We Preach Democracy Yet Befriend Dictators

New Internationalist, October 2010 | Go to article overview

We Preach Democracy Yet Befriend Dictators


How is Western-style democracy seen in the Middle East these days?

In Europe there seems to be less and less democracy. There's more and more presidential government; members of parliament simply don't have any power any more. People in the Middle East read about the West as we read about the Middle East. They are aware of conversations about the 'democratic deficit'; they are aware of the degree to which voters in the West seem increasingly distanced from their representatives. So a lot of the people I talk to in the Middle Fast are asking why we are trying to preach democracy when we don't have a lot ourselves.

There's a good deal of cynicism about the word.

I think many people here would like quite a lot of democracy; they would like some packages of human rights off our supermarket shelf. But what they talk about is injustice - and justice is something that I don't think we're interested in giving to the Middle Fast.

Elections are central to the Western idea of democracy. What effect have they had in the Middle East?

The effects have been grotesque. Every president claims to have a fair election and every presidential election is rigged, which is why you hear that Mr Mubarak gets 98 per cent of the vote and Saddam used to get 100 per cent. It's a mockery, but what's interesting is that people seem to think it adds legitimacy to have an election - even if it's totally rigged. They want to say: 'We have elections too, we have a parliament, we have a president, we elect him', even though we all know that in those Arab countries where there are elections - with the exception of Lebanon, where there is some fairness in the process - it doesn't really count.

Elections here [in the Middle East] are a tool, they are a device; they arcnot meant to explain the thinking of the people: they are meant to explain the thinking of the man who is going to be elected.

So in the Middle East you have mock elections which are supposed to be real ones; in the West we have real ones that often turn out to be mock in the sense that our MPs don't do what we want them to do. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

We Preach Democracy Yet Befriend Dictators
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.