arab spring - The Trawler.org
DYER: “Libyan election shows democracy in the Arab world is still making progress,” (Georgia Straight Weekly)312 days ago by Graeme Douglas
In his latest column, Gwynne Dyer looks at the Arab Spring and the process of democratization in the Arab world. He argues that, despite the concerns of many Western commentators, the success of Islamic parties in recent elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya does not mark the end of democracy in the region. These were largely free and fair elections in which the Islamic parties respected the democratic process. That the people of these countries are choosing Islamic governments is a product of their specific political climate, rather than undemocratic. He believes that this is ultimately a good thing, that whatever parties their citizens vote for, what matters is the exercise of the democratic system.
This is a refreshing perspective. There is a tendency in Western discussions on Islam and politics to see things to fear. But this fear is largely baseless, as the vast majority of people in Canada and other Western countries know very little about Islam, Sharia, or the political climates of Muslim countries. Muslim political parties play important roles in Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, and these countries do not sponsor terrorism or threaten us. If Tunisia, Egypt or Libya will be different, it will be for reasons other than the Islamic character of their political parties.
As Dyer suggests, the West needs to step back and allow the people in these Arab countries to exercise their democratic freedoms, whether they meet Western ideals or not.
Tensions in Sudan have only increased since demonstrations erupted on June 19. Though initially protesting over austerity measures, protesters are now demanding that the National Congress Party (NCP), headed by Omar Bashir, ought to step-down. The party has governed for twenty-three years after it assumed power through a military coup on June 30, 1989. Columnist Fatah Arman claims that due to its totalitarian nature, the regime change will be complicated. He argues that there must be four key factors present to force a presidential resignation. First, protests must spread into all regions of the country to prevent their dispersion. This will lead party members to defect in order to avoid association with a fallen regime. Next, the international community should place a spotlight on Sudan as they have with other ‘Arab springs’ and confirm its support of the protesters. Finally, the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which has long since opposed the NCP, should protect protesters from clashes with the military. (Full Article)
Thomas Friedman presents his take on the possibility of a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, predicated upon regional factors that must be shaped first.