About the Madrid bombings [Archives:2004/727/Letters to the Editor]

April 8 2004

Michel Dignand
[email protected]

I believe that the views presented in Yemen Times of the events in Spain are quite valid, but I'd like to suggest a slightly different interpretation which might have a bearing on the way those events might be reflected in countries like my own, Australia, where the government ignored the clearly-expressed views of over 70% of Australians, who wanted our country to stay out of the illegal invasion of Iraq.
I would suggest to you that the Spanish have ousted their previous government not because it supported the US, but because their government lied to them, ignored their wishes and acted against the best interest of the people.
In true democracies (and there are very few of those) all of the people have the right to express their views without fear. The one exception to this is that no-one may try to incite hatred of another person or group (or religion).
All people have the right to religious freedom as well, which means that no-one has the right to tell anyone else what they should believe, or how they should worship.
When governments have been proven to have lied to the people, the people of democracies will generally vote to oust them at the next election. This does not always happen, for instance when the guilty government manages to convince enough people that they should be fearful.
Democracy, loosely described as government of the people by the people, can only work when the people being governed are educated; in other words, that they understand what they are voting for. This will be just as true in Yemen (which is not yet a true democracy) as it is in Australia (which thinks it is a true democracy, but has a population which too easily believes what it is told).
When the world has learned to stop this madness, I trust that both Yemen and Australia will be able to advance towards true democracy; to achieve this, both countries need to try much, much harder to educate our people to think for themselves.