Sunday, February 13, 2011

Musings on the new path for Egypt

As I watch television, the visuals of the celebrations in Tahrir Square make me think about what all the commentators are talking about – establishment of democracy in Egypt. As I go through the names and the forms of government in the neighbouring countries, I pause and wonder at the probability of success of such an endeavour in a Muslim country. I am not being bigoted , condescending or racist (in terms of religion) but am just going through the list and I find that I come short when it comes to counting successful democracies in this region!

Of the 56 sovereign states that make up the membership of the International Islamic Conference, the only one that I can think of that is a relatively successful working model is Turkey. It makes you wonder why?

I think it’s safe to define democracy in simpler terms here as in a system of constitutional government in which the ruling party can be replaced without any violence in accordance with rules and procedure laid down in a constitution and by fair means. I don’t know, maybe democracy is over-rated? But I guess that the relative affluence achieved by United States & Western countries seems to reinforce benefits of democracy. Success of Japan and Germany once they renounced their autocratic institutions seem to add weight to the assertion that democracy is good :-0

Democracy may be good, but is it good for the Islamic world? Does it work in the Islamic World? Is it possible that some cultures are more conducive to democracy than others? Or is it because Islam is a strong religion in terms of its connect with its people? Is it difficult for rights and freedoms (including right to speech and freedom to practice religion as per your interpretation) that are inherent in a democracy, to exist in a state where the ultimate source of law is Islam?

I don’t know, and like I said, maybe democracy is over-rated 

There are enough and more ills even in functioning democracies. I guess Egypt needs to figure out for itself what works for it in the long run…..

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