Many Westerners are busy encouraging instant popular revolt in Egypt this evening as they did in Tunisia recently and as they may well do in Yemen tomorrow, but I suspect that some of them have forgotten their history lessons.
Question: When was the last time that the people of a Muslim country rose up to demand more democracy and the departure of its rulers? Answer: In 1979, and it happened in Iran. The result is what you see today and it represents the exploitation of popular Muslim sentiment which led to what is arguably the genesis of the Muslim fundamentalism and terrorism which is now plaguing the world.
Question: What has the history of Algeria since the elections of 1991 taught us? Answer: It has taught us that autocratic governments and rulers in Muslim countries who do not heed the calls of their people for more social justice find their elections hijacked and won by Muslim extremists, obliging the said governments and rulers to cancel the elections, remain in power, and finally do something to help the people.
The Internet and the Western press are abuzz with unbridled support for any and all action being taken in Muslim countries which in their view will lead to ‘democracy’, as if democracy is like Coca-Cola and can have the same taste and refreshing effects everywhere it is tasted.
But cooler heads in both Western and unaffected Mideast governments and those who know that part of the world well are much more measured in their support and observations and they are urging more caution. We would be well advised to put our megaphones down for five minutes and listen to them.
They are saying that it's time for more open and fair government as well as fair and equitable treatment of the people.
And they are also saying that an overly-precipitous and disorganized transition from autocratic government to fragile and naive forms of democracy in Muslim countries would open the doors wide open to Muslim fundamentalists.
In other words, they are saying that it's time for dialogue, not revolution.
They are right, whatever the uninformed eggers-on may say, and you read it here first.
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