Tuesday, February 15, 2005

An Honest Voice With a Realistic View

Salameh Nematt is a Jordanian columnist for Dar al-Hayat, an Arabic daily based in London. He seems to believe that the only way democracy will come to the middle east is if it is imposed from without, as the US and its Allies have done in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nematt had this to say prior to the Iraqi elections in an interview for Newsweek, published on MSNBC:
The whole concept of democratizing the Middle East is terrorizing the regimes. Not a single regime in the Arab world would survive in a democratic context. None of them can run in free elections and win. Why else aren't they holding elections?
If that wasn't clear enough, Nematt continued:
I'd tell them they're hypocrites. They want full representation of Iraqis, when they're not doing that in any Arab country. They should be ashamed of themselves. How dare they go and make these declarations about the need for every single Iraqi to have the right to vote when they don't do it at home?
Now that the elections have been successfully completed in Iraq, Nematt is a rare optimistic voice for the region. Yesterday, Nematt wrote this in Dar al-Hayat:
Following the Palestinian and Afghan elections, the success of the Iraqi elections has directed an impressive strike at the powers that sought to thwart them and increased attention to the notion of spreading democracy in the region, from Morocco to Pakistan. However, certain Arab governments did not conceal their distress, or disturbance, from the significance of what took place last month.

Is it possible that so far not even one Arab official has visited Baghdad? Is it possible that not even one Arab official has congratulated the Iraqi people on the triumph of their elections?
Nematt has received death threats for daring to call terrorists evil, for daring to criticize repressive middle east regimes, and for promoting democracy in the middle east.