Palestinian Freedom & Iranian Democracy; A Causal Connection
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
The entire world, during the better part of June 2009, saw, what appeared to have been a choreographed, orchestrated and carefully synchronized post election protests from the streets of Tehran Iran. And despite ostentatious efforts, on the part the United States government at managing a proclaimed neutrality, there was no neutrality to be had. Perhaps the only semblance of neutrality was a very nuanced, buffed and embellished neutrality.
There were actions and pronouncements which contradicted any pretense and protestations of neutrality. Actions and proclamations which were undertaken with a view of influencing the direction and outcome of the post election protests in Iran.
There was an instance in which the government of the United States felt the need to contact a private entity, the owners and operators of Twitter, to urge and implore the company to postpone its scheduled maintenance, in order not to interfere with the ability of Iranian protesters (and their handlers overseas) to communicate with and between themselves and the rest of the world, as these protesters organized and coordinated their activities.
It is not debatable whether Iranians, and for that matter, anyone else, have legitimate right to demonstrate or protest elections in Iran or across the world, if and when elections are had, and there are legitimate reasons to believe that such elections fraught with regularities, fraud and an outcome is determined not have been free or fair or questionable
However, it will be helpful to use the same standard, the same vehemence and the same steadfastness, to oppose governments which are engaged in election frauds and governments which engage in the use of brutal force or violence to oppose popular agitations, demonstrations or protests. Such as the government of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, in power for decades, and a friend of America and Europe who does no wrong in their eyes.
It is quite amazing to watch how there was what appeared to be some sorts of righteous indignations about perceived electoral frauds in Iran, and the subsequent violence which culminated in the death of a young lady, Neda. Neda was instantly martyred in the western world, a part of the world usually suspicious of martyrs what they connote. Just as westerners are of Islamic details, and just as Nicholas Sarkozy deplores head coverings by Muslim women. As much as I grieve for the family and friends of Neda over her needless death, it must be mentioned that there is no clear determination as to who perpetrated her murder.
Additionally, the violence and death of Neda during the election protests in Tehran were minor, infinitesimal and insignificant when compared to the death of 1400 Palestinians in January 2009 just before President Obama was sworn in as US president. There were no martyrs in Palestine! There were no democrats and fighters for freedom and liberty, there were no reformers and heroes in Palestine, there struggles are deemed violent and unreasonable by the west. There were no Facebook coordinated protests and Twitter tweeting demonstrators, there were no all day, every day CNN, BBC, VOA coverage for the 1400 dead in Palestine, among them, children, women and senior citizens.
Since his inauguration as president of the United States, President Obama have made major policy pronouncements among which is the US Middle East policy and in this, the US president outlined his policy thrust, similar to what his predecessor called the Road Map to peace in the Middle East. The current Israeli government has loudly rejected Mr. Obama’s request or suggestion (note that I did not say demand) to Israel to freeze settlement expansion at the expense of Palestinians. Settlement expansion is a slap and spit in the face of all those interested in a negotiated peace process between Palestine and Israel! Where is the pressure on Israel to comply with UN and US settlement freeze etc?
President Obama subsequently appointed an envoy, specifically to achieve American policy objectives in that region of the world. US former president, George W. Bush, bungled peace efforts previously pursued by the Bill Clinton administration. Mr. Bush’s neglect of the peace process during his tenure, worsened the intractable enmity and animosities between Palestine and Israel. These efforts may not go anywhere, in the face of Israel’s persistence in course of conducts, which have been condemned by the United Nations, Europeans and the Obama’s administration.
President Bush gave Israel any and everything which Israel wanted. Mr. Bush did not use the so-called Road Map, perhaps he lost the map or got lost on the road? The much talked about two state or two nation solution, in which Palestine and Israel will coexist as two politically, economically and socially independent nations would have been the preferred outcome. The idea or concept was touted loudly, but without any action.
As a consequence, the peace overture now being made are rather green and virgin. So much time have been lost in the interim, due to the inaction of the Bush administration on the Middle East peace initiatives.
It is rather trite to restate here, that any policy directed at the Middle East peace and security or toward the Arab world, which does not frontally tackle Palestinian conditions, plight and predicaments, must be seen as a nonevent nonstarter policy. When there will be a World War III, it is in all likelihood, start in the Middle East and be as a consequence of neglecting to act, do the right thing to ameliorate the abject human conditions in Palestine. I see a connection between the plight and predicament of Palestinians, the popularity of Hezbollah, HAMAS and their Iranian supporters and I quite understand why a blow struck against Iran is a direct attempt at Hezbollah, HAMAS and vice versa. America and Europe seem to have no ambitions to democratize Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai or the Emirates, Egypt etc but why? Could it be because these monarchies, the dictatorships and tyrannies are docile in their constipated contentment and complacencies about the average citizens in these countries and care not a hoot about Palestinians?
Even by the longest stretch of the imagination, there is no democracy or western type reforms in Saudi Arabia or Egypt etc. There is no human rights or gender equality in these countries. There is nothing at all in these other Arab and Middle Eastern countries that resembles a modicum of western democratic prescriptions. And if truth be told, Iran is more modern, more western, more plural and more 21st century-like, in a western sense, in comparison with the countries in Middle East which are in the pockets of westerners and in which westerners are blind to and deaf to pervasive evils of oppression and abuses.
It is rather an open secret that governments and institutions outside the Middle East or the so-called Arab world, have sought to influence the election outcomes and internal affairs of Palestine, Lebanon and Iran. And it turns out, that there is a causal connection between the aspirations of Palestinians in Palestine, and their supporters and sympathizers in Lebanon and Iran.
The world ought to therefore make known, the conflicts of interest and self-interested dealings, and the curious interests which have been exhibited by certain governments and institutions in local elections in Gaza Strip, in the West Bank, then in Lebanon and most recently, the elections in Iran. The west seem to scorn HAMAS, Hezbollah and Iran for their imperfections, while cuddling Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, countries which are not even making any pretensions about reforms, democratizations and human rights! Why is it unreasonable, far-fetched or illogical to see a connection between the pressure being mounted on Iran by America and Europe regarding Iran's nuclear power, and nuclear weapons and the exaggerated western interest in seeing free and fair elections or democratization in Iran?
I will like to state for the record that I join everyone is wishing the finest ideals of democracy, liberty, freedom and human rights upon Palestinians, Israelis, Lebanese, Iranians etc. The democracy, freedom, liberty and human rights we wish upon the Arab world or the Middle East, should be the type which fits local conditions in those countries and in those lands.
These fine tenets and ideals as they, must be managed by the people for the people, the people should constitute the source of greatest political authority. In recent years, the world have witnessed a selective acceptance or rejection respectively, of democratic processes, depending on the particular perception of hegemonic interests of government and institutions outside certain countries, countries who are grappling with teething and tethering democracy. In the past several years, the world have been witness to how arguably free and fair elections which were won in Algeria and Egypt, were cancelled, excoriated and repudiated with the support, wink and nod, by same countries who are liable to extol democracy louder than everybody else, and the reason given for the railing against these free and fair election in Algeria and Egypt was solely limited to the fact that the candidates preferred by these outsiders were not the winners at the polls.
In a true democracy, the greatest political authority or supreme authority resides in the electorate, and for me, this means that a free and fair election outcome should be accepted and applauded whomever the winner is, the candidate and party that is better able to canvass and convince the voters should prevail at the polls and lead, until the next elections.
What have happened instead is that, Americans and Europeans have tended to move the goal post during the game of democracy, as was the case in Algeria and her Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria in 1990, or in Egypt in the 2002 elections, Palestine and more recently, in Iran. In Lebanon, Hezbollah led at the polls, but, there were these concerted and coordinated campaigns, visits and loud promises made by foreign government officials, who all sought a role in the defeat of Hezbollah in favor of a pro-west political leader and perhaps a puppet? How happy or thrilled will Americans and Europeans be if any group of foreigners, governments or foreign institutions seek to directly alter elections outcomes on their soil?
I did not like Mr. Bush’s policies, but, I did not want Canada or Mexico to invade the US to orchestrate the ouster of Mr. Bush as the American government under Bush did in Iraq and to Betrand Aristide of Haiti, it was particularly egregious in the case of Haiti, as the government there was duly elected and the constitutionally constituted government of Haiti at the time, whatever anyone thought of Aristide’s policies or credentials, another election or some constitutional measure by Haitians, remained the best way to have resolve such imperfections.
And for Saddam Hussein Iraq, a former bosom friend of America, and the entire west, and a tyrant, dictator and abuser of human rights etc, invading and occupying Iraq, was still unjustified and contrary to all tenets of international laws, treaties, conventions and established protocols. Iraq remained entitled to political independence, her sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In the particular case of Palestine, the word on the street and on the ground in Palestine is that, HAMAS is and has been the only symbol of authority, order, and service to the people. HAMAS is popular, it have perennially spoken and poignantly addressed the concerns of the average Palestinians notwithstanding the castigations and labeling which HAMAS have received over the years by outsiders.
There may be some legitimacy in the criticisms of HAMAS regarding its methodologies and aggressive enforcements of its will, but nevertheless, HAMAS is popular with a large segment of the Palestinian population and HAMAS activities and public conducts resonates with the average Palestinians, hence the electoral victories which HAMAS recorded. And it did so through, core preachment mission of religious proselytizing through preaching and social services which Palestinians appreciated, enjoyed and rewarded HAMAS at the polls for.
Despite victories at the polls, HAMAS was viewed with so much contempt and ridicule by the American and European governments and institutions at the behest of Israel, and this in effect, clearly demonstrated a double standard and extreme hypocrisy in the definition and application of true democracy by these self-acclaimed American and European advocates and champions of democracy. These double standards and false pretense is what have wrought endless generations of crises borne of cultivated animosities and disdain by various parties to conflicts, mutual hatreds by opposing parties and supporters and enablers on both sides
And the Arabs of course seen through these shenanigans and doublespeak democracy and human rights. Or Palestinians preference for HAMAS and the imposition and preference of Mahmoud Abbas as “leader” of Palestine preferred by non-Palestinians outside of Palestine. Democracy ought to be allowed to evolve and grow to maturity, and without outside manipulations and manipulators outside of Palestine. Humans do not like impositions from outsiders. Palestinians should be allowed to feel ownership of their democracy. And that does not include a version imposed from the outside or a puppet from within, subject to the whims of those who do not have Palestine best interest!
All those who support true democracy should want answers to why HAMAS is deemed not to be entitled to HAMAS victory at the polls in Palestine? Why is the Islamic or Muslim Brotherhood not entitled to it’s electoral victories in Egypt? This Brotherhood was formed in 1928 and it is the main opposition the ruling party government party for almost one hundred years. And in 2002, the Brotherhood over the years have won increasing membership in the Egyptian parliament, this, even though the Brotherhood remains officially banned by the Egyptian government.
Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party NDP, in power since 1978, Mubarak is in power for almost 30 years since the assassination of Anwar Sadat, NDP uses aggression, violence and acts of thuggery against the Brotherhood and others opposed to the ruling government party. Many members of Islamic/Muslim Brotherhood are in detention in Egypt, in detention without trials or prosecution by the government of Egypt, and where are the uproarious reactions to this persecution, and bludgeoning of the opposition the government in Egypt? Where is the outcry, hoopla and indignations in the west?
Western silence and complicities in on Egyptian repression absence of democracy, there is this palpable fear by the westerners of Islamic fundamentalism in politics in Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia etc but how about ultra right Christian Fundamentalists who shoot or encourage the shooting of doctors who provide abortion services? I am as wary of Christian extremists as I am wary of Muslim extremists. Extremists are what they are, extremists! Whatever denomination or label that we may affix to them, they are fanatical and can be murderous!
There are extremists in all organized religions and there are extremists among nonbelievers. Extremists are violent, an extremist Jew, Yigal Amir
assassinated Prime Minister Rabin of Israel in 1995, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by extremist Hindu, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by a Sikh extremist in 1984 and Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by Tamil Tiger extremists. Rabbi Kahane was a notorious extremist Jew. Those who killed him were extremist Muslims, so were the participants in the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. How about the ethnic extremists in Bosnia Herzegovina and Hutus and Tutsis? There are in fact, extremist unbelievers here!
As I think of the choreographed sympathy for Iranian demonstrators and I think of abandoned and neglected suffering and hardship in Palestine and I think of why pretty girls always receive unsolicited assistance to carry their 10 pounds weight luggage, while ugly girls are left to struggle with their 100 pounds weigh luggage and crying child, This is the difference between Iran and Palestine, as far as the America, Europe and some others are concerned, Palestine is the ugly girl who really needs help, which no one offers! Male suitors have ulterior motives and expected benefits for offering unneeded and unsolicited assistance to the pretty girl.
The governments of America and Europe have sought variously to unduly influence the election outcome in Palestine, Lebanon, Iran respectively, this desire to manipulate election outcome exposes a lack of confidence in the superiority of ideas or the supremacy of democratic tenets and fine ideals.
America and Europe have persistently put expediencies over and above letting the best candidate and political party win elections in Haiti, the Congo, Chile, Iran etc. This arrogant uncontrollable desire to directly influence elections and choice of leadership for nations, is the hypocrisy and laughable force-feeding of “democracy” in hypocritical condescension, these actions in pretending to know what is best for other nations, regardless of the idiosyncratic specificities of local conditions and cultures, is the source of all the troubles in the world.