Dictatorship Through Democracy
Since the dawn of civilization, man has been making religions and attributing them to God. Democracy can be counted as one of the best of those religions, which we liked so much that we did not attribute to God; we preferred to keep this one to ourselves. Democracy is known and practiced all over the world but is more revered in the West, where people cling to it in a way that reminds us with the Muslims’ obsession with Islam.
Democracy means the rule of the people where all eligible citizens participate directly, or through elected representatives, in law making. This contrasts with dictatorships where the decisions are made by an individual ruler, or the dictator. Democracy promises stability since it is based on the solid foundations of fairness where all people have equal say. It also protects the society from the corruption that is often associated with dictatorships.
Democratic processes are not restricted to governments, they are often applied in managing professional organizations or societies of any kind or size. It is in these situations where democracy tends to be ideally applied. Elections for a council of a professional organization, say doctors or engineers, is unlikely to be influenced by newspapers, TV channels or outsiders. The voters are well informed group of professionals who are capable of making their own free decisions.
In government politics, the democratic process is based on elections, the party that gets most votes forms the government. It is fair, but its fairness depends on the fairness of the elections, or so we like to believe.
It is common in third world countries to manipulate the elections in a way that the rulers get re-elected again and again. However, this is of little significance because cheating is obvious and those countries are not recognized as democratic at all, not even by their own citizens. Western monitors are often sent to certain third world countries to make sure that the process of elections proceed fairly and to western standards, only then a government can be described as democratic. In Western standards, the principle is: free elections lead to a democratic government. which is nothing more than a delusion, as will be explained.
The election is only one step in the democratic process which starts before the election day or even the election campaign. The elections are influenced by the information that makes up the public opinion, which depends on the media; newspapers, TVs, publications…etc. It is impossible for democracy to survive in an environment where freedom of expression is not fiercely protected and the media is not free and fair. Tampering with the election often takes place before the election day and the main stream media is the usual tool.
The power of the media
In the West, the media is regulated by strict rules and guidelines to assure the public of its fairness and professionalism. For further satisfaction, and to exclude the possibility of bias, the media is usually privately owned and fully independent from the governments. Indeed, the public in the Western countries have littele concerns about the freedom of their main stream media and their own freedom of expression, which is another delusion.
Being privately owned doesn’t mean being fair and free. A newspaper owned by an individual can be biased to that individual’s political affiliation just as a newspaper owned by a government can be biased to that government’s policies. Although a free newspaper aims to provide the public with unbiased news but the owner of the newspaper is not a saint and has interests in financial returns, preferably with some power, through influencing public opinion.
The potential for newspapers’ bias is unlimited, no matter how strict the rules are. Newspapers make the most of that potential for bias all the time while still work within the law and abide by the guidelines. A respected and professional newspaper may influence its readers to adopt left wing views, while another equally respected and professional newspaper may influence its readers to adopt right wing views, yet both papers are officially fair and adhere to the guidelines! The same is true with TV channels and other forms of the main stream media.
In any nation, the majority of the population are gullible and believe whatever in the news. Only a tiny minority of the society bother to research and double check. And that is the secret of the media’s immense power – they have control on that majority of the population. In the UK, Tony Blair was elected by the press well before the election day, the same was true for Obama in the United States. Those millions who went to the ballot boxes were sleep walking to do exactly what the press wanted them to do, they thought they made up their minds but their minds were already made up for them by the press.
The media’s power extends to almost all aspects of life. Even the best film may not stand a chance if the press doesn’t like it, equally true for the best book or any product. The press can decide for the public which products to buy and where to buy them. The press has that magic power to create a celebrity from nothing or bring down a celebrity to nothing. Sheikh Al Qardawi was virtually unknown before that TV program at Al Jazeera, now he is the best known and most influential Muslim scholar in the world. In fact, Al Jazeera TV was the main power behind the wave of Islamic radicalization that swept the Middle East, and then the Islamic world, in the last twenty years. Thinking of the catastrophic consequences of Islamic radicalization, it is hard to believe that a TV channel can be responsible for so much damage in the world.
I followed Al Jazeera from the day it was launched and had a feeling that the channel will have remarkable, but negative, influence on the Arabs , who were not used to this kind of western style journalism. The channel used, or rather abused, professionalism and ‘selective objectivity’ to establish itself as the best in the field. In no time it became the most popular and most trusted in the Arab world. Once in control of the Arabs’ minds, it was easy for the channel to steer those masses to follow its agenda. After his humiliating defeat in the first gulf war, Saddam Hussain’s popularity and credibility suffered severe blow, even among his Jordanian and Palestinian fans. That steep decline in popularity coincided with the launch of Al Jazeera which managed to reverse it. From the beginning, Al Jazeera offered the Muslim Brotherhood, in all their forms and names, a free platform to gradually radicalize the Arabs. Sheikh Qardawi was an unknown imam until his regular appearance as a guest on the TV program ‘Sharia and life’, which was hosted by another member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both ‘brothers’ used the program to propagate the Muslim Brotherhood agenda.
Dictatorship through Democracy
The democratic process in a democratic country works through political parties. It is the major parties that have a chance of winning enough seats to form a government; the small parties do not stand a chance. very often, members of the public do not even know about those small parties, regardless of their policies. In the UK, the Conservatives and Labour parties are the two major parties that have been ruling the country for the last hundred years. They are big parties because each has supporters and donors. The Labour is supported by the trade unions and receives generous donations from them. The Conservatives receive donations from the rich companies. But both parties are happy to receive donations from those who hope their interests will be served once the party in office. On individual level, British politicians have been known to accept financial advantages in return for asking questions in the parliament, or other services. The infamous ‘cash for questions’ scandal in the 1990s says it all. This political culture is the basis of the British adage “we have the best politicians money can buy”.
Buying a politician is not necessarily expensive; here in Britain, it may not cost more than an invitation to a dinner party. Simon Hughes, a liberal politician, accepted an invitation to attended one of those Muslim gatherings. Apparently he was so impressed that he delivered a speech, which was more of an Islamic sermon, to the bothers and sisters of his audience, as he called them(1). In his speech, Mr. Hughes expressed his wish to see Britain in the future being ruled by Muslims. Simon Hughes didn’t know that, being a gay, he would be one of the first to be killed in the Islamic Britain of his dreams.
Simon Hughes case was not an isolated incident, it is increasingly common to see politicians who are prepared to bend over backwards to accommodate the endless list of Muslims’ demands. It is a bad sign and unfortunate that an increasing number of those who join the political parties are ‘career politicians’, who are only motivated by their wish to make good living at any cost. They are keen to win the elections, not to serve their country, but to acquire power and financial gains. As I watched Simon Hughes delivering his ‘Islamic sermon’, I remembered that politics is often compared with the oldest profession ( actually, politics is older than prostitution). The politicians have no principles to defend and would do whatever their paying clients ask them to do.
Unfortunately, it is common for the political parties to promise something in the election campaign but, once in office, do something else. Back in October 2009, Andrew Neather(2), a former aid to Tony Blair, wrote that the labour government had encouraged immigration on purpose “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity”. Until his confession, it was believed that the flood of immigrants to the UK was a result of incompetence of the labour government but now we know it was a result of deliberate and cynical policy of the labour government to change the face of the British society. More than ten million foreign immigrants settled in the UK as a result of that policy, which forced many millions of ethnic Britons to be squeezed out of their country. The British government was so keen to get as many Muslim immigrants from Pakistan and other Muslim countries, as quickly as possible, that their embassies in those countries distributed booklet explaining the advantages of the benefit system in the UK.
Before I settled in the UK, I spent many years in corrupt Middle Eastern countries which were ruled by corrupt dictators who were surrounded by even more corrupt politicians. Still, I do not think any of those dictators ever reached that stage of corruption to enforce a change of the demographic make up of their nations.
Of course the labour government had no mandate to enforce such a change to the society and the issue was never mentioned in the election campaign. The conservatives, who were supposed to make a big fuss of such breach of trust and abuse of power, kept very quiet about it, which means either they didn’t care or they were just as guilty. All this in Britain, the birthplace of democracy!
The fact that incidents like the above can happen makes mockery of the entire concept of democracy. Democracy becomes meaningless in an environment that allows lies and dishonesty. It is more like a dictatorship in disguise where a group of politicians, with no motivation at all, other than greed and selfishness, have replaced the dictator. To be fair to dictators, some of them were motivated by a sense of patriotism and desire to serve their nations, which many did well. Many previous civilizations were built by dictatorships. On the other hand, our political parties seem to act like magnets that selectively attracts the corrupts and liars with no integrity or sense of morality.
This generation of politicians love democracy and hate dictatorship, but for the wrong reasons. The state is a very rich and tempting asset. Dictators, being life long leaders, tend to provide a lifelong protection to that asset, whether just to secure it or to keep it for themselves. Either way, the politicians do not like it. Toppling the regime and introducing a democratic system provides a chance for more politicians to alternate and share the wealth.
Freedom of expression
In the Middle Eastern, for example, there is no true democracy in any country; they are all different shades of dictatorships. The main stream media, whether privately or state owned, is under the control of the state. Newspapers may publish some constructive criticism concerning domestic policies like education, transport, health services and so on. The integrity of the leadership and the main policies of the government remain beyond criticism. The public is usually aware of this pattern of publishing and learn to look elsewhere for the ‘other news’ about the president, emir or the king.
In Western democracies, there is nothing beyond criticism, not even the head of state. The government’s policies are subjected to continuous scrutiny. Ditto members of the government and the royal family, if applicable. The public is generally satisfied that their freedom of expression is protected and their press is free, which is another delusion. You only need to send an article or a comment, with some truths about Islam, to find out!
A newspaper in a third world country may look like a propaganda tool for the state, yet may only cause little harm because, with so much bias and obvious lies, the public learn to read it with caution. This contrasts with a professional western newspaper with a reputation of objectivity which the readers trust and believe. In such papers a bias is not assumed and may go unnoticed.
In dictatorships, freedom of expression excludes the leaders who are protected from criticism. In democracies, it is Islam which is excluded from freedom of expression and is protected from criticism. I wonder which system makes more sense?
Leaders come and go and eventually they all die but Islam, if left untouched, can stay with us for centuries. Islam is a major issue in the West because it is threatening our way of life. It has already caused serious damage to our culture, social life, security, education, the legal system and more. Every day, scores of people get killed, injured, maimed or kidnapped because of Islam, yet it is the only religion that is fiercely protected and not available to the public for open discussion.
Given the choice, I would rather allow criticism to Islam and forbid it to the royal family. Our national security is not threatened by what a princess wears or how a royal wedding is managed.
In many ways we are let down in democratic countries. My Christian neighbor can leave his religion with no problems at all while I have to hide my true beliefs. A basic human right has been abandoned to keep the intolerant Muslims happy. Our politicians have no interest in listening to me and defend my rights because they believe it is waste of time to defend principles. Is this what we wanted to achieve by implementing democracy? replacing dictators with more corrupt and greedy politicians? And is this the freedom of expression we aspired to? praise Islam or stay away from the subject? There is no freedom of expression unless there is freedom to debate Islam.
Until then, our claims of a free press remain a joke.