Friday, August 23, 2013

The Western World and Selective Democracy

Penulis asal adalah dipetik daripada Dr Raudah Yunus - MBBS Alexandria University

Sekadar gambar hiasan

The recent and ongoing events in Egypt have proven beyond doubt that the western world has not been honest and true to their stated pledge of allegiance to democracy and human rights. The indecisive attitude, the soft, reluctant rebuke and at times, the awkward silence by The United States and European countries clearly indicates that they look after their interests at the expense of democratic principles and human rights. If the western interests match with democratic principles and human rights in a country inflicted with political turmoil, they will be the first to shout out slogans of freedom, the first to cut aids, the first to threaten any government for not respecting the will of people and the first to condemn undemocratic practices and seizures of power. However, if democracy in a country goes against western interests, the reverse will happen. Western governments will keep quiet or will make bizarre and foolish excuses to justify military coups, tortures and even mass murders. In other words, democracy is only for countries which will serve the interest of the western world and not for anyone else.

Before the great Egyptian revolution that toppled the dictator Hosni Mubarak, the west especially the US had always been a big ally of the Mubarak regime. Despite knowing that Mubarak came to power through a coup, that he was a dictator for three decades, that there were never any real elections in Egypt during his era and that political repressions via tortures and murders were committed by his security forces on a regular basis, the relationship between Mubarak and the western world had always been smooth. Democracy or human rights was never a serious issue. It was obvious that they needed Mubarak and exploited the corrupt nature of his regime for various agendas. Politically, Mubarak was seen as a key player to ensure the security and survival of Israel. Economically, the western world could easily plunder Egypt through many unilateral economic deals, flood the nation with their businesses and products and make the country dependent on them. Socially, the ultra-secular and pro-western regime helped ease the path for the west to culturally colonize the poor of the most important Arab nation through spreading western material and through promoting western language, culture, and lifestyle.

During the 2011 revolution, the west nervously realized that they could no longer support Mubarak due to the huge pressure exerted by the Egyptian people through mass protests and rallies. The whole world and especially surrounding Arab countries were watching every event closely. The fall of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia sparked the so-called Arab spring and the wave was becoming more and more intense and irresistible. The United States and Europe finally had no choice but to support the revolution, with a desperate hope that Mubarak’s successor would be similarly benefitting them. Perhaps they thought or even planned, that someone like Ahmad Syafik, or El Baradei, or Amr Mousa at least would come to power. After abandoning their long devoted, loyal ally Mubarak as part of a ‘use and discard’ policy, the west had a second shock. The last thing they wanted to see was the Muslim Brotherhood in power.Through the very first, fair and democratic election ever after three decades of dictatorship and oppression, Egyptians finally had a real president who was chosen solely by their will. Unfortunately, that was not the western will. The first elected president Mohamed Morsi was not the figure America and Europe were hoping for. Nevertheless, what could they do at that moment? Nothing but to show a lukewarm gesture of congratulating Egypt for choosing a new president.

Morsi did not fit in western expectation and Egypt was too crucial for the geo-political and economic interest of the west and Israel. The west and Israel cannot, and will never tolerate a new Egypt with sovereignty and ability to self-determine its future. This is because if Egypt were to be free and in control of its affairs, the western (neo)colonial interests will be jeopardized. That leaves the enemy with only one choice; that is to manipulate the angry and foolishly impatient opposition force which was at that time, still unable to accept defeat and therefore holding a deep-seated revenge against Morsi and the Brotherhood. Forming a win-win alliance, these two groups began to provoke dissatisfaction and anger among Egyptians and, with the provocation and support of USA and Israel, worked day and night to undermine the freely elected government and president. Instead of working together with Morsi and acting as a ‘check and balance’ force, they deceived Egyptian society into believing that Morsi was throwing the nation into a deeper hell than Mubarak. Every problem in the country became the fault of Morsi and of no one else. Funnily, the misled Egyptians seemed to have forgotten the fact that Morsi inherited a country which was almost dysfunctional and chaotic in every sense, from the thirty years of Mubarak’s autocratic rule. Such damage could never be repaired in a year or so, even by the best of experts.

It was not a difficult task for the cunning opposition forces as they had many trained people and professionals and that they were morally supported by the west. In addition, a large percentage of the citizens were still illiterate and uneducated. The naivety of Egyptians was cleverly manipulated and many of them were tricked onto the streets and violent protests. Some stupid excuses like ‘shortage of fuel and gases’ and ‘disruption of electricity’(which later mysteriously and quickly resumed after Morsi was overthrown) were used to justify the mass rally which eventually gave way to the military coup. One may now argue; it’s not about gases or electricity but the nation was worried about how Morsi was governing the country. First of all, to topple a democratically elected president merely because of ‘worry’ or ‘concern’ about how he is doing his job in not justified by any standard. If it is, then any elected government in this world deserves to be ousted the moment some assumptions arise about how they are governing. Does not make sense, does it? There are millions of Americans who are not happy with Barack Obama and are highly concerned about his policies, but that does not justify the American military to oust him by force. The only way to change is that Americans will have to wait until his term is over and choose a new successor.

One weird accusation against Morsi was that he polarized Egypt. Egypt is not the only country in this world with a polarized society. In fact, there are many other countries with more boundaries of religions, cultures, ethnicities, educational backgrounds and lifestyles. Homogeneity is no longer a feature one can see or expect in any land today. Giving the Muslim Brotherhood a stronger grip on the country is mainly the secular parties’ fear and they do not constitute the majority. All over the world, when a political party comes to power, it rules and dominates. On top of that, this particular accusation is highly debatable as Morsi’s multiple attempts for a national dialogue with the opposition and his efforts to form a coalition government were outrightly and repeatedly rejected by his political rivals. Another lame argument saying that Morsi won only by 52% and so he was not supported by the majority of Egyptians. Do people know that many western rulers win elections by a much slimmer majority than 52% and they still get the privilege and dignity to run the country?

The subsequent military coup had probably brought relief to the United States and European powers. They are currently pretending to rush for urgent meetings to discuss the situation, while perhaps clapping and whistling happily behind the curtain. Egypt has lost its sovereignty and the coup meant only one thing: that the western powers still have a grip on the country and are able to manipulate it according to their wishes. The interim government and the arrogant junta are simply puppets and will be crushed or abandoned by the west when they have been fully used and are no longer needed. Their evil intention was clear from the very beginning. Despite repeatedly claiming that they do not take sides, the west conceitedly refused to regard the coup as a coup. They showed support for the military when a vicious statement like ‘the military has to take actions to safeguard Egypt from further polarization and its actions will pave way to restore democracy’ was made several times in the news. The second evidence of the west taking side was when the EU envoy met with President Morsi. It was later reported that the envoy tried to persuade Morsi to resign and to accept the coup but Morsi refused. When asked what was Morsi’s opinion and stand on the issue, the envoy made a fool of herself by saying that she would not reveal Morsi’s stand and did not want to speak on his behalf. Why then, did the EU envoy speak on the military’s behalf by attempting to convince Morsi and the pro-democracy supporters to accept the coup?

The west’s close relation with Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies is another irony. While championing democracy and human rights in their own lands and imposing those ideologies on other nations, the United States and other western powers are mysteriously quiet and turn a blind eye towards the clearly undemocratic nature of how the Arab royals rule their countries and how they suppress dissent and violate human rights. A highly controversial book written by John Perkins entitled ‘Confession of An Economic Hitman’ reveals how highly trained American diplomats bribe various world leaders including Saudi Arabia in secret in order to get multi-billion dollar economic deals, continuous supply of oil, and plunder the countries’ wealth while promising the leaders one thing; we will secure your position and power. The book further describes in detail how the superpower which pretends to defend world peace and human rights supports corrupt leaders, plots against and assassinates elected leaders who want real change for their countries. All these to protect the interests of American business corporations.

The degree of hypocrisy and the inconsistencies shown by America and by the European powers when dealing with the current political turmoil in Egypt are becoming clearer each day. Now that Mubarak is released from prison and the Muslim Brotherhood is suffering from severe crackdown, more eyebrows will be raised and the west has surely lost all its credibility and legitimacy to talk about democracy and human rights. Where is Egypt heading to, no one knows for sure at the moment. But it is without doubt that America and Europe have again betrayed the Egyptian people and committed a grave crime against humanity by allowing bloodshed, supporting the brutal security forces and denying the rights and dignity of a legal president chosen by the free will of Egyptians. All in all, the west is in reality, scared of real democracy and transparent governance because it will only bring about free nations which are able to self-determine their directions and challenge the western hegemony