Wednesday, August 13, 2003

"Islamic Democracy"

How disappointing it is to find that friends who used to share my concern for peace and justice are now concerned with peace to the exclusion of justice.

Not only is this an obvious dead-end, but it's morally lazy.

I wish they could imagine -- as they once could -- what it must be like to be on the wrong side of an unjust system.

For those whose compassion has completely atrophied, here's a helpful guide: Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and currently director of The Dialogue Project at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.

Is it not insulting to think that democracy is the property of a few Western countries? Do Iranian women like to be flogged for a piece of hair showing? If this was their tradition and culture, [would] they need to be flogged and stoned and jailed [to] implement it? Do Americans need the state [to] put a gun to their heads to carry on their traditions and culture: going to church, reading Mark Twain, or simply protesting against or for the war? Is this Islam?

Perhaps, George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz are right, that the Arab world is oppressed by authoritarian regimes not because of some cultural heritage, but in spite of it.

The burden of accepting this perspective might mean leaving the safety of "progressive" conformity and opening yourself up to attacks from Michael Moore and the cultural enforcers of the left.

Painful at first. Liberating in the end.

No comments: