Shock and amusement are the words that best sum up my feelings regarding the reactions generated in America, Europe and Israel to the electoral victory secured by Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections.
At once, I am shocked and amused by these reactions because they are in stark contrast to what the Americans, the Europeans and yes, the Israelis persistently claim they want and need from Palestinians, from Arabs and the entire Middle East.
I am shocked because America, a country that prides itself as the mother of all that is democratic, and the grandmother of all that is freedom and liberty of all the world, is loathe to see Hamas triumph at the ballot box in Palestine.
This American, European and Israeli stance, is in complete disregard for the national interests of the people of Palestine, and the fact that Palestine has just had a free and fair election by all accounts. Palestine elections were adjudged to be free of irregularities and fraud, Palestine elections were devoid of acrimonies of the Florida and Ohio types.
Then of course, I am amused, thoroughly amused, because, America and Israel seem to be saying to Hamas, and by extension, to all of Palestine, Be reasonable do things our way! Be our puppet! America, Europe and Israel seem to only want a puppet, and interloper-interlocutor who will do what he is told? And that will be the democracy in Palestine that is acceptable? A democracy and a leadership that is subject to manipulation.
But who indeed, defines democracy? In Algeria, duly conducted elections were disregarded or nullified, just so, citizens of Algeria with Islamic credentials or manifestoes would not see the light of day, and a chance to implement their political and economic programs. But in America, President Bush’s election was buoyed by the evangelicals and ultra conservative religionists. These social and religious conservatives have been trying vigorously to install conservative justices on the United States Supreme Court they also are the engine room that continues to drive President Bush’s domestic and foreign policies. Whether such policies are social, economic, political or judicial etc
Why is it okay to have the evangelicals drive American public policies, but clerics are for some reason, not allowed to influence policies in Iran, Iraq or Palestine? How about what the locals and the local electorate in Palestine or Haiti want? Only recently, Ambassador Curran, the US former ambassador to Haiti publicly recounted his gory experience in Haiti, how agents of the Bush administration were frustrating the ambassador’s effort to steady democracy in Haiti. The US government armed insurgents, rebels and criminal elements to overthrow the legitimate and constitutional government in Haiti, while the same US government publicly pretended to be interested in democracy in Haiti, according to the former US Ambassador to Haiti (more). And President Aristide was pushed out!
Again, the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt who sought to attain political power through the ballots box and democracy, were similarly undermined by the Western powers. President Hosni Mubarak has flagrantly announced the suspension of more local elections, soon after his Western friends expressed outrage over the elections of members of the Islamic Brotherhood.
The same financial muscle-flexing against Haiti guaranteed the failure of President Aristide of Haiti, as those who wanted him to fail, guaranteed and ensured his failure with multi-facetted efforts. The World Bank approved financial assets were blocked from Haiti
President Bush has during the preceding five years argued and repeatedly stated that his mission was to democratize Iraq, Palestine and in fact, the entire Middle East Arab World, the undiscerning of the world agreed with President Bush’s pretexts.
And some gullible were sold the Regime Change idea, regime change to enable the installation of democracy in Iraq, and perhaps everywhere else in the Middle East. Regime change to get rid of oppressive and corrupt government. Anyone who believed Bush may have therefore expected many installations or inaugurations of governments that are transparent and accountable to the people.
Did anyone believe that the United States, under the President Bush administration was indeed interested in exporting democracy? Did anyone believe that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has anything to do with democracy? It is all about strategic interests.
Clearly, anyone who thought that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a missionary undertaking to install good governance, must now think again! Iraq is spiraling into anarchy and lawlessness. Iraq has no democracy, at least, not at the present time and Iraq cannot therefore serve as any example of anything that resembles democracy. Iraq has this week actually moved closest to civil war and sectarian strife and outright disintegration along the lines of Shiite, Sunni and Kurd
What is worse, in all of these, is the fact that President Bush is apparently not proud of his achievement as an exporter or deliverer of democracy to the Arabs of the Middle East, especially, if such Arabs or Middle Easterners include members of Hamas?