I keep hearing this call ringing my ears these days:
“Will the last democracy activists still standing in the Middle East today, please take a bow and leave the stage? The performance has become too lackluster and is no longer inspiring, and the entire show has become rather boring and dull.”
But, being one of those diehard democracy activists myself, even from my base here in Silver Spring, Maryland, if find it too hard to heed that call, and cannot develop any plans to go gently in that good night. Now, how else can I infuse some drama back to the show?
Under certain conditions, autocrats can indeed ensure stability. But this stability is always borrowed somehow, borrowed from the future. The more stable an autocratic society today, the more catastrophic its implosion in the not-so-distant morrow. For autocrats are like termites, the structures they infest continue to look impressive right until they fall on their heads, and ours. Betting on Middle Eastern autocrats to ward off the evils of Islamist threats and popular revolts is not only misplaced but will serve as a catalyst of these very evils. We tend to seal our fates in various ways, some with a handshake, others with a kiss.
The dabbling in the electoral process by the usual suspects begins. The Governor of Homs in Central Syria has just issued what he describes as a “loan” or a “refundable fee” that each independent candidate that seeks to run in the upcoming elections has to pay. The purpose of this bizarre procedure, Governor Ghazal explains, is to prevent irregularities. If the candidate can prove at the end of the campaign that he had run a clean campaign then the fee will allegedly be refunded. Continue reading “And So It Begins!”
It is nice to see science lending some justification to heresy, especially that variety of it that claims to be more objective and rational. I have always observed in the process of my occasional debates with Muslim believers that the Golden Age of Islam in the Middle East coincided by most accounts with the First Abbasid period – a time that witnessed the flourishing of both heresy and traditional faith. Continue reading “Heresy Justified?”