Democracy is the solution.
What is happening in the Middle East? Well, that is a very long story, people of the Middle East I know, or the ones I thought I knew, were mired in a stagnant political situation.
Everything, however, has dramatically changed since the popular uprising, starting in Tunisia and spreading out like wildfire. So far hurling two of the long serving tyrants and soon the rest will follow.
Peoples have been taking to street en masse in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria crying for democracy, which it here in the west is taken for granted, risking not only being jailed and tortured, but also risking their own lives. Surely, things will not go back as they were.
But, will the upheaval bring about prosperity to the masses? In Libya, after months of extreme violence and severe torture, arbitrary arrest, extrajudicial killing and abductions, protesters fortunately resorted to violence, which will not lead to anything. Nevertheless, people elsewhere are taking some serious steps towards real democracy as in Tunisia and somewhat in Egypt that hopefully will stabilize the situation and entice businesses into investing in those countries.
So far as people are pressurizing for freedom, clearly no one can undermine their demand. But what if through election and democratic process we end up with another despotic leader or party, which in fact, can not be ruled out.
So what is the solution? “Democracy or no democracy”! As a believer in democracy, I’ll go for it. I choose democracy, liberty, freedom of expression over the so called security, even if it may be wrong. However, before we plunge into excessive optimism, we must know that development takes time and so does democracy. And prior to any party may, in due course, swoop the power; we must make sure it will not be able to vitiate others whether they are Christian, Shia, and Bha’a minorities or political parties.
To do so, old constitutions must be superseded with ones that assure tolerance, freedom and the rule of law as well as preventing any party from wielding despotic power at any time and dividing authorities among different entities.
Then, and only then, does the course of fair elections take place. No matter who leads the cart passengers will be delighted to reach their destination.