To avoid checkmate, let the pawn of democracy pass [Archives:2006/953/Opinion]

June 8 2006

By: Atif Awad
In the 1920's, Ahmed Lutfi al-Sayyid nominated himself for elections within his constituency of the West Delta district in Egypt. His contender was a notable and feudal lord in the area that did not enjoy the reputation Lutfi al-Sayyid possessed at the time. Lutfi al-Sayyid was the first Egyptian to assume the Presidency of the Egyptian university. An intellectual, with many supporters among Egyptians, he was prominent writer familiar with European and in particular with the French culture, as he had graduated from one of its faculties in Paris. Nevertheless, his contender managed to defeat him and keep him away from Parliament previously established in Egypt in 1896. Al-Sayyid was defeated by his competitor because the latter and his supporters had spread among Al-Sayyid's constituency that he was an “Infidel Democrat”.

Democracy at the time was perceived as infidelity, similar to how the term secularism is currently perceived. The majority of the nation believes someone “secular” to be an infidel and an apostate of religion and our nation. Promoted until recently, democracy was considered an infidelity or at least a Western concept that had nothing to do with Arabic and Islamic culture. Some stated that the Shoura (consultation) system was analogous, but Shoura ways differ from the West's concept of democracy. The promotion of this idea was seen as serving the whims of its promoters. The same was said about democracy serving the interests of those connected to the throne of authority. Here democracy and its institutions as granting the Arab shah (ruler) and his philosophy that gave him complete authority, be it out of hereditary or heavenly right. It was said this type of democracy granted him this authority through unmatchable wisdom. The nation would then have to bow to heaven for granting it such a wise leader.

It was only logical then, for the Arab leader to begin demanding his people support this so-called democracy. He did this even if in doing so it was more in submission to another wave and deluge that swept the earth and its nations. The deluge of democracy has become a sword wielded by Americans and Zionists against Arabs to adopt it as the only Way. The submission of the Arab ruler and his people to the deluge of American and Western democracy is an excuse to avoid overthrowing the shah or checkmate it and devour the entire Arab pawns on the chessboard. The Arab shahs (rulers) and their entourage do not believe in a democracy whose people and political parties aspire to shake them from their thrones nor in institutions who would call them accountable for everything. Therefore Arab rulers are not embarrassed to create new tricks and designs within that American-Western game called Democracy.

For this reason the Arab player now says to himself, his entourage and his nation: “Let democracy to pass to avoid the Arab checkmate or to have his throne shaken.” Any individual of this nation who does not understand this game, has only to look around him to realize the truth. The truth is Arab rulers would not have accepted Democracy had it not been for fear of American pirates making an excuse to deal him a deadly blow. To internalizing this within the nation is an escape from realizing an Arab checkmate.

Thus everyone witnesses elections held under states of emergency and extraordinary laws written, as well as wirnessing Israeli artillery bombardment and America's destructive machines in Iraq. That is the game played by the Arab shahs and their governments, the Americans, the West and the Israelis. None of them are interested in the democracy that the Arab national, out of a deep naivety, has enthusiastically believes and gets burned with.

The question is will Arab shahs play into this democracy until some other new idea comes; until American or Western ideals disappear? Is democracy merely balloting boxes and media propaganda? Where are the civil and democratic establishments that without which there is no use for any elections? Has the Arab ruler really been checkmated with the sword of democracy, or by time and development which he does not understand and is powerless to stop? Would any Arab shah die because he is unable to listen to the steps of time and development?

Atif Awad is an Egyptian journalist and short story writer residing in Yemen.