At the Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO), researchers and senior analysts alike have been immersed in the exciting developments in the Middle East. First Tunisians ousted their government, followed swiftly by Egypt, which overthrew 30 years of Hosni Mubarek’s oppressive dictatorship in just 18 peaceful days. Now the nations of Bahrain, Iran, Algeria, Libya and Yemen have seen their authoritarian governments rocked by mass demonstrations demanding, of all things, democracy.
Many so-called “experts” and observers in the West have long held the elitist opinion that Arabs and Muslims were “not ready” for democracy, the implication being that they are all tribal nomads with fealty only to their traditional warlords and chieftains. This is a widely held opinion in spite of the fact that during the Middle Ages, North Africa under Islam was the global center of medicine, science, scholarship, architecture, literature, philosophy, tolerance and multiculturalism, while Europe was mired in filth, plague, perpetual warfare, ignorance, fear, superstition, hatred and intolerance.
While the West has gained acendency since those halcyon days for Semitic Culture, during the Middle Ages it was the East that boasted the important centers of learning and scholarship, and the West that was amputating perfectly good limbs with dirty tools, fouling their cities with their own waste and burning their brothers and sisters at the stake for pointing out obvious truths. So let us not claim any intellectual or moral high ground on our Middle Eastern brethren.
The fact that today our societies are more technologically advanced as well as being more workable and equitable to its citizens than Eastern nations is only a recent historical development, a situation that could change in a matter of a few short years. Ask the German or the Japanese people how they squandered centuries of hard work and achievement by following madmen to their nations’ near annihilation, their beautiful cities turned in to piles of smoking rubble. No Middle Eastern Nation ever caused the world a fraction of the death and destruction that European and Asian Fascism caused in a dozen insane years only 70 years ago.
The citizens of the Middle East have endured centuries of conquest, hostility, oppression and exploitation at the hands of Western Colonial Powers, with even many of the borders and ethnic makeups of their nations determined by foreign empires. The leaders left in charge when World War 2 finally put an end to Colonialism were also, for the most part, hand-picked by their former colonial masters; ruthless despots who would “keep them in line” while western corporations continued their business-as-usual of siphoning off the lion’s share of these nations’ national wealth.
Is it any wonder that radicalism and anti-westen sentiment took root in many of these countries? Being robbed from within by greedy tyrants and from without by rapacious corporate interests, little money was left for education and government services. Before many generations passed, a great many of the poorer citizens of such nations had regressed into the the same ignorant superstition and unreasonable hatred that had plagued Europe’s population of preceding centuries.
No al Qaeda, Hamas or any other terrorist group could succeed in attracting recruits from nations that were enjoying freedom, prosperity and equality in human rights, and whose nations were in control of their own natural resources. In an almost visceral understanding of this self-perpetuating predicament, the masses of the Middle East seem to have risen as one and said “Enough!” Starting in Tunisia and cemented by the stunning peaceful victory in Egypt, a popular revolution is sweeping the Middle East.
Western civilization has been taken aback by all this, and predictions of disaster are rampant. Too many Western leaders and “Middle East Experts” are of the opinion that Western powers should be directing this revolution and picking its leaders, just like we did when Colonialism disappeared in name only. They miss the obvious point that their meddling and domination were a huge factor in the shaping of these societies’ recent histories, and that this is the true end of Colonialism, where the people of the Middle East pursue self-deternimination in a way they see fit, not what is allowed them by their patronizing overseers both foreign and domestic.
The West should be complimented rather than appalled by this popular revolution. The form of government being demanded by the demonstrators is, after all, Western-style representative democracy, a form of government whose foreign policy operatives had withheld from Middle Easterners as being “too advanced” for them. Well, guess again, and people here in New York City are watching events in the Middle East very carefully, hoping that this international push for Democracy will free New Yorkers from 115 years of tyrannical one-man rule.
This group of American citizens has long been considered “unfit” for self rule and have seen their hopes for democracy dashed again and again by one megalomaniacal mayor after another unwilling to share power with a legislative branch of government. One result has been that the New York City Court system has become the de-facto legislative branch by fielding challenges to the many autocratic and unconstitutional fiats dictated by our Strongman mayors, setting the dangerous precedent of the usurpation of legislative functions by New York City judges, a job for which they are unsuited, and not elected to perform.
New York City is one of the last places in America where representative democracy is not practiced. While citizens can vote for Mayor and members of the City Council ever since the 5 Boroughs incorporated into a single city in 1896, the City Council has no power and each new mayor exercises absolute power over 8 million citizens, more people than reside in Bahrain and Libya combined. Perhaps this Democracy Fever will sweep across the Atlantic and free New Yorkers of taxation without representation, finally completing the American Revolution that’s been the inspiration for liberation movements everywhere for 235 years.
This was a report from The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious.