Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Tree of Democracy From the Stump of Terror

"They underestimate the power and appeal of freedom. We've heard it suggested that ... democracy must be on shaky ground because [ethnic parties] are arguing with each other. But that's the essence of democracy: making your case, debating with those who you disagree -- who disagree, building consensus by persuasion, and answering to the will of the people. We've heard it said that the [parties] are too divided to form a lasting democracy. In fact, democratic federalism is the best hope for unifying a diverse population, because a federal constitutional system respects the rights and religious traditions of all citizens, while giving all minorities, ... a stake and a voice in the future of their country. It is true that the seeds of freedom have only recently been planted ... -- but democracy, when it grows, is not a fragile flower; it is a healthy, sturdy tree."

--President Bush

Of course, when Bush uttered these words last October he was talking about Iraq. But as discussed here, the great hallmark of Bush' second term may well be the global march of democracy. Trouble is, that march is taking some surprising turns, as is evident in Hamas' stunning victory yesterday.

Who would have expected a seedling of democracy would grow from the stump of Islamic fundamentalism and terror? We are witnessing the emergence of democratic Islamic fundamentalism. It is now a fragile flower. It may soon grow to be a sturdy, but most unhealthy tree. The new cedar of Lebanon.


Blogger Aaron Ostrovsky said...

"Unhealthy tree"? Perhaps not.

I think we have to be careful with pigeon holing this latest move by Hamas as just a terrorist organization gaming the system for influence. If this is not your argument, Roger, please correct me.

We ARE witnessing the emergence of a democratic Islamic fundamentalism - and indeed it may be grown from the "stump of terror" as it were - but the emphasis is on the democratic. In as much as international terrorism has a rational goal, that goal is forcing recognition of its aims through violence. But it seems to me that once an organization can legitimize itself through other means, i.e. democratic elections, perhaps the need for violence will wane? Certainly the popular tolerance for it will.

While Hamas may prefer a more fundamental regime (this seems to be the trend in many democratically elected governments, including, lamentably our own), let us not forget that it is their choice. Democracy is government by consent of the governed.

Finally, let us not forget the long list of choice terms British society must have had for Americans during the war for independence - I am sure "terrorists" was on the list.

1/26/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Charles Gittings said...

"Who would have expected a seedling of democracy would grow from the stump of Islamic fundamentalism and terror?"

Anyone who is familiar with the Republican Party?

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