Democracy the Panacea

Before the Egyptian uprisings we were told that we in the West must support tyranny to maintain stability. After the uprisings we were told that our newly discovered duty is to oppose tyranny and support democracy.

Our government strove for stability by maintaining a harmonious relationship with “tyrants,” but now they’ve seen that turning a blind eye to tyranny was morally wrong, and universal democracy would be morally right.

Many people suspect that “tyrants” were all that stood between the fragile stability and the dreaded clash of civilisations. However, for the BBC and, it seems, Cameron’s government, democracy is a thing with magical properties. If it comes, lo and behold, it will turn the Islamic street into a secular wonderland.

Meanwhile, (as if we had any choice) we’re plumping for toppling tyrants and keeping our fingers crossed this will bring about liberty, freedom and peace – and abracadabra, turn the Arab World into the West.

No longer must we turn a blind eye to tyranny. Now our blind eyes are turned to the baying mobs chanting “Death to Jews” in Tunis, the stars of David scrawled on Mubarak posters, and the sinister signs of religious bigotry rather than secular liberalism that are emerging from the angry rioting crowd. The BBC’s eyes are the blindest of all.

Many people, apart from the BBC, think this is quite important. Should ‘free and fair’ elections materialise, and the Arab World democratically elect their governments of choice, and hey presto, should their choices involve the Muslim Brotherhood and its ilk, the glorious revolution will, with our blessing, have brought back tyranny. Plus an inharmonious relationship with the West, and lashings (excuse the pun) of extra insecurity and instability thrown in for good measure.

A reader has sent me this:

“There has been so much misinformation circulated that the Egyptians have not used their demonstrations to attack Israel.

The massive crowd (possibly over a million) is first incited by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi who as part of his victory speech (following the resignation of Mubarak) calls upon the crowd to pray for the conquest of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The crowd goes wild. Al-Qaradhawi is the “moderate” muslim leader that condoned suicide bombing of Israeli civilians and advocated the murder of homosexuals. He is now banned from entering the UK after his last visit as a guest of the then mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

Shortly afterwards, the crowd erupts into chanting in unison “To Jerusalem we go, for us to be Martyrs”

So it may be true that the Egyptians were more interested in overthrowing their despotic leader than a Palestinian state, but don’t be misled into thinking that they are likely to set up a wonderfully democratic country with good relations with Israel anytime soon. How could they, if all they’ve been used to receiving on their TV sets for the past 3 decades are programmes inciting the hatred and murder of Jews.”

Our government and our BBC will say, ‘that is how democracy works,’ so like it or lump it.’ Our foreign policy would have to be slightly adjusted, our appeasement of Islam ramped up, and William Hague could stop defending Israel’s right to exist, a stance that looks more faltering and unconvincing each time he declares it.

If they believe that a settlement freeze will hasten the peace process, they must have little or no idea at all what the conflict is about, probably through misleading journalism courtesy of the BBC.

Logic says that anyone who accepts that the Palestinian Authority’s demand for a settlement freeze is a valid prerequisite for ‘coming back to the table’, should equally wonder what’s to stop Israel feeling that Arab recognition of Israel and renunciation of violence is a jolly valid prerequisite for the resumption of negotiations too?

How can anyone expect Israel to come to a peace agreement with neighbours who insist loud and clear that they will never renounce violence and will never ever recognise Israel’s right to exist?

Yet because of heavily slanted reporting, which ignores previously negotiated and agreed territorial apportionment in order to portray all settlement construction as defiant, and a mere land-grab, Israel is not only unjustly given the role of intransigent, swaggering obstacle to peace, it is expected to make concession after concession whilst its enemy sits back and waits for more Hamas-like Islamist-style democracies to load the dice more and more heavily against it.

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23 Responses to Democracy the Panacea

  1. NotaSheep says:

    Excellent piece Sue, I can only applaud and feel that knot of despair in my stomach tighten at the prospect of the future for Israel that we both seem to share.


  2. john in cheshire says:

    Psalm 137 – by the waters of Babylon.


  3. George R says:

    *An Egyptian*, ex-Muslim convert to Christianty, comments on Egypt:

    “Gaining Control Through Democracy:

    The New Strategy of Muslim Brotherhood”

    Dr. Mark A. Gabriel*

    “We can look to the Revolution in Iran for one possible scenario. As in Egypt today, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 had broad support from all levels of society, both secular and religious. They welcomed the Islamic state and the return of the supreme Shia leader, the ayatollah. But when the Iranian government established sharia law, the people saw political opponents hanged in pubic squares and women were beaten or arrested if they refused to wear Islamic coverings. Now the Iranian people struggle to throw off the yoke of Islamic law, but the Islamic government has the strength to keep them under control. If Muslim Brotherhood gains control in Egypt, the same thing could happen to the Egyptian people.” 


  4. Umbongo says:

    Neither the BBC (in the persons of its Middle East Editor and others on the staff here or in Cairo) nor the FCO have the slightest idea how this is all going to turn out.  Mind you, they had no idea that this was even going to happen.  Actually, I’ll admit I had no idea this was going to happen but, there again, I’m not paid to be an expert or even a reporter.

    Unfortunately, I’m forced to pay for the complete lack of the any skill, knowledge or capacity [ie the dictionary definition of “competence”] demonstrated in Whitehall as well as the serial journalistic uselessness (together with the usual bias) at Broadcasting House.  Rest assured no-one at the FCO will lose his job over this fiasco.

    At the BBC, Jeremy might even get a bonus for flying out to Cairo at short notice (before going on holiday) so that he could spout rubbish against the backdrop of the real Tahrir Square instead of a photo of the square on the studio wall at News 24.  Even so, as a reporter, Middle East expert and political analyst, he showed again what a complete and utter ignoramus he is.


  5. Grant says:

    Can someone remind me of the last Labour government’s position on these matters ?  On the other hand, don’t bother  !
    Umbongo, sadly you are right.
    The problem is that the BBC, FCO and HMG are staffed by a bunch of teenagers.


    • john in cheshire says:

      bigotted incompetents, more like. It has been known for years that the FCO is in love with the arab world. If it was in my powers, I would purge the FCO of all its current incumbents and start again. And that goes for the bbc, too.


  6. Phil says:

    Cameron is an elected politician and entitled to say what is convenient. He is accountable for what he says and can be thrown out at the next election.

    BBC news was surprised as anyone else by the middle east uprisings, depsite its claim to analyse, not just report facts. All we are getting now from the BBC is factual reports which we can get from thousands of sources plus the corporation’s usual dreadful,  amateurish and naive standard of 20/20 hindsight ‘analysis’.

    And we’re stuck with having to pay for this charade of profressional and serious news. 

    PS – I’m not. I got a visit from a BBC licence fee snooper a couple of days ago.  I’d shut the door before he’d even got through his first sentence.


  7. OWEN MORGAN says:

    “To Jerusalem we go, for us to be Martyrs” – Cairo chanters

    “Every bullet has its billet” – King William III

    One way to reduce Egypt’s monstrous over-population, I suppose.


  8. Charlie says:

    Arab education has instilled hatred of Jews as long as I can remember, when you have two generations of hatred inspired Arabs what do you expect. Big problems.

    Israel educates its children to the highest standards and this is mirrored in the fact that more inventions are churned out by Israeli schools and universities than any other country. Every computer relies on software designed in Israel, medical advances that save lives of millions of people throughout  the world, by Israel.

    Yet Islam preaches hatred and mayhem against the Jew, we know they are good at slitting throats and suicide bombings of innocent people. Once they were renowned for architecture and art, now they rely on the west. They buy goods from Israel through second and third parties to avoid dealing with Israel. Hypocrites.

     The result of all this hatred of the Jew, just watch TV news every Arab land is in turmoil. 


  9. sue says:

    I’ve been watching a Newsnight special on the ‘revolution’ on BBC News 24, chaired by Gavin Esler. I wondered why Tzipi Livni was allowed to speak without interruption, but I soon realised that she was so outnumbered by Gigi Ibrahim, Libyan author Hisham Matar, historian Simon Schama, philosopher Francis Fukuyama, commentator Reihan Salam, academic and activist Azzam Tamimi and diplomat Sir Christopher Meyer, that her misgivings were soon forgotten in the excitement.
    None of them mentioned the Arab World’s hatred for the West, and in particular the Jews and Israel, but citizen journalist Gigi Ibrahim touched on it indirectly when she was asked how long she thought the uprising had been simmering on the street. Her answer was that the ‘second intefada’ was one of the first signs – that doesn’t auger well for all those who “hope for the best.”
    BBC regular talking head Azam Tamimi, (he who wished he could become a martyr for Gaza, ) said he would like a more Islamist regime to emerge, but everyone seemed to think that “there were no signs” of this being the majority view.


    • Charlie says:

      BBC regular talking head Azam Tamimi, (he who wished he could become a martyr for Gaza, )

      Lieutenant Colonel Alan West would have said we grant him his wish.


    • Charlie says:

      The reluctance of the BBC and probably the West in general to recognise the preaching of hatred by Arabs to their children of the Jew, is the major obstacle to peace in the Middle East. That this is a fact is undeniable.

      Yet it is brushed under the carpet as though it does not happen. Why?

      History could be the answer. Churchill, according to my Father was hated by his parents, my Grandfather. Because they did not want war. Yet Churchill  warned about a rearmed Nazi Germany. My Grandparents and their generation refused to recognise Churchill’s   warning. Why? Because of fear of another war.

      Yet historians have said that if Hitler had been confronted earlier he could have been stopped.

      So we Pansy around Iran, afraid to confront a lunatic, just like Gaddafi. Then the shit hits the fan.


  10. RGH says:


    “In the Islamic government all people have complete freedom to have any kind of opinion.”

    Interview with Human Rights Watch, Paris (10 November 1978)

    “After the Shah’s departure from Iran, I will not become a president nor accept any other leadership role. Just like before, I limit my activities only to guiding and directing the people.”

    Le Monde interview in Paris (9 January 1979)

    After the Revolution:

    “Don’t listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. We will break all the poison pens of those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things.”

    Remarks to students and educators in Qom (13 March 1979)

    Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world. . . . But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. . . . Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur’anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

    As quoted in Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism(1987) by Amir Taheri, pp. 241-3.

    This is the scenario that a broad-based revolution in an Islamic country that I can remember from 1979 presented.

    There are volumes of good, well-researched historical work which demonstrates what happens when the ‘springtime’ of ‘revolution’ proves illusory ,and the price of bread makes ‘fraternity’ a hollow slogan.


    • Craig says:

      Yes, it’s remarkable reading exactly what Khomenei said before the Iranian Revolution. His promises sound worrying like the sorts of things those ‘moderate’ islamists in Egypt and Tunisia are saying now – and every one of his promises turned out to be a total lie:  
      “The Islamic regime does not have oppression” (to Reuters)  
      “The foundation of our Islamic government is based on freedom of dialogue and will fight against any kind of censorship”  (to Reuters)  
      “Our future society will be a free society, and all the elements of oppression, cruelty, and force will be destroyed” (to ‘Der Spiegel’)  
      “Women are free in the Islamic Republic in the selection of their activities and their future and their clothing” (to ‘The Guardian’)  
      “In the Islamic Republic the rights of the religious minorities are respectfully regarded.” (to Austrian TV)  
      “It is the Iranian people who have to select their own capable and trustworthy individuals and give them the responsibilities. However, personally, I can’t accept any special role or responsibility”  (to ‘Le Journal’)  
      “I don’t want to have the power or the government in my hand; I am not interested in personal power” ( to ‘The Guardian’)  
      “The ranking Shiite religious clergymen do not want to govern in Iran themselves.” (to France Press)
      It’s safe to bet that, had he been around them, Jeremy Bowen wouldn’t have hesitated to call Khomenei “a moderate”.


      • John Anderson says:

        Has Bowen ever strongly criticised ANY of the extreme leaders in the Middle East ?


      • TrueToo says:

        Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood also appeared moderate and reasonable in an interview last week with Ros Atkins of World Have Your Say. They insisted they were simply a social organisation, had no interest in politics, and would respect any and every choice made by the Egyptian people.

        Ros Atkins wasn’t having any of it, incredulously asking them how they could say they were not a political organisation when they had stood for elections. He’s one of very few journalists at the BBC with any guts and probing intellect.


  11. Deborah says:

    Can anyone tell me why Libya is running higher up the news order than the earthquake in Christchurch.  Lots of people in the UK have relations in NZ and may have concerns – certainly you get a disaster like a Tsunami affecting muslim countries or an earthquake in Pakistan and the news waves are flooded for days – for NZ only a mention in passing.

    My explanation is that Libya can be used to criticise the Coalition-led government and David Cameron in particular whilst blaming an NZ earthquake on man made climate change can wait.


    • John Anderson says:

      How many BBC reporters rushed out to Christchurch – none ?

      Maybe it is because the class of people who choose to emigrate are not the comfortable class of people who work at the BBC ? 


    • Guest Who says:

      I think a lot of ‘reporters’ are still hitch-hiking there from Chile.

      It’s the cuts, Cuts… CUTSSSS! you see.


  12. DP111 says:

    It will also mean far greater insecurity for us in the near and long term, as hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the ME turn up in Italy and other European countries.  
    Texas Resident Arrested on Charge of Attempted Use of Weapon of Mass Destruction,0,5306188,full.story  
    As Jihad is a religious obligation for all, we will have to watch out for even more terrorists, as well the long term demographic implications.  
    Its all part of the Hijra, as practised by mohammed, immigration using any excuse to further Jihad.


  13. RGH says:

    When will the BBC ever get the reality of political Islam.

    “….the majority of the Arab constitutions declare the sharia as the basis of legislation, preventing most of the countries that pretend to be Islamic States from living up to the standards set by the 1948 United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights. It also legitimizes the notion of racial and religious superiority, and allows for multiple levels of citizenship and widespread and systemic discrimination against racial and religious minorities living within a state’s borders. Invariably, the human rights of the weak and dispossessed, the minorities and women, the disabled and the heretics, are trampled upon without the slightest sense of guilt or wrongdoing. Men and women are imprisoned, routinely tortured and often killed, while numbed citizens, fearful of offending Islam, unsure about their own rights, insecure about their own identities, allow these violations to continue. By looking the other way, the intelligentsia and middle classes have become complicit in these crimes. They justify their inaction as patriotism, where they stand in solidarity with the Islamic State, with the misguided idea that those who fight for universal human rights are somehow working for Western imperialism or represent the interests of Judeo-Christian civilization. ”

    Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, by Tarek Fatah

    Arab society is very sick  ….and yet the BBC is quite ready to make a mockery of morality in allowing a concept such as ‘Islamophobia’ to gain credence and currency.

    If, anything, by its craven, wooly-minded appeasement, the BBC is not doing anyone any favours at all.


  14. Marky says:

    “Shortly afterwards, the crowd erupts into chanting in unison “To Jerusalem we go, for us to be Martyrs”

    I would be very cautious about linking to this video it could well be a fake originally uploaded by a Muslim. The video could be of the Friday Prayers in Cairo but the chanting may have come from somewhere else. I can’t find any other corroborating evidence that this actually happened and vladtepesblogdotcom PMed me stating “As far as I can tell at this point, its a fake.”.