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  1. 24 Jun '09 17:06 / 1 edit
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124580498089244981.html

    The hotly contested presidential election in Iran between Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still unfolding, with uncertain results. But regardless of the outcome, the events in Iran are symptomatic of a larger change in the political landscape of the Middle East -- the revival of a regional freedom movement, which stalled in 2006 after the election of Hamas in Palestine.

    The results of the recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon and Kuwait clearly indicate that Islamist parties have lost significant ground to their moderate counterparts. By Middle Eastern standards, these two countries, along with Turkey, have well-established democratic traditions.

    Young Iranians show inspiring determination to achieve similar gains in their own country. Scholars maintain that societies that manage to have four or more consecutive elections will usually achieve an irreversible democratic transition. Without direct visible foreign intervention, Turkey, Lebanon and Kuwait may have such a transition well under way. The fear that Islamists might somehow impede the process has not yet been realized.




    Its good to see that the middle-east is finally (but slowly) improving.
    However, I guess we still have to wait for democracy and the rule of law to become the norm in the middle-east for good.
    The treatment of women and the respect for human rights still have to improve in many countries, like Iran for example, however, I think that the increasing popular demand for the improvement of thse is already a start, let's hope the hardliners don't spoil it.
  2. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    24 Jun '09 17:29
    Secularization is probably the best antidote to major conflict right now. It happens in all societies; it's just a matter of time. Eventually, people wake up and realize that it's better for them to be able to choose their own lives than to have them dictated by religious extremists.
  3. 24 Jun '09 17:36 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    Secularization is probably the best antidote to major conflict right now. It happens in all societies; it's just a matter of time. Eventually, people wake up and realize that it's better for them to be able to choose their own lives than to have them dictated by religious extremists.
    The existence of theocracies in the region is certainly a factor that hinders development.

    However, as we have seen in Iran, these regimes will do anything to neutralise opposition. That includes rigging elections and attacking their own people.

    Scapegoating is another of their favorite tactics, basic freedoms, rule of law, etc are all seen as western values that shouldn't be imposed on the fundamentalist regions, any intervention will be met with disapproval, that is a major obstacle.

    I think the only way to get things to change is to have a revolution from the inside (without foreign intervention), by the people themselves, too bad they're not the majority.
  4. 24 Jun '09 18:29
    Originally posted by sh76
    Secularization is probably the best antidote to major conflict right now. It happens in all societies; it's just a matter of time. Eventually, people wake up and realize that it's better for them to be able to choose their own lives than to have them dictated by religious extremists.
    The Iranians equate secularism with the Shah. And I think we can both agree that the Shah was a brutal ruthless dictator who completely deserved what he had coming to him, and more. Although I think we can also understand, if shake our heads at, the reasons for the current theocracy.
  5. 24 Jun '09 20:27 / 3 edits
    Democracy is a lot more than mere "secularism" -- autocracy is autocracy, regardless of whether or not the autocrat claims to be religious.

    The main problem is that many Muslims insist on forcing everyone in their country to conform to Muslim beliefs and customs. There needs to be a movement where the only way you can become a "true Muslim" is to make a decision out of your own FREE WILL to embrace Islam. This means allowing people to choose not to be Muslims without facing any kind of discrimination or persecution. There also needs to be a movement that promotes the "separation of mosque and state" - where the state will take no action that favors any one religion over another - and where religious bodies will confine their rules to those people who choose to be members.

    Muslims need to have some faith that people in their countries will freely choose to be Muslims. If they have reason to doubt this, then they need to find ways to persuade more people of Islam's merits.

    The main concept behind democracy is that people get to make CHOICES -- and a thriving democracy is one that understands that different people will choose different things, and these different choices need to be tolerated.
  6. 24 Jun '09 20:45
    Popular sovereignty is the answer. If the people elect to have a Muslim state, then they should have one.
  7. 24 Jun '09 23:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by scherzo
    Popular sovereignty is the answer. If the people elect to have a Muslim state, then they should have one.
    I agree - but if the people later elect NOT to have a "Muslim state", than they should have that as well without having to worry about the religious leaders calling on militias to attack anyone who disagrees.

    In general, I believe that while separating religion from the state is important if democracy to work well, it's even more important if the religion is to work well. If the state is forcing everyone to join a particular religion, the religion becomes nothing more than a bunch of rules - and the religious leaders don't have much of an incentive to keep the spark alive. After all, if the religious leaders allow things to become stale, they can still use brute force to keep everyone in line.
  8. Standard member uzless
    The So Fist
    25 Jun '09 02:55
    Originally posted by sh76
    Secularization is probably the best antidote to major conflict right now. It happens in all societies; it's just a matter of time. Eventually, people wake up and realize that it's better for them to be able to choose their own lives than to have them dictated by religious extremists.
    Yes, it's nice when people choose to no longer listen to their "Decider"
  9. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Jun '09 03:01
    Originally posted by sh76
    Secularization is probably the best antidote to major conflict right now. It happens in all societies; it's just a matter of time. Eventually, people wake up and realize that it's better for them to be able to choose their own lives than to have them dictated by religious extremists.
    Oh, so what about the West propping up these nasty regimes for almost a century?

    Can I borrow your airbrush?
  10. 25 Jun '09 03:03
    Originally posted by FMF
    Oh, so what about the West propping up these nasty regimes for almost a century?

    Can I borrow your airbrush?
    the west popping up nasty regimes? Prove this! Links,links,links!!!!
  11. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Jun '09 03:10
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    the west popping up nasty regimes? Prove this! Links,links,links!!!!
    Saudi Arabia, Iraq till 1991, Iran in ths days of SAVAK and before, Egypt since forever, Jordan, Kuwait, other motley Gulf States. Nothing controversial about my comment. Always amuses me that those who fulminate about the shortcommings of "3rd grade history" have such a selective grasp of history themselves.
  12. 25 Jun '09 03:16
    Originally posted by FMF
    Saudi Arabia, Iraq till 1991, Iran in ths days of SAVAK and before, Egypt since forever, Jordan, Kuwait, other motley Gulf States. Nothing controversial about my comment. Always amuses me that those who fulminate about the shortcommings of "3rd grade history" have such a selective grasp of history themselves.
    thats not proof! prove they set up those regimes! I want links!
  13. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Jun '09 03:21
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    thats not proof! prove they set up those regimes! I want links!
    Propping up is not setting up.
  14. 25 Jun '09 03:28
    Originally posted by FMF
    Propping up is not setting up.
    whatever that is supposed to mean
  15. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Jun '09 03:29
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    whatever that is supposed to mean
    That's a question for you and not me.