Bush Spreading Freedom and Democracy: just not the way HE wants it.
This is the story very much worth reading - again, a day pass is required, but it's very well worth watching a damn PC Commercial.
The story started me thinking about a question I never considered. And that question is, "What does a 'by the people' Democracy mean in the Middle East?"
Actually, I have the answer to that question, as my parents were Expat Persians (hailing back to the days before "Iran" and "Iraq"); my grandparents were the Persians who went Expat in the early 1900s, and all relatives except my brother and I hold dual citizenship - in most cases somewhere in Europe and either Pakistan or India.
Add that my Good Westernized, College-Educated, Muslim Parents (tm - the Shirazi Family, inc, llc, fubar) sent us to an assortment of Islamic Madressehs with the sole intent of keeping our cultural, social, religious, linguistic, and economic heritage "pure" (meaning "insuring their American-born children were nothing like you," dear reader), and that does put me in a unique position.
The synopsis of the Salon article in conjunction with my own experience is this: quite simply, expect more Hammas as the March of Freedom and Democracy spreads, whatever the particular local flavor of "Hammas" happens to be.
After all, when Benazir Bhutto's father became Pakistan's PM on a Socialist, egalitarian platform, he was very quickly tried and executed for crimes against the state (in Pakistan, where the word 'Pakistan' means 'Religiously-clean place with no Non-Muslims to spiritually mess things up,' the underlying text behind the execution meant Zulfaquar Bhutto 'violated Islam.').
Or the Nigerian Shariah Court who decide that stoning a young mother to death was an appropriate punishment for premarital sex?
Granted, those event was some time ago and will require some work on your part to verify - so I'll toss a few easier pitches next.
The recent Tsunami - remember the official Islamic stance on that? Actually, there were two. The purists claimed the Tsunami was god's punishment for not practicing a pure Islam: those who died deserved it because they were the equivalent of Kaffirs (Non-Muslims). The softer sell was god's punishment for allowing Non-Muslims to vacation on Muslim land.
And, more recent yet, over at Pam's blog, the reports of Islamic nations executing their GLBT folk - something we GLBT folk of such a socio-cultural background have been mentioning for some time but, sadly, not quite getting the coverage the issue deserves. Fortunately, in a recent UN vote, the USA sided with places like Iran, Sudan, China, and Zimbabwe - two of which do openly execute their GLBT folk - and has thus helped us GLBTs gain attention to the issues we face (not to mention, make the Bush administration's evil a bit more readily evident).
But back to my point - what does the Hammas win and "Democracy in the Middle East" mean on the Middle East Street?
It means that, in the PA, the Religious Police can use a long (3 to 5 foot), flexible switch to whip any female for not wearing a headcovering. Or, for that matter, any female who behaves in an "enticing" way.
The Hammas win means that Honor Killings will not only go un addressed and uninvestigated, they will actually be enforced: Honor Killings are required for key "offenses" per the Quran.
The Hammas win means that any PA GLBT folk need to seriously consider leaving - because Quranic enforcement of homosexuality started yesterday. And that enforcement?
Much like the Good, Patriotic, Christian Folk of the South and Midwest, who voted for Bush, JEEE-zzuzz, the Bible, Christmas, a "purer Christianity," sentiment, emotionalism, self-absorbed drivel, (and, ultimately, a snow-job run by those who seek power and wealth at the expense of those who voted for them), the Hammas vote was much the same. Sentiment for "a Better Islam," religious-purity-as-decency, and blind adherence to theology ruled the day . . . and those who will suffer most?
Those who will suffer most are the ones who voted Hammas. Much like those who suffer most, today, on our soil are the blue-collar factory worker or the nearly-bankrupt farmer who, here, voted for Mr. Bush.
Boggles the mind, eh?
How do you like your "March of Freedom and Democracy" now, Mr. Bush?