ARE Arabs immune from democracy? Whenever democracy enters an Arab country, why does it turn its political forces into hell that destroys its institutions and leads to deterioration of values, gearing towards insults and accusations? In fact, it sparks civil wars.
Throughout the past decades, Arab countries have been unable to follow the path of democracy properly as things turned from bad to worse, especially in Kuwait where some political blocs have cemented the skewed and wrong understanding of democracy.
They made the understanding of democracy based on freedom to engage in obscenity, insults, transgression of Amir’s authority, hurl accusations at ministers, officials and anyone who opposes them, and to agitate the people through methods that breach the most basic human principle just for political gains.
This continued up to the point of forming militias under the tagline, “Except the Constitution”, the same constitution that they disdained while striving to write their own constitution which caters to their interests.
It is almost a necessity in Kuwait to hear in every discussion, “Just look at what our neighbors have achieved in terms of development, economic growth and rapid implementation of projects, especially the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Those saying such words are making themselves forget that Saudi Arabia follows the type of rule in line with the culture of its people, which is also our culture. If its leadership have imported Western democracy along with its flaws and ‘diseases’, would the Kingdom remain united and a pioneer as it is today?
For instance, didn’t the Kingdom of Bahrain suffer from the democracy that does not suit the nature of its society, up to the point of almost threatening its existence because every political agent and hawker is hiding behind democracy in a bid to execute foreign schemes aimed at devouring Bahrain?
Again, what would have happened to the United Arab Emirates if it adopted the laxity mode that exists in our country? What about the Sultanate of Oman which produced the kind of rule that corresponds with its social nature? It did not copy the foreign styles of rule, hence, it has become the oasis of security, peace, tranquility, development and progress.
Lebanon is one of the examples of countries that entered into chaos due to the wrong understanding of democracy. Because of that, it continues to engage in chaos after chaos. This country is suffering from chronic republic presidency vacuum and deterioration of institutions due to the stubborn stances of political forces, since it introduced a theory known as ‘democratic conformity’ (Confessionalism).
Lebanon is not a unique case. Several Arab countries are facing the same problem, such as Iraq which has been shattered by sectarian conflicts. This is the result of the wrong understanding of democracy caused by the destructive behavior of a community that was not yet prepared culturally to take up the ruling method, of which the Western countries took several centuries for their ruling system to be crystallized into a suitable one.
During the monarchy era in Iraq, democracy restrained the monarchy through a series of laws that paved way for political parties to practice all forms of destruction of the State; thereby, making it easy for the coup against King Faisal to happen in 1958. Henceforth, the culture of barbaric vengeance became dominant and no rule came after that except through the back of tanks, skulls or blood.
Democracy without restrictions was also the reason for opening the floodgates of chaos in Egypt, which reached a point of transgressions and insults to the monarch while inciting people to turn against the rule through irresponsible media campaigns. In the end, these campaigns facilitated the rise of a group obsessed with leadership and substituted the monarchy with Jamal AbdulNasser.
AbdulNasser did not leave any type of oppression and impoverishment without using it against the people of Egypt. As a result, Egypt continues to suffer infrastructural crises and all attempts to solve them have failed.
Arabs want a democracy that is ready-made and packed for them like a hamburger meal or a mobile phone; forgetting that it is a social, economic, political and cultural system before it became an irresponsible form of freedom of expression, insults and transgressions, as well as incitement of tribal, sectarian and ethnic conflicts.
This type of ruling system has principles and bases linked to the culture of the society. It should not be brought down through ‘parachutes’ of revolutions and coups, or else, it becomes the destroyer of the nation instead of its strength.
If the Arabs do not understand the secret behind Israel’s success, they should realize that the basis of this democratic success emanated from the culture of its society, not the leaders’ obsession with leadership.
Also, the Arabs failed to comprehend that Western communities never ceased to develop their ruling methods, especially when they sensed some deviation in the ruling system.
This is what Charles de Gaulle did when he launched ‘The Fifth Republic’ operation. Italy amended its political course as well and even the United States of America revised its constitution for about 30 times, while we took the Western structure of ruling, leaving out its essence, so we continue to be as we were before without any change.
In Kuwait, the situation has reached a point of laxity under the pretext of freedom of speech. Worst of all, those who are calling for these types of democratic slogans are the ones far from being democratic.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times