all people. It is my personal belief that we do not have a separate God for Muslims and Christians. We have the one and only God for us all.

    Best regards,

    Vic

  156. mahmood says:

    Vic, you suggesting that you, a foreigner who happened to pass by my country, could “arrange a meeting with the king” through a “friend” is highly arrogant and insulting to me, frankly.

    For your information, his majesty, our PM and crown prince as well as ALL ministers have regular weekly “majlisses” – open houses if you will – in which they receive any citizen who in turn is free to petition the official of choice or voice grievances or bring some matter to their attention, all in the way of true Arab hospitality.

    There are continuous audiences with these officials and our views are relayed to those who are in a position to make a change directly or indirectly. Whether those views are acted upon are of course an entirely different matter.

    So thanks, but no thanks. We’ll run our own affairs for now our own way, and if help is offered legitimately we will look into it and might consider it if it is expedient to do so.

    But thanks again for your consideration.

  157. jasra jedi says:

    CWT, Very nice explanation.

    TK, Mahmood. I think that the differences between the two of you are regarding what to do about the situation. TK seems to be favoring stability and wait for the right time. Mahmood wasnts to start the process.

    I remember when the women drove in Saudi all those years ago. They were punushed, jobs revoked, made to apologize … all because ‘it wasnt the right time’. The Saudi government at the time was worried that allowing the women to drive would give the Isalmists fuel to consider them heretic, etc.

    There is NEVER a right time. There are people who fight for what they believe in. And democracy, like maturity, is a process. What makes one child grow up into a mature adult and another one into a self absorbed twit? It depends on how they absorb change and adapt to the world around them.

    TK. If we dont try and separate religion from state today, then our job when the ‘right time’ comes is ten times as hard, and ten times as much blood will be shed. If you determine how you fight, you at least control some part of the battle. If we sit back and wait for the extremes to manage that battle, we have to clean up their mess and ours.

    Mahmood. I would agree with you that the core of Bahrain is a liberal society that is made up of enough diversity where we can, in theory, and with good leadership, overcome the religious forces. However our problem today is not Nancy Ajram.

    I think our problem in Bahrain today is that we are facing a regional square off between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and guess where the battle is going to be fought??? Yep. L’il ole Bahrain.

    Iraq is already a lost cause. And, executing Saddam on the 1st day of the Sunni Eid is giving the finger to the Sunnis, (read Saudi Arabia). But, I dont remember anyone becoming outraged when the insurgents in Iraq destroyed the Shia Mosques.. History will show that it was the Shia in Iraq who really retrained themselves from responding to sectarian attacks after the ‘Liberation’. “It wasnt the right time,” they said. Until they hit their limit and pulled the stops out.

    If we, in Bahrain, arent careful, we are heading in that direction. Not because of the internal fabric of our society. But because we are bringing in others ..actively.

    TK. If we dont try and do something about this now, it will just get worse. Not better. People want to exercise some power over their lives. Be it through the mosque or the maatam or through parliament. They all want ‘democracy’. They are all fighting for their own definition of it. Its a moot point to say that we are not ready. To get to something that will last, we have to go through ALL the iterations. Which is what is happeneing, de facto.

    Allah yestir

  158. docspencer says:

    Mahmood: “Vic, you suggesting that you, a foreigner who happened to pass by my country, could “arrange a meeting with the king” through a “friend” is highly arrogant and insulting to me, frankly….
    So thanks, but no thanks. We’ll run our own affairs for now our own way, and if help is offered legitimately we will look into it and might consider it if it is expedient to do so.”

    Mahmood, that sounded a bit insulting by you, but I am sure it was not intended that way. I am just trying to help, and I am also trying to learn. Please know that “the foreigner, Vic” was NOT trying to be arrogant and insulting with you. I couldn’t run your or anybody elses affairs even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to.

    We do not live in a monarchy, so we tend to look at “his/her majesty” the same way as another person, but with a lot of power that he/she INHERITED FOR LIFE. In other words, “we see them going to the bathroom to do their thing the same way as we ordinary people do”. Some are good, some are not so good. It is my superficial opinion as a foreigner that yours is one of the good ones. If you happen to have a very good one, it offers more stability than our system with a change every four or eight years all over within government. Changes like that can bring a good one or not so good one, but the democratic system, works pretty well overall.

    Your traditional system maintained with majlisses is a wonderful thing. I did not know you had it on such high governmental level. Do the other Arab countries in the ME have the same custom at the same level?

    What was accomplished so far with the majlisses opportunity on the subject of this forum? Have you used it yet?

    Peace be with you.

    Best regards,

    Vic

  159. Jasra,
    Sure, I’m in favour of some kind of democratic reform, just not a full blown democracy (as defined by the type of electoral system that exists in the West) at this point. I mean, even today we have quite a few freedoms that we didn’t in the past. A blog like this wouldn’t exist, for example. Demonstrations are now somewhat legal, etc.

  160. jasra jedi says:

    Tariq:

    Sure, I’m in favour of some kind of democratic reform, just not a full blown democracy (as defined by the type of electoral system that exists in the West) at this point

    The thing is Tariq, either you support the process or you don’t. You can’t be married to the outcome.

    If I beleive in the process, I will have to accept, like Socrates did, to abide by the results. If he accepted to due by hemlock, then I have to accept that the religious powers, due to one man one vote, will get what they want and impose their will on me.

    First step is to figure out what I, as an individual, beleive in. What am I willing to live for, what I am willing to die for. I can contradict the will of the majority if I choose.

    It is not time that will define the outcome. It is the passion by which people fight for what they beleive in.

  161. docspencer says:

    Tariq and JJ, any objective that heads in the right direction to improve the system is fine. In the US system we are constantly improving the laws through our Congress. Democracy is a never ending process.

    Tariq, you said what you would not support the voting system used in many Western countries, however, you may want to give some examples of what you would support in specifics. Or just come right out and say “Guys, this is not my thing, I like things as they are today.”.

    It seems that the passport office could use some laws to treat everyone equally and fairly by law. It seems that women’s rights could use a helping hand with some changes in the law. Based on Mahmoods blogs. Are ministers appointed or elected? They could be elected for a specific term with term limits, like 2 or 3 4-year terms maximum per elected person. Some “fresh blood” on that level is very helpful.

    Vic

  162. mahmood says:

    Very succinctly put Jasra, and I agree completely.

  163. can we talk says:

    I think that before you start implementing democracy, if that is what we think is indeed the way for the future, we have to do a couple of things.

    1) draw the boundaries and the write the job desrciption. establish the framework within which democracy will have control. in other words, what do they have the right to vote on and what they do not. they cannot, for example, vote on what you have for dinner, what music you choose to listen to, what jpobs you may apply to, where you go on holiday and what you can wear. while these may sound obvious, lines shifting very slowly can easily erode civil rights and personal liberties. we saw that in america. this also needs to be clearly understood by the representatives. (uni dress code is an example, nancy ajram was another. while these issues are trivial to most of us individually, they set precedents and redefine roles and rights and collectively they serve to change the essence of society towards a communist approach to freedoms)

    2) write the job qualifications. establish who qualifies to be a representative. regardless of the equality of people under the law, it is ludicruous to leave the future of a people in the hands of people who are not capable of deciding.

    you wouldn’t go to someone who hadn’t studied medicine to perform a coronory bypass on you, you wouldn’t go to a road sweeper or a warehouse guard for legal advice on an important case,no matter how popular he is), you couldn’t get an employer to hire you without the required skills. I don’t see how anyone can justify allowing people with nothing on their CV to run for elections. if education wasn’t important, nobody would be studying. people are now being elected by popularity, instead of job requirements. let the public know what these are so they can elect more wisely. introduce democracy into their lives at an early age so that by the time they can vote, they are savvy and understand how to choose.

    3) i agree that we are basically a liberal collection of people. i personally think that the majority has only been brainwashed by religious people, intentionally or otherwise, and the situation was allowed to continue because it served various agendas. during a time when many felt highly aggreived by the existing system, fearing for their future, their opportunities and their children, stepped on and discriminated against, they were marginalized and trivialized, despite having something worthwhile to offer. religion offered broken men the equalizer.

    you may have no (or a worse) job, you may have no money, you may have no house, you may be inferior in every visible indicator, but you know what, you are a better human-being because of your faith. your cause (religion) elevates you to a higher tier and provides you with the esteem that you crave. it empowers you so that you are no longer inferior. it puts you back in the picture and makes you relevant. at the same time, this empowerment tool cannot be criticized, for who can argue with the creator? it is the perfect weapon! how many people are going to walk away from that?

    but, treat the disease, and the drug will lose some of its magic powers. Reform is so important, if only to remove this aggreivement and neutralize this brainwashing power, so that we as a country can shed what is holding us back and move forward with religion taking its proper size as a compass for ethics and morality and not as a main driver in politics.

    clinging blindly to religion places the brain in the off position and replaces it with a book of references and formulas, so all one has to do is look up the formula and voila. regurgitate the words. no creativity, no need to think. the population has to be encouraged to ask, think, wonder, argue, debate, create. once again, (somehow, I always end up here), you need to change the education system in order to achieve this. this is not an overnight accomplishment. it takes time.

    I am sure more will come when I think about it, but these are paramount. and they shouldn’t be done after change has occured, because if you don’t define the boundaries (1 and 2) and don’t bring people out from the shadow of (3) first, by the time you have got it right, there will have been so much damage done that it may be irrectifiable.
    (to illustrate, if earthlings had respected the environment from the beginning, we wouldn’t be facing the problems we have today.

    more locally, if an ignorant decision hadn’t been made, we would still have the sweet water under the sea, we would still have Adhari and all the other eins, we wouldn’t be looking forward to a future water shortage, we would still have Toobli Bay, we would still have all the flora and fauna that lived there, we would still have a greener Bahrain at cheaper costs, our kids wouldn’t have to look for alternative sources of water. so much cost, economically, esthetically, long-term damage that is irrectifiable, with enormous ramifications for future generations. it doesn’t matter that this matter was not parliament-related. this is what happens when decision makers are not qualified.

    a more recent example is the attempts to segregate genders and install dresscodes in UoB. although the damage was limited, there was clearly no understanding that a university is different from a school.

    more on this later!! meanwhile, my conclusion is that if fate is to be entrusted to democracy, some groundwork needs to be done. we shouldn’t just say it’s not worse than what we have now. democracy can be the magic redressor of imbalance and restorer of social responsibility.

    if you’re going to move, you move to a better neighbourhood, if you’re going to change jobs, you change to a better one. not to one worse or the same as the one you’re in now.

  164. Jasra-Jedi says:

    CWT,

    Good points.

    I would reform the judical process in Bahrain. Make it more independent. And I would also remove the need for Al Awqaf Al Jaffaria and Al Sunniya. And I would remove sharia as it applies to domestic issues.

    I would then impost one standard law that covers EVEYRONE in Bahrain, irrespective of gender, or sex and ensure that the Courts have qualified judges.

  165. can we talk says:

    JJ,
    the second item sounds wonderful to me! the whole judicial system needs an overhaul. but now we’re going into murky water. it needs to be marketed properly in order not to get a violent reaction.

    the first item i’m not clear on. I know the system sucks now and is hugely mismanaged, what do you suggest to take care of (amwal alqasireen)? one trust that is accountable to the parliament and audited by the audit court?
    what else do these guys do besides actually (mis)managing waqfs for orphans and maatams? do they have other responsibilities?

    oh, an another thing. i’d go big on sports. make them popular at every level and provide the facilities everywhere for everyone to play. too much unspent energy and lots of idle time can only lead to frustration and trouble while sports help people to respect laws and play fair.

    oh, my list is so long, if i get started i’ll go on and on…

  166. jasra jedi says:

    cwt ..

    u got my vote!!!

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