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Democracy is born out of maturity

Reader comment on item: After Saddam? Remaking the Mideast

Submitted by Karsten Brasch (United States), Feb 15, 2003 at 14:39

I have to disagree respectfully with some aspects of Dr. Pipes' writings. At the very least, it will take a lifetime of reform before the Arabs can embrace democracy in a meaningful way. The reason democracy is so successful in the US is because the US has the largest population of mature people in the World inspite of its huge diversity. The pre-requisites for democracy are freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom for women in society, secular education and a genuine respect for human rights - none of which exists in the Arab-Moslem world today. Bring these 4 aspects to Arab society and the debate about bringing democracy would become unnecessary. Democracy by itself is a meaningless concept - Pakistan and Turkey became more fundamentalist with their recent round of elections after Islamists gained ground in both countries. A region that celebrates an event like 9/11 has a long way to go before it can reap the rewards of democracy. Bin Laden would sweep any election in the Middle-East today just as Khomeini swept through the Iranian referendum in 1979.

Ironically the only country in the region that is going in the right direction is Iran with its small core group of citizens that is every bit as mature as any Western society.
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