[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]


President Bush in his speech before the National Endowment for Democracy on November 6, ‘challenged Iran, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to begin embracing democratic traditions’ and has termed the fall of Saddam Hussein as “watershed event in the global democratic revolution.” It is a welcome “good wish” of the President who is trying his “best” to establish “democratic” system of his “liking” in both the “occupied” lands of Iraq and Afghanistan. The allied forces are controlling these countries to deliver freedom, liberty, “gender” equality and justice to all. The question is: will he succeed or his “wish” remains buried in his archives as a part of history for future presidential historians to give their verdict? His “wish” does not match with the realities on the ground. It does not see eye to eye with the predominant established foreign diplomacy of the USA. Why it would be so? Let us make this point crystal clear that what are the “interests” of this country that are at stake if his wish becomes a “reality.”


Muslim countries with only two exceptions of Malaysia and Iran are beset with regimes that are loyal to “themselves” or to their foreign masters who in turn provide “moral”, “political”, “economic” and “military” support for their survival. The self imposed rulers of the rest of the Muslim world are Muslim in name only. They are the tyrants, dictators, and “opportunist” military hierarchy responsible to none. All have hijacked their people, their sovereignty and their human rights denying them one way or the other to express their free will in the so-called periodical election with only one candidate and no opposition to challenge. The election “results” in almost all the cases are around 99% “yes” for the incumbent regime. The condition of the Gulf States is worst. All the kings and Sheikhs are the “yes-men” of Washington. This is the most fertile political infrastructure for the USA to exploit in its favor as it is easy for it to bargain with a dictator than a democratic regime or democratically elected head of a state. People in the Whitehouse will have to think thousand times to place this favorable situation with that of people’s government. Just take the example of Turkey, in spite of the best efforts of the party in power and that of its military Junta, people are not willing to send their armed men to Iraq and only yesterday, the foreign minister of Turkey has  a negative signal to Washington. The USA cannot create problems for itself to deal with the Muslim world, if it really becomes sincere in promoting democracy for these lands. President Bush must be thinking wishfully when he uttered the above quoted words unwittingly.


However there is another aspect of Bush’s declaration. It must be lurking somewhere in his mind that he will coerce these countries to “restore” democracy in namesake only and thus serve both the ends: satisfying the wild “propaganda” of the West towards the restoration of democracy in the Muslim countries and befool the people of the respective lands that they have “got” it through regimes/people that are “loyal” to Washington-London axis. Its pattern can be seen from the draft constitution of President Karazai of Afghanistan just out last week for its ratification by Lova Jirga to be held in December 2003 in Kabul. So will be he case of Iraq through Shelby, the hand picked regime governing currently in Baghdad. These “stooges” will claim vociferously that they have restored democracy but in fact it would be far away to fulfill people’s desire to establish the ideology, the system that they love from the core of their hearts. If President Bush wishes to deliver such “dubious” democracy of its own choice, he will get it but it would be a mockery in the very name of democracy and freedom as it would never represent the will of the people of the land but the will of “his master’s voice.”


President Bush must know it that the model of democracy of the west where the people are the sovereign will never suit the Muslim lands that believes in the sovereignty of Allah and the system of justice that is delivered through the Qur’an and the life pattern of Prophet Muhammad (S). Muslim world is agitating for long and it will never come to rest till they get the system of life of their liking established in their lands as the barometer of their day to day activities. The President Bush would have been wise enough to give free hand to the people of the Muslim world a free choice to get their constitution framed and delivered to their people by their own free will and, you know, it would be nothing but establishing the just system of Islam which is far superior to the secular democratic system. But, unfortunately, President Bush and the entire western regimes are allergic to it just out of centuries old prejudices only. They are never sincere when they talk of “democracy for the Muslim world.” The other day the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has categorically commented publicly that the western democracy will never suit our land.


However, still the best course open to President Bush, if he is really sincere in his assertion to restore democracy in the Muslim world is to withdraw his “life-support” from the individuals rulers and the regimes that have become the “Shylocks” of the Muslim world and are being sustained through the life artery that is flowing from the “fountain” called “Whitehouse”. He should tell these “usurpers” of the Muslim land to restore democracy of people’s liking and whither away, irrespective of the fact whether secular world likes it or not. Through this process West would have won over the heats of the Muslim Ummah, a boon for the American people.  


But, unfortunately, the history of the West is quite different. For them it would be a death knell to their prevalent interests and the hegemonies through which it is perpetuating its domination over the Muslim lands. Presidents of the USA, whether Republican or Democrat has no stomach to be worthy of taking such a “bold” historical step and “free” the Muslim world to decide its destiny by its free will. So, the great “wish” of President Bush will remain dormant in his archives as the political thought for the students of history alone. The process of democratization of the Muslim lands will be possible only when Muslims themselves get up and snatch away their political freedom from the clutches of the “stooges” of Washington and London. How? Only the future will answer this question. Till that time the process of democratization of Muslim countries is a matter of distant dream.   



Shamim A Siddiqi

November 9, 2003