Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"Lebanon, and all of Lebanon, rejects any resolution that is outside" these demands, Berri said.
So sayeth the Parliamentary speaker of Lebanon, a Shiite Muslim. The full force of why "democracy promotion" in the Middle East was such a horrible idea is starting to hit me. And it doesn't make me feel better that it's a reflection of current trends in Western democracy.

It seems to me that a democracy can only function effectively when there is room for agreeing to disagree or "loyal opposition". An Opposition may oppose, a protestor may protest, but at some level there is a sense that though there are disagreements, there is sufficient common ground for them all to work within the framework of one democratic system. Lebanon doesn't yet have this, and consequently the ballot box becomes less about what's good for all and more about what's bad for those bastards that you were shooting at just 20 years ago.

Note what Berri said: all of Lebanon. I find it highly suspect that all Lebanese are opposed to the proposed UN resolution, but I can believe that he's trying to get Lebanese people to jump on the pro-Hizbolla bandwagon. But I find his motives suspect. Is he, as I strongly suspect, aiming to bring about a Shiite takeover of Lebanon at the ballot box?

In the 1980s there was civil war. In Condi Rice's "new Middle East", the democratic framework in Lebanon is ripe for takeover if Hizbollah can garner enough support from other factions within Lebanon to get voted into a full majority position of power. Once that happens then they can do what both the US government and the Australian government currently do, and claim to always represent the will of all of the country as if the people who don't vote for them simply don't exist. Or worse, they can do what the elected president of Zimbabwe has done, and start deliberately targeting their opposition for abuse. Of course, it isn't democracy that best guards against this government-sanctioned abuse of those who don't agree with the current government: it's liberalism.

Also shaping my opinions about this are this article, and comments left on it. It may seem strange that an article specifically claiming that Hizbollah is not motivated purely by Shiite ideology of restoring the Caliphate throughout the Middle East prompts me to think the opposite, but the comments jumping up and down to celebrate Hizbollah's pan-Arab appeal left me with the feeling that this was exactly the goal: Hizbollah's is actively pushing the impression that they fight for all of Islam, and all of the Arabic world, against the evil US/Western/Zionist pigs. Hizbollah I suspect wants wide-ranging appeal, but only for the purpose of seizing complete control of Lebanon through the democratic process, at which point they will seek to transform it into an Islamic Republic. The comment that solidified this belief in my mind was in response to a Lebanese who claimed to oppose Hizbollah, noting their goal of spreading Shia revolution:

You are a Maronite. Are you not?

You guys belong with the French and the Crusaders. Please wake up and come back to your roots. You love the zionists and hate the Muslims of any colour.
Or, to put it another way: "you're either with us or with the enemy". Sound familiar?

So Lebanon is going to go down the crapper because of a Neoconservative promotion of democracy that gives no regard to the liberal safeguards on democracy needed to prevent the creation of a tyranny of the majority: a tyranny that Hizbollah is now I believe actively trying to create for the purpose of bringing about a Shia revolution.

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